KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in film

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#10: The Party

In Blake Edward's cult comedy from 1968, Peter Sellers is a clumsy Indian actor called Hrundi Bakshi who's accidentally invited to a dinner party in a Hollywood mansion. During the dinner scene, a very drunk waiter is his only ally after he catapults his Cornish game hen onto one of the guests' tiaras. Things only get worse from there – but chaos can also make for a great party.

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#9: Goodfellas

Martin Scorsese's Italian mafia film from 1990 – one of the greatest of the genre – stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta. They all drop by Tommy's (Pesci) mother's place before heading out to murder another mobster. While eating her pasta, Tommy tells his mom that he hit a deer; he needs to borrow a huge knife, allegedly to cut off the hoof. "OK, bring it back," she kindly replies.

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#8: The Celebration

Released under the tile "The Celebration" in the US, the Danish film "Festen" (1998) by Thomas Vinterberg tells the story of a family gathering for their father's 60th birthday. Dark secrets of sexual abuse emerge. As the first work shot under Dogme 95 rules, the film avoids all superficial effects, music and lighting, allowing silence and darkness to creep into the dreadful celebration.

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#7: Mostly Martha

This German romantic comedy from 2001 stars Martina Gedeck in the role of Martha Klein, a chef in a gourmet restaurant in Hamburg. She's a workaholic who's based her style on obsessive precision, but her whole life changes once she's called to take care of her eight-year-old niece and a new sous-chef is hired, the jazzy Mario (Sergio Castellitto).

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#6: The Blues Brothers

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi really brought Chicago to life in their unique comedy from 1980, "The Blues Brothers." The musicians are obviously most comfortable in whiskey and beer settings, but in one memorable scene, they go out and misbehave in a fancy restaurant to convince a former band member turned maître d' to join the band again.

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#5: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

This comedy directed by Luis Bunuel is all about French bourgeois couples attempting to dine together. Their various meals are aborted for the most bizarre reasons, whether because someone dies or because the hosts escape to have sex in the garden instead of lunch. The 1972 surrealist work received the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#4: When Harry Met Sally

Food plays a central role in many films, even if the dishes served up aren't the main source of action. In one infamous dinner scene in "When Harry Met Sally," the friends order sandwiches – and Harry (Billy Crystal) gets more than he bargained for. To prove a point about female pleasure, Sally, played by Meg Ryan, turns heads while faking an orgasm in the busy restaurant.

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#3: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Archaeologists and adventurers do a lot to fit into the cultures they are exploring and Indiana Jones was no different. In "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984), Harrison Ford had to avoid grimacing at the dinner table when served a batch of monkey brains – a local delicacy.

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#2: The Godfather

No mafia film would be complete without loads of pasta and vino; Francis Ford Coppola established that clearly in "The Godfather" (1972). While one of the most famous lines of the film – "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli" – refers to a Sicilian pastry and Clemenza's famous meatballs have made into recipe books, it's not always Italian cuisine: The Corleones get together around Chinese take-out .

KINO favorites: Top 10 food scenes in cinema

#1: Red Dragon

As in "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991), the prequel released in 2002 features serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). The forensic psychiatrist is an epicurean who knows how to prepare gourmet meals from his victims' flesh – which he sometimes shares with others. One of his dinner party guests naively asks: "Hannibal, confess. What is this divine-looking amuse-bouche?"

From the fake lunch counter orgasm in "When Harry Met Sally" to dining with Hannibal Lecter: DW's Kino team picked their favorite best food-on-food moments from the movies.

In the movies, as often in life, food means more than just food.

When a director lays out a meal for us on screen, it can be a metaphor for family and community, a set up for betrayal or a expression of identity: economic, cultural or even sexual.

For the latest edition of KINO Favorites, we picked our 10 top culinary moments from the movies. We dined out on the best food scenes in cinema.

A cannoli is worth a thousand words

Food is the ultimate expression of humanity. We are, after all, the only animal that cooks.

The family meal, the intimate dinner, the public restaurant: these are scenes both universally recognizable and, in their particulars (which fork to use, rice or pasta, etc.), entirely specific in time, place and mood.

So it's no surprise that directors turn to food when they want to make a point about character or society. One cannoli, after all, can be worth a thousand words.

We selected our movie menu based less on personal gustatory preference then on directorial intent, picking scenes where filmmakers got the greatest dramatic impact out of a meal. So we have scenes where food is a tool for slapstick, a lever for social upheaval, a harbinger of violence or a stand-in for sex. We tried to vary the palate, mixing heavy drama with light comedy, dread with delight. Many of these scenes are classics, others a more acquired taste.

But don't expect cooking tips from this show. We did find out the best way to cut garlic for a pasta sauce (hint: use a razor) but most of our scenes wouldn't pass health inspection. After all, Hannibal Lecter is no Jamie Oliver.

Take a look and give us your own Michelin rating. Did your favorite food scenes make the cut? What cinema courses would you add to our meal and which would you leave out? Come dine with us.