A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Movie Poster Image

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving



Classic Turkey Day special for young and old.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1973
  • Running Time: 25 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

The second feature presents a more-or-less factual account of the Mayflower voyage and does not sugarcoat the hardships the Pilgrims faced both during the voyage and once they made it to the "New World." The story also is presented in a way that's easy for kids to understand. 

Positive messages

Positive themes about friends, togetherness, gratitude, and the true message of Thanksgiving. The second feature provides a factual account of what happened during and after the Mayflower voyage and shows Pilgrims and Native Americans working together in peace. 

Positive role models

Charlie Brown takes in Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Franklin for Thanksgiving dinner, even though all he knows how to cook is "cold cereal, and sometimes toast." The Native American Squanto is helpful to the newly arrived Pilgrims, and his life story shows a man who went on great adventures, overcame tremendous hardship, and was a great leader. 

Violence & scariness

Tame cartoonish violence and pratfalls. In the second feature, one of the Mayflower voyagers falls overboard and is rescued before drowning. This second feature does not sugarcoat the hardships faced by the Mayflower voyagers and discusses death and sickness. Pilgrims are shown with muskets, and Native Americans are shown with spears. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Words and name-calling that could be problematic for parents trying to keep young children from using words such as "stupid" or "blockhead" to describe others or situations. When Lucy asks him to kick the football, Charlie Brown says he will "fall flat on my back and kill myself." 


In addition to the comic strip and television specials, Peanuts characters continue to be marketed to sell everything from toys to clothing to school supplies. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is an annual favorite in many families. While the story promotes friendship, generosity, and gratitude, there are some comic pratfalls (watch out for that football, Charlie Brown!). And some characters (especially Lucy) use the words "stupid" and "blockhead," which could be problematic for parents of younger kids who like to mimic everything they hear. On DVD, the more well-known classic is usually paired with The Mayflower Voyagers, a 1988 Peanuts special that offers a more-or-less factual account of the Mayflower voyage. It doesn't sugarcoat the death and sickness that many of the Pilgrims faced; also, Pilgrims are shown with muskets, and Native Americans are shown with spears.

What's the story?

In A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING, the popular animated special created by Charles M. Schultz, Charlie Brown (voiced by Todd Barbee) finds himself hosting a Thanksgiving meal for his friends. At first, the characters are ambivalent and somewhat negative about the holiday. But thanks to some philosophical words from Linus (Stephen Shea) and Marcie, the Peanuts gang comes to realize the true meaning of the holiday. Also included is The Mayflower Voyagers, which follows the Pilgrims -- including Charlie Brown and friends -- as they journey to the New World in 1620.

Is it any good?


Nobody does holidays quite like the Peanuts gang, and this special is no exception. Stumped over what to serve his friends for Thanksgiving dinner, Charlie Brown whips up a few tried-and-true recipes, including buttered toast, popcorn, and pretzel sticks. In a fun kitchen scene, Snoopy "conducts" the food preparation to Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy," probably the most well-known and well-loved Peanuts tune. Snoopy steals the show again when he and Woodstock set the Thanksgiving table and later when they don Pilgrim-style costumes.

Released in 1988, The Mayflower Voyagers (the second feature on the DVD) strays somewhat from the simplicity that made its predecessors so endearing, but it's still educational. The animated special follows the Pilgrims -- including Charlie Brown and friends -- as they journey to the New World in 1620. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving does a good job of depicting the perilous Mayflower voyage, as well as the challenges of settling in a new land.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the real meaning of Thanksgiving, how it's not only about turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. How did the Peanuts gang learn that lesson in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving? What will you be thankful for this Thanksgiving?

  • What did you learn about the Mayflower voyage that you didn't know before? How could you learn more?

  • How does Charlie Brown show the true spirit of Thanksgiving to his friends, even though he doesn't know how to cook turkey or much of anything else? 

  • How do the characters in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving demonstrate gratitude? Why is this an important character strength?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 20, 1973
DVD/Streaming release date:September 12, 2000
Cast:Jimmy Ahrens, Stephen Shea, Todd Barbee
Directors:Bill Melendez, Phil Roman
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship, History, Holidays, Misfits and underdogs, Music and sing-along
Character strengths:Gratitude
Run time:25 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
MPAA explanation:Not Rated

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Parent Written bymyab October 14, 2010

Must See Thanksgiving TV

My family watches this every year; in fact, it's the kids who ask to see it. The Snoopy/folding chair scene still cracks me up! As far as the use of "blockhead", "idiot", etc., keep in mind when this movie was made. While kids still use these words to each other today, you won't find these sorts of phrases in most of today's gentler cartoons. However, their use in this show makes a good talking point about how mean the words sound and how they hurt Charlie Brown. It also helps to make his (Charlie Brown's) character more sympathetic, and makes him easier to connect with than most other cartoon characters.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old September 1, 2009


well its says the word "stupid"
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent of a 4 year old Written byWisconsinMom November 28, 2009

Mayflower Voyagers not for young children

We watched both A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and the Mayflower Voyagers with our 3-year old. The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was wonderful, but we were very upset when watching the Mayflower Voyagers after reading on the back that this was "suitable for all ages." I expected a typical Peanuts movie, but instead we got a factual history lesson on the death tolls and starvation of children on the Mayflower. These were not just quickly mentioned, but death and impending death was the main content of the film. This may be a good history lesson for kids over 10, but deffinately not for younger kids!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing