Menus & Entertaining

The best foodie movies of all time

By: Signe Langford

Author: Canadian Living

Menus & Entertaining

The best foodie movies of all time

By: Signe Langford
True foodies are insatiable. We just can't seem to get enough of our favourite subject. We're always eating, cooking, or drooling over the latest cookbook. We devour agri-business exposés, or a chef's juicy tell-all. We watch endless hours of the Food Network and find other food-obsessed folks to talk food with -- ad nauseum. We visit grocery stores and fine food shops the way others go to museums or zoos. And by that I mean, we wander the aisles, mouths agape, eyes wide, caressing jars, squeezing fruit, and sniffing herbs.

We carry on like starved victims when a rare treat -- a shaving of fresh black truffle, a few drops of sauternes, or a slice of Iberico ham -- comes our way. And there's one more thing that really gets us going; food- and restaurant-themed movies. I say, 'gets us going', because we either love 'em or hate 'em! 

I spent 10 years in restaurant kitchens, so when I come across a badly researched and totally unrealistic restaurant kitchen movie, I get cranky. Really cranky. Likewise, when someone does something right, as they did in -- wait for it -- Disney's Ratatouille, I eat it up!

Here's a roundup of some of the best, silliest, weirdest, and tastiest foodie movies ever made. Pop some corn, melt some butter -- real butter! -- and settle in for some viewing that'll whet your appetite. And hey, you could even make a party of it! Cook a meal or organize a potluck based on the foods in the film you will be screening for your guests. Fun!

Eating Raoul (1982, comedy)
You'll need an open mind and a fairly strong stomach for this one. Let's just say it involves murder, robbery, and a tasty, if unconventional, way to dispose of the bodies -- and all this in an effort to finance the opening of a restaurant.

Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978, comedy)
Part comedy, part mystery, in this film someone is murdering the best chefs in Europe and they are  doing so in the same manner as that chef's particular speciality. Watch it to see what I mean.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover
 (1989 artsy drama)
You don't have to be a Peter Greenaway fan to really enjoy this one; you just need a bit of an open mind! It's not for the under-14 set, but, it is an experience -- like you might have picked up from the title, there's plenty of food, crime, and sex.


Page 1 of 3 -- Discover more food movies not to be missed on page 2

The Kitchen (2006, documentary)
Because don't we all want to know what goes on behind those doors?

Super Size Me
(2004, documentary)
A must see, especially if you or your kids visit the drive through more than you should. It's a fascinating, funny, and sometimes terrifying experiment in eating a diet of fast food—three times a day—for a month. Spoiler alert: it nearly kills him.

No Reservations
(2007, romantic comedy)
OK, this is one of those kitchen movies that make me cranky—no one looks that pretty slaving over a hot stove—but hey, I'm jaded. You might like it!

My Dinner with André (1981, drama)
An intense way to make a movie. One scene, two characters, a meal and a conversation. It's a fantastic food movie for quiet contemplation.

La Grande Bouffe (1973, comedy drama)
X-rated and very art-film French. A group of wealthy gourmands retreat to a villa to literally eat themselves to death. An acquired taste to be sure. And not for the kiddies.

Babette's Feast
(Babettes Gaestebud, 1987, drama)
A refugee chef from France prepares a feast to end all feasts for a group of dry and dour puritanical isolated villagers in 19th century Denmark. It's truly lovely to watch the wine and food work its magic with these people who seem to never smile… until….

Tampopo
(1985 comedy)
A fun and sometimes unsettling movie about, well, noodles, and a Japanese John Wayne—trucker Goro—who helps Tampopo make the best noodles she can. Instant Ramen, anyone?

Like Water for Chocolate
(Como agua para chocolate,1992, drama)
Follow the romantic story of these star-crossed lovers in old Mexico and one young woman's bewitching way with food.

Chocolat
(2000, drama)
Johnny Depp, chocolate, France. A bottle of tawny port, a box of dark truffles, and a girls night in. 'Nuff said.

The Mistress of Spices (2005, drama)
Mystical and magical—Bollywood meets Hollywood—this movie explores the power of love, tradition, and spices.

Ratatouille (2007, animated comedy)
One of my favourite food movies of all time. OK, maybe I'm not that jaded after all. And once you get past the idea of a talking, cooking rat, the professional kitchen details are spot on!


Page 2 of 3 -- See what made our list of unforgettable food scenes on page 3

And then there are movies with unforgettable food scenes. Some are laugh out loud funny, some are X-rated, and others leave an indelible mark on our psyches.

Tom Jones (1963, comedy)
The lusty eating scene is famous!

Ordinary People (1980, drama)
he French toast scene. How brilliantly this film captures in this one moment, all that's broken in this family.

Kramer vs Kramer (1979, drama)
Ice cream as vehicle for the power struggle between parent and child. Very nicely done, very suspenseful. Oh, and there's also a pretty neat French toast scene in this one too.  

Withnail and I (1987, comedy)
Cake and the finest wines in all humanity. An hilarious drunken craving for cake in a very genteel English tea-room. A rare film from late Beatle, George Harrison.

9-1/2 Weeks
(1986, thriller)
OK, looks like fun, but what I want to know is: who's cleaning up the mess?

Splash (1984, comedy)
Land-loving mermaid Daryl Hannah's lobster-eating scene alone, is worth a second look at this film with the very funny, late, great John Candy.

A Christmas Story (1983, comedy)
I still have to cover my eyes when the neighbours marauding hounds devour the holiday bird, and I can't help but get all choked up at the final scene of "Chinese turkey", aka a Peking duck, despite the roasted bird's decapitation scene.

Five Easy Pieces
(1970, drama)
Such a bad boy, oh Jack, can't you just please stick to the menu?

Barefoot in the Park (1967 romantic comedy)
One of the sweetest movies ever!

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002, comedy)
Greeks and food, it's self-explanatory really. This is just one of many, many very funny food related scenes. Spanakopita! Opa!

When Harry Met Sally
(1989, comedy)
And of course, I'll have what she's having!

I know I've not listed them all. There are just so many. Why not post a comment and tell us about your favourite food movies or food scenes?

Be sure to check out our photo gallery of fabulous food movies!


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The best foodie movies of all time

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