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What are your favorite foodie movies?

  • d

I think film directors show more imagination, sensuality and sensibility in their food scenes than their sex scenes. Tampopo, Babette's Feast and The Big Night are near the top of my list. What are your favorite chowish movies/scenes from movies?

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  1. Here's a thread from last year 'round this time to get you started.

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    3 Replies
    1. re: DanaB

      A significant omission: the spectacularly bawdy dining scene between Albert Finney and Joyce Redman in "Tom Jones" (1963). Even by today's standards, it's breathtaking. Ah, the 18th century....

      1. re: DanaB

        Lillies of the Field !!!

        It was on PBS recently and Sidney Poitier deserved the Academy award just for the way he described breakfast. He turned those nothing words in the screenplay into everything that is good and delicious and joyful about breakfast.

        It NEVER gets mentioned because it is so old.

        If you are a hound, buy this movie just for that. I already ordered it.

        Can I get me some breakfast?

        Name it.

        A real breakfast?

        Whatever you say.

        Double OJ and squeeze it fresh.


        A stack of wheat cakes with lots of melted butter... maple syrup. And fry me three, four, five eggs with a mess of sausages and a mountain of white toast with strawberry marmalade and... keep the coffee coming.

        No beans?

        You got beans?

        The most, señor.

        Them too

        You take milk? (owner pours orange juice from a bottle, I think)

        I said fresh.

        I squeezed it myself this morning.

        OK. Very nice. Very nice. Now ... melt some cheese over those beans.

        That was it. When Poitier sips the juice and says 'very nice' the look of deep pleasure on his face showed the love of food that drives most hounds to this board.

        Really check it out. IMO, there's no better food scene in any movie.

        1. re: rworange

          I got chills. Thanks for the reminder!

      2. Nothing compares with Babette's Feast, IMHO, but a very close second for me is A Chef in Love.

        1. "Annie Hall" Mmm...pastrami on white with mayo.

          I kid! I kid! :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Liz CT

            excellent...let's not forget that hilarious lobster scene!!! I almost died laughing! I think Diane Keaton was overwhelmed by laughter in that scene too! A classic!

          2. The Big Night is definitely a favorite. I also like Woman on Top -- great music and a fun movie.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Dev
              Robert Lauriston

              Woman on Top bears no relation to the reality of restaurants or cooking or San Francisco. Waste of time, film stock, electricity, and a good cast.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Still, you gotta love a movie where the camera lingers for ten minutes on a chef preparing moqueca de camarao, and then shows the smell wafting through the city and making every man who breathes it fall in love.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I disagree, if anything, the music is awesome. My favorite compilation of Bossa Nova!

              2. Slam dunk, Meg Ryan, When Harry met Sally with the Pastrami orgasm, doesn't get better than that scene.

                1. Favorite is tough to say ...

                  but I've always liked a thriller called Tequila Sunrise.

                  Michelle Pfeiffer plays a chef/restaurant owner. Mel Gibson is the drug dealer trying to go straight. Kurt Russell is the cop.

                  Sort of a thriller, love triangle. Lots of restaurant scenes and some food related plot points.

                  1. I think this can be gauged by the reaction one has to the movie: "The Big Night" sent me on a feverish quest for a recipe for that massive main dish (whose name is most maddeningly eluding me, damn getting old anyway), and "Babette's Feast" made me lust for not only the recipe for Caille en Sarcophage, but for a reel of the outtakes!

                    "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" is most emphatically NOT a Foodie move...it may even be an ANTI-foodie movie.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Can you please describe that massive dish in "The Big Night."? It would be fun to guess what it might be.

                    2. i love eat, drink, man, woman, big night and like water for chocolate

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jem

                        Second vote for Eat, Drink, Man, Woman.

                      2. With out a doubt, "Who's killing the great chefs of Europe?" The late Robert Morely, the rotund englishman, is the star...a true foodie!

                        1. c
                          ChowFun (derek)

                          I thought "Like Water For Chocolate" was hot hot hot...and if you saw the movie you'd know what I mean...great story

                          1. Here are a few food moments on the more unusual side which come to mind:

                            - Hannibal Lecter's meal description in "Silence of the Lambs", complete with a nice Chianti

                            - Paul Newman eats a lot of eggs in "Cool Hand Luke"

                            - The dinner in Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" - anyone for a mint?

                            - The classic food fight in "Animal House" (and Belushi's mashed potato pimple)

                            - Charlie Chaplin eats his shoes in "The Gold Rush", complete with spaghetti laces

                            - The unlikely grand Italian buffet for the steerage passengers in "A Night At The Opera"

                            1. I just saw Mostly Martha this past week. Very, very foodie with food sensual scenes. German with english subtitles. I'm going to buy it once I get the chance. I just love it... in this one part, the main character (a chef) goes to her therapist and discusses recipes. The therapist is puzzled. :-) Hilarious.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: wendy8869

                                many times have i wanted to go out and yell at rude and ignorant customers in restaurants - just like Martha does when a man says that his dish is cooked incorrectly. awesome!

                              2. Big Night is at the top of the list.
                                Second would be Fisher King at the Chinese Restaurant.
                                "Lydia oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia,
                                Lydia, the Tatooed Lady."

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: EMZ

                                  Big Night is most definitely my favorite - I can gain 5 lbs just watching it!

                                2. The Godfather

                                  "Don't forget the cannoli!"

                                  "Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for twenty guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh?... And a little bit o' wine. An' a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick."

                                  1. I like "Vatel." According to history, this french chef killed himself because the fish didn't arrive in time to be served for a really important banquet. If I remember correctly, the movie has him killing himself because of a disappointment in love. The fish ended up arriving in time, but he already topped himself. It was incorrectly assumed he killed himself because he let his employer down.

                                    1. r
                                      Robert Lauriston

                                      I'd slip La Grande Bouffe in at #3.

                                      1. "Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?"

                                        I know it's stupid, but it's fun.

                                        1. Babette's feast, while a great food movie, was noticably lacking in foodies. The pearls before swine subtext made the movie too depressing for me.

                                          Big Night? Who could argue with that? Great friends enjoying a great meal even though ther world was ending. I especially liked the scene the next morning where they were making the eggs for breakfast - life goes on. My wife will not let me name the kids Primo and Secundo though.

                                          My left field addition is Soylent Green, the meal that Edward Robinson cooks from the pilfered food and the joy he takes in eating it speaks volumes. Anyone care for a green Cheez-it?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Larry

                                            I know it's weird, but Ed. Robinson crying with happiness (and sadness), over his steak and apple dinner is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. And the girl that had the jam (or was it honey?) hidden in the wall when the police come to her door.
                                            I just discovered snap pea crisps at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, they are delicious and look and taste just like a green Cheeto, now I'll think of Soylent Green every time I eat them! Thanks.

                                            1. re: coll

                                              I think of Soylent Green every time I try a Bánh mì sandwich. How can they sell a sandwich that big for $1.50 and what is that stuff inside? "Head"cheese?

                                          2. Okay, I only saw it once years and years ago, but I still vividly remember the restaurant scenes in "The Year of Living Dangerously" about reporters covering the civil war in Indonesia, I believe in the 60s. I saw the movie before I ever ate at a Thai restaurant, but I recognized sate when I first saw it, because I had been coveting it ever since I saw the reporters eating it in the movie. And various other incredibly delicious looking Asian dishes, not available or known to me at the time.

                                            1. The opening scene in Eat Drink Man Women, when the father was cooking.

                                              1. Robert Rodriguez's Once upon A Time in Mexico...Johnny Depp talking about puero pibil.

                                                1. Godfather..how'the Italian food in this place?try the veal, the best in the city...
                                                  Eating Raoul...how to open a restaurant

                                                  1. Tampopo, Eat Drink Man Woman, Tortilla Soup (a Latin-American version (in English) of Eat Drink Man Woman,) What's Cooking?, Tom Jones, Babette's Feast, Bend it like Beckham (the part I'm thinking about may be an extra on the dvd,) and Fried Green Tomatoes (in a twisted sort of way.)

                                                    1. I've noticed a heartening trend of late. Cooking has been used by films, even mainstream Hollywood blockbusters, as a synecdoche for artistic creativity, or even a metaphor for the infinite variety of the human soul. Like Water for Chocolate is a good example. And dumbing down the recipe, selling out to a chain, then is used to symbolize selling one's soul. First Night uses something like that to symbolize the struggle between good and evil. (Though the bad guy's sellout restaurant looked like a fun place to be.) In Sideways, the main character is basically a chowhound, of the wine variety, and it is that facet of his character, always at war with the selfish-pig aspect, that gets the girl. Eat Drink Man Woman uses food as the battleground (and ultimately the bridge) between generations. So did Dinner Rush. Jet Lag, a French movie, does that too, with a twist. The son, who has gone to New York to run a frozen food company, returns to Brittany to cook in his father's 3-star restaurant. In Woman on Top, which itself is a dumbed-down, but likeable, version of LIke Water for Chocolate, the main character realizes the man she thought she loved is the wrong man for her when he suggests that she substitute canned for fresh peppers in her favorite recipe. You've gotta love a film like that!

                                                      1. it's actually a documentary by Les Blanc,"Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers" done sometime in the 80's. All about the stinking rose. Saw it in a local art house cinema, and they used Aromaround--garlic cooking in toaster ovens as they played the movie. Wow!

                                                        Got me started taking garlic seriously.

                                                        And taught me how to quickly peel it. (thump, twist)

                                                        Story-driven movie favorite, "Tampopo" (crazy dental office scene my favorite, where the actor gives his ice cream cone to a child)

                                                        1. The Hot Dog scene in "Fatso" says it all for me. The expression on Dom DeLuise's face after he takes the first bite... All I can say is, "Get the Honey!"

                                                          1. 1. The lobster scene in Flashdance
                                                            2. Trying to order toast in Five Easy Pieces
                                                            3. 'Be Our Guest' from Beauty and the Beast

                                                            1. The scene of the feast in Chocolat would be my favourite... Everything just looks SO good!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Frenchie

                                                                Ok, thank you! I was reading this WHOLE thread and wondering how all these foodies could pass over such a GREAT movie!! The scene where the Mayor tries to destroy the display window and ends up gorging his way through it is absolutely hysterical!

                                                              2. Another vote for "What's Cooking?" Cast includes Mercedes Ruehl and Alfre Woodard.

                                                                1. I have to include the Chinese movie "Life Show" which featured a woman famous for her duck's necks sold at a food stall in the Wuhan night market. It actually launched the Hubei (spicy) duck fad and several fast food chains in China.

                                                                  Honorable Mentions go to "Rice Rhapsody," a Singaporean movie featuring Martin Yan in a totally fictional role and, of course, "Dumplings Three.... Extremes" in the horror movie category.

                                                                  1. I prefer movies that don't treat food in a pretentiously sensual way, so my two favorites are HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE, and MUNICH. In MUNICH, Avner, the protagonist and his shady source go shopping at a Paris food market and discuss ramps. Also, Avner loves to cook elaborate meals for the crew. Finally, the shady source sends Avner some charcuterie and Celles sur Cher, one of my favorite French cheeses. I was just so delighted to hear it mentioned.

                                                                    There was a German movie I saw at the Tribeca film festival called EDEN, which was touching and whose first scene featured the chef plucking a goose, whispering to the goose the different ways he was going to cook her. The rest of the movie becomes another food = sex/love cliche, but I liked that opening scene a lot. I hope the movie gets US distribution, but it's shot with digital film and may be too quirky.

                                                                    1. Tampopo is my absolute favorite. Never looked at raw eggs and live shrimp the same way again.

                                                                      1. "Eating Raoul"
                                                                        "Mondo Cane"
                                                                        "The Green Butchers De Grønne Slagter"
                                                                        "Cannibal Holocaust"

                                                                        For the truly adventurous Chowhound and cineaste terrible.

                                                                        1. don't forget 9 1/2 weeks.

                                                                          for comfort food, how about Diner?

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: harrison

                                                                            9 1/2 weeks has one of the best food scenes ever in a movie. I love it where he squirts the honey all over her legs and then massages it in. Just once, I could really go for a sensual experience like that one!

                                                                          2. Got to be Tampopo - hilarious

                                                                            1. I love the scene in Goodfellas where Paul Sorvino is cutting thin slices of garlic with a razor. Actually, the whole cooking scene in prison is great.

                                                                              1. I have two categories of "food films": 1) films with food scenes that made me hungry; and 2) films with hilarious food scenes.

                                                                                The films with food scenes that made me hungry include some of the ones that the posters have mentioned. In particular: ALL of the "Godfather" films + "Goodfellas." The cooking scenes in the Italian mafia films always seem to be done superbly, with such wonderful details (case in point, as caveatempty mentioned, the thinly sliced garlic in "Goodfellas," all the food prep, and the frying of the sausages. The other film that made me really hungry was "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman." I watched the film with a girlfriend. By the time the film ended, we were both STARVING for Chinese food. After the film ended, we sought desperately to find a Chinese restaurant that was still open late, to no avail.

                                                                                Films with hilarious food scenes include the dinner scene in "Splash," where Darryl Hannah, tried her first lobster. Darryl is a real-life vegan, and so the filmmakers had to create a vegetarian lobster specifically for her. I think they made the lobster out of potatoes, but it looked marvelous.

                                                                                The other film that comes to mind is "Steel Magnolias." I loved, loved, loved the armadillo cake--grey frosting with a velvet blood-red cake.

                                                                                1. "Tortilla Soup". The opening scene in which Hector Elizondo is cooking is amazing. As someone who appreciates critical comments on his cooking, I enjoyed the interaction between him and his daughter when they discussed his use of Serrano chilis in the soup.

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                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                    Big Night is a hoot. had to watch it a few times to really appreciate the low-key humor.

                                                                                  2. A good film that went a bit under the radar: The Contender

                                                                                    The character of the President and his chief rival in the Senate both use food in different power plays.

                                                                                    Jeff Bridges & Joan Allen were nominated for Academy Awards but Gary Oldman is the best character (should have won an award from the American Beef Producers Association).

                                                                                    1. I remember the Alfred Hitchcock thriller "Frenzy" in which the the wife of the police inspector fancies herself a gourmet cook and the dishes she prepared for him were quite ....

                                                                                      1. No one ever mentions FEAST AT MIDNIGHT which is adorable...

                                                                                        1. John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson discuss pork in Pulp Fiction.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. I love Like water for Chocolate as it emphasizes that LOVE really is the best secret ingredient!

                                                                                            I also love 'Pieces of April" a great food movie about Thanksgiving no less...timely!

                                                                                            1. I don't know if this has been mentioned already- Marie Antoinette. the pastries... wow. eye-candy galore!

                                                                                              1. Anyone seen Dinner Rush? Goodie, with the guy from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Loved Tampopo, Babette, Big Night, Eat Drink Man Woman, Tortilla Soup but absolutely adored Mostly Martha... even with sub-titles.

                                                                                                1. Bread and Chocolate

                                                                                                  Nicholson in 5 Easy Pieces is classic

                                                                                                  1. I never see a mention of this film....Gloomy Sunday.
                                                                                                    Takes place in Budapest before the war and focuses
                                                                                                    around a Hungarian restaurant. Wonderful film for
                                                                                                    foodies and music.

                                                                                                    1. There are a couple good scenes in Spanglish with Adam Sandler. My favorite is the now notorious spanglish sandwhich scene. Google "spanglish sandwich" and see what I mean. He quietly makes himself a egg sandwich and pours himself a beer in a big tall glass. The scene send me running for the kitchen every time. The recipe was developed by thomas keller and taught to Sandler by keller for the movie.


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                                                                                                      1. re: hokiefan

                                                                                                        Yeah the cooking scenes in Spanglish are the only good ones in an otherwise horrible movie. I concur with the above about Big Night (probably the best movie, period, of the above), Eat Man Drink Woman (when granddad makes the little gourmet lunch box for his grandchild, thats awesome), and the cooking scenes in Goodfellas (I always shoot for that thin sliced garlic now that 'melts on contact') and Godfather (Sofia Coppola couldn't screw up the gnocchi at least).

                                                                                                        The surprisingly good "Last Holiday" has some great foodie scenes as well.

                                                                                                      2. I’m hungry now from the great list of movies.

                                                                                                        So many classics, I should make a master list and watch them all again.

                                                                                                        This is just a very old memory now, without a name, but since it is from the great master himself, maybe someone can help. It was one of Alfred Hitchcock’s TV movies I watched when I was very young. It was about a series of people eating great meals at a quaint restaurant, and by the end you realize that they are eating each other. OK not like the others, but it should qualify?