Before gathering around the table for a huge turkey feast, families and kids often enjoy watching a Thanksgiving-themed movie or TV classic. It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season, while spending quality time together. Below are ten great movies and TV shows to enjoy that can be instantly downloaded on Netflix or Amazon, watched on one of the networks, or rented at Redbox. To find locations in and around Atlanta, head to the Redbox locater. Not only are these shows and movies very entertaining, but most also teach children (and the young at heart) about the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
1. “Miracle on 34th Street”
There are several versions of this classic movie. The best is the original 1947 black and white version starring Maureen O’Hara and Edmund Glynn. The story takes place on Thanksgiving Day at the Macy’s parade in New York. No matter how many times you see it, it’s a truly heart-touching movie and a perfect way for the whole family to kick off the holiday season at Thanksgiving. Not rated. 96 minutes. Released in 1947. Other versions released in 2000 and 2006.
2. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”
Peppermint Patty has never been shy, but who would have guessed she’d be so bold as to invite herself over to Charlie Brown’s for Thanksgiving dinner? When she arrives she has a lot of expectations and demands, which send Snoopy and the gang into a scramble. 128 minutes. Not rated. All ages. Released in 1973. It airs at 8 p.m. EST (7 CST) on Wednesday, Nov. 26 on ABC.
3. “Waltons: Thanksgiving Story”
An oldie but goodie with an exceptional story that talks about the importance of traditions and family. A great message for all ages. Not rated. 100 minutes. Released in 1972. Available on Amazon.
4. “Winnie the Pooh – Seasons of Giving”
This is a classic pooh tale with a good moral: gratefulness. Winnie the Pooh and his friends hunt Hundred Acre Wood to find the best ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner. The movie ends at Christmas when the group of friends learns that they should be grateful for what they all have and for each other. This movie offers a nice lesson for younger children. Not rated. 70 minutes. Released in 1999.Available for purchase on Amazon.
5. Disney’s “Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale”
Get ready for nonstop action in this rousing tale of a Native American who defies incredible odds in his struggle for freedom. Squanto, a young warrior abducted from his homeland and enslaved, must battle impossible hazards on a desperate journey home. Driven by a passion to be free, he risks everything to escape his captors, braving the wilderness and triumphing, finally, as a great leader. 102 minutes. Rated PG. Released on DVD in 2004.
6. “Home for the Holidays”
You know those families who insist on getting together for Thanksgiving year after year, even though they know it’ll only stir up trouble? Meet the Larsons, a family who’ll barely survive this Thanksgiving, only to do it all over again next year. As the Larsons’ family gathering demonstrates, Thanksgiving is for being grateful for all those folks you’d like to run away from most of the time. Rated PG-13. 103 minutes. Released in 1995.
An English soldier and the daughter of a Native American chief end up making beautiful music together in 16th century Virginia. Youngsters in your household will love this beautifully animated tale filled with towering forests, rugged cliffs, and sparkling waters, set against a backdrop of lovely tunes like “Colors of the Wind” and “Just Around the Riverbend.” The message: It’s never too late to learn something new and be thankful for it – just as John Smith learned of nature’s peace and harmony from Pocahontas. Rated G. 84 minutes. Released in 1995.
Dutch volunteers to drive his girlfriend’s son home from boarding school for Thanksgiving. Little does he know the kid has a bratty attitude that would make Harry Potter’s Draco Malfoy look like an angel. In the end goodness prevails as the true spirit of Thanksgiving comes to light. Stars Ed O’Neill, Ethan Embry, and JoBeth Williams. 108 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released in 2005.
9. “The New World”
This epic film is a dramatized (and romanticized) telling of the relationship between English explorer John Smith and the Native American princess Pocahontas. Even though most of the English settlers are distrustful of the Native Americans, Smith is able to form a deep friendship with Pocahontas. If they can do it against all odds, the rest of us can certainly find a way to co-exist with everyone else on the planet. Rated PG-13. 150 minutes. Released in 2006.
This movie tells the story of an immigrant family that settles in Baltimore and seeks to live the American Dream. The story is told through the eyes of the family’s patriarch and emphasizes the importance of family in good times and in bad. Much of the movie centers around Thanksgiving and its meaning. Rated PG. 126 minutes. 1990 release.