A Visual Feast: The Best Food of Wes Anderson’s Many Films

By  · Published on March 7th, 2014

Fantastic Mr. Fox Movie

“They say all foxes are slightly allergic to linoleum, but it’s cool to the paw ‐ try it. They say my tail needs to be dry cleaned twice a month, but now it’s fully detachable ‐ see? They say our tree may never grow back, but one day, something will. Yes, these crackles are made of synthetic goose and these giblets come from artificial squab and even these apples look fake ‐ but at least they’ve got stars on them. I guess my point is, we’ll eat tonight, and we’ll eat together. And even in this not particularly flattering light, you are without a doubt the five and a half most wonderful wild animals I’ve ever met in my life. So let’s raise our boxes ‐ to our survival.”

Filmmaker Wes Anderson’s preoccupations may be myriad, but when it comes to building out entirely new, totally whimsical worlds, such obsession is necessary. Details are key. Flourishes are essential. And even characters who appear to run almost totally on vim, vigor, and absolute charm need to eat (for stamina, you see, and also survival and maybe even a jail break or two), and Anderson is more than happy to ply them with frosting and cheap burgers in equal measure. What are some of Anderson’s best cinematic food offerings? Take a bite and taste them for yourself.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Courtesan au chocolat

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The seemingly never-ending series of delicate Courtesan au chocolat that Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) crafts throughout the film aren’t the only delicious morsels Anderson peppers throughout the production ‐ there’s also the decadent dinner that the older Zero (F. Murray Abraham) and the younger Author (Jude Law) partake in (including rabbit, duck, lamb, and…salad) and a steady flow of staff dinners that young Zero (Tony Revolori) frequently refers to (five meals a day, “for stamina”) ‐ but they are certainly the most important and visually impressive ones. They are instant Andersonian classics ‐ both tasty and functional.

Moonrise Kingdom: All Fish Cat Food and A Man’s Feast

Moonrise Kingdom

When young Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) and Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) run away from their respective “homes” ‐ a towering seaside house and a scout camp ‐ Suzy totes along a tiny kitten in a basket. This is obviously a bad idea (though tiny kitten isn’t offed in the film, that fate befalls another animal), but Suzy at least thinks to bring a ton of food for the little guy. Sure, Suzy might believe that her kitten “only eats cat food,” but that helps give us one of the best visual gags of the entire film ‐ a pan that reveals that the kit happily eats “All Fish” brand cat food.

Later, Anderson gives us a bevy of stark reality shots (or, well, as stark as Anderson gets) when Sam is trundled off for an overnight stay with Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). While Suzy and Sam spent the previous day happily trundling through the woods and picnicking it up, Sam and Sharp are confined to the captain’s small abode, where he cooks up his young charge a man’s feast: a hot dog, some bread, and a swig of beer. Perhaps it’s not the most visually appealing of Anderson’s food, but it just might be the most telling ‐ Sam is a man now, and he’s going to need proper fortification on the journeys that will come. (Also, skillet-cooked hot dogs smell amazing.)

Fantastic Mr. Fox: The Animal Feast and The Red Remarkable Apples

Out of all of Anderson’s films, food plays the biggest part in Fantastic Mr. Fox, the auteur’s stop-motion confection that centers on Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and his insatiable desire to raid neighboring farms. No, it’s not good for the animal population at large and no, it just leads to a lot of destruction and tragedy, but you know what else flows forth from such shenanigans? A fantastic underground feast that brings together every member of the kingdom. Delicious, varied, and juicy, it’s a feast to ‐ apple juice flood!

Yes, that feast is washed away. Yes, things look pretty bad. Yes, we still want to eat all those cakes. But, also, yes, the film ultimately ends with the Fox family crashing an evil farmer-owned grocery store, where they can finally partake in all the snacks they’ve ever dreamed of. As Mr. Fox tells it, “Yes, these crackles are made of synthetic goose and these giblets come from artificial squab and even these apples look fake ‐ but at least they’ve got stars on them.” Remarkable.

The Darjeeling Limited: Savoury Snacks

Maybe, just maybe the single most stunning food shot Anderson has ever put together ‐ Where are the savory snacks? ‐ the delectable snack tray on the luxury eponymous train of The Darjeeling Limited is worth yelling about. (And it also serves as an interesting counterpoint to the early half of Anderson’s work, which was less concerned with making its foodstuffs appear to be stunningly delicious.)

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou: Apple

When you’re hunting a mythical shark, there’s not a lot of time for snacking away at yum-yums. At least we know the crew is attempting to stave off scurvy?

The Royal Tenenbaums: Sad Burger

“Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin’ the cemetery?” Royal Tenenbaum’s (Gene Hackman) tastes run to the literally inappropriate, and the only thing more inappropriate than eating a burger (scratch that ‐ a couple of burgers) at the cemetery is eating one while laid up in the hospital. The Tenenbaums, though, are not known for their ability to be appropriate, so although that burger doesn’t look too tasty, at least Anderson keeps the meals in line with the tone of the film.

Rushmore: Hotel Breakfast and Thanksgiving Dinner


Heartbreak, told in two meals. Nothing quite says “you’re a huge loser” like a hotel breakfast imploring you to enjoy your stay, a leering honey bear mocking you, and a single strawberry cuddling up close to your one croissant. Herman Blume (Bill Murray) is alone in this world, and even the charming composition of his lonely breakfast can’t help him (though damn if this thing isn’t easy on the eyes).

Remember that man’s meal from Moonrise Kingdom? In some ways, it appears to have sprung from the Thanksgiving TV dinner that the Fischer men partake in during the most downbeat, tragic, and depressing portion of Rushmore. Is that cranberry sauce hot? Is that actual meat? Sad food, but also neatly arranged, nicely compartmentalized, and oddly whimsical food. Andersonian food.

Bottle Rocket: Lunch

Bottle Rocket

Compartments? You want compartments? Anderson has got them (and also a balanced meal), as a single lunch box from Bottle Rocket contains enough clues about the filmmaker’s budding visual sense to sate his audiences. Look at those reds, those yellows, that roofing? Hey, it’s not the best one, but it is the first one.

[Photo credits: Movies and Food, Serious Film, Fantastic Mr. Fox Wiki, Food on Screen, Food on Screen, Movies and Food, Movies and Food]