After sitting through a hefty Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, there’s nothing better than throwing on a holiday classic and waiting for the tryptophan from the turkey to kick in and deliver a well-deserved food coma.
With so many different streaming options, including Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, there are plenty of movies at your disposal for whatever mood you’re in. Want something cute and fluffy to settle down with the family to watch? Or maybe you’re in the need for a raunchy comedy after the tense dinner with relatives? If you’re taking some time to hang with friends or find some much needed solace in these crazy times, there are a bunch of new releases that are just waiting to be played one after the other.
To help guide you through Thanksgiving, Polygon has collected 10 of the best and most holiday-appropriate movies to throw on this long weekend.
Disney movies, in many ways, make for the perfect Thanksgiving film. They’re suitable for all ages, light enough that you can throw it on before or after dinner, and so well-crafted that it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like one. Zootopia, the latest movie from Disney to hit Netflix, just so happens to also be one of the best movies to come out of the studio in years.
Unfortunately, Zootopia is only available on Netflix for those looking to stream. So if you, for whatever reason, have Hulu or Amazon Prime and don’t have a subscription to Netflix, you’ll be out of luck this holiday season. Netflix and Disney brought into effect a deal this year that was made years ago giving the streaming service exclusive rights to anything that came out of Disney — including Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm movies.
James Bond classics
Everyone is entitled to have their own taste in the TV shows and movies they watch, but during a holiday, what you want is something the fewest people will complain about. James Bond is perfect for that. Everyone knows who the characters are, there’s enough action that you don’t need to pay too much attention if you’re sitting in a post-turkey consumption haze and it’s long enough that it gives people time to clean up if need be.
Amazon recently secured the rights to the entire James Bond catalog, so if you’re looking for a specific title, Prime subscribers will be able to pick and choose at will.
Creed is the perfect movie to unite family members of all generations. For those who might not know who Michael B. Jordan is — because they weren’t intrigued enough to go and sit through The Fantastic Four — it has Sylvester Stallone. While it ties into the Rocky franchise, which will appeal to older fans of the series, it also holds its own ground as a stand-alone film.
Creed is currently available to stream on Amazon for Prime members.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
The title is pretty self-explanatory, but when it comes to the holidays, it’s always a safe bet to go with the classics. To date, there is nothing more comforting or unifying then a good ol’ Charlie Brown classic, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving remains one of the best.
The entire 25-minute special is available to stream on YouTube for free.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
This movie remains my go-to Thanksgiving pick year after year. John Candy and Steve Martin are the perfect comedic duo, and the John Hughes film from 1987 still holds up almost three decades later. Like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, it’s also the type of movie that everyone seems to enjoy, no matter their age or familiarity with the actors. It’s a lighthearted, fantastic comedy that’s the perfect film to throw on after lunch or dinner is had and people are looking for something to relax with.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles is currently only available to stream through Amazon Prime.
Home for the Holidays
Thanksgiving get togethers with family wouldn’t be right if there wasn’t some level of dysfunctional tension. It’s what makes movies about dysfunctional families — like Jodie Foster’s Home for the Holidays — such a fun and cathartic watch. The movie follows Holly Hunter who returns home for Thanksgiving and is quickly reminded why she left her family in the first place. It’s one of the heavier movies on the list, but if you’re looking for something to remind yourself that your family isn’t the only one that gets a little testy around the holidays, this is the perfect movie.
The Big Chill
It’s important to introduce this movie with a bit of a precursor: The Big Chill is not a feel good movie. It’s a movie about friendship, adulthood and love but it centers around a friend’s attempted suicide. It’s definitely the heaviest movie on this list, but it’s kind of perfect for friends who are getting together to celebrate the holiday season. At the end of the day, The Big Chill is a movie about the special bond close friends share and how when one needs it most, the rest band together to get him through. Do prepare to feel all the feels.
The Big Chill is currently available to stream through Amazon.
If you like Planes, Trains and Automobiles but don’t want to sit through it again — and know that I’m judging you for that decision — Dutch is a pretty good alternative. Starring Ed O’Neil of Married with Children and Modern Family, Dutch follows two characters who are forced to endure a road trip together as chaos ensues. Sounds pretty similar, right? Dutch came out four years after Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but it definitely has Ed O’Neil’s identifiable comedic charm.
Dutch is currently available to stream on Netflix.
Scent of a Woman
Prepare for another tearjerker if you’re going to throw this on, but there was a reason Scent of a Woman took home an Oscar. The story about a young man watching over an Army veteran, each learning a bit about themselves through each other, is always a crowd pleaser. This is definitely a movie you’ll want to throw on before you eat, so people have enough time to soak it in and appreciate the meaning behind it, instead of trying to keep their eyes open and fight off the turkey-induced sleep.
Scent of a Woman is currently available to stream through Amazon.
If you’re looking for a movie to keep young kids entertained while also keeping the spirit of the holiday alive, Free Birds is your best bet. The movie literally stars turkeys banding together to make sure they’re taken off the menu for good. Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson lend their voice acting talents to the film, directed by the man behind Horton Hears a Who!
Free Birds is streaming on Amazon.