Columns on fashion, culture and ideas

Art & Culture / In Pictures

Top 10 Food on Film Moments

In Pictures is a still and moving image gallery for significant works, events and places

To celebrate the release of multi-award winning Indian film, The Lunchbox, we've picked our favourite food moments across cinematic history

Last week Indian director Ritesh Batra's feature-length debut The Lunchbox finally hit UK cinemas, after months of global acclaim, and it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. A subtly moving love story, the plot centres on Mumbai’s famous lunchbox delivery service which offers the transportation of hot meals cooked by wives at home to their husbands at work, and which legend has it never goes wrong. That is until lonely and neglected housewife, Ila’s (Nimrat Kaur) lunchbox ends up at the wrong man’s desk – that of Sajaan (Irrfan Khan), a bad tempered accounts clerk.

What ensues is a gently unfolding relationship, played out via letters left in the lunchbox, which proves greatly healing for both parties in the wake of mutual loneliness and unhappiness. The performances are flawless, striking a brilliant balance between humour and heartfelt emotion, while the food looks so delicious, you can almost taste it. Here, to celebrate the film’s release, we’ve compiled our top ten food moments on film, from the sumptuous to the funny to the downright gory.

Sweet delights in Marie Antoinette (2006)
Never has fashion, champagne and confectionary come together so perfectly as in Sofia Coppola’s homage to Marie. Ladurée provided all the desserts, from the obvious pastel hued macaroons to the elaborate pastries that bear more than a passing resemblance to some of the hair dos…

Lobster in Annie Hall (1977)
If you’ve ever tried to cook a live lobster, this scene in Annie Hall might be hilariously (or painfully) reminiscent of that particular ordeal. Woody Allen is perfect in his pathetic-ness, but still not distracted enough to drop the one-liners.

Cakes in Once Upon A Time In America (1984)
It’s an age-old question, but rarely one we have to face so literally: cake or sex. In the case of Patrick ‘Patsy’ Goldberg, that’s his choice, whether to give up his cake to Peggy or devour it himself. We think he makes the right choice.

Prawns in I Am Love (2009) 
Many people fall in love over dinner, but it’s less common for someone to fall in love because of it. In this scene Emma, played by Tilda Swinton, is enraptured by the sumptuous plate of prawns her son’s friend prepares for her.

Pizza in Curly Sue (1991)
Pizza is great and so are huge towelling dressing gowns, and Curly Sue has the right idea in this scene. The miniature con artist never really knows when she is going to get her next meal, so it’s no surprise she savours every last inch of pizza deliciousness, followed by an extensive finger licking ritual.

Candy in Charlie and Chocolate Factory (2005)
Johnny Depp looks weird, but even his rubber gloves couldn't put us off that chocolate waterfall. Both the children and adults alike are stunned by Willy Wonka's magical, and completely edible, candy land. And while Augustus Gloop may have taken his sweet habit a bit too far, you can't really blame the boy. Flailing around in chocolate is what we plan to be doing this Easter weekend anyway.

Ratatouille in Ratatouille (2007)
Rats and gastronomy should be like chalk and cheese, or oil and fire, but in the charming case of Remy the rat, a member of the much-loathed vermin family proves himself a culinary genius. Rarely has a cartoon been so universally touching as in the film's climactic tasting scene, when Remy's ratatouille melts the cold heart of famed food critic Anton Ego, transporting him back to his childhood.

Sandwiches in When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Food admittedly takes a backseat in When Harry Met Sally's most iconic scene, which sees Meg Ryan giving more than her all when demonstrating the power of a fake orgasm to the skeptical, self-satisfied Harry. Yet it is crucial to the success of the scene – set in a packed cafe, while the key characters scoff sandwiches – and its brilliant concluding line, "I'll have what she's having", from an elderly lady seated close by.

Imaginary feast in Hook (1991)
If you grew up in the 90s there’s a strong chance you wished you lived in Neverland – Hook’s not Disney’s, that’s far too wet. But while you could join in the chants of “Rufio, Rufio”, the film’s amazing imaginary feast was something you could only dream of, praying that if you imagined hard enough you too could partake in the multicoloured fluff – AKA "yams, mamee apples, and banana squash.”

Pie-eating contest in Stand By Me (1986)
A warning against the perils of gluttony, the tale of the vengeful, pie scoffing, and violently vomiting Lard Ass – as told by Gordie, as the Stand by Me gang sit around a camp fire – is one of the most unsavoury examples of food on film. But somehow it manages to warm hearts in the hands of its thoughtful, oft-repressed narrator who so delights his boyhood friends with his great gift for vivid storytelling.

The Lunchbox is in select cinemas nationwide now.

Text by Daisy Woodward and Rosie Neve

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates