Thanksgiving

10 Great Movies On Netflix To Watch This Thanksgiving

From turkeys to togetherness, what more do you need?

Written by JM Farkas
Updated: 
Originally Published: 

Nothing goes better with a delicious turkey feast, your grandma’s world-famous green bean casserole, 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 funny and romantic film to turn on once the kids go to bed, why not watch When Harry Met Sally, starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan?

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 loves 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 about much more than the food on the table — it’s about spending time with the people you cherish.

Watch Waffles + Mochi’s Holiday Feast, rated TV-Y.

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.

Gather

If you’re looking for a compelling documentary to watch this Thanksgiving with those who love history, consider Gather, a 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 several fascinating individuals across the nation whose narratives deserve to be told. Gather is not only a great movie, it’s a great way to connect to the Native American people living in the United States right now.

Watch Gather, not rated.

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 Horseby Richard Wagamese. Set in the 1970s, Saul struggles to survive after being taken to a residential school and is 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. Indian Horse is a heartfelt movie that tackles serious topics like racism and addiction. It’s a powerful reminder that the world needs to hear more indigenous stories.

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 guest list. 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 definitely 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 bringing someone around to meet the family. But Holidate provides the perfect solution for that problem. Frustrated with being single for the holidays, two very platonic friends come up with a brilliant strategy to outsmart their nosy families — 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. Starring Emma Roberts and Australian actor Luke Bracey, Holidate is the rom-com equivalent of a pumpkin spice latte – frothy, sweet, and the perfect fall treat.

Watch Holidate, rated TV-MA.

Yes Day

Netflix

Jennifer Garner stars as an uptight mom who is about to let loose when she lets her kids have a “Yes Day.” The rules are pretty simple: for one glorious day, parents have to say yes to whatever their kids want. In one decadent scene, the whole family goes on an all-out sugar binge where they take on the challenge to eat the world’s largest bowl of ice cream and brownies and waffle cones in just 30 minutes. In other words, it’s basically what any kid would dream of for their Thanksgiving meal. Who needs turkey and stuffing when you can gorge on Rocky Road and Mint Chocolate Chip instead?

Watch Yes Day, rated PG.

The Willoughbys

Netflix

Thanksgiving is a time to look around the familiar faces at the table and show your appreciation for your loved ones who have always been there. But what’s a kid to do when they have parents who only seem to fawn over each other and have no leftover love to give to their very own children? Of course the only reasonable answer is to devise a diabolical plan to send these delinquent parents away on a dangerous vacation, hoping they might not come back. Enter the perfect nanny, voiced by Maya Rudolph, who co-signs the wishful claim that, of course, all nannies sing. The Willoughbys is a cinematic love letter to (redheaded) siblings. It’s also a testament to the fact that parents can sometimes be disappointing, but sisters and brothers can always rely on each other. And even if you’re an only child, this animated movie shares the optimistic message that you can also choose your family and create the one you need.

Watch The Willoughbys, rated PG.

When Harry Met Sally

Netflix

When Harry Met Sally is such a rom-com classic that it pretty much deserves to be celebrated on every holiday. Or maybe it deserves its own holiday? In an event, this timeless Boy Meets Girl story asks one of the world’s most debated questions: can men and women really be friends? It also has an iconic scene surrounding a fan favorite dessert on the Thanksgiving menu: pecan pie. When Harry and Sally are taking in a day of culture at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, he invents a funny voice as a means of flirting and says the often quoted line: “I would be proud to partake in your pecan pie.” Along with the obvious chemistry between these two beloved characters, you’ll also enjoy some beautiful fall foliage peeking out through the stunning floor-to-ceiling windows of the famed Egyptian Room.

Watch When Harry Met Sally, rated R.

Spider-Man

Netflix

A superhero movie might not be the first thing you think about when it comes to celebrating the holidays, but there’s a memorable Thanksgiving scene in this action-packed flick that will make you thankful you’re a mere mortal. Toby Maguire stars as Peter Parker (who secretly moonlights as the hero in full-body spandex) and Kirsten Dunst plays his love interest Mary Jane “MJ” Watson. When they gather for Turkey Day, Peter’s nemesis is at the head of the table holding two huge knives, ready to cut open the meat. Stay tuned for shots of huge balloons and floats for what looks like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but for some reason is switched up to the fictitious “World Unity Festival.” Even if you hate comic books, you might still be a fan of this movie’s famous upside down kiss.

Watch Spider-Man, rated PG-13.

After the pumpkin pie has been devoured and everyone in the family has expressed their gratitude, the most entertaining way to follow-up a delicious Thanksgiving dinner is definitely with some fun holiday-themed movies.

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