Best Movies Over Three Hours, Ranked
Over time, film productions gradually increased in length. While the average length of a film in 1981 was 110 minutes, by 2021 it had increased to 131 minutes. That’s not counting the experimental productions, like Vibe, the film by Swedish director Anders Weberg released at the end of 2020 which had a running time of 720 hours, or about 30 days. Per IndieWire, in fact, the trailer for Weberg’s film ran for seven hours.
Moviegoers’ reactions to a feature film tend to vary. Some people are thrilled when a movie is long because the events depicted in the production are more detailed and there is plenty of time to enjoy the movie and immerse yourself in the story. Many others, however, are put off by a very long film, especially when it hits theaters. Regardless of public opinion, it’s certain that movies, and even TV series, are embracing this trend of extending their runtimes more and more, and luckily, they’re getting great results. Just as an example, we can name Matt Reeves’ movie The Batmanwhich is nearly three hours long, as well as the season four finale of stranger things, lasting two and a half hours, closing the longest season of the series. This article takes a look at the best movies over three hours.
9 Titanic—195 Minutes
In this popular 1997 film, James Cameron revisits one of history’s worst nautical tragedies, while merging it with a tragic love story that never happened. Titanic stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as Rose and Jack, two young people from very different backgrounds who fall in love aboard the Titanic. A lesser known fact about this movie is that, not counting the 1996 scenes and the movie credits, the events that unfolded in the Titanic and the story of Jack and Rose are told in exactly the same time frame. it took the ship to sink: 2 hours and 40 minutes.
8 The Wolf of Wall Street – 180 minutes
With a battery life of precisely three hours, the wolf of Wall Street is one of Martin Scorsese’s most complete films. This 2013 production is based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort and traces his career as a stockbroker in New York, from its origins to its downfall. It stars DiCaprio, who is also the film’s producer, alongside Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie and Matthew McConaughey, among others. And even though the film is quite long, it could have been significantly longer: according to Scorsese, the initial version of the film was over four hours long.
seven The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – 201 Minutes
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King wrapped the LOTR trilogy in 2003, becoming the most complete film in the saga. The already well-known cast led by Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Viggo Mortensen reprise their roles once again at the end of the journey to Mount Doom. Even though the film is already long, with a running time of 3 hours and 20 minutes, the long version of it offers 50 minutes of additional content for die-hard fans of the trilogy.
6 The Irishman – 209 Minutes
This 2019 film is officially Scorsese’s longest running production, at three and a half hours. The Irishman marks his ninth collaboration with Robert De Niro, and the first with Al Pacino. Inspired by the book I heard you paint houses by Charles Brandt, the film follows Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a truck driver who becomes a hitman, and his involvement with mobster Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). Rounding out the cast are Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin, Stephen Graham and Harvey Keitel.
5 Gone with the Wind – 221 Minutes
Lasting nearly four hours, the 1939 film carried away by the wind was, at the time of its release, the most expensive and longest film ever made. This film industry classic tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara’s life, her feelings for Ashley, her cousin’s husband, and her eventual marriage to Rhett Butler. With Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and Leslie Howard, carried away by the wind is a film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel.
4 Seven Samurai — 207 Minutes
Akira Kurosawa directed and co-wrote this epic film which, at the time, was the most expensive film ever made in Japan. Lasting 207 minutes, Seven Samurai revolves around a 1586 farming village that is constantly beset by thieves and murderers, to the point where they decide to hire a group of samurai to defend them. Although the first meeting between the two groups is far from the best, they eventually learn to coexist and the samurai teach the farmers all the techniques necessary for self-defense.
3 Avengers: Endgame – 182 minutes
With a run time of 3 hours and 2 minutes, Avengers: Endgame is, to date, the last film of the avengers set of superheroes. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle and Paul Rudd among many other stars, the film revolves around this group of super -heroes, who must reunite again in order to reverse the devastation caused by Thanos.
2 The Godfather Part II — 202 Minutes
Following the resounding success of The Godfather in 1972, two years later, The Godfather Part II reached theaters, serving as both a sequel and a prequel to the original. Partly based on Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the film parallels the origins of Vito Corleone, the family patriarch, and the rise of Michael Corleone as the new head of the family business. This production stars Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton, among other actors, and runs for 3 hours and 22 minutes.
1 Schindler’s List – 195 Minutes
The 1993 film starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall and Jonathan Sagalle takes the top spot on this list. Lasting 3 hours and 15 minutes, Schindler’s list is inspired by Thomas Keneally’s 1982 book Schindler’s Ark and revolves around Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who, in an effort to grow his business, employs hundreds of Jewish workers, saving them from a inevitable death. This masterpiece was directed and produced by Steven Spielberg.