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15 Movies About Food Every Foodie Will Love

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"Food, glorious food," sing the hungry orphans in "Oliver!," who tire of "the same old gruel" and dream of "three banquets a day." Movie audiences have joined such a chorus for well over a century, as we've been treated to a cornucopia of mouthwatering cinematic feasts, food served both fast and slow that keeps us ever so "epicurious." We've watched John Travolta scarf down on double-stacked slices of pizza in "Saturday Night Fever," or downing a milkshake in "Pulp Fiction." We saw Chunk and Sloth bond over a Baby Ruth bar, Harold and Kumar munching on White Castle, Ralphie and family try exotic Chinese food for Christmas, or even a tramp and a lady dog sharing a bowl of pasta has had us all proclaim, "I'll have what she's having."

Some films inspire hunger more than others, with the sights and sounds of a kitchen or dining room table awakening our senses (except for smell, while we await the industry adopting Odorama). These images enrich our lives, and prove that it's best to live to eat, and not the other way around. We present to you 15 movies about food every foodie will love, plus a recipe inspired by each film, with as many overcooked food puns as we could stir up. Bon appétit!

Babette's Feast (Babettes Gæstebud) (1987)

Based on the 1958 short story "Babette's Feast" by "Out of Africa" writer Isak Dinesen, director Gabriel Axel transports us to a remote part of Denmark in the 19th century where a pious pastor keeps his daughters as spinsters, and a French refugee named Babette comes on the scene and slowly awakens everyone's taste buds. As 14 years pass, Babette has the opportunity to return to France but instead sets upon preparing and executing the grandest banquet anyone around these parts had ever seen or tasted. The menu consists of such luscious entrees as Potage à la Tortue, Blinis Demidoff, and Cailles en Sarcophage.

When the title feast is feasted upon in the 1987 film, a General boasts in a toast that a chef has "the ability to transform a dinner into a kind of love affair. A love affair that made no distinction between bodily appetite and spiritual appetite." Perhaps no line in the Academy Award-winning best foreign picture (a first for Denmark) sums up the heaven-on-earth dinner that engulfs half its running time. In 2016, the cinematic supper club KinoVino was inspired to host a screening paired with a "feast," featuring iconic dishes from the film. Stanley Tucci (no stranger to this article) is a big fan of "Babbette" as well.

Recipe — Babette's Cailles en Sarcophage

Big Night (1996)

The promise of musical maestro Louis Prima swinging by Paradise (a gem of a Jersey Shore Italian restaurant) to create buzz about it and in turn save it from dire straits, sets the kitchen ablaze in 1996's "Big Night." Brothers Primo and Secondo (Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci, who also co-wrote the screenplay and directed) bicker meticulously over everything as they ⁠— with assistance from a quiet Marc Anthony ⁠— piece together the perfect menu for an unforgettable evening. Vino flows freely for guests Ian Holm, Isabella Rossellini, Minnie Driver, Allison Janney, and Campbell Scott (the other co-director), as they chow down on fish soup, risotto, and il timpano.

Primo proclaims that "to eat good food is to be close to God," and ever since audiences started eating up "Big Night" when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, the film has been seen as a holy culinary work of art. The 1950s-set movie helped to influence and shape modern Italian restaurant cooking in the late 1990s, with Mario Batali watching it over 40 times and calling it "a cultural milestone." On its 20th anniversary, Tucci said the film "made me much more interested in food than I'd ever been," adding "this made me want to explore food more, and it's become a huge part of my life. I think about it as much, if not more, than I do acting. It has almost taken me over."

Recipe — Timpano alla "Big Night" from "The Tucci Cookbook"

Chocolat (2000)

Writer Joanne Harris said her 1999 novel "Chocolat" was born "between the beautiful chocolate shops of western France and the close little Yorkshire community that shaped so much of my childhood: a story, not just of chocolate, but of people living together in a place formed by traditions; of insiders and outsiders; of folklore and religion; tolerance and cruelty; feasting, fasting, and family." When whipping up her heroine chocolatière Vianne Rocher, she actually had Juliette Binoche's face in mind, and when it was turned into a Lasse Hallström film only a year later, Binoche brought much sweetness to the role and the lives of characters portrayed by Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, and the director's wife Lena Olin.

The 1959-set gastromance "Chocolat" was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including best picture and best actress for Binoche's work as the new-to-town confectioner that tempts the indulgences of a rigidly religious French village during the 40 days of Lent. Binoche did her homework by staying at the house of writer Harris, as well as working with chocolate specialist Walter Bienz, but didn't get to eat too much while filming, "because of continuity we weren't allowed to pick up chocolate off the set, and it was melting under the lights, but I had some very good chocolate in my dressing room!"

Recipes — Harris was later inspired by her own work to release a full cookbook "The Little Book of Chocolat," which includes the recipe for "Brioche Juliette."

Deli Man (2014)

In 2014's bubbly documentary "Deli Man" you get the likes of Jerry Stiller, Larry King, Fyvush Finkel, Alan Dershowitz, and other fellow noshers lamenting about the glory days of the American delicatessen while kibitzing about their love of pastrami, corned beef, pickles, blintzes, stuffed cabbage, and Jewish penicillin (a.k.a. matzo ball soup). Director Erik Greenberg Anjou examines the rise of the deli as a way of feeding Kosher-observant immigrant Jews while assimilating into American life, which hit a height in the 1930s with over 1,500 eateries in New York City alone. As the decades passed, eating habits changed, families left for the suburbs, and the deli fell on hard times, with one closing after another.

Luckily for us all, there are still deli men out there smoking meats, over-stuffing their sandwiches, and keeping a rich ethnic tradition from drying out. Seats are pulled up as we schlep from coast to coast at institutions like Katz's, 2nd Avenue Deli, Nate'n Al's, and Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen in Houston. The proprietor of the latter, the affable mensch Ziggy Gruber, becomes the star of the doc as we follow this third-generation deli man's torch-carrying, both inside and outside his noshery.

Recipe — Ziggy Gruber's Matzo Ball Soup

Eat Drink Man Woman (飲食男女) (1994)

One year after he cut the cake with his surprise 1993 hit "The Wedding Banquet," Ang Lee rounded out his "Father Knows Best" trilogy with his flavorful Academy Award-nominated 1994 romantic comedy "Eat Drink Man Woman." The Taiwanese-based film about a widowed, mostly retired master chef and his three modern unmarried daughters (one who works at Wendy's) takes its title, as Lee says, "from Confucius, who said that food and sex were the basic desires of human nature."

From the opening scene, the tone is set for familial nourishment with a weekly Sunday night dinner, which helps the four come together and navigate life's (and love life) ups and downs. Lee and company hired several chefs and consultants, well versed in Taiwanese cuisine, to prepare 100 dishes for the film, with only 30 making it into the feature. Famished New York audiences at the time were lucky enough to have the option to head over to Shun Lee West, who would help 14 of those dishes leap off the silver screen, onto a lazy Susan, and into their mouths.

Recipe — Stir-Fried Taiwanese Clams

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

Richard C. Morais' 2008 debut novel "The Hundred-Foot Journey," about the distance (both physically and culturally) between a mom and pop Indian restaurant and its rival haute cuisine establishment in the picturesque south of France, was such a searing property that it prompted "Color Purple" people Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg to make a 2014 movie reservation. Sprinkle in "Chocolat" director Lasse Hallström, raised eyebrows, sharp barbs from Helen Mirren and Om Puri, and budding chefs with bubbling romantic interests (Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon) gives you have a recipe for the perfect PG movie the whole family will find appetizing.

Spices of the earth sift together quite well in "Journey," as we are treated to fresh ingredients from outdoor markets, pretty afternoon picnics, pressure cooking in the kitchen, and piquant dishes serving up smiles. Renowned chefs Anil Sharma, Floyd Cardoz, Vincent Meslin, and Lenaic Jourden were brought in as consultants on the film to sharpen the knife skills of the actors and bring a dash of authenticity to the food on display. Two hours later, one will be sure to make any distanced journey to satisfy the hunger that was just built up.

Recipe — Coconut Curry

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

When David Gelb set out to make a documentary about sushi, he wanted to focus on a handful of restaurants but realized that he could capture everything he wanted to convey through the first Japanese chef to earn a three Michelin star rating, Jiro Ono. Gelb told Independent Lens that he "was also very moved by his personal story, philosophy, and family story. I realized that there was an opportunity here to make a film about so much more than sushi."

Gelb and crew spent two separate months in the chef's 10-seated restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro (すきやばし次郎), tucked inside a Tokyo subway station, and came out with 2011's "Jiro Dreams of Sushi." Philip Glass compositions coupled with slow-motion close-ups of careful food prep, presentation, and customer enjoyment "creates an 'emotional taste' in your mind," as Gelb added, "you respect the sushi because you've seen what it's gone through to get there." Jiro's dedication to his craft is unyielding (he's still going strong today at 96), as he says in the doc, "I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I'll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is." He's living the dream, while the rest of us dream of getting an impossible seat at his table.

Recipe — How Jiro's Protégé Makes Perfect Sushi in Five Steps

Julie & Julia (2009)

Julia Child was a large enough icon of the culinary arts to warrant her own feature film, but her life story splits time with that of Julie Powell's in Nora Ephron's 2009 bi-biopic, "Julie & Julia." Powell took on a daring project, drumming up all 524 of Child's recipes from her landmark cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in her tiny apartment, all within 365 days. Say what you will about Ms. Powell (Child apparently told her confidant/editor Judith Jones, "I don't think she's a serious cook"), but her book that chronicles these trifles as well as the film brought renewed interest in "The French Chef" and introduced her to a whole new generation.

Amy Adams took on the thankless role of Julie, who struggles her way through the cookbook but finds her path forward dish after savory dish. More fun is had watching Meryl Streep pitch her voice mighty high and standing tall as Julia (she got an Academy Award nomination for her troubles), while "Big Night" star Stanley Tucci stands by her side as supportive husband Paul Child. Your mouth will water watching chicken being prepared, lobster boiling, and seeing what delight comes out next from the Le Creuset cookware. Laughs are served as well, and perhaps a tear or two, unrelated to all those onions being diced.

Recipe — Boeuf Bourguignon

Ratatouille (2007)

Disney has a long history of animating food that looks good enough to sink one's human teeth into, from the kissy spaghetti and meatballs of "Lady and the Tramp" to the feast from "Mickey and the Beanstalk" to Tiana's beignets from "The Princess and the Frog." No movie from the house of Mouse makes the stomach grumble more than "Ratatouille," though, as directed by Brad Bird (taking over for Jan Pinkava). The 2007 Pixar film follows a Parisian rat named Remy out of the sewer and into a kitchen he doesn't belong in, Cyrano de Bergerac-ing his way into accomplishing his big chef dreams.

The animators' sharp and colorful food shapes are delightfully paired with a solid line crew of voice talent: Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnet, and the great Patton Oswalt as Remy. Bird ratted out Patton after hearing him do a comedy bit on Black Angus Steakhouse, and because "he was so volatile about food and so passionate and funny about it, you know, it just struck me: 'That's the character.'" "Ratatouille" cooked up 5 Academy Award nominations, and walked away with an Oscar for best animated feature. It also inspired a new 4D ride at Epcot in Disney World that emits the "pungent, actual smell of wafting cheese."

Recipe — Remy's Ratatouille

The Search For General Tso (2014)

If you've ever wondered who General Tso (of chicken fame) was, or how Chinese food came to be one of the most ubiquitous of American take-out cuisines, then the 2014 documentary "The Search for General Tso" is for you. Using producer/writer Jennifer 8. Lee's book "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles" as a launching pad, director Ian Cheney takes us on a sizzling 71-minute "wok" across the globe, dropping by Tso's hometown in the Hunan province, tracing the dish's origins to Taiwan, and exploring how immigrants from China brought their recipes to the United States and Americanized them to better suit western palettes.

There are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonald's, Burger King, and KFC combined, and "Tso" chops its stix in many of them. From one Chinatown to another, from Arizona to Missouri, to even some Cajun flavoring in New Orleans, we are not only treated to endless sights of delectable steaming piles of orange-browned chicken, but stories of families chasing the American dream, and in turn reminding us what makes America so great: A melting pot of international flavors, and a love of eating them all up.

Recipe — General Tso's Chicken (naturally)

Soul Food (1997)

When shopping around a movie based on his cherished generational tradition of gathering around the dinner table, George Tillman Jr. didn't find many takers for a "dialogue-oriented, character-driven drama about families." Babyface Edmonds came on board to produce the film and the jam-packed soundtrack, and the modestly budgeted "Soul Food" became a sleeper hit, serving an under-served audience, and even giving George Clooney's "The Peacemaker" a run for its box office money.

"Soul Food" follows a Chicago family (including Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, and Mekhi Phifer) and how their personal issues and divisions amongst one another dissipate as they come together and break bread for Sunday dinner, just like their dearly departed Big Mama Joe (Irma P. Hall) would have wanted, and did for over 40 years. Tillman brought in chef Freddie Petros as a food stylist for the film's four big dinner scenes, taking great care to show off dishes from different eras, and getting the lighting just right to illuminate the colorful display of candied yams, collard greens, fried chicken, and sweet potato pies. Too many takes led to some of the female leads complaining "about putting on a few pounds." Sounds like a good production problem to have!

Recipes — Vivica A. Fox's Smothered & Covered Chops • Jeffrey D. Sams' Banana Pudding • Vanessa L. Williams' Sprite Pound Cake

Super Size Me (2004)

Eating McDonald's for three square (boxed) meals a day x 30 has outcomes that are rather predictable, but novice filmmaker Morgan Spurlock took up the gimmicky challenge to see what the results were while conveying a message about America's outsized eating habits and poor diets. Spurlock's food, folks, and fun flight titled "Super Size Me" started with an Egg McMuffin, and continued with endless McStomach Aches, McGas, McSweats, and McTwitches. Eating his way through their entire menu over a month (which nutritionists said was the equivalent of what you should eat over eight years), he consumed 30 pounds of sugar, 12 pounds of fat, gained 24.5 pounds, endured depression, headaches, high cholesterol, and a fatty liver.

The look was not so good for Spurlock's body, nor McDonald's relations with the public and the Academy Award-nominated documentary achieved its goal of pushing the conversation out in the open. Because of the bad press, the house of Golden Arches phased out Super Sizes (originally introduced in 1987) and phased in healthier options. Spurlock went on to a busy career with a camera tackling many other topics and would take another 12 whole years before he dared to enter a Mcdonald's again, coming full circle in 2017 with his sorta-sequel "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken," and experiencing McPTSD for doing so.

Recipe — Big Mac Sauce

Tampopo (タンポポ) (1985)

A slurping good time awaits in the 1985 spaghetti ramen western "Tampopo," written and directed by Juzo Itami. The title takes its name from its lead character (translates to "dandelion"), a struggling/widowed roadside ramen shop owner who also has to look out for her bullied young son. Brutal honesty and utter kindness from trucker strangers (including Ken Watanabe) gets things cooking, as they help to push Tampopo (the director's wife, Nobuko Miyamoto) into making the perfect bowl of ramen and one of the best chefs in all of Tokyo.

Itami's film also serves as a commentary on the competitive nature of the Japanese people, where "only a 100% fulfillment will do." He and his wife and collaborator Miyamoto took great care to bring authenticity to "Tampopo," even doing key pre-production research by visiting 10 restaurants to see how they made their noodles. There are noodles and broth aplenty in this underdog story, as well as other Japanese delights (many novel at the time to mid-'80s American audiences), and some sentimental and sensual use of eggs will surely crack a smile or three.

Recipes — 5 Tampopo-Inspired Dishes

The Trip (movie series, 2010-2020)

One of the most enjoyable movie franchises of the 21st century has nothing to do with Hobbits, Jason Bourne, fast and furious car racing, or a boy Wizard. It has to do with two self-deprecating, witty British blokes who travel across Europe, enjoying fine wine and dining while audiences enjoy their dueling impressions. Those blokes are Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, who play exaggerated versions of themselves, reuniting with their "Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story" director Michael Winterbottom for a quartet of "The Trip" films.

The original began as a 6 episode BBC TV series, which was edited down into a 2010 feature film that followed Coogan and Brydon around the idyllic English countryside, feasting on divinely modern English cuisine, and improvising all along the way (complete with Michael Caine impersonations). From there, they followed in Percy Blysshe Shelley and Lord Byron's footsteps and returned for seconds in 2014's "The Trip To Italy," then whetted their appetites in "The Trip To Spain" (Moors begat Roger Moore) in 2017, and then made like Odysseus for their supposed final course, 2020's "The Trip To Greece." All four films tickle the senses and the funny bone, giving a picture-perfect visual postcard of these gorgeous European countries' sights, sounds, and dishes well served. They have even inspired people to take their own trips based on the "Trips."

Recipe — Sticky Toffee Pudding

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Candy is quite dandy in the true cinematic version of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," and it was the one run with pure imagination by Gene Wilder (nothing personal Johnny Depp or Timothée Chalamet). The 1971 Mel Stuart film, based on Roald Dahl's 1964 children's book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," was financed by Quaker Oats and doubled as an advertisement to sell chocolate bars, and 50-years later remains the ultimate sweet treat of a film.

Every kid and adult wishes they landed a golden ticket that led inside the dreamer of dreams Wonka's factory, filled with chocolate rivers and lickable wallpaper, but alas we have to settle living vicariously through the sweet teeth of winners Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, and Charlie Bucket. Inventive names and delicious-sounding flavors fill every inch of The Candy Man's Candyland, leaving us to dream of what a Scrumdidilyumptious Bar, snozzberries, fizzy-lifting drinks, and everlasting Gobstoppers could actually taste like.

Recipe — Wonka's Three-Course Dinner Chewing Gum