Photograph: Courtesy American Broadcasting Company/CBS

Best Thanksgiving movies for kids and families

Put on one of these Thanksgiving movies for kids and grab yourself a third slice of pie—don't worry, nobody's counting

By Oliver Strand, Hannah Doolin, Allie Early and Danielle Valente

Find a comfy place on the sofa and round out the day with one of these Thanksgiving movies for kids and families. We put together a list of the best Thanksgiving movies ever made, from classics such as A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to the kooky Free Bird

RECOMMENDED: Thanksgiving for kids in New York City

Our roundup of flicks is as irresistible as that turkey nap you know you want to take. And if you need ideas for what to read at storytime at the end of the day, here's our list of the best Thanksgiving books for kids.

When you're ready to get back outside, check out our November events calendar for kids. While everybody else is jamming into stores for Black Friday sales, why not take out the kids for the best hot chocolate in NYC? It's far more civilized.

Thanksgiving movies for kids

Photograph: Moviestore/Re/REX Shutterstock

1. Addams Family Values (1993)

Wednesday and Pugsley are in for a bit of a shock when they realize their baby brother is here to stay. Little Pubert is a thorn in their side, and they try endlessly to rid the Addams clan of its newborn. Wednesday and Pugsley are shipped off to summer camp, where–key scene–Wednesday quite literally sets the Thanksgiving play ablaze as the rest of the family watches. It's morbid, and hilarious. Family values, indeed. Rated PG-13. 

Photogrpah: Courtesy American Broadcasting Company/CBS

2. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1965)

Something we all can agree on: Charlie Brown specials do not get old. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving takes its place in the trio of great Peanuts holiday movies along with It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas. This Emmy-winning story has all the Thanksgiving essentials: football (kick the ball, Charlie Brown), a holiday feast and, of course, the oddly adult-free but adult-like conversation among the Peanuts. Rated G.


3. Free Birds (2013)

Reggie (Owen Wilson) is the smartest gobbler in his flock—and a smart you-know-what. He knows his pals are just being fattened up for Thanksgiving, but they don't particularly care because, well, you know what they say about turkeys. As luck would have it, Reggie meets up with Jake (Woody Harrelson), who has a magic doorknob that leads them to a time machine that takes them back to the very first Thanksgiving. Rated PG.

Photograph: Courtesy Sergei Bachlakov

4. Jim Henson's Turkey Hollow (2015)

An appropriately named flick for the holiday season, Turkey Hollow is an oddball movie that features Jim Henson's puppetry magic—perfect for those in search of an adventure after dinner. The Emmersons make their way to visit Aunt Cly in her small town, and naturally, young Tim and Annie find it to be a snooze fest. All of that changes, however, when they duo go in search of an urban legend—the howling hoodoo. Is this creature really just the work of fiction? Rated PG. 

Courtesy 20th Century Fox

5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Sure, this is as classic a Christmas film as they come, but its jumping-off point is none other than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in NYC! When Santa Claus gets tipsy before his annual ride on the parade float, he gets the boot—but is his bearded replacement, Kris Kringle, the real deal? The new Santa's commitment to the job has all the kids in awe and sets off a media firestorm that ends up in a court of law. What a perfect way to close out Turkey Day—and get the kids excited for Santa's visit! Rated G. 

6. We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story (1993)

Movies Action and adventure

A group of four supersmart dinosaurs–a tyrannosaurus rex, a triceratops, a hadrosaur and a pterodactyl–are brought forward in time to New York City and set out for the Museum of Natural History. A bot named Louise agrees to help them get there. The problem? They're dinosaurs, and it's hard to hide in Manhattan. That is, unless it's Thanksgiving and there's a parade of gigantic creatures making its way down the streets. Rated G

Courtesy Paramount Pictures

7. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

4 out of 5 stars
Movies Comedy

Let's put this right up front: This film justifiably earned an R rating because of one particular scene in which one particular F-bombish word is repeated many, many times. If you can work your way around that you are left with one of the most hilarious and delightful Thanksgiving films of all time. Remember the story? Suave advertising exec Neal Page (Steve Martin) finds himself stuck with travelling shower-curtain-ring salesman Del Griffith (John Candy), the human equivalent of a Double Whopper. The pair sets off overland on an odyssey of disasters that will make you grateful you're home for the holidays. Rated R.

8. Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving (1999)

This direct-to-video flick is worth unearthing when the season of pumpkin pie is near. Go on an adventure in the Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and the rest of the gang as they sleuth for Thanksgiving dinner ingredients to see if they can find everything they need to make the day perfect. Some versions also offer additional episodes, so do your research! Not Rated


9. Alvin and the Chipmunks - Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration (2008)

Think you can handle Alvin, Simon and Theodore's super high-pitched voices for a little over an hour? If you're up to the challenge—and let's face, it, you'll do anything for those kiddos of yours—you might stream this gem. Believe it or not, Dave is getting married in Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration, and it's not working out as planned. With the Chipmunks, when does it ever? Not rated

Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures/Alcon Film Fund LLC.

10. The Blind Side (2009)

When a boy from a poor neighborhood is taken in by a wealthy Tennessee woman, life changes for both of them. Thanks to Leigh Anne Touhy (Sandra Bullock) and her family, Michael “Big Mike” Oher (Quinton Aaron) is given an opportunity to put his athleticism and protective instincts to use on the football field, eventually becoming a first-round NFL draft pick. A Thanksgiving Day scene when Big Mike causes the family to pause and appreciate their meal and one another is particularly touching—one that might even convince your family to flick off the game for a while next year. Rated PG-13.

Photograph: Courtesy Paws Inc.

11. Garfield's Thanksgiving (2017)

Thanksgiving is all about indulging, and it's certainly the most inappropriate time to start thinking about healthy eating...especially when you're as enamored with food as Garfield. Our favorite hungry cat is looking forward to the most magnificent eating day of the year, but his plans come to a screeching halt when his owner decides it's the perfect day to begin a new diet. Talk about bad timing! Not Rated.

Photograph: Courtesy Courtesy Columbia Pictures Industries Inc./Beverly Blvd LLC

12. Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)

You and your loved ones might be chowing down on drumsticks and loading up on Thanksgiving carbs, but there are some professions that cannot skip work, even on a holiday. A mall cop just so happens to be one of those fields, as Paul Blart proves. He takes his role quite seriously, even if everyone else doesn't seem to think his work is a top priority. After you've settled in with dessert, get ready to LOL as Blart (Kevin James) takes on the mall's threat—aka Santa's helpers. How's that for holiday mayhem? Rated PG.  


13. Dora the Explorer: Dora's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2012)

Who can say no to an adventure with Dora and the gang? Make the holiday extra memorable this season by tuning in as Dora swoops in to help—with some guidance from your little sidekicks. Our leading lady is ready to enjoy the Thanksgiving parade, but when the Pirate Piggies accidentally float away, it's go time. Will she be able to save Turkey Day from a disaster? Not rated. 

Photograph: Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

14. Home for the Holidays (1995)

This comedy/drama hybrid stars Holly Hunter as Claudia, a down-on-her-luck single mother who returns to her parents’ Baltimore home for a bit of comfort over the holidays. However, her dysfunctional family provides anything but. Her sister Joanne’s attitude and dramatic brother Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.) stir up trouble, and on top of it all, her daughter Kitt (Claire Danes) decides to spend the holiday with her boyfriend. This film is an after-dinner flick for families with kids on the older side, but is sure to draw some laughs. Rated PG-13. 


15. National Lampoon's Thanksgiving Reunion (2003)

What holiday isn't filled with a little craziness? As with any National Lampoon movie, expect a whole helping of mayhem and a more than a few tasteless jokes. In this installment of the series, we find an anesthesiologist uprooting his family to Idaho to visit his hippie cousin for the holidays. What can go wrong? Rated PG-13. 


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