Why is Brad Pitt always eating in movies? Don’t believe me? Google it. He’s been doing it in a staggering amount of his movies going back 30 years. And he’s darn good at it. Many actors like “busywork” — something for them to do that accents their performance (e.g., smoking cigarettes). Brad Pitt has mastered the “talk ‘n’ chew,” a form of busywork in which he manages to avoid being disgusting while folding the act of eating into his performance. But which scenes are the best? Let’s break down this very peculiar and meme-worthy aspect to Brad Pitt’s legacy.

Brad Pitt Eating in Ocean’s 11

5. Ocean’s 11

People really seemed to first take notice of Brad Pitt’s eating habits in Ocean’s 11. In the film, Pitt plays Rusty, one of Danny Ocean’s compatriots in a huge Las Vegas  heist. When he’s not getting his hands dirty trying to figure out how to steal millions, he spent a good chunk of the runtime getting down on snacks, as this video helpfully points out. 

And yet he still has those chiseled abs...

The video shows that Rusty likes his snacks as he eats nachos, popcorn, cotton candy, bar nuts, and a shrimp cocktail. That’s not even getting into what he drinks. 

Brad Pitt actually commented on what he eats in this film by saying he incorporated his love of eating into the character. He said that since Rusty is a criminal, he never knows when he might have to flee. Therefore, he just kind of eats when he can because he doesn’t know where his next meal might come from. 

"I like to busy myself."

It’s a good reminder of how you can incorporate quirks into the characters you write into your screenplay. Eating is a personal activity, and you can learn a lot about a person by what they eat. Instead of just having your characters eat whatever’s easiest to order, really think about what this person would enjoy. It’s a great way to make a more personal film and flesh out your characters.

Brad Pitt Eating in Movies

4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s ode to Hollywood both past and present. Nowhere is this more apparent than the fact he gives Brad Pitt several chances to fill up during filming, including one scene featured in the trailer where he munches on the celery stick in his Bloody Mary.

“You're Rick f*cking Dalton. Don't you forget it.”

The celery stick scene is interesting because Rick is speaking with Marvin Schwarzs, a casting agent, who could theoretically help Cliff with his career. However, Cliff doesn’t seem to care about his presence. Marvin talks with Rick, and Cliff just sits there loudly munching on celery. 

It tells us that, unlike a lot of people trying to make it in Hollywood, Cliff isn’t interested in schmoozing with everyone. At this point in his life, he knows his career is just about done, so he’s just going to focus on getting trashed. Again, his eating informs the audience about his character, and it reveals insights better than dialogue could.

The most important food item in the film is sunflower seeds. We frequently see Pitt munching on them and spitting them into a cup. This is often a habit of people trying to quit nicotine. Instead of using chewing tobacco, Billy Bean uses sunflower seeds. We even see one of the other managers spit into a cup, too. It reveals insight into the nature of baseball and how former players cope with not being able to indulge in life’s vices like they used to. 

Why Does Brad Pitt Eat in All His Movies?

2. Meet Joe Black 

In Meet Joe Black, Brad Pitt gets his by two cars, and then Death takes over his body and serves as a moral guide for a billionaire mogul. The 90s were an awesome time for movies. And during Death’s time on Earth, he discovers the magical wonder of peanut butter.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this peanut butter.”

Whereas other examples of Brad Pitt eating in movies highlight character traits, this time it’s all about showcasing the theme of the film. Death has seen infinite humans die, civilizations collapse, and the very beginning of the universe. And when he finally takes human form and has senses, the thing he’s taken with most is peanut butter. 

The scene serves as a good reminder that the most beautiful things in life are not always picturesque sunsets and expertly-crafted paintings. Sometimes, it’s the little things in life, like peanut butter, that matter most. After all, we’re pretty sure peanut butter has brought more smiles on people’s faces than the most gorgeous sunset ever. 

Brad Pitt Eating

1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has remained in the zeitgeist for a very interesting reason. Instead of focusing on the plot or characters, most people seem to just remember the gimmick of Button aging in reverse. Still, the film hosts one of the best Brad Pitt food scenes ever where he shares a meal of caviar with Elizabeth Abbott, played by Tilda Swinton.

“I can feel the wind in your cheek.”

The choice of eating caviar here is intentional. Abbott comes from wealth, and the caviar exemplifies that fact. Later in the dinner, Abbott confesses that she feels she never did anything with her life, and all Button does is place his hand over hers to comfort her. It’s a simple gesture punctuated with a kiss. In fact, it’s Benjamin Button’s first kiss. 

He narrates while dabbing his lips and placing his napkin over his dish, showing the meal is over. It’s the first time he’s ever eaten caviar and likely the only time in his life. But instead of indulging in the delicacy, all he can think about is how this beautiful woman kissed him. 


Reddit user "LundgrensFrontKick" performed statistical analysis and discovered in movies where Brad Pitt consumes 200 calories or more, the film is more successful with critics and at the box office. People love watching Brad Pitt eat!

This simple scene portrays a lot in terms of both character and theme. It shows the audience that Benjamin Button is not the type of man to get caught up in irrelevant matters of high society. All he cares about is what anyone of us should care about: love. So much can be said with just one scene. As a filmmaker, you have a lot of opportunities to create human, universal experiences, and having two characters share a meal is just about one of the most precious moments you can add in your film.

Up Next

The Best Coen Brothers Movies

Brad Pitt has turned in plenty of fantastic performances over the years regardless of whether or not he has a donut in his hand. One of his most memorable roles was in the 2008 Coen Brothers film Burn After Reading. See where this film ranked among the Coens’ film catalog and whether your favorite of their films made the top spot. 

Up Next: The Best Coen Brothers →
Solution Icon - Shot List and Storyboard

Showcase your vision with elegant shot lists and storyboards.

Create robust and customizable shot lists. Upload images to make storyboards and slideshows.

Learn More ➜

  • Mike Bedard is a graduate of UCLA. He’s a screenwriter based out of Los Angeles who’s written several short films as well as sketch comedy for various theaters around LA. He’s also written articles for sites like Cracked and Ranker.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copy link