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Soul Food (1997)

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One person can keep a family together and, when that one person is gone, a family can be torn apart.


6 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Teri (as Vanessa L. Williams)
Morgan Méchelle Smith ...
John M. Watson Sr. ...
Uncle Pete
M.T. Alexander ...


Matriarch Mama Joe has held her family together for 40 years around a Sunday dinner of soul food. When diabetes hospitalizes her, the dinners stop and tensions among her three daughters start to break the family apart. Two of the sisters feud continuously: Teri is jealous of Maxine's marriage and irritated that everyone assumes her corporate salary is open to the rest of the family's uses. Maxine resents Teri's bossiness and insensitivity to family tradition. Bird, the youngest, newly married to an ex-con, accepts a favor from an old lover that leads to her husband's arrest. Mama Joe's grandson Ahmad cooks up a scheme to bring the family together, back to the table. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of the people who make us strong and the recipe that makes us a family. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

26 September 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A mama főztje  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$7,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,197,897, 28 September 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$43,490,057, 23 January 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Irma P. Hall is the only cast member who reprised their role in the cable series. See more »


At the beginning of the scene for the Sunday dinner that Ahmad arranged, there is a pitcher of grape or purple Kool-Aid. When the meal starts, the glasses are filled with a red drink. See more »


Bird: Who is that hoochie-koochie mama with her fat ass all over my man on the dance floor?
[Tearing up]
Bird: This is my wedding day! I'm supposed to be happy!
See more »


Referenced in Gloria (1999) See more »


A Song for Mama
Written by Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds
Produced by Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds (as Babyface) for ECAF Productions, Inc.
Performed by Boyz II Men (as Boyz II Men)
Boyz II Men appear courtesy of Motown Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Family Love
24 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

I totally enjoyed this movie. It had me full of emotion and rubbing my belly all at the same time. It's hard to understand why all families cannot sit down and enjoy times like the Joseph family had. Lem getting arrested, Teri & Max at each others throats, Mama Joe's illness, and Faith and Myles' bad deed really tested that love. This was a film that brought to light about hard times and rising above them. One person can make a difference. Ahmad proved that by getting the whole family back for "sunday dinner." It is always a silver lining to a negative situation. That food would definitely bring me back! We need more of these times in today's world. Forget materials things, love is bigger.

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