Top 10 Movies with Wine

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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 daughter getting married and the party that ensued, and 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. The Princess Bride

Nearly everyone on the planet has seen The Princess Bride and half of the population can quote most memorable lines. One of the more humorous scenes involving The Man in Black and Vezinni uses a goblet of wine for the purpose of delivering a fictitious, but famous poison – Iocaine powder. Enjoy this movie clip of the Battle of Wits.

7. Arsenic and Old Lace

One of the many comedy classics that starred Cary Grant, Arsenic and Old Lace does a wonderful job of turning two elderly aunts into the sweetest murderers you will ever find. This dark comedy uses wine as the vehicle for delivering the poison to kill lonely old men and then burying them in the cellar. Of course they see it as charity work, but Mortimer their nephew (played by Cary Grant) sees otherwise. The quote below gives you a taste of this movie’s full and bold flavor.
Aunt Martha: For a gallon of elderberry wine, I take one teaspoon full of arsenic, then add half a teaspoon full of strychnine, and then just a pinch of cyanide.
Mortimer Brewster: Hmm. Should have quite a kick.

6. 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.

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 often.  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. The attached clip has nothing to do with wine but it is worth watching nonetheless.

4. 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.

3. A Walk in the Clouds

After returning from the war, Paul, played by Keanu Reeves, and a young woman meet on a bus as she’s headed home to harvest the grapes in the grape field called Las Nubes, which stands for “the clouds.” The woman has not married but is pregnant and she thinks her father is going to kill her. Paul proposes to pose as her husband to help her face her father. The vineyard is a character and a beautiful background in this movie and wine drinking is prevalent throughout. There is even a grape stomping scene.

2. 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.

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.

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Written by George Perry who also writes @ the Good Wine Guru.

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6 Comments

  1. As wine writers, can we just point out that in the book of Silence of the Lambs, it wasn’t a Chianti at all.
    The original (book) quote is: “A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone. Go back to school, little Starling.”

    It was dumbed down for the film.

  2. Highly recommend “From Obscurity to Excellence: The Story of Grapes and Wines of the Russian River Valley.” Full feature documentary traces the history of the RRV AVA from the 1860s through the hard times of prohibition and the Great Depression, through the dominance of the national wineries to the final triumph of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growers and wine makers of the 1970s.

    An inspiring story of grit, talent and taste! See trailer on the website. Viewing dates will be published late November 2012. Premier at Rochioli Winery is filled, but future public viewings are planned for Sonoma and Marin!

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