12 of the best food and cooking movies to get the popcorn out for
Dim the lights and pile the nachos high – we’ve rounded up our favourite food-themed movies for kids and adults.
Food has played a role in some of the most iconic films, scenes and TV shows of all time, from Carmela Sopranos’ ziti pasta through to the burger-obsessed Pulp Fiction characters. Here, the Good Food team (with a little help from our Instagram community) bring you our definitive bucket list of films for food lovers to see. We’ve included family favourites, classic blockbusters and indie gems.Read on to discover our best ever food and cooking films.
Before you dim the lights and hit play, make a bowl of fancy flavoured popcorn and your favourite film snacks to keep you sustained for the duration. For more like this, see our guide to the best TV food moments of all time, from The Bear to Fawlty Towers and check out our review to the best popcorn makers to get your movie snacks sorted.
12 of the best films about food
John Favreau is the writer, director and star of this feel-good comedy about a chef who quits his restaurant and buys a food truck after a viral bust-up with a food critic. The film follows Favreau’s character Carl as he rebuilds his career and family, with a killer supporting cast including Scarlett Johansson and Dustin Hoffman. An ode to the street food movement with an ace soundtrack to boot.
Cast: John Favreau, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johanssen
Running time: 114 minutes
Supersize Me (2004)
This grotesque look at the fast food industry was a low-fi, high-impact production by American filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. Showing true dedication to his art, Spurlock ate nothing but McDonalds for 30 days and documented his stomach-turning experience. Memorable scenes include a doctor telling Spurlock his fast food diet has caused his liver to turn to paté. Shocking, funny, memorable and game-changing – just don’t expect this to be as appetite-sparking as the other films in this list.
Cast: Morgan Spurlock, Daryl Isaacs, Chemeeka Walker
Running time: 100 minutes
Amazon Prime (from £2.49)
Julie and Julia (2009)
Meryl Streep is magnificent as the eccentric American cookery writer Julia Childs. When blogger Julie Powell (Amy Adams) commits to making all 524 recipes from Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she embarks on a culinary adventure of discovery played out in tandem with Julia’s own journey. Written and directed by the unmistakable Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally), expect sharp wit and bittersweet moments.
Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci
Running time: 123 minutes
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Chocolate rivers, lickable wallpaper, golden eggs and scrumdiddlyumptious bars – the world of Willy Wonka’s factory has charmed children for generations. This 70s adaptation of the Roald Dahl book pips the 2005 Tim Burton version in our opinion. Gene Wilder is on-point as the title character and the soundtrack of nostalgic earworms including The Oompa Loompa Song and I’ve Got A Golden Ticket add to the retro charm. A must-watch family film for kids of all ages.
Cast: Gene Wilder, Peter Ostrum, Jack
Running time: 100 minutes
Amazon Prime (from £3.49)
Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out (1989)
Nick Parks’ stop-motion clay hero Wallace and his pet dog Gromit have been entertaining kids since the 80s, with five films and several shorts under their plasticine belts. In this early escapade, Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis in a distinct Yorkshire brogue) realises he's run out of cheese on Boxing Day. In a show of dedication worthy of true respect, they set off to retrieve some from the biggest block of cheese in the universe – the moon.
Cast: Peter Sallis, Peter Hawkins
Running time: 23 minutes
A Pixar great, this animated kids film about a rat called Remy is packed with smart jokes for parents. Remy was bestowed with a refined sense of smell and taste and dreams of emulating Parisian chef Auguste Gusteau. When he winds up in Gusteau’s kitchen, he forms an alliance with bin boy Linguine and starts to work towards realising his culinary dream.
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Cast: Patton Oswalt, Brad Garrett, Ian Holm
Running time: 111 minutes
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
This CGI film based on a novel of the same name is centred around an amateur scientist, Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader). When he invents a machine that creates food weather, a cascade of cheeseburgers and spaghetti rain on his home town and chaos ensues.
Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Farris, Bruce Campbell
Running time: 90 minutes
This Japanese comedy is a self-billed ‘ramen western’ that charts the search for the perfect noodle recipe. When two truck drivers stop at a roadside ramen joint, they agree to teach the cafe’s owner, the eponymous Tampopo, how to reach noodle perfection. A true hidden gem that you won’t find on your regular streaming platforms, it’s filled with foodie moments. An accomplished and innovative second film from then-starting-out director Juzo Itami that's worth seeking out.
Cast: Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kōji Yakusho
Running time: 114 minutes
Babette's Feast (1987)
Based on a story by Out of Africa author Karen Blixen, this Danish film is based in remote Jutland. When two religious sisters take in a political refugee from Paris, Babette Hersant, she becomes their cook for 14 years. In a twist of fate, Babette wins the lottery but instead of returning to France, she stays on in the community and sets upon creating a grand feast in tribute to the passing of the village patriarch. An Oscar-nominated vintage classic that places food as a supporting role rather than the star.
Cast: Stéphane Audran, Bodil Kjer, Birgitte Federspiel
Running time: 103 minutes
Big Night (1996)
Films with an Italian-American bent can usually be relied upon to deliver on the food front but Big Night does so with aplomb. Set in 1950s New Jersey, brothers Primo (Tony Shaloub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci) are at the helm of the failing Paradise restaurant. In a last ditch attempt to turn around its fortunes, the brothers plan an epic evening of dining.
Cast: Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci, Isabella Rossellini
Running time: 109 minutes
Bao is a charming Pixar short film tackling a mother’s experience with empty nest syndrome. Written and directed by Domee Shi, it took home an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the 2018 Academy Awards. The plot centres around a Chinese-Canadian woman who makes a steamed bun that comes alive. Kids and adults alike will love this story of parenthood, family and, most importantly, food.
Cast: Sindy Lau, Tim Zhang, Daniel Kailin
Running time: 8 minutes
Which food film do you love? Share your recommendations with us in the comments below...