A First Look at the New Anthony Bourdain Documentary

'Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain' explores the beloved chef and host's impact on food, media, and travel as we know it.

June 14, 2021
Photo by Getty Images

I’ll never forget when Anthony Bourdain died three years ago this month. I woke up to the news and by the time I’d gotten to the Food52 offices, the whole world seemed to know. I was tasked with writing his official obituary for the site and to this day it’s the hardest article I’ve ever had to write.

The effects of his death are still being parsed and understanding his legacy is a continuous project. There have been posthumous books and articles, all in an attempt to pay homage to the person so many revered. The newest addition to the Bourdain canon is a documentary slated to be released in theaters this summer on July 16. The film, called Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, is directed by Academy Award winner Morgan Neville (of 20 Feet From Stardom and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? fame) and takes a look back at his indelible impact on the worlds of food, media, and travel. Just last week, the first trailer was released.

The documentary charts his meteoric rise as well as time at the helm of two successful TV programs, No Reservations and Parts Unknown. It features interviews with many of his friends and colleagues, including the likes of Eric Ripert and David Chang, and videos of him travelling the world over. Much of the footage is narrated by Bourdain himself as the film lifts archival and found recordings to structure the story.

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The act of remembrance is a long, complex and arduous one. Bourdain is remembered for so many things: his appetite, his humor, his impact but most of all his humanity. It seems the documentary aims to capture just that.

What other food-focused films have you enjoyed recently, and which are you looking forward to watching? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • girlwithaknife
  • ezachos
  • Komalleyod
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


girlwithaknife June 20, 2021
I’ll never forget the meal I had when I learned of his death. Homemade burgers and parm fries and Moscow mules, I think. Hubby and I toasted to him, RIP.
ezachos June 20, 2021
Does the documentary acknowledge the bro culture Bourdain perpetuated, often to the point of misogyny and sometimes to the point of harassment?
Komalleyod June 20, 2021
A quirky movie with some beautiful food scenes is the Czech movie “I Served the King of England.”