Though presuming isn’t the best thing to do, I still have a presumption that coffee makes its way into film because the writing process and production of movies is fueled by the mystical murky beverage.
Therefore, I have compiled a list of some of the more memorable scenes in cinematic history featuring coffee, so brew a pot and enjoy.
The IPCRESS File (1965)
To start, I must include the opening scene of The IPCRESS File, which is comprised of Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) waking up, opening the curtains, and brewing some coffee. It’s how I imagine most spies that aren’t named James Bond start their days. Bond, of course, probably has some beautiful woman serve it to him in bed. It’s a short scene, but from it we can see Palmer is self-sufficient. I think we all originally come from Palmer stock as, for the most part, most of us have to make our own coffee.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Another classic on the list is also from another movie opening. The elegant Audrey Hepburn, dressed to the nines with thick sunglasses, is drinking her coffee and eating a pastry outside of Tiffany’s in New York on a very desolate street as she is window shopping as “Moon River” plays before the film gets going. The beauty of this scene, short as it may be, is something we’ve all shared at some point. Maybe it’s not a quiet moment alone window shopping, but we can all relate to the simplicity of watching the sunrise solo with a hot cup of java on a Sunday morning…
“This drink… I like it. ANOTHER!” Perhaps this is how we all think when we have our first cup of coffee. Clearly Thor is from another world, but it is his first cup of joe… ever! I can’t remember exactly when I had my first cup, but if it was my custom to smash the cup in a celebratory manner as was Thor’s, I’m sure I would have done so.
Role Models (2008)
“Large black coffee…” “No, venti is twenty. Large is large. In fact, tall is large and grande is Spanish for large. Venti is the only one that doesn’t mean large. It’s also the only one that’s Italian. Congratulations, you’re stupid in three languages.” There is something special about Starbucks, but I am not one of those people who get’s it and Danny (Paul Rudd) is speaking to me and through me in that moment. At least someone else is good at making my arguments for me.
Apollo 13 (1995)
We’ve all been there. We’ve all be asked to do the impossible – though it isn’t always as clear as being asked to fit a square peg in a round hole – in order to save three lives. But given the impossible tasks we are sometimes required to complete, no matter the time of day, just as it is in this scene with NASA’s best and brightest, I too would require coffee.
Groundhog Day (1993)
Coffee & Cigarettes (2003)
There are days where there never seems to be enough coffee. When a cup seems like too small a serving. When the caffeine intake required is so great that the only option seems to be drinking from the pot. And in two movies a decade apart from each other, Bill Murray, being his phenomenally talented self, did just that. During Groundhog Day it’s because he “doesn’t have to worry about anything,” while during Coffee & Cigarettes he has a heart-to-heart about “delirium” with GZA and RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Everyone knows Jimmie. At some point, there’s always someone who’s drinking gourmet coffee, and that’s all they drink. But don’t tell Jimmie his coffee is good, especially when he’s got something else on his mind. To quote Jimmie, “I don’t need you to tell me how fucking good my coffee is, okay? I’m the one who buys it. I know how good it is. When Bonnie goes shopping she buys SHIT. I buy the gourmet expensive stuff because when I drink it I want to taste it. But you know what’s on my mind right now? It AIN’T the coffee in my kitchen…”
“You call this coffee?” “I call this America.”
Jean Reno as Philippe Roaché, has a problem with “American” coffee throughout the film. But that doesn’t stop him from drinking it, albeit with “more cream.” Just like Jimmie from Pulp Fiction, taste in coffee differs from person to person. Some people can drink any coffee you put in front of them while others would prefer to enjoy it. It truly is all a matter of taste.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
“Coffee’s for closers only…” I don’t entirely agree with the premise because, like most people, before I’m able to close or finish anything, I start with a cup of coffee. For me it’s not a reward, it is a critical part of the journey. But if you’re talking about coffee in film, there is no way you can leave out this scene.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Mr. Pink doesn’t tip. And while he’s entitled to his opinion, he’s failing in his argument with history. Tipping was started in coffee houses, but the punchline from Nice Guy Eddie truly makes this scene.
Mr. Pink: Look, I ordered coffee. Now we’ve been here a long fucking time and she’s only filled my cup three times. When I order coffee, I want it filled six times.
Mr. Blonde: Six times. Well, what if she’s too fucking busy?
Mr. Pink: The words “too fucking busy” shouldn’t be in a waitress’s vocabulary.
Nice Guy Eddie: Excuse me, Mr. Pink, but I think the last fucking thing you need is another cup of coffee.
Airplane 2 (1982)
The writers of Airplane and Airplane 2, enjoy a punchline, but they have two funny scenes with coffee as the punchline. In the original, it’s the famous, “I take it black” scene, and in the sequel it’s the passengers being fine with danger just so long as they aren’t “out of coffee.” Both have become classics and require inclusion on this list.
History of Violence (2005)
Anything can be a weapon in the right hands, but aside from, “Ouch, that burns,” and, “Hey, great shot,” he’s wasting coffee! That’s not something I take kindly to, but given the circumstances, I’ll allow it. That is no way to treat a lady!
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
While this scene may seem a bit far fetched, I can tell you that a bad cup of coffee can make all the difference for your morning, your day, or even just one meeting. Coffee drinkers the world over, whether it be espresso, cappuccino, or just a regular cup of joe, can agree with this.
Sudden Impact (1983)
The lesson here is simple: It pays to be a regular.
Harry Callahan: Every day for the past ten years, Loretta there’s been giving me a large black coffee, today she gives me a large black coffee only it has sugar in it, a lotta sugar. I just came back to complain. Now, you boys put those guns down.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
This is a nightmare of epic proportions for coffee drinkers. You don’t mess with someone’s coffee!
The Green Hornet (2011)
We can’t all have a Kato, and that’s why we go out for coffee. But secretly, or not so secretly, we all want our own Kato! (Probably not just for the coffee either!)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
It’s impossible not to relate to the end of this clip. Sure, Walter makes a scene, and The Dude walks out, but he’s going to finish his coffee… We all just want to stay and finish our coffee.
The Iron Giant (1999)
Everyone’s first cup of coffee tastes different, but the result is relatively the same.
Moscow on the Hudson (1984)
Welcome to America my friend! “Taster’s Choice…decaffeinated…Maxwell House, El Pico…Chock Full O’Nuts, espresso…cappuccino, Café Français…Sanka, Folger’s…Café Caribe. Coffee. Coffee! Coffee!”
Open Season (2006)
We all know people like Elliot that hate the taste but still love the coffee. However, I always think to myself, “How can you not like the taste? It’s wonderful!”
Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know!