If it’s not already evident, one day after his passing, the legacy of Roger Ebert will forever extend a long way beyond a guy simply reviewing movies. One example: Late into his life, even as his ability to eat solids deteriorated, he still published an impassioned book about the romance of rice cookers. That was Ebert: A man of many masters which always seemed as surprising as they were unsurprising, in that every time we learned something new about the guy, it was an of course moment. And yes, Ebert loved to eat, dutifully filling the role of Big Guy to Gene Siskel’s Little Guy for so many years (and Richard Roper thereafter). And when he wrote about food—or wrote about films about food—he brought a special passion to certain ideas that didn’t quite make the cut in some of his other reviews, giving the world a look at another dimension in which Ebert traded in reels for dishes.
As such, we took it upon ourselves to put together Ebert’s highest-rated food films: Only four-star reviews, and only of films where food or dining out play central roles to moving a plot forward or characters through their arcs. Truthfully, they weren’t all that hard to find. While some of the picks were, in fact, a little surprising, they were also consistent—Ebert constantly made reference to them both in his writing and in other reviews of films about food. But if anything, that was Ebert: Someone who surprised and dazzled, but not with fireworks, a man who could turn outlying thought into conventional wisdom, and simple, ordinary ideas into extraordinary moments and pieces of context. We dine to that.
These are Roger Ebert’s Favorite Films About Food.