Thanksgiving

10 Great Movies On Netflix To Watch This Thanksgiving

From turkeys to togetherness, what more do you need?

Nothing goes better with a delicious turkey feast and a mountain of mashed potatoes than a festive movie marathon with your loved ones. Movies that celebrate the best parts of the holiday — from the food, to family, to history, to expressing gratitude, and more. And if you’ve got Netflix, here are the best Thanksgiving-themed movies to stream right now.

To kick off the holiday season this year, Netflix fortunately has a good collection of flicks to get you in the mood for Thanksgiving. For example, if you’re looking for an animated film all about the November holiday and the president’s annual turkey pardon, Free Birds, starring the hilarious Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson, will take you into the world of birds looking for an escape. Or if you’re looking for a cozy and romantic film to turn on once the kids go to bed, why not watch The Holiday?

So whether you’re traveling for the holidays, spending time with family, making a huge meal, or just appreciative of the little things in life, the following movies streaming on Netflix highlight what makes Thanksgiving one of the best holidays around.

Waffles + Mochi’s Holiday Feast

Netflix

If the curious kids in your life love helping out in the kitchen, or at least, eating the apple pie scraps, then they will love this Waffles + Mochi special, which traces the origins of their holiday feast.

When Waffles makes up his own holiday, Freezie Day, which is all about food, Steve the Mop invites himself and all of their friends from the grocery store over to celebrate. But unfortunately, Waffles and Mochi have nothing to feed their guests at the party. Mochi goes on an adventure to gather food while Waffles entertains the guests at home. But together they learn about new holiday traditions and learn that holidays are much more than about the food on the table — it’s about spending time with the people you cherish.

Watch Waffles + Mochi’s Holiday Feast, rated TV-Y, on Netflix on Nov. 23.

Free Birds

If you enjoy tuning in to watch the presidential turkey pardoning every year, which has been a tradition dating back to President Harry S. Truman in 1947, then you will love watching Free Birds, a hilarious, animated take on the yearly tradition.

Free Birds focuses on Reggie, a turkey afraid of Thanksgiving because turkeys are on the menu. But when Reggie is named the “pardoned turkey” by the president, he is taken to Camp David, where he enjoys watching soap operas and eating pizza. But Reggie is soon kidnapped by Jake, a turkey working for the Turkey Freedom Front, who wants to travel back in time with him to take turkey off of the Thanksgiving menu for good.

Watch Free Birds, rated PG.

The BFG: Big Friendly Giant

Being grateful for your friends is one of the big takeaways of Thanksgiving, and the BFG only highlights the importance of kindness and companionship. A giant is supposed to eat little kids — but this giant is too friendly. So, when he meets an orphan, he decides to protect her from some very terrible giants who want to cause chaos. Together, they travel to London, where they must convince the Queen to help them get rid of the bad giants. It’s a cute film that teaches you the importance of teamwork and being kind.

Watch The BFG: Big Friendly Giant, rated PG.

The Nut Job

If Thanksgiving and fall has you spending more time outdoors with nature, then you’ll feel called to watch The Nut Job, an animated movie all about squirrels. That’s right, squirrels. After accidentally destroying the food supply of his fellow residents, Surly, a squirrel, is banished to Oakton. But when Surly finds the town’s nut shop, he comes up with a plan to take all of the nuts for his fellow squirrels. As it turns out, however, the nut shop is a front for mobsters, who are carrying out plans of their own. It’s a nature film meets mob film that your kids will find absolutely nutty...or hilarious.

Watch The Nut Job, rated PG.

Gather

If you’re looking for a documentary to watch this Thanksgiving with those who love history, consider Gather, a newer documentary film from 2020. Per the documentary’s website: “Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political, and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.”

This documentary tells the stories of a few different individuals across the nation that you might not be aware of and is a great way to connect to the Native American people living in the United States right now.

Watch Gather, not rated, on Netflix.

The Holiday

If Thanksgiving marks the start of holiday shopping and getting ready for traveling, then you probably understand all of the stress associated with the holidays and the desire to get away and escape. Nancy Meyers’ classic film, The Holiday, is for you if you’re just looking to get away.

One woman living in London and the other in Los Angeles, sick of their lives and the men in them, agree to switch homes for the holidays. During their adventures across the pond, the two women meet two different people who change their lives and inspire them to become the leading ladies in their own lives. The film is rated PG-13, so it’s best that you watch it once the kids go to sleep. Or at home, alone, with a big box of tissues at your side.

Watch The Holiday, rated PG-13.

Dances with Wolves

If this film from 1990 isn’t already a classic in your family, rediscover it on Netflix this holiday season while learning more about Native American history and culture. Set in the 1860s in the great plains of the American West, Kevin Costner stars as a soldier who develops a relationship with members of the Indian Lakota nation. Choosing to leave his former life for theirs, he is given the name Dances With Wolves and becomes a member of the tribe. But when Union soldiers arrive, he becomes a needed ally amid the soldiers’ growing threats.

Watch Dances with Wolves, rated PG-13.

Indian Horse

Learn more about the culture of Native Americans, specifically Native Americans from Canada, in this 2017 drama film starring Ajuawak Kapashesit, which is an adaptation of the 2012 novel, Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. Set in the 1970s, Saul struggles to survive after being taken to a residential school and subsequently stripped of his native heritage. But after fighting to fit in and deal with his new life, he finds a love of ice hockey, which helps him escape and reconnect to his heritage in his own unique way.

Watch Indian Horse, rated TV-MA.

Friendsgiving

Anyone who has hosted a Friendsgiving knows that it isn’t always pie and ice cream. It can be complicated, or messy, or a lot of fun, depending on the food and the friends. In Friendsgiving, two friends named Molly and Abby, expect to host a quiet Thanksgiving with just the two of them. But when they invite some friends, and then some unexpected visitors arrive, their meal turns out to be a lot more chaotic than they planned. But this is one film that you’ll want to watch when the kids go to sleep — it’s rated R for “crude sexual content and language throughout,” according to IMDB, so it’s the kind of adult holiday film that is good to watch with your closest friends, not the little ones.

Watch Friendsgiving, rated R.

Holidate

Steve Dietl/NETFLIX

The worst part of the holidays is encountering relatives who are always wondering when you’re going to get married or finally bring someone around for the holidays. But the Holidate provides the perfect solution for that. Frustrated with being single for the holidays, two very platonic friends come up with a brilliant solution to their problems — they agree to be each other’s plus-ones for every occasion, all year long. Together, they spend Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, the Fourth of July, and yes, even Thanksgiving together, while trying to avoid the feelings that begin to develop. Bumm, bumm, bum.

Watch Holidate, rated TV-MA.