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The Ultimate Holiday Movie Guide

-Harry Met Sally

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The feast is finished, the leftovers have been packed away, and while some may be looking to turn on a football game, if a good movie is more your taste-Thanksgiving style, look no further. Whether you’re craving a dose of someone else’s family drama, the sweet taste of a feel-good romance, or an excuse to pop some popcorn with a laugh-fest, there’s something for everyone. This ultimate list is the best guide to great Thanksgiving movies to watch. Enjoy!

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: Travel stress is nobody’s favorite part of Thanksgiving, but watching Steve Martin and John Candy as an odd-couple duo of hapless travelers trying desperately to get home for Turkey Day will help you laugh off your own struggles.

 

Best quote: Susan Page: You shared a motel room with a complete stranger? Are you crazy? Neal: Not yet. But I’m getting there.

The Big Chill (1983)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: Though the film doesn’t take place over the holiday (it centers around 8 friends who come together for the funeral of a college friend), it does take place in the fall and has plenty of ensemble-cast drama and long talks around kitchen tables.

 

Best quote: Sam: “So how’s your life?” Karen: “Oh, great. How’s yours?” Sam: “Not so great.” Karen: “Oh, we’re telling the truth.”

You've Got Mail (1998)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: While the whole movie has great foliage scenes and a crisp, autumnal vibe, the scene where Joe rushes to the front of Zabar’s cash-only line to vainly save a work enemy (or so he thinks…) actually happens on Thanksgiving Day.

 

Best Quote: “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” — Joe Fox

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: Watching Woodstock and Snoopy pull apart a wishbone and eat a piece of pumpkin pie together.

 

Best Quote: “I haven’t even finished eating all of my Halloween candy!” — Sally Brown

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: A more emotional holiday film, this movie follows a (Renée Zellweger) as she travels back home to spend time with her parents. While there, she finds out that her mother (Meryl Streep) is very sick and the family faces spending their last autumn and holiday season together.

 

Best Quote: “It’s so much easier to be happy, my love. It’s so much easier to choose to love the things that you have, and you have so much, instead of always yearning for what you’re missing, or what it is you’re imagining you’re missing. It’s so much more peaceful.” — Kate

Scent of a Woman (1992)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: A prep school teen’s Thanksgiving weeks goes way off the rails when his job looking after a blind former army officer turns into a wild adventure in NYC.

 

Best Quote: “Hoo-ah”

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: The family, friends, and feasts in this star-studded animated adaptation of the Roald Dahl children’s classic.

 

Best Quote: “I guess my point is, we’ll eat tonight, and we’ll eat together. And even in this not particularly flattering light, you are without a doubt the five and a half most wonderful wild animals I’ve ever met in my life. So let’s raise our boxes – to our survival” – Mr. Fox

Home for the Holidays (1995)

Quintessential Thanksgiving FactorChaos ensues when family gets together, and secrets come out.

 

Best Quote: “Nobody means what they say on Thanksgiving, Mom. You know that. That’s what the day’s supposed to be all about, right? Torture.” — Claudia

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: Everyone needs to brush up on their Thanksgiving facts—the hilarious Thanksgiving play in this movie proved as much.

 

Best Quote: “I hope that someday you’ll know the indescribable joy of having children, and of paying someone else to raise them.” — Gomez Addams

Garfield's Thanksgiving (1989)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: It’s hard to decide who’s more relatable—Garfield, miserable at being put on a diet the day before Thanksgiving; or John, clueless as to how to actually prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, but desperate to impress his guest of honor.

Best Quote: “Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, that’s the day where people celebrate food by eating as much of it as possible! … It’s a tradition, and you know how I love tradition!” — Garfield

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: Get a taste of four vastly different Thanksgivings from this quintessential 2000s flick, which showcases what the holiday can mean from family to family.

 

Best Quote: “My favorite part about Thanksgiving is knowing I can eat this tomorrow.” — Carla

Friendsgiving (2020)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: The trend of hosting a Friendsgiving seems to become more popular every year. This comedy starring Malin Åkerman and Kat Dennings is a little too relatable in its portrayal of how these gatherings are never as quaint as our Pinterest boards imagine them to be.

 

Best Quote: “That’s the whole point of Thanksgiving, Molly! Sugar and regret!” — Abby

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: The story of this classic kicks off at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and carries on into Christmas making it a perfect Thanksgiving night watch.

Best Quote: “Faith is believing things when common sense tells you not to.”—Fred Gailey

Grumpy Old Men (1993)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: Not everyone grows up, and it becomes increasingly apparent the more friends and family are around the dinner table.

Best Quote: “Kids; Can’t live with them, can’t shoot them.” – Grandpa Gustafson

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: Sharing the Thanksgiving table and football—what could be more quintessentially American?

 

Best Quote: Michael Oher: It’s nice, I never had one before. Leigh Anne Touhy: What, a room to yourself? Michael Oher: A bed.

Holiday Inn (1942)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: Songs to get you in a holiday (any holiday) mood. This musical classic spans a full year’s worth of holiday, including a slightly glum Thanksgiving and the birth of the song “White Christmas” that makes it a perfect family watch for the end of the day.

 

Best Quote: Linda Mason: My father was a lot like you, just a man with a family. Never amounted to much, didn’t care. But as long as he was alive, we always had plenty to eat and clothes to keep us warm. Jim Hardy: Were you happy? Linda Mason: Yes. Jim Hardy: Then your father was a very successful man.

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: The sisterly love between the Marches. Gather the girls and snuggle in for this feel-good adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic.

 

Best Quote: “I may not always be right, but I am never wrong.”—Aunt March

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Quintessential Thanksgiving Factor: The “New York in the fall” vibe of this Nora Ephron classic rom-com will have you reaching for a hot cider before you know it.

Best Quote: “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”—Harry Burns