The preparation, presentation, and eating of food has been the subject of many great films. Because it’s such a universal and primal act, eating can be an excellent backdrop to drama and comedy. Whether it’s just a brief scene or the main premise of a film, everyone’s gotta eat. This truth can manifest in delicious, but also disgusting ways.
Cut yourself a slice of pie, pour a nice Chianti, and check out some of cinema’s greatest gastronomic moments…
“And you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris? […] They call it a ‘Royale with Cheese.'” — Vincent Vega
In just a short scene of dialogue, Quentin Tarantino managed to convey an easy camaraderie between two men, Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield. Just two guys, talking about burgers, hash bars, and traveling in Europe. It makes the execution that occurs in the following scene all the more jarring.
Silence of the Lambs
“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” — Hannibal Lecter
I know what you’re thinking. “This is not what I signed up for! I wanted food porn, not cannibalism!” Well, it may have been a human liver, but it was probably beautifully prepared.
What About Bob?
“Leo, I see salt and pepper. Is there a salt substitute?” — Bob Wiley
This classic Bill Murray comedy has a lot of great scenes as Dr. Leo Marvin, played by Richard Dreyfuss, is slowly but surely broken down by his patient, Bob Wiley. As Bob ingratiates himself into the Marvin family, Dreyfuss becomes increasingly unhinged. The annoyance at Bob’s exuberant eating is just the first step towards madness.
“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” — Clemenza
Their priorities are clearly in order; it’s a sin to waste a good cannoli. I’m also assigning “Honorable Mention” status to Clemenza’s pasta sauce cooking session. Not just good entertainment, but also informational!
Eat Drink Man Woman
“Eat, drink, man, woman. Basic human desires. Can’t avoid them. All my life, that’s all I’ve ever done. It pisses me off. Is that all there is to life?” — Chu
Ang Lee’s lush film about a man, his three daughters, and the tense Sunday dinners they share is truly a work of art. While watching the opening scene as Chu prepars the Sunday feast, you may be tempted to peruse the take-out menu. However, anything you order will be sorely disappointing because it was definitely not created with the same care and talent.
“Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having An Affair Pie… You smash blackberries and raspberries into the chocolate crust.” — Jenna Hunterson
Before she was a Soviet spy on The Americans, Keri Russell starred in Waitress, a sweet indie film about a pregnant woman stuck in a bad marriage who finds salvation through beautiful pies and an affair with Nathan Fillion. Each pie has an applicable title (“I Hate My Husband Pie”), and each looks more delicious than the last.
Julie & Julia
“What is it you really like to do?” — Paul Child
“Eat!” — Julia Child
Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep are wonderful together as Paul and Julia Child. As Paul encourages his wife to pursue her love of food through culinary school, the cooking legend’s story unfolds. Chopping onions has never felt so triumphant.
Cool Hand Luke
“My boy says he can eat 50 eggs. He can eat 50 eggs!” — Dragline
After winning the respect of the prison leader, Dragline, through fist fights and poker, prisoner Luke Jackson gains the idolization of his fellow inmates after making and winning a bet to eat 50 hard-boiled eggs. Only someone as naturally awesome as Paul Newman could make something so gross seem so cool.
“I am not drinking any f*cking Merlot!” — Miles
Alexander Payne’s ode to oenophilia features Paul Giamatti in a breakout role as Miles, a depressed wine snob. Over the course of the film, Miles goes to great lengths to help his friend Jack, but he’s not drinking any f*cking Merlot.
“I should kill you. This is so f*cking good, I should kill you.” — Pascal
Big Night stars Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci as immigrant brothers trying to run an authentic Italian restaurant, with less than stellar results. As they struggle against American tastes and compromise, they cash in all their chips on “one big night” to save the business. I’m not entirely sure what timpano is, but with that kind of reaction, I definitely want a slice.
“Soylent Green is people!” — Thorn
In a post-apocalyptic world where the food supply has almost run out, and the world has been ravaged by the greenhouse effect, Charlton Heston’s Thorn is the unlucky person who discovers the true nature of what’s in their synthetic food substance. After watching the machine churn human bodies into Soylent Green, viewers may think twice about where their food comes from.