15 Best Food Movies, Ranked

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Lights, camera, action! It's time to nestle into your couch, fire up a Friday-night flick, and let the stress of the workweek slowly wash off of you as the silver screen sucks you into its storyline. We all deserve a relaxing movie night where our only responsibility is to suspend our disbelief for a couple of hours or so. Of course, a batch of buttery popcorn and some astoundingly-cheaper-than-movie-theater candy from the store are evening essentials. But, if you're a huge gourmand, why not indulge in some film-watching treats while checking out cinema that centers around food, too? You get to experience a culinary journey in two different ways, and watch a pretty darn good movie on top of it.

While there are plenty of options to pick from, unfortunately not every foodie film is worth your time or money. Lucky for you, this list of 15 best food movies alleviates the need to do any kind of tedious research on your own. Stick with these titles and you'll be in for one truly sumptuous experience!

15. Sausage Party

If you've seen the cover art on this movie, don't let yourself be fooled into thinking this is for kids. Yes, it's animated; but, it's the farthest thing from a cute Pixar film with morals and heartwarming moments meant for all ages. "Sausage Party" is written by Seth Rogen and Ari Shaffir, and if you're familiar with either of those guys, you know to expect a hefty amount of leave-your-children-far-away-from-the-screen humor. The movie's plot involves a sausage named Frank (voiced by Rogen) who wants to figure out what life is like beyond the shelves of Shopwell's Grocery Store where he's packaged. It's a silly plot, but the film is absurdly outrageous .

The animation isn't exactly Pixar quality, but the colors are vibrant, and there's a whole variety of anthropomorphic foods, each with their own ridiculous personalities. The humor is crass, so if you're the kind of person who gets offended, you'll want to give this a hard pass. However, if you're into talking sausages who sling toilet humor for 90 minutes, check this out. It's raunchy, tasteless fun.

14. Burnt

Most people deserve a second chance, even if someone totally screwed their lives up and lost everything. Well, in "Burnt," that's exactly what Bradley Cooper is trying to do. He plays a chef named Adam Jones who destroyed his reputation with drugs and a party-hard lifestyle, but he wants to hop back on the culinary horse and earn three Michelin stars. Though the journey won't be easy, he's ready to shed his past vices and do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Now, critics didn't exactly swoon over this film, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a pass, especially for food fans. The plot is a bit flat, but if there's one reason to check it out (and it's a pretty darn good one), it's Cooper's performance.  He channels the raw hunger of a troubled but talented chef desperately trying to reach the pinnacle of his craft. To prepare for the role, Cooper trained alongside Clare Smyth, who was at the time the chef patron at Gordon Ramsay's eponymous three Michelin-starred restaurant in London (via HuffPost). Glimpses of the head of "Hell's Kitchen" are no doubt evident in the unflinching ferocity Adam showers down on his staff.

13. Julie & Julia

Julia Child is one of the most recognizable names in the history of cooking. She set out to bring French cuisine into American households and succeeded on a massive scale. "Julie & Julia" captures the culinary icon's dazzling personality with perfection. Of course, it also helps that the actor portraying Child is Meryl Streep, arguably one of the finest Hollywood thespians to ever grace the screen. The film moves back and forth between flashbacks of her life and the modern experience of superfan Julie (Amy Adams) who makes it her mission to cook every recipe in Child's seminal book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

Streep, as you can imagine, truly becomes Child, and witnessing how much pushback she fought through to finally get her book finished is nothing short of inspirational. The second storyline with Julie is equally compelling, and you get to see the young woman grow from an unhappy call center worker to a prominent blog writer who captures the joy of cooking while channeling her idol. Watching Child's dishes come into fruition will certainly have you hopping on Amazon afterward to order a copy of the book yourself.

12. Fast Food Nation

If you're the kind of person who loves fast food, this might be a tough film to watch, but also, perhaps, a necessary one. Inspired by the 2001 book of the same name, "Fast Food Nation" explores the sanitary conditions of production plants that supply fast-food chains, and just how much effort (or lack thereof) is actually put into ensuring those products arrive untainted. Greg Kinnear plays Don Anderson, the marketing director for a chain called Mickey's that's under fire for research showing the presence of cow feces in its top-selling burger. Don is sent to a town in Colorado to inspect the warehouse where the chain's beef comes from, and even though he's shown pristine working conditions, suspicion still exists.

Director Richard Linklater sets his focus on one production plant in particular (though based on the true events in the book, the people and places in the film are fictionalized), but the general message is that we never really know what's going on inside the places that supply our favorite chains with food unless we actually work there. Just hearing the words "feces" and "food" in the same sentence is enough to turn anyone's stomach, but the reality is that some of these factory working conditions truly are abysmal. "Fast Food Nation” makes you think twice before biting into the next burger from your favorite chain, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

11. Waiting...

If you've never worked in a restaurant before, you might have an image of the back of the house (meaning kitchen area and staff) working peacefully together, with everyone helping out and ensuring service goes off without a hitch. The chefs are nice, the line cooks are happy, and the servers are just so excited to meet their next table of guests. Well, "Waiting..." is a film that shows us just how wrong that assumption is. Sure, it's a fictional movie, but the chaos that ensues behind the kitchen doors is a very real thing. Anyone who works in the industry has stories about screaming chefs, servers having meltdowns mid-shift, and a level of hygiene that would be beneath the standards of Oscar the Grouch. Welcome to the wild world of restaurants.

The movie focuses on all the quirky employees of kitschy restaurant Shenaniganz and the unsettling happenings that occur while customers dine without a clue in the world as to the madness going on behind the scenes. Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, Dane Cook, Anna Faris, and Luis Guzman are just a few of the actors that provide constant raunchy (don't watch this with the little ones) comedy to viewers. If you're thinking of embarking on a job in restaurants, this movie might prove to be a worthwhile blueprint as to what to potentially expect.

10. For Grace

While the life of a chef might appear sexy in films and on television, "For Grace" reveals that portrayal couldn't be farther from the truth. The documentary follows Michelin-rated chef  Curtis Duffy on his quest to open a Chicago restaurant called Grace –- literally from the ground up –- and turn it into the country's greatest dining experience. Duffy is astoundingly talented and driven, but that ambition, as we learn, costs him his family. The film traces Duffy's life, from his tumultuous childhood to the discovery of his passion for all things food.

If you strive to become a chef worth your weight in salt, you have to dedicate your entire life to the kitchen, and "For Grace" perfectly presents this. The restaurant comes first, and everything else takes a backseat. Running a successful restaurant is a constant struggle to keep your head above water, and oftentimes life outside of the kitchen suffers because of this grueling dedication every single day. After viewing this riveting documentary, it leaves you with one prominent question: What would you be willing to sacrifice in the hunt for perfection?

9. Ratatouille

"Ratatouille" presents a hilarious and moving story about a clumsy Paris kitchen worker named Linguini who, with the help of a culinary wizard rat (yes, the actual animal) named Remy, turns his luck around and ends up wowing his intense restaurant chef with incredible dishes. The name of the film obviously references the fact the main character's new friend is a rodent, but it is also a nod to the classic French ratatouille recipe which consists of stewed veggies. This dish eventually comes into play in the film and leads to a huge turning point for the main characters.

Pixar rarely misses the mark when it comes to superb entertainment, and this is no exception. The visuals are colorful, smooth, and super detailed. The creators certainly did their research when it came to French cooking because every nuance is included. Alongside the laugh-out-loud moments are truly emotional scenes that tug at those heartstrings, which is everything you want in a film. 

8. Big Night

The words "big night" certainly capture the feeling that courses through anyone getting ready to host a lavish dinner party with important guests. Nerves run high, and there's a general sense of unease surrounding the cooks until the whole ordeal is over and they can rest easy. That feeling of nervousness is felt tenfold in the film "Big Night" starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub as two brothers running a failing restaurant. But hope is not lost, as the pair try to impress a famous singer in an attempt to bring positive attention to their establishment, thus turning business around. To say things get tense is a huge understatement.

Anyone who knows the work of Tucci or Shalhoub is well-aware they're masters of their craft, and they don't disappoint as brothers, Primo and Secondo. The combination of exemplary acting, mouthwatering eats, and a compelling storyline is truly a recipe for cinematic success.

7. The Founder

What would the world of fast food be without the cunning brilliance of Ray Kroc? "The Founder" follows the savvy empire builder, played perfectly by Michael Keaton, from his early days as an ambitious milkshake-maker salesman to the persistently determined brains behind McDonald's.

If you're unfamiliar with the McDonald's origin story, you're in for a fascinating journey. Without going into too much detail (so you can enjoy the movie yourself), Kroc befriends the chain's true founders, brothers Mac and Dick McDonald, who introduce him to their assembly line tactics of cranking out fast food. This ingenuity sends a lightning strike of creativity through Kroc's mind, and he goes into business with the two brothers, a partnership they soon regret. Keaton's charm and charisma keeps you engaged the whole time, and after watching so much action take place underneath those Golden Arches, it's nearly impossible not to crave a Big Mac when the credits finally roll.

6. Chef

Turns out Jon Favreau works just well as with a Cubano sandwich as he does with Grogu and Iron Man. In this 2014 hit,  he plays talented Los Angeles chef Carl Casper who is convinced his restaurant-owner boss is stifling his culinary creativity. He eventually ends up embroiled in a humiliating public altercation with an esteemed food critic and leaves his job. Soon after, a trip to Miami with his ex-wife and son reignites his passion for food, and he acquires a dilapidated food truck, fixes it up, and starts cranking out stellar cuisine as he drives the  across the country from Miami back to Los Angeles.

This is one of those feel-good movies that leaves you with a smile on your face. While the stellar cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Downey Jr., Favreau (who also directed the film) steals the show. You cheer for Carl the whole time, and when he begins to discover his passion for food all over again, it leaves you with a warm, satisfied feeling inside. There are no major heartbreaks or catastrophic events, either. It's just a family-friendly story of a talented chef figuring out how to step back into the culinary spotlight after a career setback. Lighthearted, funny, and full of delicious food (famed gourmet food truck chef pioneer Roy Choi was an on-set consultant), "Chef" checks all the boxes when it comes to a foodie flick. And if you're hungry for more Favreau, check out his series "The Chef Show," one of the best food/cooking shows to stream on Netflix.  

5. Super Size Me

When director Morgan Spurlock set out to make this documentary, he knew what he was getting into. Eating McDonald's three times a day for a whole month was always going to end in disaster, but he was set on proving just how harmful the stuff is when consumed frequently. "Super Size Me" held a pretty unappetizing light up to how unhealthy the McDonald's menu is. Spurlock literally ate nothing but food from the Golden Arches for 30 days straight, and it didn't take long into his gluttonous journey before he physically felt the dire consequences. McDonald's, as we all know, is so prevalent in society, but is that really a good thing? That's the question Spurlock sets out to answer.

Obviously, Spurlock took his McDonald's consumption to the extreme — most people don't do that. However, fast food is something people eat way too often, and it's led to a huge obesity problem in the country. The documentary is a fascinating look at one man trying to cope with the physical ailments associated with massive intakes of saturated fat and sodium. Spurlock explains to the camera his state of mind after each meal, and as you can imagine, he starts to feel pretty terrible very quickly. This is a well-made film that might have you think twice before pulling up to the next drive-thru window.

4. The Trip

If you're hungry for a movie that will make you both crave amazing food and laugh out loud at almost every scene, we suggest a serving of "The Trip." The plot is simple: The always-hilarious Steve Coogan is asked by The Observer to tour all the finest restaurants in England with his girlfriend. Well, as luck would have it, she backs out, which forces Coogan to instead bring along his best (and most irritating) friend, Rob Brydon.

The two bicker and argue throughout almost the entirety of the film, but in the most best-friend way possible, which makes the dynamic an absolute delight to watch. Because both men are actors, they frequently attempt to out-funny the other, belting out hilarious quips while they dine on some of the best food their country has to offer. Their exchanges feel particularly authentic, and that makes sense since most of the film's dialogue is improvised. This lends a realism to every aspect of the duo's culinary adventure, and the mixture of that off-the-cuff looseness with constant visuals of luxurious bites make "The Trip" a must watch for both comedy and food enthusiasts.

3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

If you know anything about the town of Chewandswallow, then you're familiar with Judi Barrett's classic children's book "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." It's an incredibly fun and unique tale about a small town where the precipitation is in the form of food. Luckily, this amazing story was turned into an animated film, and boy is it tons of fun. The movie has the same basic premise of food raining down from the sky, but there's a whole lot more fun and quirky stuff added to fill in a 90-minute runtime, and every second is worth your while. Flint Lockwood, the cartoonishly goofy main character, lives in Swallow Falls, and he invents a machine that turns different types of weather into food. Hilarity and plenty of action soon ensue, as the town is thrust into one heck of a culinary dilemma!

This is one of those films that, although marketed to kids, serves up plenty of jokes that appeal to all age levels. There's corny humor that offers young kids laughs, but also plenty of adult-themed one liners that will satisfy a more mature audience. The jokes are nonstop right from the beginning, but there's also an emotional aspect to the film that has to do with Lockwood's relationship to his father, which makes you truly care about both characters. And, to say the colors of the movie are vibrant is a gross understatement. This movie's a visual feast for the eyes, so check it out.

2. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This documentary is the visual bible for sushi fanatics everywhere. "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" follows sushi master Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old culinary craftsman who runs th world famous  restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, in Tokyo. The film focuses on the tireless effort Jiro puts in day in and day out, and the strict intensity (oftentimes a little too much) he brings to his kitchen. The man just doesn't stop working, constantly striving to excel at his craft. Now, most would say he's already achieved that goal hundreds of times, but not for a perfectionist like him. This grueling work mindset is what the documentary focuses on, including the pressure Jiro's son feels to step into the shoes of his father after his inevitable retirement.

Even if you're not huge on sushi, the film itself is a fascinating look into a man who requires absolute dedication from all of his workers, one of whom tries and fails over 200 times to prepare the seemingly simple omelet (tamago) sushi. While watching a master at work, you can't help but admire Jiro's mentality, as obnoxiously intense as it can sometimes feel. Plus, the stunning shots of each piece of nigiri are so mouthwateringly astounding, you'll hop on the phone with the closest Japanese restaurant afterward and order yourself up a tray of sushi.

1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

No sweet tooth goes untickled during a viewing of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." So. Much. Candy. You could almost feel the sugar rush creeping into your body as Willy Wonka gives the lucky children who found his golden tickets a tour through his wildly absurd candy factory. This classic film stars Gene Wilder as the titular eccentric impresario, and a  Peter Ostrum as Charlie Bucket, the child who eventually inherits Wonka's factory after all of the other kids experience terrible tragedies and are removed from his tour.

If you've never seen this film, what have you been waiting for? Yes, it is geared towards children, but it's such a fun experience that it doesn't matter how old you are. You'll excitedly join the tour of the quirky (and sometimes creepy) lord of candy himself, Willy Wonka, and watch as he bobs and weaves through his trippy and delicious factory, complete with a slew of singing Oompa Loompas who belt out catchy tunes you'll be humming for days afterward. You never know what to expect when you enter a new room of Wonka's factory, and that's what makes this movie so unpredictably awesome. Oh, and did we mention the candy?