The 50 best food-on-film moments of all time

Break out the silverware for TONY's list of great grub caught on camera.

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  • Food-on-film: Ratatouille (2007): Anton Ego tastes the ratatouille

  • Food-on-film: Paid in Full (2002): Chinese and champagne

  • Food-on-film: The Trip (2010): "The Same Conversation"

  • Food-on-film: A Christmas Story (1983): Chinese "turkey"

  • Food-on-film: Big Night (1996): Timpano

  • Food-on-film: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984): Snakes for dinner

  • Food-on-film: Coffee & Cigarettes (2003): Coffee delirium

  • Food-on-film: I Am Love (2009): Prawns

  • Food-on-film: L.A. Story (1991): Coffee with a lemon twist

  • Food-on-film: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971): Fizzy Lifting Drinks

Food-on-film: Ratatouille (2007): Anton Ego tastes the ratatouille

Ratatouille (2007): Anton Ego tastes the ratatouille

Ratatouille (2007): Anton Ego tastes the ratatouille

If you can get past the knee-jerk ickiness of rats in the kitchen, Pixar's brilliant rodent romp is a delight for gastronomes. The climactic scene, in which the jaded critic Anton Ego finally bites into Remy's ratatouille, is a beautiful paean the transporting power of food: In a single moment, Ego's eyes widen and the rest of the restaurant drops away as he's transported back to his childhood home in the countryside, where his mother is cooking for him. We eat in search of these ephiphanal bites, capable of triggering emotional responses that have as much to do with how a dish makes you feel as how it tastes. Watch the clip.

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The Trip (2010): "The Same Conversation"

The Trip (2010): "The same conversation"

Michael Winterbottom's uproarious road movie follows comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (playing fully believable versions of themselves) on a gastronomic tour of Northern England. As the two friends trade impersonations and personal jabs over plate after plate of haute British cuisine, the director brilliantly portrays the ennui of fine dining. In one of our favorite scenes, Coogan and Brydon riff on the repetitive nature of their nightly feasts. Watch the clip.

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A Christmas Story (1983): Chinese "Turkey"

A Christmas Story (1983): Chinese "turkey"

Ralphie nearly shoots his eye out, a pack of dogs devour the turkey, and the Parkers are left with taking their dinner in an empty Chinese restaurant on Christmas. It seems like the makings for a disastrous holiday, but as the family leans together giggling over the meal's oddities (a duck with its head still intact, a trio of Chinese waiters botching Christmas carols), we're reminded that some of the most memorable meals are the ones that don't go according to plan. Watch the clip.

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Big Night (1996): Timpano

Big Night (1996): Timpano

Four quivering hands carefully unmold a majestic burnished timpano (a layered Italian pasta dish)—the centerpiece of an extravagant meal that brothers Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci) hope will save their failing restaurant in this classic '90s food flick. At the dining-room table, it elicits whispers, eye fluttering and, finally, a threat: "Goddamit, I should kill you," screams Pascal, a competing restaurateur who tosses his napkin on the table and leaps to his feet. "This is so fucking good, I should kill you." Watch the clip.

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984): Snakes for dinner

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984): Snakes for dinner

Anthony Bourdain may not have blinked at this exotic feast, which also featured chilled monkey brains and eyeball soup. But we feel the same as young Short Round, who stares in slack-jawed awe as shiny black snakes slither out of a python's slashed belly and onto the banquet table. Watch the clip.

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Coffee & Cigarettes (2003): Coffee delirium

Coffee & Cigarettes (2003): Coffee delirium

The unlikely teaming of Bill Murray with two Wu-Tang legends is one of the funniest scenes in Jim Jarmusch's black-and-white film of 11 shorts. RZA and GZA sit sipping herbal tea ("Nah, we don't mess with caffeine. Don't you know caffeine can cause serious delirium?"), while an apron-clad Murray, who is inexplicably working incognito at the diner, takes gulps straight from a coffee pot. Watch the clip.

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I Am Love (2009): Prawns

I Am Love (2009): Prawns

As Emma, the wife of a rich Milanese industrialist, digs into an exquisite plate of succulent prawns and jewellike vegetables, the dining room fades, sounds reduce to an underwater murmur and senses blur. A greeting from the young chef breaks her rapture, but their passionate affair and Emma's break from her bourgeois family are just about to begin. Watch the clip.

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L.A. Story (1991): Coffee with a lemon twist

L.A. Story (1991): Coffee with a lemon twist

Listening to a real-life Angeleno order coffee can sound like a parody of a Starbucks barista's worst nightmare—I'd like a decaf skim soy mocha venti with Splenda, no foam. This '90s romantic comedy, starring Steve Martin as L.A. weatherman Harris Telemacher, nails the absurdity perfectly. A series of increasingly ridiculous orders culminates with Martin's nonsensical request: "I'll have a half double decaffinated half caf with a twist of lemon!" Watch the clip.

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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971): Fizzy Lifting Drinks

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971): Fizzy lifting drinks

Among chocolate rivers and everlasting gobstoppers, it's hard to choose a favorite food scene in this wonder-filled children's classic. For our money, it's the moment when Charlie and Grandpa Joe defy Willy Wonka's directives, slipping off to try the fizzy lifting drinks. The stunt ultimately endangers Charlie's lifetime supply of chocolate, but for one gleeful moment the two float skyward, buoyed like hot air balloons by "old ginger ale, ginger pop, ginger beer, beer bubbles, bubbleade, bubblecola, double cola, double-bubble-burple-cola, and all the crazy carbonated stuff that tickles your nose."

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Users say

2 comments
Andy bobandy
Andy bobandy

Expected to see The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover in the top 10, and it wasn't even on the list!

mmhmmm
mmhmmm

Mmmhmmm. this is a tasty burger