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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Escape family with these Thanksgiving movies

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A Clapperboard with the words “Happy Thanksgiving” sit in front of an orange background. Use the holiday break to watch some underrated Thanksgiving films. (Getty Images)

Falling in the middle of the two biggest holidays of the year, Thanksgiving is often forgotten by many, especially in movies. 

Here is a list of some films with plotlines featuring Turkey Day.

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”

One of the many Peanuts holiday specials, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” was released for television in 1973. 

The special follows Charlie Brown (Todd Barbee) when he gets a phone call from Peppermint Patty (Christopher DeFaria) inviting herself over to Charlie’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Charlie Brown, not having dinner at his house, is instructed by Linus (Stephen Shea) to put together their own dinner for all of their friends. 

This short TV film only lasts 25 minutes and can be streamed on Apple TV+

“Planes, Trains & Automobiles”

“Planes, Trains & Automobiles” was John Hughes’ first movie that wasn’t a teen comedy like his previous films “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles.”

Steve Martin stars as Neal Page, a marketing executive who is trying to take a flight from New York to Chicago for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. On his flight, Page meets Del Griffith (John Candy), a shower curtain ring salesman. Their flight is diverted to Wichita due to a storm, and the duo must embark on a journey to get Page home in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

“Planes, Trains & Automobiles” can be watched on Paramount+  or on Pluto TV. This classic Candy movie will be 93 minutes of laughs.

“Free Birds”

Released in 2013, “Free Birds” is an animated movie with a 91-minute runtime and can be streamed on The Roku Channel.

After being named the pardoned turkey by the President of the United States, Reggie (Owen Wilson) becomes accustomed to a life of luxury before being kidnapped by Jake (Woody Harrelson). Jake needs Reggie to help him travel back in time to 1621 so the pair can prevent turkeys from becoming the Thanksgiving dinner staple.


This horror movie released Nov. 17 and is currently available to watch in theaters. 

“Thanksgiving” was directed by Eli Roth and was turned into a 106-minute-long film based on a 2-minute fake trailer created by Roth from the double feature “Grindhouse.” The movie stars Patrick Dempsey, Addison Rae, Nell Verlaque and Rick Hoffman. 

After a devastating Black Friday riot, a pilgrim-inspired, ax-wielding maniac terrorizes the residents of Plymouth, Massachusetts. As citizens get picked off one by one, it’s slowly revealed that these murders may be part of a larger, sinister plan. 

Give some love to the underappreciated holiday known as Thanksgiving, and watch one of these movies over break.

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