We’ve done the tummy-rumbling research, and rounded up the best films featuring unforgettable food scenes, and even a few flicks you might not have even thought of as foodie films. We highly recommend reading this list and then watching these movies, with a selection of snacks — you’re guaranteed to get hungry!
After toiling over a bunch of big-budget movies, director Jon Favreau was ready to go “back to basics.” Favreau’s 2014 film Chef, in turn, features a chef who’s fed up with the rigid restaurant system, and ends up operating a food truck — essentially, it’s about a guy who goes back to basics. But trust us, there’s nothing basic or boring about the film or its food, for that matter.
In one scene Favreau’s character makes a grilled cheese sandwich, which sounds simple but has never seemed more gourmet. Even lactose intolerant folks will be salivating. Honorable mention goes to the scene in which some pasta pesto is artfully twirled in a close-up fit for all your food fantasies. Nom!
Let’s take a trip to mid-20th century rural France, where single mother Vianne (Juliette Binoche) travels from town to town with her daughter opening up chocolateries. Upon setting up shop in a particularly conservative village, Vianne’s chocolate shop is seen as a temptation the townspeople must resist. Honestly though, how long can anyone hold out against the sweet smell of chocolate?
The answer? Not long. The townspeople melt after one taste of Vianne’s chocolate. And after watching beautifully shot sequences of liquid chocolate being poured, molded and/or baked into perfect culinary confections, we don’t blame them for falling for the “sinful” sweet.
3. Jiro Dreams Of Sushi
Ok, so this film isn’t fictional like all the others on our list, but Jiro Dreams of Sushi transcends the documentary genre, and is widely considered to be a classic food film. The film follows 85-year-old, world-famous sushi chef Jiro Ono on his lifelong quest for absolute culinary perfection.
For one man to be so devoted to the food he prepares, you have no doubt that Jiro’s sushi, and the chef himself, are actually as incredible as everyone says. Even if you don’t like raw fish (and that’s fair – it’s not for everyone), just to watch the master at work, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is well worth it.
4. Julie & Julia
Even a non-foodie knows that when it comes to gourmet cooking, one country comes first in everyone’s mind — France. Which is why famed chef Julia Child wrote her best-selling cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” so that anyone, anywhere, could have a fancy French meal. And if anyone can play such a beloved figure as Julia Child, it’s academy award-winning actress Meryl Streep.
Amy Adams plays the “Julie” of Julie & Julia, a woman who bravely attempts to cook her way through the entirety of Julia Child’s cookbook. Whether it’s Julie or Julia on the screen stirring, sprinkling or serving, the dishes look beyond scrumptious, leaving the viewer salivating throughout the movie’s 123 minutes of pure visual deliciousness.
Locked into a life that’s less than lovely, lowly diner waitress Jenna in this 2007 rom-com is looking for a little escape — and so she daydreams. Jenna, played with perfect charm by Keri Russell, spends her days dreaming up pie recipes. And these aren’t your average apple pies we’re talking about.
Aside from using food as a form of therapy (anxiety eaters of the world – we see you!), Jenna obviously has a gift for baking pies. Take for example her “I Hate My Husband Pie” which has both blackberries and raspberries and will have you ready to run down to your nearest diner for a slice of pie for yourself.
Alright, if you’re wondering how an animated children’s movie made our list of must-see movies for foodies, then you haven’t seen Ratatouille. Because if you had, you’d know that very few films have celebrated the uniting powers of good food better than this 2007 Pixar flick worthy of three Michelin stars.
When Remy, a rat with a culinary penchant, realizes he can control young and inexperienced chef Luigi by tugging at tufts of his hair (just go with it) the two team up to create the finest French cuisine anyone’s ever had. Hijinks ensue of course. But animated or not, when Remy is making his first soup, we can practically smell it through the screen.
7. The Trip (The Trip to Italy and The Trip to Spain)
The first of The Trip franchise starts with a fictionalized version of actor Steve Coogan tasked with touring the finest food establishments Northern England has to offer for the newspaper The Observer, and albeit a bit begrudgingly bringing along comedic actor Rob Brydon (also playing a form of himself).
The two spend their time bantering and bickering over some of the most delectable meals you’ve ever seen. Although they’re supposed to be critiquing the food, the comedic duo often end up critiquing each other far more. And when the scallops look that good, and the pasta is so perfectly al dente, what would there be to critique anyway?
8. Eat Drink Man Woman
Before he was marooning a man on a boat with a bengal tiger in The Life of Pi, award-winning director Ang Lee was taking us to Taipei to gather around the table with a Taiwanese family for their weekly Sunday feast. And when we say feast, we mean an absolute culinary feat.
Watching Eat Drink Man Woman’s opening sequence as retired master chef and family patriarch Chu lovingly prepares a banquet for his three daughters, not only will your stomach start rumbling with hunger, but you’ll understand why this film is so frequently cited as the inspiration for so many of the foodie films that followed it.
9. No Reservations
An American remake of the German film Mostly Martha (another one absolutely worth a watch), No Reservations centers around the icy and intimidating head chef Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who gets a new sous-chef she can’t stand. Throw in the unexpected arrival of her young niece Zoe, a picky eater, and Kate’s life in and out of the kitchen has gone haywire.
Eventually, everyone comes together — through food of course. But in the most heartwarming, and hunger-inducing moment, Zoe finally finds something she finds appetizing, and chows down on a big bowl of spaghetti. We recommend watching No Reservations with your own bowl of spaghetti to stave off envy.
10. Big Night
For Italian immigrant brothers Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci), the future of their struggling restaurant has come down to the success of one big night in the 1996 classic foodie film, Big Night. See, the brothers have the chance to turn it all around and so they’re sparing no expense.
The whole movie is just one shot of amazing looking Italian food after another, but it’s the benefit concert the brothers are hosting, that gives us the most satisfying scene. They prepare an ambitious dish called the timpano, and when they slice into it well, as their rival shouts, it’s so good he could kill them.
11. Mystic Pizza
If you ever find yourself in Mystic, Connecticut, might we recommend getting a slice at Mystic Pizza? Taglined as “a slice of heaven,” this pizza is so good it inspired the 1988 coming-of-age movie Mystic Pizza, about the lives and loves of three waitresses working at the eponymous pizza shop.
Starring Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor, there’s not more than a few moments without a shot of a freshly made pizza being taken out of the oven, sliced and served. And the entire time we’re teased with tales of a super secret tomato sauce recipe — we’re still wondering what makes Mystic Pizza so amazing!?
A bad tempered, unpredictable chef (Bradley Cooper) single handedly destroyed his own career. Now, he’s coming back for another helping, trying to open a three Michelin star restaurant in London. And as one of the characters in Burnt describes it, “if you manage to get three [Michelin stars] … you are Yoda.”
In Burnt, audiences are not only treated to the sight of Bradley Cooper donning a chef’s uniform, but they also get a glimpse into what it’s (maybe) like behind the scenes of some of the world’s nicest restaurants. And although his demands for perfection make him near-impossible to work for, the dishes he serves up look darn delicious.
13. The Hundred-Foot Journey
There’s food and there’s Helen Mirren with a French accent, could we really ask for anything more? In The Hundred-Foot Journey the Kadams, an Indian family, happens to open their restaurant Maison Mumbai right across the street from a Michelin star restaurant, owned by Mirren’s character Madame Mallory. Quickly, self-taught culinary enthusiast Hassan Kadam’s cooking starts drawing crowds.
After a scene wherein Kadam makes egg cooking look like an extreme sport, and produces one of the most beautiful omelettes we’ve ever seen, he’s asked to join Mallory as her apprentice. The mix of Indian and French cuisines earn Mallory her second Michelin star, and make us hungry as can be.
14. Eat Pray Love
Given the first word of this 2010 box office hit, you know Eat Pray Love has to have some drool-worthy food scenes. Based on the biography of the same name by Liz Gilbert, Julia Roberts plays our author on a year-long journey to re-find herself, and the first step, of course, is food.
Traveling to Italy, Gilbert says goodbye to any worries about weight gain, and indulges on pasta, pizza and gelato. Even a simple antipasto spread looks decadent. If Eat Pray Love leaves you with any lesson, it should be that you always ought to eat the pizza, so what if you go up a pant size? Enjoy yourself!
15. Soul Food
Not even a medical emergency can keep the Joseph sisters from sitting down for their traditional Sunday night family dinner in Soul Food. Because if there’s one thing all these foodie films want us to walk away with (other than a grumbling tummy) it’s the lesson that nothing brings people together like good food.
Family matriarch ‘Big Mama’ Joe knows the secret to cooking, and it’s certainly not about following a recipe. As she says, “Soul food cookin’ is about cooking from the heart.” That’s why the soul food the family sits around the table for looks so plate-licking good – because how could anything made with love ever taste bad?
16. Fried Green Tomatoes
Taking a trip down south of the Mason-Dixon line, Fried Green Tomatoes features frustrated housewife Evelyn (Kathy Bates) finding a new lease on her life through the stories of two women from the 1920s, Idgie and Ruth, and the Alabama diner that served as the setting for their lives.
While we would love to snack on The Whistle Stop Cafe’s signature dish, fried green tomatoes, it’s the food fight scene that is just so so satisfying. We love a tale of female friendship almost as much as we love a film about food, so when you put the two together, it’s guaranteed to be a recipe for success.
17. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory/Charlie and The Chocolate Factory
Sweet tooth lovers of the world unite! Whether you are a fan of the 1971 Gene Wilder original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, or prefer the Tim Burton-directed, Johnny Depp-starring, 2005 remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, these movies are for you!
Nearly everything about the chocolate factory (any child’s ultimate food fantasy) is edible, and especially delicious. Imagine a place where even the wallpaper is sugary sweet? We don’t blame Augustus Gloop for drinking from the chocolate river – could you imagine resisting something so delectably tempting?! If only a lifetime supply of chocolate from Willy Wonka’s factory was real.
18. It’s Complicated
As a successful bakery owner, Jane (Meryl Streep) has her professional life all sorted out, it’s her personal life that’s a little complicated in It’s Complicated. While Jane tries to balance an affair with her ex-husband and a budding relationship with her new architect, the one constant is her beautifully white marble countertops, and the baked goods that decorate them.
Few things will elicit such joy as watching Meryl Streep prepare a batch for chocolate croissants from scratch. Somehow Streep makes it look easy. And when they come steaming out of the oven, we swear the sweet smell of chocolate and butter are wafting through the air.
19. Marie Antoinette
We couldn’t care less whether or not Marie Antoinette actually said “let them eat cake.” We’ll happily put historical accuracy aside for Sofia Coppola’s stylish film Marie Antoinette, in favor of the lavish, and delicious looking display of cream-filled French pastries. Perfectly depicting the extravagance the Queen of France was famous for, those desserts are fit for royalty.
The colorful confections were provided by real-life patisserie Laduree. With locations in 20 different countries, should you succumb to the craving for a pastel pastry while watching Marie Antoinette, you too can have your own pretty pink macaron. Let us all watch this foodie film and of course, eat cake!
20. The Help
No, we are definitely not talking about that scene with the highly suspect chocolate pie (if you’ve seen it, you know exactly what we’re talking about), but while The Help is tackling issues like racism in 1960s Mississippi, it’s also teaching us about Southern food, and how sometimes, it’s all you need to bring people together.
The completely culinarily inept housewife Celia (Jessica Chastain) gets a lesson in cooking from her maid, Minny (Octavia Spencer), and the Southern fried chicken they make is so perfectly crispy you can hear it. Sometimes all you need to break down a person’s prejudices is some good ol’ fashioned fried chicken.
21. Pulp Fiction
Maybe only a true foodie would notice how often food comes up in Quentin Tarantino’s crime romp Pulp Fiction. Between the Royale with cheese, the Big Kahuna burger, and Mia and Vince’s trip to ’50s-themed eatery Jack Rabbit Slim’s, this film is basically an ode to fast food.
While we love watching Samuel L Jackson enjoy a bite of the Big Kahuna burger, it’s Mia’s milkshake that really makes our mouths water. As Vincent is busy wondering what on earth could make a milkshake worth a whopping $5, Mia takes a sip of that cherry topped vanilla milkshake and honestly, has anything ever looked more refreshing or tempting?
Nothing can keep a true Italian from some homemade tomato sauce, not even prison. Since the mafia is all about respect and tradition, it only seems fitting that mobster Paulie would spend his time carefully cutting a clove of garlic paper thin, and with a razor blade no less, in the name of making some marinara.
The gangsters in Goodfellas eat better behind bars than anyone else. As is explained by Henry Hill’s narration, the garlic should “liquify in the pan with just a little oil.” That prison-made marinara (even if Hill says it had too much onion) could beat any jarred sauce from the store any day.
23. When Harry Met Sally…
Alright, we readily admit that this is not a movie expressly about food, but there is one scene from When Harry Met Sally… that everyone remembers — even people who haven’t seen the film can quote this memorable movie moment. We are, of course, talking about when Harry and Sally have lunch at the landmarked Katz’s Deli.
As Harry and Sally have a very, ahem, adult conversation about their dating lives, Sally rather euphorically mimics a woman having a very good time shall we say, all while eating one of the famous deli’s pastrami sandwiches. The pastrami on rye from Katz’s really is that good. We’ll have what she’s having.
24. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
Poor Harold and Kumar, all they want to do is go to White Castle to cure their intense craving for the fast food purveyor’s famous burgers, but a lot of antics along the way almost keep them from their desired (and delicious) destination in Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. Almost.
After a series of insane events delays the munchie-ridden duo from actually reaching White Castle, when they finally get there, we want to be eating a stack of sliders too. The enthusiasm with which they bite into those hard-won burgers couldn’t be more satisfying — just as satiating as a White Castle slider.
25. Uncle Buck
There are pancakes, and then there’s the pancake from Uncle Buck. Let’s set the scene. Beloved comedic actor John Candy plays the titular Uncle Buck, who is preparing a special birthday breakfast for his nephew Miles (played by an adorable nine-year-old Macaulay Culkin).
Uncle Buck makes pancakes so astonishingly enormous, he needs a snow shovel just to flip the flapjacks. When Miles runs down the stairs for his celebratory breakfast, the stack of pancakes is so big that we’re pretty sure there’s an entire stick of butter on top of it. And we can’t even imagine how many gallons of maple syrup they’d need.
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