HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Nominees for Best Thanksgiving Movies & TV (showcasing food)

Probably the most popular movie with a Thanksgiving theme is "Planes, Trains and Automobiles". But where's the food?

My vote goes to Woody Allen's "Broadway Danny Rose" in which Thanksgiving is a recurring theme and food seems to be the only common thread between the Jewish and Italian "families". Funny and poignant.

As for TV episodes, the Friends Thanksgiving episode (there were many) where Rachel attempts to make a trifle for dessert would probably be my favorite.

So, what are your nominations?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For the television show, I would nominate the "WKRP in Cinncinati" episode where, off screen, the promoters of a radio station toss live turkeys from a helicopter hovering over a shopping center. The famous line from the station manager, Mr. Carlson, is not to be forgotten, "I swear to God, I thought turkeys could fly."

    The Thanksgiving movie is tougher because I think that you have already named the best one, "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." And I like its theme about being thankful. However, I also like the warm, cozy atmosphere, as the characters look out on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in "Miracle on 34th Street." But, of course, that is more of a Christmas movie. It just starts on Thanksgiving Day.

    Both "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and "Miracle on 34th Street" certainly address the "what we have to be thankful for" aspect of Thanksgiving, but I will admit that neither movie features much food.

    5 Replies
    1. re: gfr1111

      Second the WKRP episode. Oh the humanity!

      And Joey eating Rachel's trifle--"Jam, good. Cake, good. Meat, GOOD" is a classic line.

      I also liked the "Cheers" episode at Carla's that ended up in a food fight.

      1. re: coney with everything

        The Cheers episode is only one of the countless sitcom episodes wherein guests arrive for a meal and everyone is surprised because the oven wasn't on. You can't smell any cooking aromas but you think dinner is ready? Always makes me nuts!

        1. re: greygarious

          yeah, but Shelly Long dressed authentically Pilgrimy and getting pelted by mashed potatoes...Gold, Jerry, GOLD!

      2. re: gfr1111

        Ditto on "Planes". And I am right now laughing at the memory of Mr. Carlson in WKRP.

        1. re: gfr1111

          CLASSIC: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!"
          With Les Nessman excitedly reporting, "The Pinedale Shopping Center is being pelted by live turkeys!" It doesn't get better than this for me!

          Near and dear to my heart is "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." I love the Vince Guaraldi song at the end when Snoopy and Woodstock are carving the bird and having pie (having served everyone else toast and popcorn):

        2. Pieces of April. April's trials and tribulations in attempting to cook her first Thanksgiving meal, in her crummy apartment, for her dysfunctional family.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Passadumkeg

            I forgot about Pieces of April. I liked that movie alot.

            My favorite Friends thanksgiving episode is a tie between the trifle episode (I refer to it as the "truth day" episode) and the season before where Joey gets a turkey stuck on his head. Truthfully I love all their thanksgiving episodes.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              I loved the food reference of April being the "first pancake". Great movie.
              I'm glad this thread was brought back to life. We were just looking for movies to watch for the long weekend.

            2. Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters" has a couple of scenes set at Thanksgiving. One is at the start of the movie, and the other at the end, and they show the changes in the lives of the characters during the movie. It's a really nice film, funny in spots, but more about relationships and family.

              1. I really like "Home for the Holidays" which stars Holly Hunter. She loses her job and her daughter decides to spend the holiday with her boyfriend. Poor Holly then has to trek home for Thanksgiving with her nutty family.

                1 Reply
                1. re: SoulFoodie

                  That's what I was going to contribute. It's so funny and sweet and real. But it doesn't look like too many are familiar with it. They should check it out!


                  Gotta give that WKRP in Cincinnati a big thumbs up too! I remember laughing until I hurt the first time I saw that.

                2. The 2000 dramedy "What's Cooking" is not very well known but worth watching. It deals with the various intertwining Thanksgiving Day trials and traditions of four families - one African-American, one Vietnamese, one Jewish, and one Latino. The stars include Mercedes Ruehl, Julianna Margulies, and Alfre Woodard.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: greygarious

                    This was the movie I was thinking of when I saw this topic. But, I couldn't remember the name, just the plot lines. The food spreads on all 4 tables are mouth watering and it's interesting to see how family/cultural traditions diverge on this food oriented holiday.

                  2. While I wholeheartedly agree with WKRP and the Friends episodes mentioned, the best for me is , from Friends, when Ross discovers who took his leftover turkey sandwich with "the Moistmaker" (an extra slice of gravy-soaked bread)

                    You took MY SANDWICH?!? Did you confuse it with your own sandwich with the Moistmaker?

                    1. I'm resurrecting this discussion because I have two movies that we just watched last night and today which are "Thanksgiving" movies to us. I was going to start a new thread, but well, I searched and found this discussion.

                      Our two movies are: Scent of a Woman and Pieces of April. "Scent" is a favorite of my husband, and "April" is a favorite of mine.

                      Reading the comments here, I have to completely agree with the WKRP episode. That was priceless!! Also loved the Friends episode with the turkey on Joey's head. Well, pretty much all of the Friends holiday episodes.

                      Happy Thanksgiving to all!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: breadchick

                        I love Pieces of April ( when he brings her the glass turkeys I cry every time)
                        I also like Thanksgiving on Waltons Mountain, the Thanksgiving they lock joey in the box on Friends

                        and for the movie I am most embarressed to admit I have seen and more embarased to admit I laughed at the most horrid thanksgiving movie evvvvvvvvvver ( I have warned you) Thankskilling

                        1. re: girloftheworld

                          I bought April on DVD when it became available and it's a must-see every year. I get choked up too.

                          I need to find the Walton's Mountain one - thanks for the tip!

                          Hmm, Thankskilling - that I will have to find the trailer... lol.

                      2. The Simpsons episode where Bart ruins Lisa's centerpiece and runs away. Back when The Simpons was still worth watching.

                        1. I may not have the title correct: "Armchair Traveller" ? The turkey is roasted all night at a low temperature....William Hurt is in it, maybe Geena Davis....

                          1 Reply
                          1. Thanksgiving when I was younger included Laurel & Hardy's March of the Wooden Soldiers. We'd make popcorn and sit transfixed. YouTube has the entire film (black & white-don't waste your time on the colorized version).


                            4 Replies
                            1. re: HillJ

                              Thanks for that, HillJ. Your version has subtitles, unfortunately. However, because it was a movie my husband remembers well and I've never seen - we did the Amazon instant version in B&W. I suppressed my "Mystery Science Theatre" attitude with success and actually enjoyed it.

                              Almost a cross between the Wizard of Oz and King Kong. Well, except for the wooden soldiers at the end.

                              1. re: breadchick

                                I'm glad you were able to find a better copy, breadchick. We own a copy in laser format and play it for the gang every year; this year no different. I was surprised to see a b&w copy avail at all on YTube. The colorized version is awful.

                                Your analogy, a cross between the Wizard of Oz and King Kong, made me smile. I know the words to every song by heart! LOL..

                              2. re: HillJ

                                March of the wooden soldiers scared the heck out of me when I was a kid. But that didn't stop me from watching it year after year after year. It is what me and my sisters looked forward to exclusively in regard to the holiday.

                                1. re: chowdom

                                  Funny you should mention the scare factor because the first time I watched the movie my Uncle tricked me into it. He knew the fairy tale would interest me...but, he didn't mention the boogie men...until I started reacting and then he roared with laughter. I was hooked from that point on! And I did the same thing (shameless) to my kids!