Top 10 Champagne movies
From the roaring 20s to the swinging 60s, Champagne has held a special place in the heart of popular culture for the best part of 100 years, not least on the silver screen.
While French fizz has featured prominently in books, films and TV series thanks to effective marketing and product placement, it is perhaps its appearance on the silver screen that has most helped cement its luxury status.
Here we round up some of the most memorable Champagne movie moments, if only to fuel an aspiration to live a Champagne lifestyle, albeit on a lemonade budget.
Click through for see our pick of Champagne’s most memorable movie moments…
James Bond’s love of Champagne, particularly the prestige cuvées of Bollinger and Dom Pérignon, is well-known with dozens of references being made to the French fizz throughout the spy’s silver screen career. In 1973’s Live and Let Die, James Bond (played by Roger Moore) is heard asking for a bottle of Bollinger after entering his hotel while in 2002’s Die Another Day, James Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) is heard asking for a bottle of Bollinger immediately after being released from a North Korean prison. Of 22 James Bond film, not including the most recent Skyfall, there have been 35 references to Champagne; 17 to Bollinger and 7 to Dom Pérignon.
“Maybe I misjudged you Stromberg. Any man who drinks Dom Perignon ´52 can´t be all bad.” – James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
“My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!” – James Bond, Goldfinger (1964)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
The ever-glamourous Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn in the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, was an ardent fan of French fizz, so much so that she often cracked open a bottle before breakfast.
Paul Varjak:”I don’t think I’ve ever drunk champagne before breakfast before. With breakfast on several occasions, but never before before.”
Holly Golightly: “Well I’ve got a wonderful idea – we’ll spend the day doing things we’ve never done before. We’ll take turns. First something you’ve never done before, then me. ‘Course I can’t think of anything I’ve never done. Whoa! I’ve never been for a walk in the morning before. I’ve walked up 5th avenue at 6am, but I consider that still night.”
Champagne Charlie (1936)
Champagne Charlie was a 1936 drama directed by James Tinling, starring Paul Cavanagh and Helen Wood. Paul Cavanaugh played Champagne Charlie Courtland – a smooth, sophisticated and highly unethical gambler making his money among the rich and famous.
The film is not about the famous winemaker Charles Heidsieck, who affectionately came to be known Champagne Charlie due to his success in importing Champagne into the American market.
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1928 silent film Champagne, starring Betty Balfour, famously starts and ends with a shot through the bottom of a Champagne glass. Its plot follows the life of a spoilt rich girl who leads the life of luxury off the proceed of her father’s Champagne business. To inject a dose of reality into his daughter, he tells her that all the money has been lost and that she must go and seek her own fortune.
On shooting its signature Champagne glass opening, Alfred Roome, assistant cameraman, later recalled: “I was the one who had to focus through the bottom of the glass. Hitch had it made specially by a glass manufacturer who put a lens into the bottom of the giant Champagne glass, so we could shoot through it and get a clear picture of what was happening at the other end of the room. We all said it wouldn’t work. Most people said that of Hitch’s ideas, but they almost always did work.”
Wayne’s World (1992)
Even the 1992 American comedy Wayne’s World, which smashed the box office pulling in $121 million over its theatrical run, sought to educate the masses on Champagne as proven by this sound bite. Benjamin Kane, played by Rob Lowe, illuminates his girlfriend on the ever-important fact that Champagne is always French.
Cassandra: “I don’t believe I’ve ever had French Champagne before…”
Benjamin Kane: “Oh, actually all Champagne is French; it’s named after the region. Otherwise it’s sparkling white wine. Americans of course don’t recognize the convention, so it becomes that thing of calling all of their sparkling white “champagne”, even though by definition they’re not.”
Wayne Campbell: “Ah yes, it’s a lot like “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. In many ways it’s superior but will never be as recognized as the original.”
Directed by Vincente Minnelli, Gigi is a romantic comedy based on the 1944 novella of the same name by Colette. The film features songs with lyrics by Lerner; music by Frederick Loewe, arranged and conducted by André Previn, most notably “The Night They Invented Champagne” – a rousing number celebrating the joys of French fizz.
“The night they invented Champagne
It’s plain as it can be
They thought of you and me
The night they invented champagne
They absolutely knew that all we’d want to do Is fly to the sky on Champagne
And shout to everyone in sight
That since the world began no woman or a man has ever been as happy as we are tonight!”
An Affair to Remember (1957)
An Affair to Remember, a remake of Leo McCarey’s 1939 film Love Affair starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, is considered one of the most romantic movies of all time. It it, Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant famously compare their time together as living the life of “rosé Champagne”, as Kerr hastily registers the unrealistic nature of such a lifestyle asking Grant instead if he likes beer.
“Pink champagne — that’s the kind of life we’ve both been used to. It might be a little difficult to — do you like beer?” — Kerr to Grant in An Affair to Remember.
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Today, Champagne and food pairing suggestions are abundant. However what many might not realise is that Marilyn Monroe could rightly be credited with starting the trend proclaiming her love of dunking potato chips in Champagne in The Seven Year Itch. The film sees Marilyn Monroe play “the girl”, a beautiful blonde who attracts the attention of New Yorker Richard Sherman who is set on living the bachelor lifestyle while his family are away for their annual summer holiday.
“Hey, did you ever try dunking a potato chip in Champagne? It’s real crazy!” – Marilyn ‘the girl’ Monroe, The Seven Year Itch
Champagne is notably abundant in the film Casablanca with saucers filled with fizz popping into the frame on a number of occasions, as well as the odd glass of brandy and Cognac.
Henri wants us to finish this bottle, then three more. He says he’ll water his garden with champagne before he lets the Germans drink any of it.” – Rick Blaine
The Great Gatsby (2013)
In what was a fabulous marketing coup for Moët & Chandon, 2013’s remake of The Great Gastby saw admiration heaped on the brand in spadefuls. While the fictional character of Gatsby is an ardent lover of Champagne in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel, no particular brand was ever specified. However for Baz Luhrmann’s remake starring Leonardo Dicaprio, its set designer Catherine Martin assumed it would have been Moët & Chandon. The result? A glut of immeasurably valuable free advertising for the French Champagne house with Gatsby’s visually extravagant, Champagne-fuelled parties boasting intricate fountain pyramids of Champagne glasses and gloriously decadent Balthazars and Nebuchadnezzars of Moët.
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby