Thanksgiving Movies and TV Shows to Watch

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, many people turn to this day to start watching Christmas movies early. This is usually due to the fact that they will bring the holiday spirit into their home and hope to calm the frayed nerves of all the family members. Instead of talking about Christmas movies, we are presenting a small list of Thanksgiving movies and tv shows that actually celebrate the holiday we are currently “enjoying”.

Thanksgiving movies and TV

While there aren’t many Thanksgiving movies, one always comes to mind: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. This John Hughes classic stars two comedic icons. Ironically enough, Steve Martin plays the straight man to John Candy’s obnoxious and oblivious travel companion. Martin’s straight man character is perfect because when he has the moments of freaking out, they are large and over-the-top that you can immediately relate.

Not to mention, the soft moments which crystallize just how amazingly great John Candy and Steve Martin are. While the high-jinks makes for great cinema, it’s those personal moments that really capture the true message of the holidays. Candy tearing down Martin’s elitist personal in the hotel. Martin’s realization about the true real-life of Candy’s character at the end. A great movie that will allow you to laugh with them. And cry with them. It’s available to rent online at Amazon starting at $3.99.

Thanksgiving movies and TV

Obviously, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a perfect short to get people into the soft and touching mood of the Peanuts gang. Not only is this the follow-up to A Charlie Brown Christmas, it makes the first appearance of Peppermint Patty and Marci. After being roped into hosting a Thanksgiving dinner with his friends, Charlie Brown, with the help of Snoopy and Woodstock (also, his first appearance), put together a feast for normal twelve year-old kids would’ve loved. The short is a fun and sweet experience about how Thanksgiving becomes about the food and not the people around you.  “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” can be rented or purchased on Vudu or Amazon Prime Video, starting at $3.99.

Thanksgiving movies and TV

The West Wing has some great seasonal episodes. We will discuss a great Christmas episode next month, but this Thanksgiving one “Shibboleth” is particularly heart-warming and quite funny. While it is categorized by some to be a high-minded liberal exercise, the show itself shows how government is supposed to work and an amazing civics lesson for people that wonder just what these people do.

In this episode, a small group of Chinese immigrants arrive at the port of San Diego in container ships. President Bartlett and his administration are stuck in a quandary when the Chinese government wants them returned, but the Chinese are claiming religious asylum since they claim to be evangelical Christians being persecuted in China.

There is a B-storyline that follows C.J. Cregg and having to do the pardoning of the turkeys for the first time since she was out sick her first year. And a C-storyline that involves Toby wanting to bring up the debate about school prayer much to Leo’s chagrin. The story has some great ideas that would spark some debate (using both sides of the spectrum), but it has a lot of fun and poignant moments for both sides. You can stream this episode and all seven season worth of episodes on Netflix.

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS
©2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The last of the Thanksgiving movies and TV shows is from How I Met Your Mother. “Slapsgiving” is a great episode, which features the recently broken up Ted and Robin having to face their first Thanksgiving with Robin’s new boyfriend. Since he was slightly older than her, Ted imagines the boyfriend as a man in his sixties, which in and of itself is hilarious. Not only that, but Barney lives in fear for the whole day wondering when Marshall will slap him for losing a new bet. It’s great fun and will appeal to all ages. The entire series, as well as this episode, is available on Hulu.

This list is a small one, but has some great content for people across the spectrum. It is always important to watch one – actual – Thanksgiving episode before you dive into all those new Netflix or Lifetime rom-coms that will be flooding the small screen this weekend. With all that being said…

We want to wish all of you a warm and Happy Thanksgiving. Whether you celebrate it or not, enjoy these few Thanksgiving movies and TV shows. With the weather being as it is, there is nothing better than sitting on the couch, under a blanket, enjoying Thanksgiving before we jump into the Christmas holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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