1. Manhunter (1986)
After removing his family to a safe place while he pursues a serial killer, William Petersen takes his son shopping. As they shop, the conversation turns to his son's concerns for their safety, then shifts to Petersen's recent stay in a psych ward following an encounter with Hannibal Lecter. Petersen matter-of-factly explains that his profiling job filled his head with so many ugly thoughts that he couldn't talk to anyone, but he's better now; in the process, the film captures the way that important realizations about how the world works sometimes take place between boxes of Trix and Count Chocula. (It's such a powerful moment that the background magically changes behind Petersen, unless that's a continuity error.)
2. The Ipcress File (1965)
Special Agent Harry Palmer (Michael Caine, in the first of his five films in the series) is a man of discriminating taste in music, literature, women, andperhaps especiallyfood. He's capable of using "I am going to cook you the best meal you've ever eaten" to seduce a woman, a feat made all the more impressive when we see how he shops. While engaging in a tense conversation with an unfriendly superior, Caine pulls cans of pre-made prawn curry and French button mushrooms from the shelves. (Ah, there's nothing like canned mushrooms.) "It's not just the label," Caine informs his doubtful colleague. "These do have the better flavor."
3. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Is there a more concise introduction to a character than Jeff Bridges' first scene in The Big Lebowski? Shopping in his bathrobe and sunglasses for the half-and-half he needs to fill out his white Russians, Bridges picks a carton from the back, sniffs it, then shows up at the checkout counter with drops of half-and-half in his beard. (Because you can't be too careful.) Then he writes a check for 69 cents. "I'm talking about The Dude here," Sam Elliott says in voiceover. But The Dude is saying even more about himself.
4. The Stepford Wives (1975)
Occasionally brilliant high camp (as opposed to the never-close-to-brilliant, low-camp 2004 remake), the original 1975 satirical horror film ends with a sequence of feminism in defeat. Dozens of robotic housewives lurch through a supermarket in flattering sundresses and matching hats, exchanging bland pleasantries but wasting no time gathering everything they need for the evening meal. What else would they do?
5. 28 Days Later (2002)
Zombies have taken over Britain, but the shopping still needs to get done. On their way out of London, Cillian Murphy and his fellow survivors hit a Budgens and gleefully stock up on supplies, skipping the rotted fruit and grabbing as many cans and chocolate bars as they can carry. As an aside, Brendan Gleeson tutors Murphy in the proper way to shop for scotch before mockingly leaving his credit card at the checkout counter. Shopping would be so much better if not for all that business with money.