TIME movies

Top 10 Thanksgiving Movie Scenes

We've traveled over the river and through the woods to find 10 great Thanksgiving scenes

  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    It’s Thanksgiving morning. Charlie Brown, fresh from another yanked-football humiliation at the hands of Lucy, gets a call from Peppermint Patty, who invites herself and a few friends over for dinner that afternoon. “Chuck” races to make preparations, as Snoopy and Woodstock ready the makeshift banquet table. (This particular clip doesn’t include Peppermint Patty’s angry reaction to the butter-toast and popcorn meal.)

  • Home for the Holidays

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    The Larson siblings — Claudia (Holly Hunter), Tommy (Robert Downey Jr), and Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson) — return for a holiday dinner at their parents’ Baltimore home. There is a cloud of anxiety: the meal, at which are also seated a variety of friends and extended family, is the loud and raucous climax to a long day. (Some of the tension might’ve been a result of a lengthy shoot: the dinner scene reportedly took 10 days — and 64 turkeys — to shoot.)

  • Broadway Danny Rose

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    The story of Danny Rose (Woody Allen) is told by a gathering of grizzled stand-up comedians sharing a nosh at the Carnegie Deli. Danny is a talent agent, quite possibly the worst ever — his acts include a stuttering ventriloquist and a one-legged tap dancer. He becomes involved with a washed-up lounge singer and his gangster-moll girlfriend Tina (Mia Farrow). When success improbably comes their way, they leave Danny for a more established manager. A crushed (and wiser) Danny hosts a Thanksgiving meal for his clients as a remorseful Tina seeks to make amends.

  • The Blind Side

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    When they see 17-year-old Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) shivering on the streets, Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and husband Sean (Tim McGraw) offer him a place to spend the night. And while that one-evening invitation turns into something a bit more long-term, the gentle and soft-spoken giant is never quite sure of his place in this family — until he decides to “join” them for a Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles

    ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    Neil Page (Steve Martin) and Del Griffith (John Candy) have spent the last three days together. They are a mismatched pair of complete strangers — Neil is a high-strung ad exec; Del, a boyish goofball who sells shower curtain rings — whose lives are briefly entwined when a snowstorm diverts their Chicago-bound plane. They fight and laugh and share some liquor cordials. Finally in the Windy City, Neil leaves Del on an el platform and heads home where family and a large turkey dinner await.

  • Funny People

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a stand-up comedian — he’s rich and famous and without a single close friend. When he learns that he has come down with a fatal illness, George hires a shy and nervous young comic named Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) as a joke writer/caregiver/potential companion. Ira is delighted when George accepts his invitation to Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Pieces of April

    ©United Artists/Courtesy Everett Collection

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    April Burns (Katie Holmes) lives in a tiny tenement apartment in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Hoping to re-connect with her estranged family, she invites them to join her for a Thanksgiving dinner. As they make the long trek from Pennsylvania (and reveal their own feelings about her), April discovers that her stove is broken and begins knocking on the doors of her (ethnically diverse) neighbors.

  • Scent of a Woman

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    Looking to earn a bit of extra money over Thanksgiving break, prep-school student Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) agrees to look after Frank Slade (Al Pacino), a blind and cantankerous retired Army officer with suicidal thoughts. After Slade forces Charlie to accompany him on an unplanned trip to New York City, they pay a surprise visit to his brother’s home.

  • The Ice Storm

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    It is Thanksgiving weekend in 1973. A late-autumn storm has disrupted the lives of two families in the tony community of New Canaan, Connecticut and forced them to confront the tensions and resentments swirling behind the walls of their beautiful homes. Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) and wife Elena (Joan Allen) sit down for a meal with their kids Wendy (Christina Ricci) and Paul (Tobey Maguire).

  • Thanksgiving trailer from Grindhouse

    SETTING UP THE SCENE:

    There were several fake trailers that ran during Grindhouse, the double-bill paean to 70s-exploitation cinema that paired Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. (Two of them — Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun have been turned into full-length movies.) Thanksgiving — written and directed by Hostel’s Eli Roth — has a killer who dispatches his poor victims while dressed as a pilgrim. It’s sick, disgusting, and deliriously over the top. We’re not embedding the trailer here (it almost earned Grindhouse an NC-17 rating) — brave souls can find on YouTube.

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