Children watch a movie. Some of the best movies to inspire gratitude this Thanksgiving might surprise you!

Are you tired of watching some of the same old holiday movies year after year? A great Thanksgiving movie doesn’t actually have to be about Thanksgiving. While there’s nothing wrong with revisiting classic Thanksgiving-themed films like “Home Alone” or “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” sometimes you might crave a different kind of story to celebrate the season. Here’s a list of some of the the best movies to inspire gratitude this Thanksgiving.

1. Pay It Forward (2000)

Inspired by a school assignment, young Trevor McKinney initiates a ripple effect of kindness by asking his classmates to do favors for three people each, without expecting anything in return. The film beautifully demonstrates the power of empathy and the transformative nature of compassion.

2. The Pursuit of Happiness (2006)

This biographical drama chronicles the inspiring journey of Chris Gardner, a single father struggling to make ends meet while pursuing a career in finance. Despite facing homelessness and financial hardship, Chris’s unwavering determination and unwavering optimism allow him to achieve remarkable things and touch the lives of countless people.

3. The Martian (2015)

Stranded on Mars, astronaut Mark Watney faces the daunting task of survival with limited resources. His ingenuity, determination, and unwavering optimism inspire not only his colleagues on Earth but also the audience, demonstrating the power of the human spirit to adapt and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.

4. Soul (2020)

This often underrated Pixar gem follows jazz pianist Joe Gardner, consumed by his passion for music, as he finds himself separated from his soul and transported to the Great Before. His journey through the ethereal realm teaches him the importance of appreciating the present moment, finding joy in everyday life, and connecting with others on a deeper level.

5. October Sky (1999)

October Sky (1999) is an inspiring coming-of-age story that perfectly captures the spirit of Thanksgiving. Set in the small coal-mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia, in 1957, the film follows Homer Hickam Jr., a high school student who becomes fascinated by rocketry after witnessing the launch of Sputnik. Despite his father’s disapproval and the challenges of growing up in a poverty-stricken community, Homer pursues his passion for science and inspires others to do the same.

6. Soul Surfer (2011)

This biographical drama film tells the inspiring story of Bethany Hamilton, a teenage surfer who loses her arm in a shark attack. Despite her life-altering injury, Bethany’s determination and unwavering spirit lead her back to the sport she loves, becoming an inspiration to others.

7. The Impossible (2012)

Amidst the chaos and devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, follow the Bennett family’s harrowing struggle for survival. This movie serves as a poignant reminder of how fragile life is and the importance of gratitude for family.

8. Dead Poets Society (1989)

This classic coming-of-age drama follows John Keating, an unconventional English teacher who inspires his students at a prestigious all-boys prep school to seize life and pursue their dreams. The film’s message of embracing the beauty of life, following one’s passions, and challenging the norms will remind you how precious life is.

9. The Bucket List (2007)

This comedy-drama follows two terminally ill men who form an unlikely friendship while sharing a hospital room. They create a bucket list of things they want to accomplish before they die, embarking on a journey filled with adventure and self-discovery.

10. Miracles from Heaven (2016)

The movie is based on the true story of Christy Beam, a mother whose daughter Anna suffers from an incurable intestinal disease. After Anna has a freak accident and falls three stories, a miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored, and their community inspired.

11. Encanto (2021)

In the magical realm of Encanto, the Madrigal family possesses extraordinary powers that bring joy to their community. Mirabel, the only Madrigal without a gift, struggles to find her place in the family. As the magic fades, Mirabel embarks on a journey to save her family. This film’s themes of family unity and gratitude resonate with the spirit of Thanksgiving.

12. Coco (2017):

Miguel, a young boy with a passion for music, defies his family’s ban on music and travels to the Land of the Dead. There, he meets his deceased ancestors and uncovers the truth about his family’s history and his connection to music. The exploration of family bonds and the importance of honoring ancestors aligns with the Thanksgiving spirit of remembrance and appreciation.

Final Thoughts

Pick a show that fits your families interests and age span! Many of these movies are great for bringing up discussions about gratitude and being thankful. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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