Thanksgiving doesn't get the same sort of movie love that holidays like Christmas and Halloween do. Still, just because there aren't quite as many theatrical examples focusing on America's favorite celebration of turkey and smallpox doesn't mean that there aren't a number of films delivering a cinematic representation of the big day.
As you prepare to gorge yourselves on stuffing and pie, Moviefone gives you a list of some of the best Thanksgiving-related movies ever made.
'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' (1987)
The 'Citizen Kane' of Thanksgiving movies, this proto-'Due Date' stars Steve Martin as a beleaguered everyman forced to work with an oversharing buffoon (John Candy) in order to make it home for the holiday. The movie marks John Hughes' first time working with an adult cast instead of teens, and helped cement Martin and Candy's places on the '80s comedy A-list.
'Pieces of April' (2003)
Mostly regarded now as a chance to see a mid-period Katie Holmes in full early-2000s hipster drag, 'Pieces of April' stars the erstwhile Mrs. Cruise as the black sheep of her family, steadfastly working to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for the clan in her tiny apartment with a broken stove.
Another John Hughes production, 'Dutch' stars Ed O'Neill as a goofy man-child tasked with escorting a pre-adolescent Ethan Embry as an over-serious child-man to his mother's house for Thanksgiving. In the tradition of 'Home Alone,' it includes lots of shots of a little kid beating up a grown-up.
'Son In Law' (1993)
As far as Pauly Shore movies go, 'Son In Law' is a magnum opus, in that it doesn't co-star Stephen Baldwin and it wasn't followed by a made-for-TV sequel called 'Encino Woman.' It also includes a scene in which Lane Smith presages serving his family a Thanksgiving dinner with the immortal words, "Let's munch some grindage!"
'The Ice Storm' (1997)
Nothing says "Thanksgiving" like key parties and '70s-era suburban angst, and the American debut of director Ang Lee features both of those things. It also features winning early performances by Christina Ricci, Tobey Maguire, and Elijah Wood.
'The House of Yes' (1997)
Nineties independent film darlings Parker Posey and Josh Hamilton team with Tori Spelling and Freddie Prinze Jr. for the film adaptation of Wendy MacLeod's play. Hamilton brings his fiancee home to meet the family at Thanksgiving, and Posey, who plays his twin sister, doesn't take it so well.
'The Myth of Fingerprints' (1997)
The Thanksgiving setting is usually shorthand for themes of homecoming and family drama, but it's rarely as on-the-nose as it is in the 1997 debut of director Bart Freundlich. Bonus fun fact: Freundlich actually did follow up the Paul Simon title-biting 'The Myth of Fingerprints' with a TV movie called 'The Only Living Boy in New York'.
'Home for the Holidays' (1995)
Even more explicit about its "Thanksgiving as homecoming" theme than 'The Myth of Fingerprints,' this Jodie Foster-directed ensemble piece about a dysfunctional family stars Holly Hunter as a recently laid-off single mom who returns home for Thanksgiving.
'Funny People' (2009)
Judd Apatow's Adam Sandler/Seth Rogen dramedy spans a good amount of time in the lives of its characters, but an early highlight is a scene in which Sandler, as comedian George Simmons, offers up a Thanksgiving toast at the house of his protege, Ira Wright (Rogen).
'Hannah and Her Sisters' (1986)
Woody Allen's 1986 classic spans the course of two years in an extended family, bookended with Thanksgiving dinners. For extra ick-factor, one of the guests at Thanksgiving dinner includes a teenage (and thus pre-marriage to Allen) Soon-Yi Previn.
'Brokeback Mountain' (2005)
Apparently something about Thanksgiving resonates with Ang Lee as a time to depict existentialist despair, as he revisits the setting of 'The Ice Storm' for two rough scenes in 'Brokeback Mountain.' In one, Ennis (Heath Ledger) is confronted by his wife about his encounters with Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhall), and in the other, Twist gets into a fight with his father-in-law.
'Scent of a Woman' (1992)
Like most Thanksgiving meals at Casa MovieFone, the one depicted in 'Scent of a Woman' concludes with Al Pacino putting Bradley Whitford in a chokehold.
'Miracle on 34th Street' (1947)
While it's more famously associated with a different holiday, the Christmas classic revolves around the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the catalyst for the whole plot is a sneaky attempt to get an invite to a Thanksgiving dinner.
With apparent Thanksgiving MILF Sigourney Weaver (see also her turn in 'The Ice Storm') co-starring in the debut of a young Aaron Stanford (who'd go on to play Pyro in the 'X-Men' series), 'Tadpole' uses its holiday setting mostly to set up an awkward sex comedy about -- let's face it -- statutory rape.
'Nobody's Fool' (1994)
Most movies that use Thanksgiving to set up introspective family drama follow a pretty basic formula, and 'Nobody's Fool' doesn't deviate much from that standard. It does, however, star Paul Newman and feature scenes of him bantering with everyone from Bruce Willis to Jessica Tandy to Philip Seymour Hoffman to Melanie Griffith, making it easily the coolest of the bunch.
Yes, there really is a horror-comedy about a killer turkey taking his revenge on mankind -- meet 'ThanksKilling.' Yes, it's streaming on NetFlix. "Gobble, gobble, motherf***er," indeed.
'She's Gotta Have It' (1986)
While most filmmakers use Thanksgiving as a chance to create an uncomfortable gathering -- say, estranged family members or divorced parents -- Spike Lee, in his directorial debut, went all out: the titular "She" invites all three of her suitors to her apartment for Thanksgiving dinner, and the expected awkwardness ensues.
'Alice's Restaurant' (1969)
If you're fascinated by the story of the remarkable Thanksgiving dinner told in Arlo Guthrie's hippie-era single, but find his "talking blues"-style singing to be insufferable, consider watching the 1969 film spinoff instead.
'Rescue Dawn' (2006)
The Thanksgiving in the Werner Herzog dramatization of Deiter Dengler's capture and escape in Laos during the Vietnam war takes place off-screen. But it's described in rich detail by Dengler (Christian Bale) and his fellow captives (played by Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies).
The Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez B-movie double feature included a lineup of fake trailers, and the most holiday-themed of the bunch was contributed by 'Hostel' director Eli Roth: 'Thanksgiving,' which Roth insists will be turned into the feature film that 'ThanksKilling' wishes it could be.
'The Big Chill' (1983)
Technically, no, there's not a Thanksgiving scene in 'The Big Chill.' However, there is a very famous deleted scene -- which has yet to surface even on the retrospective DVD releases -- that was set to close the picture. Director Lawrence Kasdan shot a college-era flashback in which the film's reunited baby boomers prepared Thanksgiving dinner with the friend whose death brought them together -- namely Kevin Costner, who otherwise only appears in the movie as the corpse.