The 60 Best Thanksgiving Movies: Your Holiday Movie Feast

Sharpen those carving knives, you got family coming over! Also, it’s Thanksgiving. This is a holiday all about looking back and all around you and being grateful, a feeling we think you’ll have once you finish our guide to the best Thanksgiving movies of all time.

The sentimentalism game is usually reserved for Christmas movies – Thanksgiving movies are about the family dynamic, both good and bad. Films like Pieces of April and Planes, Trains and Automobiles focus on the positive, as stressful as traveling or preparing meals may be. Meanwhile, The Ice Storm and Krisha take bitter delight in the way the holiday forces people who may not be all too fond of each other together. And other movies you’ll find here, like Funny People or Addams Family Values, may not be the first thing you think of when approaching this time of year, but have memorable or significant scenes set around the Thanksgiving table. Some films get a little greedy: Miracle on 34th St. and The Santa Clause are primarily known as Christmas movies, while Holiday Inn literally covers all the holidays. But what’s Thanksgiving without overextending your appetite?

And recently, we’ve blown open the invitation list! Let’s welcome in new blockbusters (Spider-Man and Rocky have great Thanksgiving scenes), romances (Sweet November, The Object of My Affection), ’90s family comedies (Son-in-Law, Beethoven), cult classics (Dutch, The Wiz), silent comedy masterpieces (The Gold Rush), and Fantastic Mr. Fox, animated with thankful, auburn family joy. From there, we ranked all the films by Tomatometer, with Certified Fresh films first.

Now we’re ready to serve up this cornucopia of cinema, so enjoy the best Thanksgiving movies ever! Alex Vo


The Gold Rush (1925)

Adjusted Score: 107958%
Critics Consensus: A delightful blend of slapstick humor, poignant emotion, and social commentary, The Gold Rush encapsulates Chaplin's strengths as a writer, director, and star.
Synopsis: In this classic silent comedy, the Little Tramp (Charles Chaplin) heads north to join in the Klondike gold rush. Trapped... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

Adjusted Score: 102499%
Critics Consensus: Irrefutable proof that gentle sentimentalism can be the chief ingredient in a wonderful film, Miracle on 34th Street delivers a warm holiday message without resorting to treacle.
Synopsis: In this Christmas classic, an old man going by the name of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) fills in for an... [More]
Directed By: George Seaton


Krisha (2015)

Adjusted Score: 98804%
Critics Consensus: Raw, bracingly honest, and refreshingly unconventional, Krisha wrings fresh -- and occasionally uncomfortable -- truths from a seemingly familiar premise.
Synopsis: Tensions rise at a Thanksgiving gathering when a troubled woman (Krisha Fairchild) reunites with the extended family that she abandoned... [More]
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults


Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Adjusted Score: 102674%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson


The Humans (2021)

Adjusted Score: 97404%
Critics Consensus: The Humans takes its Tony-winning source material from stage to screen without sacrificing the essence of writer-director Stephen Karam's dysfunctional drama.
Synopsis: Erik Blake has gathered three generations of his Pennsylvania family to celebrate Thanksgiving at his daughter's apartment in lower Manhattan.... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Karam

Adjusted Score: 95960%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the impeccable chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy, as well as a deft mix of humor and heart, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a hilarious, heartfelt holiday classic.
Synopsis: Easily excitable Neal Page (Steve Martin) is somewhat of a control freak. Trying to get home to Chicago to spend... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes


Rocky (1976)

Adjusted Score: 96340%
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

Adjusted Score: 94881%
Critics Consensus: Smart, tender, and funny in equal measure, Hannah and Her Sisters is one of Woody Allen's finest films.
Synopsis: Three successive family Thanksgiving dinners mark time for Hannah (Mia Farrow), her younger sisters Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen


Spider-Man (2002)

Adjusted Score: 97873%
Critics Consensus: Not only does Spider-Man provide a good dose of web-swinging fun, it also has a heart, thanks to the combined charms of director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire.
Synopsis: "Spider-Man" centers on student Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) who, after being bitten by a genetically-altered spider, gains superhuman strength and... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi


Scent of a Woman (1992)

Adjusted Score: 91296%
Critics Consensus: It might soar on Al Pacino's performance more than the drama itself, but what a performance it is -- big, bold, occasionally over-the-top, and finally giving the Academy pause to award the star his first Oscar.
Synopsis: Frank is a retired Lt. Col. in the US army. He's blind and impossible to get along with. Charlie is... [More]
Directed By: Martin Brest


One True Thing (1998)

Adjusted Score: 90291%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances lift this drama to a higher level.
Synopsis: Kate (Meryl Streep), the undervalued matriarch of the Gulden family, is diagnosed with cancer. Daughter and journalist Ellen (Renée Zellweger)... [More]
Directed By: Carl Franklin


The Ice Storm (1997)

Adjusted Score: 89245%
Critics Consensus: Director Ang Lee revisits the ennui-laden decadence of 1970s suburban America with deft humor and gripping pathos.
Synopsis: In the 1970s, an outwardly wholesome family begins cracking at the seams over the course of a tumultuous Thanksgiving break.... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee


Pieces of April (2003)

Adjusted Score: 88988%
Critics Consensus: Pieces of April transcends its small-scale setting and budget with endearing performances, playful humor, and genuine sweetness, resulting in a touching holiday treat.
Synopsis: Quirky and rebellious April Burns (Katie Holmes) lives with her boyfriend in a low-rent New York City apartment miles away... [More]
Directed By: Peter Hedges


Soul Food (1997)

Adjusted Score: 83668%
Critics Consensus: Much like the titular cuisine, Soul Food blends a series of savory ingredients to offer warm, generous helpings of nourishment and comfort.
Synopsis: When Ahmad Simmons' (Brandon Hammond) diabetic grandmother, Josephine "Big Mama" Joseph (Irma P. Hall), falls into a coma during an... [More]
Directed By: George Tillman Jr.


Mistress America (2015)

Adjusted Score: 88110%
Critics Consensus: Mistress America brings out the best in collaborators Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, distilling its star's charm and director's dark wit into a ferociously funny co-written story.
Synopsis: A college freshman (Lola Kirke) cures her disappointment and loneliness by allowing herself to be pulled into the wacky schemes... [More]
Directed By: Noah Baumbach


Instant Family (2018)

Adjusted Score: 88018%
Critics Consensus: Instant Family may not quite capture the complexity of real-life adoption, but fittingly for the unconditional bond it honors, this flawed yet well-intentioned dramedy is ultimately worth the investment.
Synopsis: When Pete and Ellie decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope... [More]
Directed By: Sean Anders


Tadpole (2002)

Adjusted Score: 79880%
Critics Consensus: Presenting a sexual awakening with surprising candor, Tadpole is a spiky coming of age tale that benefits from a deeply felt performance by Aaron Stanford and a script that is unafraid to wade into morally choppy waters.
Synopsis: Beautiful, sophisticated women are all over Oscar Grubman (Aaron Stanford). He is sensitive and compassionate, speaks French fluently, is passionate... [More]
Directed By: Gary Winick


Addams Family Values (1993)

Adjusted Score: 81017%
Critics Consensus: New, well-developed characters add dimension to this batty satire, creating a comedy much more substantial than the original.
Synopsis: The members of the odd Addams Family are up to more macabre antics in this sequel. This time around, Gomez... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld


The Santa Clause (1994)

Adjusted Score: 75724%
Critics Consensus: The Santa Clause is utterly undemanding, but it's firmly rooted in the sort of good old-fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films.
Synopsis: Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a... [More]
Directed By: John Pasquin


Holiday Inn (1942)

Adjusted Score: 100060%
Critics Consensus: With the combined might of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Irving Berlin working in its favor, Holiday Inn is a seasonal classic -- not least because it introduced "White Christmas" to the world.
Synopsis: In this Irving Berlin musical, Jim (Bing Crosby) and Lila are members of a performing trio who plan to quit... [More]
Directed By: Mark Sandrich

Adjusted Score: 23171%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Bill Melendez, Phil Roman


Lez Bomb (2018)

Adjusted Score: 40647%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A closeted woman brings her girlfriend home for Thanksgiving, only to have her coming-out efforts thwarted by the unexpected arrival... [More]
Directed By: Jenna Laurenzo


Avalon (1990)

Adjusted Score: 86867%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This drama, largely based on the family history of director Barry Levinson, follows the immigrant Krichinsky clan as they settle... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson


Starting Over (1979)

Adjusted Score: 25027%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When his wife, Jessica (Candice Bergen), leaves him for a chance at a music career, Phil Potter (Burt Reynolds) is... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula


Hollidaysburg (2014)

Adjusted Score: 36483%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Four friends from high school return home for their first Thanksgiving break from college and discover just how much has... [More]
Directed By: Anna Martemucci


Rocky II (1979)

Adjusted Score: 73555%
Critics Consensus: Rocky II is a movie that dares you to root again for the ultimate underdog -- and succeeds due to an infectiously powerful climax.
Synopsis: Although working-class Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) lost his high-profile bout with the cocky world champion Apollo Creed (Carl... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone


The Big Chill (1983)

Adjusted Score: 73548%
Critics Consensus: The Big Chill captures a generation's growing ennui with a terrific cast, a handful of perceptive insights, and one of the decade's best film soundtracks.
Synopsis: This compassionate "comedy of values" probes the growing pains of seven college housemates from the 1960s who have drifted apart... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan


My Blue Heaven (1990)

Adjusted Score: 71400%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Vinnie Antonelli (Steve Martin) trades the mob for the witness protection program and moves to a small suburb in California.... [More]
Directed By: Herbert Ross


The Vicious Kind (2009)

Adjusted Score: 28821%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man tries to break up his brother and his new girlfriend and becomes infatuated with her.... [More]
Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger


Funny People (2009)

Adjusted Score: 78240%
Critics Consensus: Funny People features the requisite humor, as well as considerable emotional depth, resulting in Judd Apatow's most mature film to date.
Synopsis: Recently learning that he has a fatal disease, comic George Simmons (Adam Sandler) spots a struggling performer named Ira (Seth... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow


You've Got Mail (1998)

Adjusted Score: 72827%
Critics Consensus: Great chemistry between the leads made this a warm and charming delight.
Synopsis: Struggling boutique bookseller Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) hates Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), the owner of a corporate Foxbooks chain store... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron


Tower Heist (2011)

Adjusted Score: 74123%
Critics Consensus: Tower Heist is a true Brett Ratner joint: little brains to this caper, but it's fun fluff, exciting to watch, and showcases a welcome return to form for Eddie Murphy.
Synopsis: For more than 10 years, Josh Kovaks (Ben Stiller) has managed one of New York City's most luxurious and well-secured... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner


The Blind Side (2009)

Adjusted Score: 73895%
Critics Consensus: It might strike some viewers as a little too pat, but The Blind Side has the benefit of strong source material and a strong performance from Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless black teen, has drifted in and out of the school system for years. Then... [More]
Directed By: John Lee Hancock


Black Friday (2021)

Adjusted Score: 59432%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On Thanksgiving night, a group of disgruntled toy store employees begrudgingly arrive for work to open the store at midnight... [More]
Directed By: Casey Tebo


Home for the Holidays (1995)

Adjusted Score: 65079%
Critics Consensus: Much like a real-life visit Home for the Holidays, this Thanksgiving-set dramedy can get a little bumpy -- but it also has its share of fondly memorable moments.
Synopsis: When her teenage daughter opts out of Thanksgiving, single mother Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) travels alone to her childhood home... [More]
Directed By: Jodie Foster


Grumpy Old Men (1993)

Adjusted Score: 66122%
Critics Consensus: Grumpy Old Men's stars are better than the material they're given -- but their comedic chemistry is so strong that whenever they share the screen, it hardly matters.
Synopsis: John Gustafson (Jack Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Walter Matthau) are two curmudgeonly neighbors who have been at each other's throats... [More]
Directed By: Donald Petrie


Alice's Restaurant (1969)

Adjusted Score: 64198%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Arlo Guthrie plays himself in this film based on his song of the same name. After getting kicked out of... [More]
Directed By: Arthur Penn


The Morning After (1986)

Adjusted Score: 63656%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Failed actress Alex Sternbergen (Jane Fonda) wakes up hungover one morning in an apartment she does not recognize, unable to... [More]
Directed By: Sidney Lumet


The Oath (2018)

Adjusted Score: 65668%
Critics Consensus: The Oath draws on hyper-partisan modern politics for a pointedly funny satire that hits its targets hard and often enough to more than achieve its desired discomfort.
Synopsis: When Chris, a high-strung news junkie, and his more levelheaded wife learn that citizens are being asked to sign a... [More]
Directed By: Ike Barinholtz


The House of Yes (1997)

Adjusted Score: 63365%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man (Josh Hamilton) and his fiancee (Tori Spelling) visit his warped clan, complete with dark mansion and incestuous twin... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

Adjusted Score: 60323%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Grown siblings spend an uneasy Thanksgiving weekend at their parents' home in Maine.... [More]
Directed By: Bart Freundlich


The War at Home (1996)

Adjusted Score: 54409%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After serving in Vietnam, during which he committed acts that still haunt him deeply, Jeremy Collier (Emilio Estevez) lives at... [More]
Directed By: Emilio Estevez

Adjusted Score: 26210%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: It's the 17th century, and Native American Squanto (Adam Beach) roams free in the New World until he's captured by... [More]
Directed By: Xavier Koller

Adjusted Score: 11531%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Emmerson family heads to the quaint town of Turkey Hollow to visit Aunt Cly. Tim and Annie quickly grow... [More]
Directed By: Kirk R. Thatcher


Stuck in Love (2012)

Adjusted Score: 58808%
Critics Consensus: It struggles to enliven its uneven script, but Stuck in Love boasts enough winning performances from its solid veteran cast to offer an appealing diversion for rom-com enthusiasts.
Synopsis: A successful writer (Greg Kinnear) tries to reconnect with his two children (Lily Collins, Nat Wolff) after his divorce.... [More]
Directed By: Josh Boone

Adjusted Score: 55292%
Critics Consensus: Despite heartfelt performances from Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, The Object of My Affection suffers from too many plot contrivances and frequent turns into rom-com sappiness.
Synopsis: New York City social worker Nina Borowski (Jennifer Aniston) invites her gay friend, George (Paul Rudd), to move into her... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Hytner


What's Cooking? (2000)

Adjusted Score: 53553%
Critics Consensus: What's Cooking? is well-acted, but the scenes sometimes sink into melodrama as characters scream at each other, and the movie as a whole is too lightweight and forgettable.
Synopsis: You are invited to a tasty Thanksgiving dinner that will all at once transport you to four different worlds and... [More]
Directed By: Gurinder Chadha


Four Brothers (2005)

Adjusted Score: 56810%
Critics Consensus: Despite striking a believable rapport among its principal actors, Four Brothers overwhelms with ultra-violent, vigilante-glorifying action and devolves into too many fractured, insubstantial thematic directions.
Synopsis: When an inner-city Detroit foster mother (Fionnula Flanagan) is murdered in a botched holdup, four of her now-grown adopted children... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton


The Wiz (1978)

Adjusted Score: 43219%
Critics Consensus: This workmanlike movie musical lacks the electricity of the stage version (and its cinematic inspiration), but it's bolstered by strong performances by Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
Synopsis: When Harlem schoolteacher Dorothy (Diana Ross) tries to save her dog from a storm, she's miraculously whisked away to an... [More]
Directed By: Sidney Lumet


Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)

Adjusted Score: 38076%
Critics Consensus: Paul Blart: Mall Cop has some laughs, but its plot is flimsy and lacking in any sustained comic momentum.
Synopsis: A single suburban father (Kevin James) works at a mall as a security guard to make ends meet, and he... [More]
Directed By: Steve Carr


Beethoven (1992)

Adjusted Score: 30005%
Critics Consensus: Fluffy and incorrigible, Beethoven is a good boy who deserves a better movie.
Synopsis: When the family of George Newton (Charles Grodin) decides to adopt a cute St. Bernard puppy, the patriarch soon feels... [More]
Directed By: Brian Levant


The Prince & Me (2004)

Adjusted Score: 32245%
Critics Consensus: A bland, fluffy, and predictable bit of wish fulfillment.
Synopsis: Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) is a focused premed student who becomes intrigued by Eddie (Luke Mably), a wealthy Danish student.... [More]
Directed By: Martha Coolidge


Son-in-Law (1993)

Adjusted Score: 21348%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Country girl Rebecca (Carla Gugino) has spent most of her life on a farm in South Dakota, and, when she... [More]
Directed By: Steve Rash


Free Birds (2013)

Adjusted Score: 22656%
Critics Consensus: Technically proficient yet creatively moribund, Free Birds begs unfortunate comparisons with the dim-witted fowl that inspired it.
Synopsis: Pardoned by the president, a lucky turkey (Owen Wilson) named Reggie gets to live a carefree lifestyle, until fellow fowl... [More]
Directed By: Jimmy Hayward


Friendsgiving (2020)

Adjusted Score: 19719%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Molly and Abbey, along with their crew of close friends, host a dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner.... [More]
Directed By: Nicol Paone


Dutch (1991)

Adjusted Score: 15801%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Working man Dutch (Ed O'Neill) is dating the divorced Natalie (JoBeth Williams), and he offers to drive her stuffy 13-year-old,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Faiman


Sweet November (2001)

Adjusted Score: 18115%
Critics Consensus: Schmaltzy and manipulative, Sweet November suffers from an implausible plot and non-existent chemistry between its leads.
Synopsis: Nelson Moss (Keanu Reeves) and Sara Deever (Charlize Theron) have nothing in common except an hour spent in DMV hell.... [More]
Directed By: Pat O'Connor


Not Cool (2014)

Adjusted Score: 4008%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Teenagers in Pittsburgh spend their Thanksgiving break experiencing love, friendship, partying and sex.... [More]
Directed By: Shane Dawson


Hanging Up (2000)

Adjusted Score: 14288%
Critics Consensus: Though the screenplay and the novel it's based on were both written by the same person, critics say Hanging Up is an unsuccessful adaptation. The acting is praised as solid, but is ultimately unable to save the film.
Synopsis: Three sisters (Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow) do what they do best with life, love, and lunacy on the... [More]
Directed By: Diane Keaton


Jack and Jill (2011)

Adjusted Score: 6728%
Critics Consensus: Although it features an inexplicably committed performance from Al Pacino, Jack and Jill is impossible to recommend on any level whatsoever.
Synopsis: Thanksgiving is usually a happy time, but ad executive Jack (Adam Sandler) dreads the holiday because his twin sister, Jill... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan