Babette's Feast Movie Poster Image

Babette's Feast

A heartwarming feast for adults. May bore kids.
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Babette learns the importance of home and giving to her chosen family. Martina and Philippa also do good works for the poor and elderly.


Babette imports many live animals and kills them herself.


Chaste kisses on the hand are the most action these characters see.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

During the feast, characters get drunk and the teenage serving boy sneaks gulps of wine.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the adults in this movie can be judgemental (sometimes comically so) and that the father of two girls keeps them from experiencing life. During a grand dinner, the teenage server sneaks several gulps of wine. For the feast, Babette imports many live animals and kills them herself, which may disturb vegetarian or sensitive kids.

Kids say

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What's the story?

What's life without love, great food, and good drink? Pretty gray and solemn -- that is, until French cook Babette (Stephane Audran) comes into the lives of Martina and Philippa, the spinster sisters at the center of BABETTE'S FEAST. The sisters are born to a strict, Puritanical father who's the leader of his own religious sect on the wind-swept shores of 19th century Denmark. Long after he's gone, the women continue to do good works caring for the sick and elderly, and lead his diminutive congregation. But they also continue to deny themselves life -- love and romance are useless emotions and a waste of spirit. Still, they're young and beautiful, and they are tempted -- first by a townsman, then by a charming military officer, and then by a French stage performer. Each time, either they demure or their father rejects the proposals. Once Babette arrives, fleeing the French Revolution, things aren't nearly so dour. She replaces their evening porridge with seasoned soups and fresher fish. She haggles. And when she wins a lottery, she prepares a "real French dinner" for the sisters and their congregants.

Is it any good?


Once the meal is announced, the film really begins to shine. The characters become quirky and bickering. One sister has nightmares about the sin of drinking wine. The rest is a cinematic feast. Like other divine food films, such as Big Night and Chocolat, the food and drink magically lighten spirits and capture the revelry of a truly great meal. But kids are unlikely to get that.

Though the film is short -- just over an hour and a half -- its subtitles and the conspicuous lack of sex appeal of its mostly elderly cast are likely to turn off younger audiences. Only the truly romantic or young gastronomes are likely to have the patience to appreciate this Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Martina and Philippa deal with their overprotective father. How much control should a parent have of his child's destiny?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 1, 1987
DVD/Streaming release date:January 23, 2001
Cast:Birgitte Federspiel, Bodil Kjer, Stephane Audran
Director:Gabriel Axel
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Parent Written bynicolasconnault January 8, 2010

Not inappropriate for children, but unlikely to appeal to them

I love this movie. Why I love it is difficult to explain. It's much more than just a movie about a big dinner where everyone discovers the joys of eating. It's a movie about relationships, where things that are said have little meaning, but things that are not said speak volumes. People's facial expressions, gestures and microsignals convey a depth of emotion that cannot be fully understood in one, or even two or three viewings. I wouldn't stop any children from watching it, but they most likely won't understand it and will sleep through most of it. It has some cigar-smoking (by the military officer) and some alcohol use (a lot during the dinner).
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 3 and 5 year old Written bymarceladns March 7, 2011

Excellent way to show kids how to do things for others

Babette's feast will leave you with so much to talk about, from religious beliefs to eating habits around the world, The sisters take Babette as a maid and cook and in return Babette cooks a feast that bring the best out of each guest. The movie might seem boring and plain but as the feast unfold so does the story. There is some very mild drinking and smoking.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages