Nowadays, when everyone has attention disorders and it is difficult to sit on a task, it is essential to invest your time in a cinematic epic that will burn you for an entire evening. If you watch Netflix for three hours, you get dehydrated. There is a large misconception that movies over three hours in length tend to be difficult to watch and that the run time of the film makes it boring. This is completely untrue, if you allow your mind to be taken away, then time will fly by. It is like reading a long book; once you are absorbed into the world that the author is creating, it is easy to spend hours at a time reading. Movies over 3 hours are an experience, and I have created a list of movies over 3 hours from which you should watch.
Best Movies Over 3 hours
Apocalypse Now (3 hours and 27 minutes)
The film was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness,” which explores the dark side of colonialism in Africa. Director Francis Ford Coppola updated the story to take place during the Vietnam War. It is about the darkness within our souls, and the fact that we must all face the devil in us to understand God truly A deranged but charismatic Lieutenant Colonel is tasked with assassinating a rogue Colonel, who had gone insane. The mission becomes more complicated with an ever-widening circle involving human sacrifices, drug addiction, and sexual depravity. The film’s production was plagued with difficulties, including bad weather, destruction of equipment, and budget overruns. The original budget was $13 million, but it ended up costing over $30 million.
Heat (3 hours and 10 minutes)
Heat is an almost operatic story of two parallel worlds colliding. One is inhabited by a group of professionals led by Neil McCauley, a career criminal who lives by a rigid moral code. The other is the world of detective Vincent Hannah, an uncompromising loner obsessed with the job. Both worlds are inevitably sucked into a deadly trajectory once they collide. While Neil and his team plot an audacious heist of a lifetime, Detective Vincent Hannah uses his exceptional skills to track down and arrest them. The shootout scene in downtown Los Angeles is probably one of the best gun movie scenes ever! It was filmed on location and required over 1,000 extras and 300 police officers.
The Godfather 2 (3 hours and 22 minutes)
The debate over which is the best Godfather movie, one or two rages on. Both are the result of a collaboration between writer Mario Puzo and filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. The first installment tells the story of America by focusing on the Corleone crime family in the years after World War II. Winning Best Film at the 1974 Oscars, this classic continues to take us on a journey as we witness Michael (Al Pacino) lead the family, while also uncovering his father Vito’s (Robert De Niro) foray into crime in New York during the 1920s. It takes a moment for things to settle in but once it does, it becomes a cascade of stunning scenes that breaks down all that was built up in the first film, leaving us emotionally exhausted by its end. The iconic final scene was not originally in the script. Coppola added it during filming to give the movie a more dramatic conclusion.
The Deer Hunter (3 hours and 3 minutes)
Three friends from a small town in Pennsylvania fought in the Vietnam War. Robert De Niro and John Savage come back physically and psychologically damaged, while Christopher Walken remains behind, still haunted by his experience in Vietcong captivity. Michael Cimino’s award-winning epic starts with a wedding celebration and concludes with the singing of “God Bless America”. In between, it takes us into the deepest depths of war and examines the impact it has on warriors’ souls. Meryl Streep also shines as she contributes to this heart-wrenching exploration of brave friendship – which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1978.
The Leopard (3 hours and 25 minutes)
Luchino Visconti’s 1963 political and historical epic was an inspiration for both “The Godfather” and “The Deer Hunter” on how to artistically direct wedding scenes. Depicting a story of Prince Selina (Burt Reynolds) experiencing the social changes in Sicily during the mid-1800s, due to his nephew’s marriage to the daughter of a newly wealthy man – no other couple from cinema can match the beauty of Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in this film. The film features a famous ballroom scene that lasts over 45 minutes (!) and involved over 300 extras, 50 dancers, and 100 musicians. The original cut was over four hours long but was later trimmed down to its current runtime of 3 hours and 25 minutes.See also: 13 Best Movies Like Caligula To Satisfy Your Senses
Barry Lyndon (3 hours and 4 minutes)
William Makepeace Thackeray’s satirical novel, featuring an Irish villager striving to become part of the English upper class and losing his soul in the process, was brilliantly adapted by movie maverick Stanley Kubrick. Ryan O’Neill starts out as a passionate youngster and concludes as an impassive figure. To ensure accurate period representation, Kubrick opted to capture every single snapshot by candlelight and also took inspiration from masterpieces created by Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Hogarth; each scene is mesmerizing due to its sheer beauty, all the while amplifying the existing feeling of estrangement. The score composed by Handel and Schubert made immensely towards the establishment of class distinction in that era. Sight and Sound magazine recently published their list of 100 greatest films ever made – “Barry Lyndon” was listed in 45th place. Taking the first spot on this list is “Jean Dillman”, released in 1975 with a runtime of 3 hours and 22 minutes.
The Irishman (3 hours and 29 minutes)
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci play mobsters who were involved with Teamsters union head Jimmy Hoffa’s mysterious disappearance in the 1970s. Martin Scorsese directed and produced this American epic, crime drama film about legendary hitman Frank Sheeran and his ties to Hoffa. The film marks the ninth time De Niro and Scorsese have come together. The Irishman is about the futility of life. Hoffa’s life ended with almost nobody noticing, a man who had all the fame and fortune one could dream of, yet he ended up forgotten. The film’s ending drives this point home to the audience. The film is almost a modern-day tragedy; it is about how everything fades away in the end. The film marked the ninth collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro and the first time that Pacino has worked with Scorsese.See also: 12 Best Crime Comedy Movies Like Snatch
The Hateful Eight (3 hours and 7 minutes)
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight is an epic, suspenseful, and graphic tale of people at each other’s throats when stranded during a blizzard. They are all on the hunt to find out who is who and who they can be trusted, whilst the blizzard rages on outside. It is a tale of violence and lies, but the ultimate question is who is the hateful eight?? s. The film shows how you can never fully know someone until you have truly seen them, even then you will only ever see a part of them. The Hateful Eight is a story of prejudice and fear. You will see the characters come together and become a group who are willing to die to protect one another. The film was shot on 70mm film, a rare format that was used to create a widescreen image with high resolution and clarity.
Interstellar (3 Hours)
Interstellar is a mind-bending tale of time and space that will forever change how you think about the cosmos. It is a tale of the struggle of humans to survive and protect the ones we love from disaster. The film shows that time and light have a mysterious connection. In true Nolan fashion, there are no clear answers to the film’s many questions, but that is the film’s greatest strength. It shows that the universe is unknowable but beautiful. Kip Thorne, a renowned theoretical physicist, served as executive producer and scientific consultant for the movie. He worked closely with the visual effects team to ensure that black holes, wormholes, and other scientific elements in the film were as realistic as possible. They even created a specially developed rendering software known as “Double Negative Gravitational Renderer” to realistically portray gravity’s effect on light and space-time. Additionally, Thorne collaborated with director Christopher Nolan to create a solid scientific background for the story which delves into the notion of time dilation, and gravity’s association with it. Furthermore, Thorne wrote the book, entitled “The Science of Interstellar,” which explains the science that underpins the movie.
The Right Stuff (3 hours and 13 minutes)
The Right Stuff is a film about the space race of the 1960s. It is ultimately the story of the astronauts and astronauts in training who were selected to become the first American astronauts and to man Project Gemini. All the astronauts portrayed in the film are actual historical figures and the events are historical as seen on the Gemini missions, but the relationships among the characters are fictional. It was a great achievement in the film where the director brought so many historical figures to life. Philip Kaufman’s 1983 movie provides a thrilling and exciting dive into the effort and rivalry between these pioneering individuals. Dennis Quaid, Ed Harris as John Glenn, Scott Glenn, and Fred Ward take on leading roles in this incredible feature. The film was a box office disappointment upon its release, grossing only $21 million against a budget of $27 million. However, it has since gained a cult following and is widely regarded as one of the best films about the space program.
The Seven Samurai (3 hours and 27 minutes)
Akira Kurosawa’s samurai epic has been highly acclaimed both by critics and the general public. In fact, it was included in the list of 100 best films compiled by critics in a Sight and Sound survey, reaching the twentieth place, and it had an impressive score on the IMDb website that placed it in twentieth place too. Set in 16th-century feudal Japan, the movie tells the story of a small impoverished village repeatedly attacked by a gang of robbers, which consequently recruits seven samurai to protect them from future attacks. This masterpiece has served as an inspiration for countless westerns, but its greatness lies in how it beautifully combines complex human drama with tension, action, and humor, creating a unique connection between action scenes and slow motion that had rarely been seen before.
Titanic (3 hours and 16 minutes)
James Cameron’s 1997 film is still in fourth place on the list of the biggest box office hits of all time. Millions of people flocked to cinemas to watch this movie, not just for its iconic scene when the big liner splits in two, but for the heartbreaking forbidden love between a first-class girl and a poor artist who selflessly lays down his life for her. Kate Winslet’s captivating performance and 22-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio’s angelic looks only made it more endearing; yet at that time, none realized that what truly interests Cameron lies beneath the ocean surface. The production and attention to detail are incredible. The ship is recreated to absolute perfection, you could almost believe you are on the Titanic. The film is about class in the early 20th century. Titanic shows people who are divided by wealth and who are forced together when disaster strikes. There is some great dialogue in this film, but the best way to describe this film is beautiful. It takes a real tragedy and makes it even more tragic, I can think of a few more emotional endings than this.
Celine and Julie Go Boating (3 hours and 13 minutes)
The magician Celine befriends the librarian Julie, and together the two young ladies find themselves in a surreal mansion on the outskirts of Paris, where they relive the same drama over and over again. Celine and Julie Go Boating is an eccentric tale of two women who are on a day out. It is all the more interesting as it is an extreme mix of reality and unreality, it keeps the viewer guessing about just what is reality. It is a film that will make you question what is real, in particular, the ending will make you re-evaluate all that you have seen so far. It is a film that plays games with the minds of its audience, and I love it. The magical work by Jacques Rivette from 1974 wraps viewers in a somnolent, amused dream that hovers between theater and cinema. Sight and Sound ranked this film 78th on their list of the best films in the country due to its grace and humor.
Schindler’s List (3 hours, 15 minutes)
No one but Steven Spielberg could adapt a 3 hour of black-and-white Holocaust film into such an enormous success. And to think, NBC aired the film in its entirety with no commercial breaks! The story – of a German industrialist who finds his conscience and rescues Jews from the Third Reich – is both harrowing yet uplifting all at the same time. Rafe Fiennes portrays the SS Officer with remarkable skill and Liam Neeson is magnificent as Schindler himself, while the girl in red has established herself as one of cinema’s iconic symbols. It is the second most important movie of all time, only behind The Godfather. Its length is not a barrier to being engrossed, and the ending will leave you broken. It is an absolutely essential piece of cinema.
RRR (3 hours and 7 minutes)
Rajamouli’s production exploded from India and took the world by storm. His story follows two heroes of the Indian struggle against British colonialism in the 1920s but is cleverly weaved with characters from Indian mythology. The action-packed scenes are comparable to Jackie Chan’s kung fu movies, while M.M. Karavani’s energetic scores further elevate the level of entertainment. Moreover, incredible dance moves, combined with a compelling bromance between two characters with conflicting ideologies – add an extra dimension to this patriotic movie that captivates its audience through the native struggle for freedom.
The Wolf of Wall Street (3 hours and 5 minutes)
After a long hiatus away from criminal underworlds, Martin Scorsese resurfaces with an exploration into the world of white-collar crimes set in 20th-century New York. Leo DiCaprio stars in an exemplary role as Jordan Belfort, the crafty penny stock salesman who achieved large amounts of wealth. The Wolf of Wall Street is composed of a series of cleverly entertaining scenes that portrays the avaricious mindset of the 90s. However, no story arc is presented due to its protagonists’ refusal to alter their behavior even after their predetermined downfall. This feature provides viewers with a witty satire about the exploitation of the American dream and unrestricted capitalism.
Love Exposure (3 hours and 45 minutes)
Love Exposure is a Japanese film about a teenage boy named Yu Honda who becomes involved with a group of delinquent boys and falls in love with a troubled girl named Yoko. Yu disguises himself as a woman to rescue Yoko from her father’s cult and they form a team to become vigilante superheroes. Their relationship is tested as they confront their past and make difficult decisions about their future. An epic tale of religious zealotry, murder, and romance. It is not an easy film to watch, but the most important thing is that, if you allow yourself to become immersed, it will completely blow your mind. It can get a little weird at times but if you enjoy surrealist films then it is a must. Director Sion Sono has said that the film is partly based on his own experiences growing up in a religious family. It has a runtime of 237 minutes (3 hours and 57 minutes) and was originally intended to be a 6-hour epic!
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (3 hours and 21 minutes)
J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous book of a magical ring, and the wars it sparks, spawned a new wave of literary trilogies, like The Hunger Games. New Zealander Peter Jackson was the perfect director for this remarkable production. His vision and dedication captivated the crowd during epic battle scenes and affected viewers during intimate moments. At the heart of this huge trilogy is one brave, modest Hobbit. After two films that were immediate hits, Hollywood finally recognized its success in 2003 when they awarded the third installment of an abundance of Oscars.
Lawrence of Arabia (3 hours, 38 minutes)
David Lean’s esteemed film, first released on screens in 1962, is still considered one of the greatest to have won an Oscar for best picture. Peter O’Toole stars as the British army man, archaeologist, and diplomat who found himself at the epicenter of events between Jerusalem and Egypt during WWI. Alongside him is Omar Sharif in what became a defining role for the Egyptian actor – a star-making turn that has had reverberations throughout Hollywood since. For maximum impact, it should be seen on as big a screen as possible, as it offers a dramatic complexity and visual splendor that served as inspiration for directors such as George Lucas, Spielberg, Kubrick, and Scorsese.