Food is such a big part of so many cultures; it’s there to mark the special moments in your life and comfort you at low points.
So, it makes sense that food is central to so many films. You might not be able to taste the dishes onscreen, but they delight the senses and are often part of pivotal moments in the story.
These are some of the most iconic food moments in film – just make sure you have popcorn handy when you watch them.
1. Spirited Away
Japanese fantasy film Spirited Away is a cult classic, full of weird and wonderful animated creatures as 10-year-old Chihiro finds herself in an alternate world. Some of the best scenes involve food – such as at the beginning of the movie, when Chihiro’s parents gorge themselves on delicious food they find in the abandoned amusement park and turn into pigs.
However, our favourite food-related part is undoubtedly when No-Face – the spirit with a black body and white mask – is fed insane quantities of food at the bathhouse as he continuously showers the staff with gold. The animation is a pure delight.
It wouldn’t be wise to watch Chocolat on an empty stomach – the whole film is based around Juliette Binoche’s character, Vianne, opening a chocolaterie in a small French town. There’s chocolate galore as Vianne uses the sweet stuff to bond with the uptight townspeople. However, the most iconic moment comes towards the end of the film when the strict village mayor – who hated the chocolate shop – breaks Lent when he realises how delicious chocolate is, eating most of Vianne’s window display and promptly falling asleep.
3. Marie Antoinette
Sofia Coppola’s film about the French queen is all about excess, so it makes sense food plays such a big role. Ms Coppola called upon luxury French bakery Ladurée to make the sweet treats for the film, and pastel cakes, jellies and macarons permeate the action. At one point, Kirsten Dunst as Marie lounges in an elaborate chair with a feathered headdress, dipping her finger into a multi-tiered pale pink cake.
After all, this is the queen who famously said, “Let them eat cake” to the hungry peasants of France (although this could be more myth than fact), so there was no way the film could be without plenty of baked goods.
Staying on the theme of cake is the adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. The evil Miss Trunchbull punishes the children in all kinds of imaginative ways – one of which is making Bruce Bogtrotter eat an entire chocolate cake after he steals a slice. It’s a near-impossible task, but thanks to the encouragement of the other children, Bruce is successful.
5. Saturday Night Fever
If you were ever in any doubt as to the coolest way to eat pizza, just look at John Travolta’s character, Tony Manero, in the opening sequence of Saturday Night Fever. He’s bopping down the street in time to Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees, chomping on two slices of pizza stacked on top of each other.
6. The Lady and the Tramp
If you saw a couple in a restaurant sharing a plate of spaghetti like this you’d probably walk out. But when two animated dogs do it? Simply adorable.
No list about food in film is complete without a mention of Ratatouille. While you might not be thrilled about the idea of a rat cooking your meal, this film would change anyone’s mind. The climax comes when the rat, Remy, whips up a version of ratatouille for a harsh restaurant critic, who loves the dish and gives the restaurant a glowing review.
8. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
Not everything has to be fine dining in films. In fact, the whole premise of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle is based around the duo’s attempts to get to the fast-food joint when they have the munchies. After various escapades, you can almost feel the relief when they finally tuck into their burgers.
9. Julie and Julia
There are plenty of memorable food moments in Julie and Julia – after all, it’s a film about the life of chef Julia Child. Whether it’s beef bourguignon, French onion soup or bruschetta, the movie is full of mouth-watering dishes.
The food moment that really sticks out isn’t necessarily the most delicious one: it’s where Julia (played by Meryl Streep) chops a veritable mountain of onions to hone her technique. According to a food stylist on the film, these were actually real onions – not props.
Have you ever re-created a dish you saw in a film? Can you think of any other scenes that you would add to the list?
– With PA
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