Top 5 Thanksgiving Day Movies

By Tom Tillison
Orlando Political Press

Curling up in front of the TV after stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving Day turkey is an American classic. 

For those non-football fans out there, here’s a ‘top 5’ movie list that is sure to meet your approval! 

1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles — Director John Hughes built his reputation on a string of 1980s comedies such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and, of course, this classic comedy starring Steve Martin and the late John Candy. The story, like all decent comedies is simple: Neal Page (Martin) just wants to make it home from a business trip for Thanksgiving. But freakish weather closes down the airport and he has to find an alternative way home. His partner is shower curtain ring salesman Dale Griffith (Candy), who leads Martin through a series of disasters familiar to any regular business traveler. The movie is loaded with laughs, albeit at the expense of some salty language including a memorable meltdown by Martin at a car rental counter when he drops multiple f-bombs. A can’t miss holiday favorite.



2. Miracle on 34th Street — Technically, this is a Christmas movie but the opening sequence showing Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in the mid-40s is a curious if candid look at the iconic event. Frequently this 1947 version of the film kicks off the holiday movie watching season for many families. Maureen O’Hara plays single working mother Doris Walker, head of Macy’s parade who has to deal with the dilemma of a drunk Santa just as the parade is about to begin. She leans on the man who alerts her to the situation, Edmund Gywnn, a ringer for Santa if there ever was one. She asks him to substitute and the rest is Thanksgiving — and Christmas — history. A classic that never gets old.


3. A Charlie Brown Thankgiving — The story of the first Thanksgiving told as only the Peanuts can tell it. Originally made for television, it plays well for kids still.


4. Hannah and Her Sisters — Woody Allen’s 1986 drama about three sisters is one of his very best. The film’s set piece is Thanksgiving, where Hannah’s (Mia Farrow) clan gathers together in a tremendous Central Park West apartment for the holiday celebration. The black maid polishes the silver, Mia’s mother drinks too much and plays the piano, hearts are broken and mended in startling ways. Barbara Hershey, Michael Caine, Diane Wiest, Carrie Fisher, and Woody Allen also star.


5. Holiday Inn — It’s hokey, predictable and full of Irving Berlin classics. Forever watchable.


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Tom Tillison


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