The humble egg features prominently in art, history and both Eastern and Western culture, often as a symbol of new life, seasonal renewal and resurrection. This, some say, is where the tradition of Easter eggs and colouring eggs arose from, as Easter is the beginning of spring and, for Christians, the egg is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave.
So, with Easter arriving this weekend, we pay tribute to the dynamic little egg by selecting our top ten egg moments on film. But be warned: while some eggs on this list are a literal symbol of new life (Finding Nemo), one leads to an eventual demise (Funny Games), others are a source of good health (Rocky) and one even doubles as a truly unexpected sex toy (Tampopo).
So today we celebrate our favourite #EggsOnFilm, but are there any that you feel we've missed out? Go to Facebook and Twitter to let us know.
1. Cool Hand Luke – 1967
Paul Newman gives an Oscar-winning performance as prison inmate Luke, who refuses to bend to anyone’s rules. Behind bars he asserts his dominance by winning boxing matches and poker games. But when he bets he can eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in an hour, one can’t help but think he’s bitten off more than he can chew.
2. Tampopo – 1985
This Japanese “ramen western” comedy takes food porn to a whole other level. In this steamy scene, a passionate couple embrace and kiss, passing an egg yolk back and forth between them.
3. Airplane! – 1980
In this American satirical comedy, which hilariously parodies the disaster film genre, the passengers on board begin to fall ill. The doctor on board, Dr Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) suspects it's food poisoning, but when he investigates the symptoms, he pulls an egg, then another, then another one of the patient’s mouth – cracking the final one to release an actual live bird.
4. Ghostbusters – 1984
In this 80s horror-comedy classic, Dana (Sigourney Weaver) suspects her apartment is haunted. She comes home one night with a bag full of groceries and suddenly a box of eggs on her kitchen bench opens of its own accord and the eggs demonically begin frying and popping all on their own. So, who she’s gonna call?
5. Rocky – 1976
Eggs have long been held up as great source of protein, and no-one, it seems, knows that more than Sylvester Stalone’s Rocky. In this classic American tale of a small-timer dreaming of making it big, the eponymous boxer wakes before sun-up and starts his day with a gut-curdling homemade protein-shake of five raw eggs.
6. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - 1971
“I want one, I want a golden goose… to lay gold eggs for easter, at least 100 a day!” The bratty Veruca Salt isn’t shy in letting her Daddy (and anyone else who’ll listen) know what she wants “right now” in her song “I Want it Now”, sung in the Golden Goose room at Mr Wonka’s secret Chocolate Factory. But sadly for Miss Veruca, she learns a valuable lesson the hard way: you can’t always get what you want.
7. The Miracle Worker – 1962
This Oscar-winning film is based on the incredible true story of Helen Keller, who was born deaf and blind. Focusing on her early childhood years, it tells the tale of her relationship with teacher Anne Sullivan who was able to break through Keller’s isolation and equip her with the tools to learn and communicate, as seen in this touching scene with eggs hatching. Keller went on to be the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts, later on, remarkably, becoming a celebrated author, political activist and lecturer.
8. Jurassic Park – 1993
In Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur adventure film, Jurassic Park was built to be the greatest theme park on earth boasting real life, genetically modified dinosaurs. This scene shows the groundbreaking moment when the first dinosaurs are hatching from eggs in a science lab. Sheer glee and amazement floods the face of all present, but it doesn’t last long…
9. Finding Nemo – 2003
Pixar’s aquatic computer-animated family film starts off poignantly: Mum and Dad clownfish Marlin and Coral are at home in the Great Barrier Reef, but Coral gets eaten by a barracuda and all that’s left is one little fish egg, which soon becomes the loveable Nemo.
10. Funny Games - 2007
In Michael Haneke’s psychological thriller (he directed both the English and Austrian versions), Michael Pitt and Brady Corbert play the two sinister boys-next-door who terrorise Naomi Watts and Tim Roth’s characters holidaying at s secluded cabin. The young psychos initially come knocking on Watts’ door claiming they need to borrow eggs, and it all goes downhill from there.
Text by Kelly Griffin
Kelly Griffin is a London-based arts and culture writer.