When it comes to the movies, we very rarely think of wine. Our villains are usually into some kind of illegal substance, and our heroes either don’t drink because they’re heroes, or they’re anti-heroes and drink scotch, bourbon, whiskey, or some other liquor straight. However, I’ve managed to compile a list of movies that do bring wine into the equation.
10 – The Silence of the Lambs
Coming in at number 10 is The Silence of the Lambs. While we never actually see Hannibal Lecter drinking (he’s only on screen for about 16 1/2 minutes of the film, and in prison for all but 3 minutes of those), there are few people that haven’t at one point or another thought of pairing fava beans with a nice chianti. This quote is actually rated number 25 on the American Film Institute’s list of 400 greatest movie quotes.
9 – The Godfather
It’s hard to have a movie about the Italian mafia without wine. Between the Don’t daughter getting married and the party that ensued, and or to the Don speaking of his increased love of wine towards the end of the movie, The Godfather makes wine enjoyable and fun, not pretentious. The only thing that’s more red than the wine in this movie is the blood shed.
8 – James Bond
While it’s true that James Bond is best known for his love of the martini, there are numerous times throughout the series where wine has made its presence felt. In Dr. No, Bond shows off his knowledge of champagne, saying that he prefers the ’53 Dom Perignon to the ’55 that they are about to be served. In Goldfinger, Bond shows off his knowledge of Brandy to M by picking on the brand that is served to him. While it’s true that nobody is ever going ton confuse James Bond as being a wine connoisseur, it’s clear that he does appreciate more than a martini.
7 – French Kiss
While I don’t usually watch a lot of romantic comedies, this movie does make it on the list because of Kevin Kline’s character’s desire to own his own vineyard. Having gambled away his share of the family plot to a vineyard, Kline spends his time with Meg Ryan talking about wine, introducing her to love, and even shows off his own homemade aroma sampling kit.
6 – Cleopatra
What would a movie set in Ancient Rome be without wine? The main characters are often seen drinking wine, and poison is served to Cleopatra in a cup of wine (which she makes her servant drink instead). In fact, Marc Anthony has a glass of wine in his hand in nearly ever scene he’s in during the movie. That’s commitment.
5 – The Big Sleep
Certainly not the first Humphrey Bogart movie where he was drinking with great regularity, The Big Sleep features the characters indulging in Brandy a lot. Nearly from the beginning, Phil Marlowe is seen drinking Brandy, from when he takes the job from the General, to the bookstore as he awaits Geiger’s exit from across the street, to the restaurant with Mrs. Rutledge (played by Lauren Bacall). This movie was practically soaked in Brandy and then put on film, not a bad way to make a movie if you ask me.
4 – Murder on the Orient Express
Sean Connery and Lauren Bacall make another appearance on this list, with a movie that is teeming with champagne, port, and Chartreause. Hercule Poirot (played by Albert Finney), starts his day with Champagne, and finishes his meals with Chartreuse. At another dinner on the train, another bucket with a bottle of champagne is visible, and later in the movie, a close-up of a glass of Chartreuse is shown with a straw in it. Not your typical wines, but there’s no denying that they drank it up on this movie.
3 – Notorious
This 1946 Hitchcock film starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman involves spying on Nazis in Brazil, and features a key scene in a very impressive wine cellar. Between champagne lunches, A Ler Cru Burgundy – Volnay Cailleret Bouchard wine, from a winery that has been around since 1731, this movie features the best wines. The key scene to the entire movie takes place with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in the wine cellar to see what secrets lie there. The sheer amount of wine in this cellar is mind boggling, and makes one kind of jealous. The movie ends with Ingrid Bergman being poisoned with coffee (seems kind of a shame given the amount of wine in this movie), but there’s no denying the love of wine present in this movie.
2 – Casablanca
Casablanca is absolutely dripping with Champagne. We meet Rick as he’s finishing a glass of Champagne (in those giant-bowl glasses that we now know are so bad for the bubbles). He’s joined by Ugarte who quickly goes through two glasses of cognac. We then join Yvonne who is drowning her sorrows in Rick’s private stock of brandy. The list goes on and on, but one thing is certain, the entire cast of this movie loved to drink. Between Champagne, Brandy, and Cognac, it’s amazing this movie doesn’t drown itself or that the characters don’t have liver damage. Either way, it’s a classic and one to be enjoyed.
1 – Sideways
Whereas most movies feature wine in them, this movie was ABOUT wine. When Miles and Jack go into the California wine country for one last romp before Jack gets married, all hell breaks loose. This movie can probably be attributed to the increase in popularity of Pinot Noir, thanks to Miles’ love of it and absolute distaste for Merlot (nothing personal merlot drinkers). The sheer amount of wine consumed in this movie is something to behold, and if you’re a wine lover, this movie will make you want to head out to California and follow the path of Miles and Jack, if only to see if you can keep pace with how much they drank. A great movie for wine lovers and those that just enjoy a good movie about friends.