As the weather starts to get cold and the leaves begin to change colors ever so slightly, the need to watch fall movies starts to grow. While there are Halloween movies and Christmas movies, there is a collection of autumn films as well!
Let's slow down and look at the best films with fall elements.
1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
The comedic talents of John Candy and Steve Martin were top-tier in the 1980s, and when combined, created a stellar film. They play off each other with talent unmatched in many films today.
When Neal (Martin) is trying to get home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving with his family, he runs into trouble. His flight is rerouted to Kansas because of a snowstorm, and he then needs to work with annoying Del (Candy) to get home.
2. Garfield's Thanksgiving (1989)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Garfield offers up some fun holiday specials, and Thanksgiving is no different. You would think that Garfield would love this holiday, but things are different this year.
When Garfield goes to the vet the day before Thanksgiving, he's put on a diet and not allowed to partake of the delicious food. Thankfully, when his owner John invites the vet for dinner, she changes her mind.
3. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Even though Charlie Brown may fail in his plans, he still tries hard. This time, he has his friends over for a Thanksgiving dinner together.
The problem is that he has no idea how to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, so he makes what he knows. This issue makes for a meal of toast, popcorn, and jelly beans. It reminds us that the most important thing about the holiday is being together.
4. Scent of a Woman (1992)
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Revolving around Thanksgiving dinner, we have this interesting film featuring Al Pacino as Frank and Chris O'Donnell as Charlie. Frank is blind, and Pacino often stays in character around the set, using his cane and not looking at people when they speak to him.
Charlie agrees to look after Frank over Thanksgiving to make money for a trip home for Christmas. Frank proves to be challenging to get along with, and the job ends up being harder than Charlie thought.
5. Addams Family Values (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
When you think of the Addams family, you think of Halloween. Still, the brilliant thing about this sequel is that it brings in some fall feels, too, mainly in the form of Wednesday's (Christina Ricci) speech in the Thanksgiving play that highlights the real hardships that Native Americans went through.
While Wednesday and Pugsley are at Camp Chippewa, the rest of the family deals with Uncle Fester's new girlfriend, who is really a serial killer who murders her husband.
6. Rocky (1976)
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
If Sylvester Stallone and fighting films are more up your alley, Rocky also has an autumn connection. If you need more reasons to enjoy this film during this season, here they are. Rocky (Stallone) finally convinces Adrian to go out with him on Thanksgiving. Her brother Paulie pulls the turkey out of the oven and throws it away, insisting they go on a date.
While Thanksgiving represents the beginning of Rocky and Adrian's love story, the rest of the film features Rocky as a struggling boxer. He trains harder to prove himself against Apollo Creed, the Heavyweight Champion of the World.
7. Pieces of April (2003)
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Preparing Thanksgiving dinner for the first time can be intimidating, and that's what the title character does in this film. Instead of being able to do it alone, she must ask her neighbor (Sean Hayes) for help.
When April (Katie Holmes) finds out her mother (Patricia Clarkson) has a fatal form of breast cancer, she decides to invite her family to her New York apartment to host Thanksgiving. Trouble comes up when she realizes that she can't cook alone.
8. The Ice Storm (1997)
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
The Ice Storm takes place in 1973 over the Thanksgiving weekend. It is based on a real ice storm that happened in December 1973.
The plot revolves around two neighboring families who fight and cheat on each other. Tensions heighten when a storm hits. Check out Christina Ricci's Thanksgiving speech about the cruelty of the holiday, which is similar to the one she makes in Addams Family Values.
9. The Blind Side (2009)
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
The Blind Side is the story of Michael Oher, a homeless black teenager (Quinton Aaron), who is taken in by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her family. They soon realize he has a talent for football and work together to help him reach his potential.
The first weekend he spends with the family is Thanksgiving weekend. Instead of cooking a turkey, the family's tradition is for Leigh Anne to buy one.
10. You've Got Mail (1998)
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
With an iconic Thanksgiving day scene, You've Got Mail is an entertaining remake of The Shop Around the Corner. They run into each other in the grocery store, and Joe (Tom Hanks) helps Kathleen (Meg Ryan) when she finds herself in the cash-only line, much to her chagrin.
Joe's super bookstore is out to put Kathleen's small independent bookstore out of business, but what they don't know is that they are falling in love online. They initially dislike each other, but when Joe realizes that he's been writing to Kathleen, he starts to fall for her in real life.
11. Home for the Holidays (1995)
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
This film is another family-centered Thanksgiving film that involves the crazy shenanigans of this family getting together. One of the characters, Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.), even spills the turkey.
When Claudia (Holly Hunter) goes home for Thanksgiving, she is in a sad state of mind after losing her job and disagreeing with her teenage daughter, who stays home. Full of family drama and exposed secrets, this one will make you feel better about your own family.
12. Little Women (2019)
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Set across a number of seasons, Little Women is the cozy movie you want to watch each fall, with a hot cup of cider in your hand. It's a great movie about sisterhood and family, which is exactly what you want to watch this fall as your family comes around to spend time with you.
13. Turkey Hollow (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Jim Henson's signature look is all over these turkeys in Turkey Hollow, which is one of its best things. The creatures are reminiscent of something you would see in Labyrinth, making watching them fun.
When a man takes his kids to visit his aunt in Turkey Hollow, they search for a 10-foot monster called the Howling Hoodoo. During this search, they uncover a plot by the neighbor and work with some new creature friends to expose it.
14. Son in Law (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes: 21%
Pauly Shore played the same guy in many of his parts in the early 90s, but he was fun for what it was. We have him in all his goofy comedic glory in the Thanksgiving film Son in Law. Not only does he play a character similar to Stoney from Encino Man, but Brendan Fraser even has a cameo as Link.
The plot revolves around a college girl named Rebecca (Carla Gugino) who brings her eccentric friend Crawl (Shore) home for Thanksgiving with her family. She thinks her boyfriend is about to propose, so Crawl saves her by announcing their engagement.
15. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
While often cited as a Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street is a great film to bridge the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It features both holidays, starting with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
When Doris's (Maureen O'Hara) Santa shows up drunk, she replaces him at the last minute with someone who turns out could really be Santa.
16. Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon starred together in a total of eight films, and this film is one of their best collaborations. Even though they didn't expect success with this one, this movie is a fun comedy that is a good addition to your fall film lineup.
It features two grumpy old men who are lifelong rivals. They compete over the affection of their new neighbor (Ann-Margret), and this leads to a Thanksgiving dinner where they constantly try to one-up each other.
17. Free Birds (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
This animated film takes on Thanksgiving from the turkey's point of view. It is kid-friendly, and you may cheer for the birds you usually eat.
It centers around two turkeys who travel back in time. While there, they try to eliminate the tradition of eating turkeys on Thanksgiving.
18. Dutch (1991)
Rotten Tomatoes: 17%
Holidays have a way of bringing people together, even when they may not initially want it to. This is the case in this film starring Ed O'Neill and written by John Hughes.
When Natalie's (JoBeth Williams) new boyfriend offers to drive her son Doyle (Ethan Randall) from his private school in Atlanta to Chicago for Thanksgiving, Doyle is not pleased. He is still hurting from the divorce and doesn't want to be around his mom's new boyfriend. The forced travel causes a lot of fighting, but they soon begin to understand each other.
19. Tower Heist (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Taking place in November, Tower Heist features the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the climax of their heist. It recreates the iconic parade to serve as the backdrop.
A group of disgruntled employees decides to rob their boss's high-rise after finding out they are victims of his scheme. Their entire pensions are gone, so they seek to turn the tables on him.
20. Autumn in New York (2000)
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
In this weepy love story, we get plenty of fall vibes with the autumn ambiance. If you are looking for an emotional story with an autumn backdrop, Autumn in New York has you covered.
It features womanizer Will (Richard Gere), who falls for a much younger and terminally ill woman named Charlotte (Winona Ryder). While they initially agree on a short-term relationship, they soon develop deeper feelings for each other than initially planned.
21. Friendsgiving (2020)
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Named for the custom of having Thanksgiving with friends instead of (or in addition to) family, Friendsgiving presents another look at the things that can go wrong on a holiday. For a silly adult Thanksgiving movie, this one works well.
It revolves around best friends who plan to have a quiet get-together with only a few people. What happens is that it soon turns into a big party.
22. Sweet November (2001)
Similar to Autumn in New York, this film also features a terminal illness in one of the characters. Here it is Sara (Charlize Theron) and Nelson (Keanu Reeves). Although closer in age, this has definite vibes to the Gere/Ryder film.
Sara asks Nelson to move in with her for a month. While it initially seems crazy, he decides that he has nothing to lose and soon finds himself falling for her during the November they spend together.
23. October Sky (1999)
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Set in October of 1957, a young kid who wants to work in aerospace technology sets out to do just that. Instead of following the traditional trade of becoming a miner, the main character, Homer, learns how to build rockets and will hopefully see his dreams come true in the skies one day.
While this movie is slightly set in the fall, it does focus a lot of rockets more than the season! No matter what, it's a great watch for this time of year.
24. The Cider House Rules (1999)
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
There's something about a movie being set in New England in the fall that really sets the mood. In an orphanage, a young man (Tobey MaGuire) grows up and works in the orphanage before moving to bigger and better things in this world. Finding working on an apple farm and at other odds-and-ends jobs, he finds himself all across New England, but especially at his home at the orphanage.
This movie is touching on so many levels and will make you excited for the fall months.
25. Autumn Sonata (1978)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Another touching movie about family in the fall, Autumn Sonata is about a world-famous pianist who visits her daughter after years of neglect. When she arrives, she finds her other daughter, who is disabled, at the home as well. But over time, can the family repair what's been broken over the years?