Is Woodstock a Cannibal in Controversial ‘Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ Scene?

by Jennifer Shea
Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is a holiday movie for the whole family. Well, maybe not for the pet bird.

The movie, of course, features the famous Lucy-Charlie Brown football scene. But it also tells the tale of Charlie Brown’s meager Thanksgiving meal with his friends as his grandmother awaits his arrival for a proper Thanksgiving dinner.

The controversial scene: toward the end of the movie, Snoopy and Woodstock fix themselves a full Thanksgiving meal, in contrast to the one Charlie Brown and his friends got. Snoopy goes to slice the turkey and then offers a plate to Woodstock. The bird accepts the food and then starts to eat it.

The Internet is abuzz with conflicting opinions on the scene. Is Woodstock a cannibal? Has he no moral compass? weighed in with one take: Yes, he’s a cannibal! 

“Woodstock may be cute in his sweet pilgrim costume but he’s also a cannibal,” the site declared. 

To prove it, they compiled audience tweets reacting to the scene. The tweets boiled down to: “Yes, it’s basically cannibalism or something. Scarred for life. The horror. NEVER FORGET. Yep. It happened. WHHHHHY??? You were this many years old when you learned. Definitely a cannibal.” 

No way, argued Popculture.

“If you want to get technical about ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ and Woodstock, the yellow bird isn’t actually a cannibal,” Popculture pointed out. 

In short: Woodstock can’t be a cannibal. He’s a yellow canary.

The definition of cannibal is one who eats the flesh of its own kind. And Woodstock is clearly not a turkey.

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” first aired on CBS in November 1973. It later moved to ABC, along with the rest of the Peanuts holiday specials. In 2020, Apple TV+ acquired exclusive broadcast rights to the specials, but Apple sub-licensed “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” to PBS.