Ah, Thanksgiving. That magical day of the year when we set aside our differences and remember what we’re truly thankful for our families, our friends, and, most importantly, the food! If you’re like us and enjoy celebrating this special holiday with a side of entertainment (and maybe some leftovers), then Netflix has got you covered. The streaming giant is full of great movies about giving thanks any time of year—and we’ve rounded up some of the best ones to get you started. So grab your remote control, pop in your earbuds, and get ready to binge these fantastic Thanksgiving movies on Netflix.
1. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987) is a classic Thanksgiving movie that stars John Candy, Steve Martin, and John Hughes. It’s about an advertising executive who has to travel home for Thanksgiving when his plane crashes on the runway. His journey with a rude salesman named Del (Candy) is filled with all kinds of hijinks and antics, including accidentally boarding the wrong train in Chicago. The movie has a good mix of comedy and drama, which makes it fun for all ages.
The film is rated PG for some language and drug references.
2. The Quiet Man (1952)
- Stars John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald
- Plot summary: An American boxer (Wayne) returns to Ireland after years in America and finds himself embroiled in a dispute over land that he owns. Along with his new love interest (O’Hara), he must fight for his rights and prove himself worthy of the title “Quiet Man.”
The Quiet Man is an iconic Irish romance that has captivated audiences since its 1952 release. It’s a perfect movie to watch on Thanksgiving because it has all the elements of an entertaining meal: great food, family bonding, and plenty of hearty laughs! If you’re looking for more movies starring these actors or want something similar to The Quiet Man (like another Irish-themed drama), we recommend Taming Of The Shrew or How Green Was My Valley.
3. Little Children (2006)
“Little Children” is a drama about the children of a married couple, who have an affair. It’s set in the suburbs of New Jersey and stars Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, and Jennifer Connelly as the parents in question. The film follows them as they navigate their own messy lives while also trying to raise their kids.
For those who like stories about marriage, this one will be up your alley. It’s not too heavy on the drama; it’s more realistic than that—and that makes it all the more compelling.
4. Home for the Holidays (1995)
If you’re a fan of Thanksgiving movies, then you’ll love this movie. It’s about a young woman who travels home for the holiday to meet her family. The film stars Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., and Anne Bancroft. This is rated PG-13 and can be watched by anyone older than 13 years old in your family (you might want to watch it first to make sure everything is appropriate).
5. Big Night (1996)
If you’re looking for a film that will make you laugh, cry, and reminisce about the good old days, then Big Night is the movie for you. It tells the tale of two brothers who run a struggling Italian restaurant in New York City. One brother (Stanley Tucci) wants to keep it going with his father’s recipes as he always has, while the other brother (Tony Shalhoub) thinks it’s time to modernize their menu and improve their customer base by adding some American dishes. The film follows these two men as they work together (and sometimes against each other) in order to save their restaurant from closing down forever.
The acting is excellent here, especially from Stanley Tucci who plays one of my favorite characters: an eccentric but lovable genius chef named Primo who will do anything he can think of in order to preserve his family’s heritage and traditions—even if it means making his customers feel uncomfortable at times! If you’re looking for something lighthearted but still heartwarming with plenty of funny moments throughout its runtime then don’t hesitate: go watch Big Night today!
6. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Directed by Bill Melendez and written by Charles M. Schulz, this animated classic is based on a Peanuts comic strip. It’s the story of Charlie Brown’s attempt to have Thanksgiving dinner with his friends at his house. The kids find it difficult to get everything ready for their feast, but they manage to pull it together and make it work.
The film was first released in 1973 and has since become an iconic Thanksgiving movie that many people know about—even if they aren’t familiar with the original source material from which it was based!
7. The Ice Storm (1997)
The Ice Storm, directed by Ang Lee and starring Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Christina Ricci, and Elijah Wood is a drama about a family living in Connecticut during the 1970s. The film follows the parents who are drifting apart from each other as they deal with their children’s coming of age. This movie is rated 7.1/10 on IMDb and received mixed reviews from critics. However, if you like slow-burn dramas that focus on family relationships then this would be right up your alley!
8. Pieces of April (2003)
A good Thanksgiving movie should balance the lighthearted and the serious, give thanks for what you have while acknowledging the challenges of life. This year, we’re offering up a range of films from which to choose—some are more difficult than others but all offer something special.
Pieces of April is about an Upper East Side family with a mother who is about to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge until her daughter April convinces her not to go through with it. The film follows the lives of these characters over one weekend as they face their own problems and try to come together as a family before another tragedy occurs. It stars Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt, and Philip Seymour Hoffman in what would turn out to be his final role before passing away in 2014 at age 46.
9. Dutch (1991)
In this Robert Duvall-directed drama, Ed Harris stars as Dutch, a Vietnam veteran whose return to his hometown is met with suspicion. As he tries to rebuild his life and reconnect with family members, he’s forced to confront the past. Dennis Hopper plays his brother Gene and John C. Reilly has a small role as one of Gene’s friends; Bruce Dern and Charles Durning also make cameos in this riveting drama that is rated R.
10. An Unfinished Life (2005)
An Unfinished Life is a 2005 film starring Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and Kim Basinger. Based on the short story by Robert James Waller, follows an old man who moves in with his son after his wife dies. The son is a hunter and the daughter-in-law is a vegetarian, so there’s plenty of tension around the dinner table.
This movie will remind you that life isn’t always predictable—and that sometimes people’s actions can surprise even themselves.
You will find all of the movies are appropriate for all ages.
Of all the movies on this list, you will find that most of them are family-friendly. This means that they’re appropriate for people of all ages. While there are some PG-13 movies on the list and even a few R-rated movies, most of them fall into either a PG or G rating range (with one or two exceptions).
Most of the movies on this list are rated PG-13 because they contain mild violence or language that may not be appropriate for younger children. Some may be too intense for young children; these were marked with an “NR” rating instead of “PG.” enjoy.
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