13 Must-Watch Thanksgiving Movies and TV Shows

  • 01 of 13

    A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

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    ••• A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Paramount

    Wherever you're heading this Thanksgiving, make your weekend more fun with a family viewing party of favorite holiday flicks and iconic TV episodes. All of these picks are available on DVD or online streaming for easy entertainment on the go.

    A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
    When Peppermint Patty invites herself and the entire Peanuts gang to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving, chef Snoopy and pilgrim Woodstock carry the day in this Emmy Award winner.

    Watch: Airing next. Also streamed online on Amazon Prime Instant Video

    Buy the DVD from Amazon

    Runtime: 30 minutes

    Tip: For seamless entertainment wherever you are, take along a streaming stick to cast movies and TV shows from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to any TV. Check out:
    Amazon Fire TV Stick
    Roku 3500R Streaming Stick
    Google Chromecast

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  • 02 of 13

    Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

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    ••• Miracle on 34th Street. 20th Century Fox

    While this classic holiday flick is typically associated with Christmas, it opens with the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City and spans the whole holiday season. The movie stars a young Natalie Wood and was a smash hit when it was released in 1947, and the upbeat story and heartwarming message of generosity has continued to draw a legion of new fans for over 65 years.

    This film is essential viewing if you're heading to New York City for the holidays, as it single-handedly made the annual Macy's parade an American institution. Before the film, the parade was a local tradition that was broadcast within a small region. National television coverage started in 1948, the year after the film's release, and has been a Thankgiving tradition ever since.

    Watch: Airing next. Also streamed online on Google Play, Amazon Prime Instant Video and other platforms

    Buy the DVD from Amazon

    Runtime: 96 minutes

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  • 03 of 13

    The Simpsons: Bart vs. Thanksgiving (1990)

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    ••• The Simpsons: Bart vs. Thanksgiving. Fox Broadcasting Company

    This episode of The Simpsons originally aired in November 1990 (season 2, episode 7) and has become a cult classic. On Thanksgiving, Bart gets into a fight with the family and runs away from home. Afterward he shares a turkey dinner with homeless people at a soup kitchen, and learns the true meaning of the gratitude in the process.

    Watch: Streamed on Google Play and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

    Runtime: 24 minutes

    Tip: For seamless entertainment wherever you are, take along a streaming stick to cast movies and TV shows from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to any TV. Check out:
    Amazon Fire TV Stick
    Roku 3500R Streaming Stick
    Google Chromecast

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  • 04 of 13

    Pocahontas (1995)

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    ••• Pocahontas. Walt Disney Pictures

    While this award-winning animated film is not strictly about Thanksgiving, there is a historical connection. Disney's animated film is based on the lore and legend of Pocahontas, the Native American girl that helped Jamestown settlers survive their first winter, and a highly fictionalized version of her encounter with Englishman John Smith. (In fact, there is no evidence the two had a romantic relationship and she married another settler, John Rolfe.)

    We commonly think of the first Thanksgiving as the harvest celebration enjoyed in 1619 by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, yet ten years earlier the Jamestown survivors also held a Thanksgiving celebration when the supply ships from England finally arrived. It is likely that Pocahontas attended that celebration.

    Watch: Airing next. Also streamed online on Netflix, Google Play, and other services

    Buy the DVD from Amazon

    Rating: G

    Runtime: 82 minutes

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  • 05 of 13

    Cheers: Thanksgiving Orphans (1986)

    Thanksgiving Episode on
    ••• Paramount/NBC

    This Thanksgiving episode originally aired during Cheers's fifth season, in 1986. As the holiday approaches, most of the Cheers gang finds themselves with no plans and decide to celebrate together at Carla's house for a Thanksgiving dinner of frozen turkey and overdone peas. The hilarity that ensues leads to one of TV's most memorable food fights.

    Watch: Streamed on Google Play and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

    Runtime: 24 minutes

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  • 06 of 13

    WKRP in Cincinnati: Turkeys Away (1978)

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    ••• WKRP in Cincinnati: Turkeys Away. MTM Enterprises

    In this Thanksgiving episode of WKRP in Cincinnati (season 1, episode 7), Mr. Carlson decides to create a big Thanksgiving Day promotion. His idea? Get a helicopter and drop live turkeys on the citizens below.

    Watch: Streamed on Amazon Prime Instant Video.

    Runtime: 25 minutes

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  • 07 of 13

    Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

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    ••• Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Paramount

    A classic Thanksgiving comedy, this mismatched buddy movie stars Steve Martin as an easily aggravated everyman forced to travel with an oversharing salesman (John Candy) in order to make it home for the holiday. Wonderfully cast and hilarious.

    Watch: Airing next. Also streamed online on Netflix, Google Play, VUDU, Amazon Prime Instant Video and other services

    Buy the DVD on Amazon

    Rating: R (See parent reviews on Common Sense Media.)

    Runtime: 93 minutes

    Tip: For seamless entertainment wherever you are, take along a streaming stick to cast movies and TV shows from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to any TV. Check out:
    Amazon Fire TV Stick
    Roku 3500R Streaming Stick
    Google Chromecast

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  • 08 of 13

    Bewitched: Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember (1967)

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    ••• Bewitched: Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember. American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

    In this Thanksgiving episode of Bewitched (season 4, episode 12), Aunt Clara zaps the Stephens family to Plymouth at the time of the pilgrims. When Darrin lights a modern match to create fire, he is put on trial as a witch. Ironically, Samantha uses real witchcraft to prove his innocence.

    Watch: Streamed on Amazon Prime Instant Video.

    Runtime: 26 minutes

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  • 09 of 13

    Modern Family: Punkin Chunkin (2011)

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    ••• Modern Family: Punkin Chunkin. American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

    This Thanksgiving episode of Modern Family originally aired in 2011 (season 3, episode 9) and has become a holiday favorite. Pre-holiday squabbling comes to a head at Thanksgiving with the family divided between the "Dreamers" and the "Pritchetts" -- and deciding to settle the score with the punkin chunkin challenge.

    Watch: Streamed on Google Play and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

    Runtime: 22 minutes

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  • 10 of 13

    Dutch (1991)

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    ••• Dutch. Starz/Anchor Bay

    Years before Modern Family, Ed O’Neill starred as Dutch Dooley, a working-class good guy with a new uptown girlfriend he wants to impress. When the woman’s spoiled son (Ethan Randall) refuses to come home from prep school for Thanksgiving, Dutch volunteers to pick up the boy for a road trip back to Chicago that goes downhill fast.

    Watch: Airing next. Also streamed online on Netflix and other services

    Buy the DVD on Amazon

    Rating: PG-13 (Read the review on Common Sense Media)

    Runtime: 107 minutes

    Tip: For seamless entertainment wherever you are, take along a streaming stick to cast movies and TV shows from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to any TV. Check out:
    Amazon Fire TV Stick
    Roku 3500R Streaming Stick
    Google Chromecast

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  • 11 of 13

    Friends: The One With the Rumor (2001)

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    ••• Friends: The One With the Rumor. Warner Bros./NBC

    In this Thanksgiving episode of Friends (season 8, episode 9), Monica invites her high school friend Will (special guest star Brad Pitt) to Thanksgiving dinner with the gang, unaware that he dislikes Rachel. Meanwhile, Joey vows to eat the entire turkey single-handedly while Chandler and Phoebe pretend to watch football on TV in order to avoid helping in the kitchen. 

    Watch: Streamed on Amazon Prime Instant Video and Google Play.

    Runtime: 22 minutes

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  • 12 of 13

    Home for the Holidays (1995)

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    ••• Home for the Holidays. 20th Century Fox

    Holly Hunter leads a fabulous ensemble cast in this acclaimed holiday comedy-drama about a woman who's experiencing a string of bad luck as she heads home for a dysfunctional family holiday gathering. Co-starring Robert Downey, Jr. and directed by Jodie Foster. 

    Watch: Airing next. Streamed on Google Play.

    Buy the DVD on Amazon

    Rating: PG-13 (See the review on Common Sense Media)

    Runtime: 103 minutes

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  • 13 of 13

    How I Met Your Mother: Slapsgiving (2007)

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    ••• How I Met Your Mother: Slapsgiving. CBS Broadcasting

    In this Thanksgiving episode of How I Met Your Mother (season 3, episode 9), Lily and Marshall host their first Thanksgiving as newlyweds, while Barney is tortured by a slap bet.

    Watch: Streamed on NetflixAmazon Prime Instant Video and Google Play.

    Runtime: 22 minutes

    Tip: For seamless entertainment wherever you are, take along a streaming stick to cast movies and TV shows from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to any TV. Check out:
    Amazon Fire TV Stick
    Roku 3500R Streaming Stick
    Google Chromecast