Top 10 Longest Hollywood Movies
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Jordan Ruimy
They may be good, but they still had us checking our watches and rushing to the washroom before the sweet bliss of their end credits. In this video http://www.WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the Top 10 best, longest Hollywood movies.
For this list, we've narrowed our picks to only mainstream Hollywood movies that must have been over 200 minutes long when shown originally in theaters. They have to be either critically acclaimed, commercially successful and/or earned favorable reviews among the general movie-going public, whether it was during its release or later on in time. We're also excluding experimental films, director's cuts and extended versions.
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Top 10 Longest Hollywood Movies
They may be good, but they still had us checking our watches and rushing to the washroom before the sweet bliss of their end credits. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 best, longest Hollywood movies.
For this list, we’ve narrowed our picks to only mainstream Hollywood movies that must have been over 200 minutes long when shown originally in theaters. They have to be either critically acclaimed, commercially successful and/or earned favorable reviews among the general movie-going public, whether it was during its release or later on in time. We’re also excluding experimental films, director’s cuts and extended versions.
#10: “Cleopatra” (1963)
This epic drama may’ve received mixed reviews, but with a budget that big and 4 Academy Award wins, it’s hard to ignore “Cleopatra.” Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison’s performances have been singled out, but then there’s its running time of 4 hours and 8 minutes! It was 1963’s highest grossing film and, despite some inaccuracies, it is considered a fairly close look at Ancient Egypt during the time of the last active pharaoh – so we guess the length was necessary.
#9: “Ben-Hur” (1959)
“Ben-Hur” dominated the Oscars following its 1959 release. In the epic historical drama, Charlton Heston stars as a rich Jewish prince during the time of Jesus who is turned into a slave by the Romans. Years pass and then, Ben-Hur is after his former childhood friend who turned against him. The William Wyler-directed film is also known for the scene showcasing a 9-minute long chariot race, as well as its lengthy but fitting score, all of which serves to fill this epically long film with so much excitement it seems much shorter than its 212 minutes.
#8: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)
The conclusion to Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy is epic fantasy at its absolute best – at least that’s what an overwhelming amount of critics and moviegoers seem to think. After all, “The Return of the King” earned 11 Oscar statues and $1 billion in box office receipts around the world. Following hobbits Frodo and Sam with the One Ring, as well as Gandalf, Aragorn and more as they battle Sauron, the film is 201 minutes of incredible effects, emotional storytelling and so much more.
#7: “Giant” (1956)
With a running time of 201 minutes, “Giant” earned its director an Academy Award, but James Dean didn’t even live to see the final product: a car crash took his life when he was just 24. Following the tale of a Texas ranching family, the drama is a multifaceted and visually stunning one that tackles social, political and racial issues with depth. Today, it remains a classic of American cinema and further cemented Dean’s status a cultural icon.
#6: “The Ten Commandments” (1956)
If you’re looking for a religious epic that won’t disappoint, then “The Ten Commandments” is a safe bet. Adapting the biblical story of Moses onto film, the Cecil B. DeMille production is 3 hours and 40 minutes of pure entertainment with versatile performances. Extravagant, excessive, and bold, the Oscar-winning film was also one of the highest-grossing flicks of the 1950s and DeMille’s last work before his death.
#5: “Malcolm X” (1992)
Put a screenplay co-written by Spike Lee based on the life of Malcolm X together with an Oscar-nominated performance by Denzel Washington and what do you get? An incredibly poignant biographical drama, also directed by Lee, which brings to life the most crucial moments in the African-American activist’s time on Earth. Well-received by critics and finishing third at the box office during its opening weekend, “Malcolm X” definitely had people riveted for all of its 3+ hours.
#4: “Hamlet” (1996)
Don’t mess with director Kenneth Branagh, especially when it has to do with Shakespeare. Of all the Bard adaptations he’s done in his career, none has surpassed this 4 hour and 2 minute drama. Directed by Branagh and starring him in title role, this feat of a movie includes every single scene from Shakespeare’s original version! Talk about dedication. Despite being set in the 19th century, “Hamlet” is well known as one of the most faithful Shakespeare adaptations in history.
#3: “Gone with the Wind” (1939)
When this epic historical drama was first released in theaters, it was screened with an overture, intermission, musical pause, and exit music, giving it a running time of between 234-238 minutes; but the film’s actual length is closer to 221 minutes. Regardless of the exact number, “Gone with the Wind” won 10 Oscars and earned much critical praise. Perhaps the secret to its success can be found in the central quartet of characters: headstrong Scarlett O'Hara; charming Rhett Butler; and the less colorful but equally complex Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton, who complete a tangled romantic foursome thrown together and cast apart by chance, destiny, and the fortunes of war.
#2: “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962)
Over 40 years have passed and this Oscar winner still sets the standard for greatness in the epic adventure genre. And what an epic it is! At 3 hours and 42 minutes, “Lawrence of Arabia” keeps us captivated the whole way through thanks to a phenomenal cast, an insightful script, breathtaking cinematography and masterful direction by David Lean. Meanwhile, Peter O'Toole's legendary performance as Lawrence will undoubtedly live forever.
Before our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Iceman Cometh” (1973)
- “Exodus” (1960)
#1: “The Godfather Part II” (1974)
It’s a gangster film, a crime epic and a masterpiece. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and serving as both a prequel and a sequel to 1972,’s “The Godfather,” “Part 2” is a cinema classic revolving around Al Pacino-as-Michael Corleone and Robert De Niro’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Vito Corleone during two different time periods. Running for 3 hours and 20 minutes long, “The Godfather Part II” continues to be respected today and is often considered one of the finest achievements ever.
Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite lengthy Hollywood movie? With entertaining top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.