More than a means of survival, food remains a vital force of culture and creativity around the world. One might even go as far as to say that nothing captures the essence of a specific area or region more than its local cuisine. Through the sharing of these recipes and dishes comes an ever-expanding sense of community, the kind of which breaks boundaries at first bite. Who doesn’t love a delicious meal?
No wonder that a number of classic films and documentaries treat food as the focal point. That said, no two approaches are exactly the same. Take a movie like “Julie & Julia,” which uses cooking as a source of ambition and personal expression, but also as a window into broader societal trends. Meanwhile, the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” uses food as a way to examine the broader concepts of genius and perfectionism.
On the darker side of the proverbial aisle is a documentary such as “Food, Inc.,” which exposes the harmful impact of industrial food production. For a feel-good counterpunch, Jon Favreau’s “Chef” follows a fine-dining chef as he goes back to the basics and uncovers the pure joys of simple cuisine. Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, and it applies to food and film alike. Here are 20 great movies all about food.