Your humble editor devotes a fair amount of his brain power to the world of movie food. That typically means eating unhealthy quantities of consumables from movie tie-in menus. For too long, though, he’s looked beyond the movie theater while ignoring the bountiful cornucopia of degustation available at the local multiplex.

To that end, he has spent the last several weeks and months carefully sampling (in most cases resampling, let’s be honest) the vast array of movie theater concessions in order to rank them all on a definitive master list. That list does not include popcorn, the obvious, best movie theater snack, for one simple reason: It is a snack, not a candy. That’s the same reason you won’t find hot dogs, nachos, chicken tenders, and the rest of theaters’ often-questionable savory food items below. This is just a list of movie candies.

You might be wondering what sort of scientific criteria he applied to the creation of such a list. Here was his methodology: He ate a lot of movie candy. That was pretty much it.

The results are arguably more personal than objective. You may find you disagree. Just know that this list was made with passion, sincerity, and more than a little indigestion. From worst to first, our picks are:

27. Sno-Caps

We have an entire article explaining this pick, so just to reiterate: Sno-Caps are gross and should never be eaten.

26. Red Vines

I’m not sure why Twizzlers vs. Red Vines are even a debate. The only reason anyone would pick a box of Red Vines over a bag Twizzlers is if they’d never eaten a Twizzler before. They taste like expired cough medicine that’s congealed into solid form.

25. Mike and Ike

There are many fruit-related candies available at the movie theater concession stand and, in my mind, Mike and Ike is the least appealing of them all. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one that tasted fresh. They can update the packaging all they want; the little nuggets inside still taste like they’ve been sitting in one of those bowling alley vending machines for 25 years.

24. MIlk Duds

Milk Duds aren’t bad, they’re just … a lot. They get stuck in your teeth and clog up your mouth. If you buy Milk Duds you are also committing to buying a $8 drink, because no one can eat an entire box of Milk Duds dry. It’s scientifically impossible. Your throat would explode.

23. Jujyfruits

Again, there are other, superior fruit candies out there. Plus, they totally cost Elaine her relationship and her job in that one Seinfeld episode.

22. Whoppers

Malt belongs in milkshakes, not in little chocolate balls. That’s my position.

21. Gummy Bears

Concessions tend to come in giant bags, which is great for some snacks and bad for others. Gummy bears are great in small portions, but have you ever eaten an entire bag of them? It’s just too much gummy bear.

20. Cookie Dough Bites

Cookie dough is one of the great scams in American history. They tricked people into buying uncooked dough! What’s next? Uncooked pasta bites? Raw vegetables? No way.

19. Welch’s Fruit Snacks

A stronger alternative to Gummy Bears, with more varied (and more natural-tasting) fruit flavors. Plus they advertise that “Fruit Is Our 1st Ingredient!” so you can almost trick yourself into believing you are eating healthy.

18. Reese’s Pieces

Reese’s Pieces do have the movie connection with their crucial supporting role in E.T., but they are one of the weaker Reese’s products. Now if they sold Reese’s cups or those Crispy Crunchy Bars, we might really have something.

17. Lemonheads

Solid and underrated. My one big gripe? The name. “Lemonheads” sounds like a slang for some unspeakable body part. If they were called something else, they would be at least five spots higher on the list.

16. Good & Plenty

I fully recognize that licorice is an extremely divisive candy. Some love it, and some hate. I love it, and I love Good & Plenty at the movies. The concession stand version is gigantic, and because their licorice flavor is so strong, it takes a long time to eat the whole bag; this is one snack you won’t finish before the end of the trailers. Plus: They’re fat free!

15. Raisinets

They’re fine and all, but c’mon — they’re almost fruit. No one wants to eat healthy in a movie theater. That’s why you go to the movie theater: It’s a place you can eat garbage in the dark, where no one can see you and judge you. Not like they are that healthy anyway but the fact that you are anyway near fruit is the problem

14. Swedish Fish

Delicious (not to mention Swedish) but kind of one-note. After a little while, every bite with that exact same flavor begins to wear you out. A similarly textured but more varied candy will appear higher on our list.

13. Hot Tamales

Another love-it-or-hate-it option that this author enjoys. They have a nice, snappy texture, and a refreshing alternative to so many other candies that are so heavy with sugar they make you desperately thirsty.

12. Sweetart Ropes

A relatively new addition to the movie candy universe — and a surprisingly good one. These don’t taste much like chalky old SweeTarts to me — they used to be sold under another name — but I guess even the concession stand is not immune to the demands of branding. Whatever you want to call them, it’s very easy to devour an entire bag.

11. Butterfinger Bites

I don’t know about you, but when I see that “MOVIE PACK” logo on a box, I get a hit of endorphins.

10. Dots

Dots Flavors Power Ranking:

1. Red
2. Green
3. Yellow
4. Pink
5. Orange

9. Skittles

An absolute classic, and the bag you get at the movie theater for like $12 lasts you a hefty portion of the movie. Would be higher on our list if they hadn’t replaced the lime Skittle with green apple a few years ago, thus rendering Skittles Dead To Me Forever.

8. Buncha Crunch

Most miniature version of chocolate bars are inferior products, designed to appease kids on Halloween. Buncha Crunch might be the only instance where the derivative candy is actually superior to the original. Why would you eat a Crunch bar when you could pound handfuls of Crunchies instead? There’s no comparison.

7. M&Ms

The classic. Every variety is good (except maybe those weird cherry ones). One idea that someone should do: Create an M&Ms dispenser at the theater (sort of like the Coca-Cola Freestyle soda fountains) where you could create your own custom bag, and mix (just for example) plain with mint and pretzel.

6. Goobers

Full disclosure: I have a bad digestive system and really am not supposed to eat nuts and seeds. But I make an exception every once in a while for Goobers, which are far more delicious than anything called “Goobers” has any right to be.

5. Twizzlers

Or, as they are widely known, “The Good Red Vines.” If there is a limit to the number of Twizzlers a human being can consume in a single sitting, I have yet to find it.

4. Snickers Bites

One of the very best candy bars is solidly very good in bite-size form. Plus they’re unwrapped, cutting down the time between bag and mouth to an absolute minimum.

3. Junior Mints

Come on — who doesn’t love a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint. It’s delicious!

2. Sour Patch Kids

Like Swedish Fish, but with more flavor varieties, and the fun of those weird sour crystals. Not a bad flavor in the bunch, and a theater-sized bag goes a long way.

1. Starburst

Starburst checks pretty much every movie theater candy box. It’s got a good variety of flavors, they take forever to eat, and they have an appealing chewy texture without ever getting stuck in your teeth. It’s the clear number one.


Twizzlers are nothing more than cherry sented wax. There is no reason to eat a Twizzler.

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