15 Great Movies About Food That You Need To Watch

Movies about Food - Julie and Julia

Great Movies about Food: I want to start my list by confessing the fact that I live for food. Food is not just a necessity for my body but my one true passion. I wake up drooling about what I will cook for my next meal, and as I lie down every night, my only question to my husband is what we’re to eat the day after.

Some would agree that it is indeed an art form and a proper lifestyle exists to understand the idea of different types of cuisine or flavor. Food can change your mood, evoke memories, and bring everyone together at the table. There is a different high about communicating with others over a great meal. In fact, I personally have immense respect for the foodies. They live for the thrill of discovering new flavors or don’t hesitate to experiment with different ingredients or experience varied cultures through their cuisines.

And when we talk about capturing the essence of food and its huge impact on our lives, movies can take us to a different world or awaken our senses to a completely different sensory feeling. When I first watched the mouth-watering Cubano sandwiches in Chef (2014) or the magical confections in Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp starrer Chocolat (2000), I was blown away by the passion and determination that the people who prepared and enjoyed the food in those films had. Food-centric movies have a unique way of capturing your heart and soul through the culinary world, showing us how important food is in shaping our lives.

So, here is a list of titles that will make a great addition to your watchlist if you are a foodie like me. If not anything, these will make you feel hungry or appreciate the mere fact of how important food is in your life. Happy reading!

1. Tampopo (1985)

Movies about Food - Tampopo

1985’s Japanese Comedy, Tampopo, written and directed by Juzo Itami, is deemed to be the very first ramen-western – making it one of its kind. Tampopo follows the story of two Japanese milk truck drivers, played by Tsutomu Yamazaki and Ken Watanabe, who meet a restaurant owner Nobuko Miyamoto. She wants to learn how to cook great noodles, and the drivers help her achieve this dream.

The film’s offbeat humor and sharp satire are a funny and heartwarming celebration of food and Japanese culture. But above all, Tampopo is an extremely entertaining film that delivers a distinctive and immersive perspective on the role of food in our lives.

The sensory depiction of the food in the film satisfies you and entertains you, leaving you laughing, crying, or wanting more of it. It takes us to the complex ritual of food preparation, joyful communal style dining experience, and daily social interaction – helping us learn more about how food influences people’s lives. Making Tampopo one of the old movies about food, but a classic one at that for sure.

Its whimsical and comic tone also showcases the vibrant food culture in the 80s, and as we see the characters indulging in the mouth-watering dishes, one can not help but feel hungry by the time the film ends.

Related to Great Movies About Food – 50 Best Japanese Films of the 21st Century

2. Babette’s Feast (1987)

Movies about Food - Babette's Feast

The Danish film Babette’s Feast, written by Karen Blixen and directed by Gabriel Axel, is a comedy-drama that takes us to the lives of two beautiful sisters, played by Birgitte Federspiel and Bodil Kjer, who live on the desolate coast of Jutland. Their life quickly turns in a different direction when Philippa’s former suitor sends a Parisian refugee named Babette to be their family cook. Babette’s exquisite culinary skills and lavish celebration of food and wine change everything as the two sisters come out of their frigid existence.

Axel’s Babette’s Feast, first and foremost, is one of those movies that doesn’t just have the themes of food, but through it, the film also explores the themes of talent, passion, love, and sacrifice. Though the film can be a bit slow-paced, it celebrates art’s power surpassing cultural and personal limitations. The movie not only offers a unique presentation of food’s relationship with spirituality but the unorthodox approach of the director is compelling to describe how someone’s palate can set your soul in a state of trance. The film also weaves a beautiful tale of friendship and self-discovery that is incredibly heartfelt. While the themes explored in the movie can be deemed weighty, the storytelling is light and engaging that has several joyous moments of humor and compassion.

3. Like Water for Chocolate (1992)

Like Water for Chocolate tells a story about Tita, the youngest daughter of a family who falls deeply in love with Pedro. However, her mother forbids Tita to marry him and take care of her instead. In the meantime, Pedro marries Rosaura, Tita’s older sister, but he still loves Tita. Things become complicated as Tita’s intense emotions take control of her instinct while cooking delicious food every day – eventually challenging Pedro and Tita’s enduring love for one another.

Talking about movies about food and cooking, there is no denying that Like Water for Chocolate is delectable. This timeless tale of passion is brought to us by writer Laura Esquivel’s story, directed by her real-life partner Alfonso Arau. The film indulges you like hot chocolate in a chilly winter, giving you a heartwarming experience. Like Water For Chocolate is sad and gets distressing. Still, the vivid images and vibrant hue of the picture engage your senses with a whimsical romance that shows female empowerment while celebrating power, passion, and food.

4. Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)

The film centers around Master Chef Chu (Sihung Lung), who is now in his semi-retirement and lives with his three unmarried daughters – Jia-Jen (Kuei-Mei Yang), a devoted chemistry teacher; Jia-Chien (Chien-Lien Wu) and accomplished airline executive; and Jia-Ning (Yu-wen Wang), who works at a fast-food restaurant. The family’s Sunday dinners are important, prepared, and consumed with great relish. Despite their differences, the family remains close-knit, and the weekly dinners provide comfort and support as they navigate the ups and downs of their personal lives, including new romantic relationships and heartbreaks.

The family’s unwavering bond and the delicious meals they share serve as a reminder of the importance of family, love, and the simple joys of life. The film showcases the beauty of life through stunning performances and keen attention to detail. It is one of the cinematic masterpieces of Lee’s career and stands out due to his impeccable storytelling and understanding of complex relationships.

The director blends tenderness and sweetness in the most heartwarming way and projects a smile on your face with its perfect balance of humor and emotions. Cowritten with skilled writers, the film’s narrative resonates with audiences on a personal level. And it is not just about the food, but you can always come back to it for that.

5. Big Night (1996)

Primo and Secondo are Italian immigrant brothers who open their dream restaurant, Paradise, in New Jersey. Primo is passionate about cooking authentic Italian delicacies; however, the locals around the place need the palate to understand his unique flavor. Unfortunately, their restaurant struggles to stay afloat until the famous Italian American bandleader Louis Prima comes to Paradise, making the brothers realize that this could be the opportunity they were waiting for.

They use everything they can to craft a perfect meal for the high-profile guest as the pressure to succeed keeps mounting on them. Will Primo and Secondo finally pull off their magic and see success? Or will their dream scatter right in front of their eyes?

No food movies list is complete without the hilarious and heartwarming vibe of the Big Night, which is a result of Stanley Tucci and Joseph Tropiano’s collaboration. The dialogues are cleverly written, and the incredible cast delivers well-rounded performances throughout the film.

The stunning visuals of the food getting prepared are sure to leave a viewer salivating, just like the Disney characters from the 90s. The movie goes beyond showcasing culinary art and digs deep into the complex and bittersweet dynamics within a family’s relationship. What works for Big Night is the poetic ode to the power of food and family and makes a great addition to the list with its perfect recipe of wit, emotion, and mouthwatering delicacies.

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6. Kitchen Stories (2004)

The plot of Kitchen Stories is set in the 1950s. Swedish researchers aimed to revolutionize home cooking by observing the behavior of modern homemakers and typical bachelors. One of the scientists, Folke (played by Tomas Norström), was sent to a rural Norwegian town to study the kitchen habits of a particular single man named Isak (played by Joachim Calmeyer). Despite being instructed to avoid personal relations with his subject, Folke couldn’t help but form a unique friendship with Isak, much to the embarrassment of his superiors, who had warned him against it. This cleverly crafted film offers a dry and bittersweet comedy that delves into the research conducted during the 40s and 50s.

Through its satirical portrayal of an organized and modernity-seeking society in Sweden, it eventually transitions into a heartwarming dramatic comedy set in Norway. The result is a charming and uniquely entertaining film that is a fascinating piece of anthropological commentary. Ultimately, it is a delightful oddity and a touching and emotionally resonant story that eats, drinks, and dances to its own tune.

7. Ratatouille (2007)

Movies about Food - Ratatouille

Ratatouille follows the story of a rat named Remy who wants to become a chef in a restaurant. He teams up with a garbage boy named Linguini to achieve his dream. The movie takes place in Paris and is named after a French dish that’s served at the end.

Now, this is one of my personal favorite movies because it has everything I love – animals, food, Paris, wine, and lots of cheese! Ratatouille is delightful and one-of-a-kind movie that effortlessly blends humor and heart. The animation is so gorgeous that you’ll be left wanting more. The film features great vocal performances from start to finish and tells a heartwarming story about two characters who struggle to find their place in the world but eventually discover where they truly belong, finally embracing it.

Similar to Movies about Food – All Oscar-Winning Animated Movies Ranked from Worst to Best

8. Julie & Julia (2009)

Movies about Food - Julie and Julia

“Julie & Julia” is a movie about two women. One is named Julia Child, who’s a chef. The other woman is named Julie Powell, and she lives in New York City. Julie wants to cook all the recipes in Julia’s cookbook in one year and writes about it on her blog. The movie stars Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, and Chris Messina. It’s a mix of comedy and drama and is directed by Nora Ephron. Based on two different books, the one called “My Life in France” written by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme, and the second called “Julie & Julia” written by Julie Powell.

Meryl Streep gives an outstanding performance in the movie, and it’s a wholesome and charming film that has a mix of drama and comedy. A surprising hit for its time, the film features an expansive display of cooking skills that will keep you entertained. And while Amy’s side of the story doesn’t feel quite as strong, Streep’s character – which is extremely charming and relatable, makes up for it. Julie and Julia is one of the best movies about food that you can simply watch and rewatch again if you have a Netflix subscription.

Related to Movies about Food – 10 Best Amy Adams Movie Performances

9. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

 “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is loosely based on the children’s book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett. The film, which marks the debut of the director duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, revolves around Flint Lockwood, a determined inventor who, after several unsuccessful experiments, creates a machine that can transform water into food. However, when the device gains sentience and creates food storms, Flint must race against time to stop it and save the world.

As a movie, Cloudy might not be a movie specifically about food, but it can be an ultimate fantasy for any child (including me.) With its truly trippy visuals, the director duo is more interested in addressing issues such as overeating, obesity, and the rising popularity of candy bars. And, like me, if you enjoy the idea of a food-based apocalypse, this movie is definitely worth watching.

10. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Movies about Food - Jiro Dreams of Sushi

David Gelb’s 2011 documentary film “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” follows the story of Jiro Ono, an esteemed sushi chef who relentlessly pursues perfection in his craft, juxtaposing it with his eldest son, Yoshikazu, struggling to meet the high expectations set by his father’s illustrious legacy.

With Jiro Ono at the center of the story, the movie is basically an elaborate and heartfelt tribute to food, more especially to sushi. Clocking in at 90 minutes, the camera captures the stunning beauty of food and the process of cooking it, while also showcasing the immense effort required to run a renowned restaurant and consistently meet customers’ expectations.

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11. Bread of Happiness (2012)

Movies about Food - Bread of Happiness

The Japanese drama film “Bread of Happiness,” directed by Yukiko Mishima and starring Tomoyo Harada, Yo Oizumi and Kanna Mori, tells the story of Rie and Nao, who run a bakery/restaurant named Mani on the shore of Lake Toya in Hokkaido. Nao is a skilled baker who prepares fresh bread every day, while Rie is a talented chef who cooks delicious food without fail. The shop is set against the stunning backdrop of the four seasons and attracts a diverse clientele, some of whom are facing personal problems. However, after their visit to the shop, they leave feeling nothing but happiness.

Isn’t this the dream place to go to? When I watched the film, I felt only one emotion: true happiness. I watched this one with my husband, and at this moment, I like to believe that he understands the importance of food in my life and how much joy it brings me to cook every day, irrespective of how my day is turning out to be. Bread of Happiness is a film about how, no matter what and how your day is going, if you eat a heartwarming meal, it changes your mood, releasing only good hormones.

Watching this film on one of those blue days will make you get up and motivate you to relish a wholesome meal of whatever your heart wants. It is not only one of the more interesting food-related movies, but if you have a special love for baking, this is a movie that will warm your heart and soul.

12. The Lunchbox (2013)

Movies about Food - The Lunchbox

I simply can’t make a list of food movies without including this gem that is very close to my heart. “The Lunchbox,” written and directed by Ritesh Batra, stars the late Irrfan Khan as Saajan Fernandes – a lonely widower and workaholic who strikes a surprising connection with Illa (played by Nimrat Kaur) – a lonely housewife when Mumbai’s famous Lunchbox delivery system mistakenly delivers one of their dabbas to Sajan.

Also starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a notorious young prodigy trying to convince Saajan to help him understand the work he does, “The Lunchbox” is a beautiful movie about the coincidences in life. Batra confidence in handling the delicate beats of such a heartwarming story with such grace must be applauded, as this movie could have easily tipped off into melodrama, but it never does. Exploring the themes of love, loss, and longing, The Lunchbox is a movie that connects people with the love of a well-cooked meal and the insecurities they carry within themselves.

While the film can’t be put into the specific bracket of food-related movies in Bollywood, seeing how it doesn’t really belong to the mainstream, this is a recommendation that any Indian would truly embrace.

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13. Chef (2014)

Written, directed, and co-produced by Jon Favreau (who also played the lead role), the story follows Carl Casper – a chef who gets fired from a famous restaurant in Los Angeles after a public fight with a food critic. To start anew, he sets up a food truck business with the help of his son. 

Chef is a truly heartwarming movie, in large part thanks to its perfectly cast ensemble and mouth-watering scenes of food being prepared. The writing feels truly authentic, drawing you into the movie as if you’re a part of it.

Of course, the food in the film looks absolutely drool-worth, and as mentioned in the opening paragraph, if the movie doesn’t make you crave for a Cubano sandwich, I’m not sure what will.

A word of warning, though: if you watch this movie on an empty stomach, you’re going to be starving, and if you watch it full, you’ll somehow get hungry again.

It’s probably a good idea to have food delivery apps like Zomato or Swiggy installed, just in case!

14. Little Forest (2018)

Movies about Food - Little Forest (2018)

The reason why I’ve picked the 2018 Korean version of Little Forest and not the two-part Japanese original is that this version is not as episodic as the original and tells a pretty relatable, narrative-driven story that I found simply irresistible. Watching the film made me appreciate cooking even more and realize that there are many people out there who share my passion for food and cooking.

Directed by Yim Soon-rye and is based on a manga series of the same name by Daisuke Igarashi, the story follows Hye-won (played by Kim Tae-ri), who, after failing to pass a national teaching qualification exam, decides to leave her part-time job in Seoul and return to the small village where she grew up.

The film combines an open-hearted approach with a sharp and mysterious tone, resulting in a captivating experience. In a world where chaos and complexity can sometimes feel overwhelming, we all need a movie like Little Forest every once in a while. It has the power to wash over us and bring a sense of peace and tranquility, leaving us feeling refreshed and renewed.

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15. Uncorked (2020)

Movies About Food - Uncorked

“Uncorked,” tells us a story about the decision of a young man to pursue his dream of becoming a master sommelier instead of joining the family barbecue business. This decision has caused unexpected tension between the protagonist Elijah (Mamoudou Athie), and his father.

Food plays a significant role in the movie as it highlights the differences between the two worlds that Elijah is torn between – fine dining and barbecue. Throughout the film, Elijah uses his knowledge of food and wine to challenge and impress his father while also developing a deeper appreciation for the traditional cooking techniques and family recipes of his father’s restaurant.

“Uncorked” takes an old concept and presents it in a new way. While it may not be perfect, it’s still enjoyable. The movie highlights a common theme in today’s culture about why we chase our dreams and what motivates us to do it. It’s a movie worth watching and paying attention to.

Deepshikha Deb

Quit my job to watch movies with my husband and occasionally write about it. I am also a social media and momo tasting expert, who loves Masala Dosa and Tilda Swinton.