10 Very Long Movies That Didn’t Earn Their Epic Runtimes, Ranked by Length

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10 Very Long Movies That Didn’t Earn Their Epic Runtimes, Ranked by Length
10 Very Long Movies That Didn’t Earn Their Epic Runtimes, Ranked by Length


While most movies have runtimes that hover between 90 and 120 minutes, some stories just need more time. If a movie has a good reason for having an extended runtime, most viewers will be receptive to it. If this wasn’t the case, there wouldn’t be so many 3+ hour movies that have been award winners acclaimed by critics and general audiences alike.

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But that doesn’t mean every long movie completely earns its runtime. The following movies run considerably longer than average, with all being arguably longer than needed. Some feel only a little too long, while others feel like they make their point and deliver all they can well before the film ultimately concludes. At the end of the day, a movie being overlong doesn’t automatically make it bad, but certain viewers may find their patience tested by some of the following films.


10 ‘Triangle of Sadness’ (2022) – 147 minutes

The Palme d’Or winning Triangle of Sadness clocks in at just under 2.5 hours, and does mostly earn its runtime. Part of the reason for its length comes from the fact that it’s split into three distinct parts, each focusing on the same characters while feeling very different when it comes to tone and setting.

The first two parts fare better than the third, which slows things down and feels a little repetitive. It turns the tables in an interesting way and continues to explore the themes of wealth inequality and classism present in the first two parts, but it just goes on a tad too long. It feels like 10-15 minutes could have been cut, in the process making it a more impactful film.

9 ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ (2013) – 161 minutes

Smaug glares at Bilbo Baggins
Image via Warner Bros. 

There are problems with The Hobbit trilogy beyond just its length, but most become apparent in its second film. There are some iffy digital de-aging effects, a love triangle that adds very little, and of course the drawn-out story. While three books made for three movies when it came to adapting The Lord of the Rings, with The Hobbit, one book is agonizingly stretched into three movies that add up to about eight hours in total.

The first movie does feature a decent chunk of story, and the final movie at least concludes things (while also being drawn out). However, middle chapter The Desolation of Smaug offers very little. While it’s one of the shorter live-action movies set in Middle Earth, not much of importance happens in its 161 minutes, making it feel like cinematic dead air for much of its runtime.

8 ‘Django Unchained’ (2012) – 165 minutes

Image via Columbia Pictures

For a fairly straightforward revenge movie like Django Unchained, 165 minutes is a long time. To Quentin Tarantino’s credit, he does fill most of the runtime with compelling characters, entertaining action scenes, and great visuals. The movie also has plenty of suspense that works so well because things are allowed to take their time, building tension to nearly unbearable levels.

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But at the same time, what feels like the film’s climax comes about 30 minutes before the actual ending. Things explode gloriously, but then the movie keeps on going for an artificially inflated time. By the time the actual climax comes around, it’s still good, but feels like a little bit of a letdown compared to what came before. If Django Unchained had come in at around 140 minutes, it might feel perfect… but at over 165 minutes, it does feel a little bloated toward the end.

7 ‘Hard to be a God’ (2013) – 177 minutes

Hard to be a God - 2013

Hard to be a God is one of the most emotionally draining and harrowing movies of all time. It takes place on a planet similar to Earth, except the population there is essentially stuck in what’s their Middle Ages. Earth scientists living there initially seem to want to help the planet’s society progress, but eventually give in to temptation, and misuse their enlightenment and knowledge for selfish reasons.

It’s a fascinating concept, and visually it’s awe-inspiring, with stark black-and-white visuals and phenomenal production design. But beyond the intriguing premise, there’s not much by way of narrative or characters to get attached to. Add to that the graphic violence, repetitive scenes, and nearly three-hour length, Hard to be a God ends up being a challenging watch, even if it being an endurance test for the audience feels intentional.

6 ‘Casino’ (1995) – 179 minutes

Casino (1995)

Casino does admittedly use its three-hour runtime as a way to comment on greed and excess. Thematically, this commentary might not hit as hard if the film were shorter, and since the story revolves around the mob running much of Las Vegas throughout much of the 1970s, it makes sense.

At a point, though, it does become exhausting. There might only be so many quickly edited montages and explosions of graphic violence that most viewers can take, leading to the final hour of Casino feeling like at least two. Still, at least the length works for the film’s message, even if it doesn’t help the narrative nearly as much.

5 ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ (1956) – 182 minutes

Around the World in 80 Days

Audiences in 1956 were likely thrilled by Around the World in Eighty Days. It takes viewers to many different countries, feeling as much like a travelogue as a film, with its story about a man’s quest to complete a journey around the globe in 80 days or less (an impressive achievement back in the 1870s).

Nowadays, the novelty of a movie taking place in numerous countries isn’t nearly as exciting. It makes the three-hour adventure challenging to get through in one sitting, and it doesn’t help that the story is a relatively simple one. Still, it does offer some entertainment value and fun for modern audiences… just not 182 minutes’ worth.

4 ‘Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles’ (1975) – 202 minutes

Jeanne Dielman peeling potatoes Delphine Seyrig
Image via 

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is intended to test the viewer’s patience. It follows three days in the life of a single mother, with much of the movie showing her doing housework, running errands, and earning enough money to allow her and her (kind of ungrateful) son to stay fed and sheltered.

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With a slice-of-life narrative favored over a traditional story, it’s an intentionally exhausting movie. It successfully sheds light on the tedium of everyday life and the underappreciated sacrifices that mothers make, but some viewers may wonder whether it could have done this just as well in say 102 minutes, rather than 202.

3 ‘Exodus’ (1960) – 208 minutes

Exodus - 1960

Running for about three-and-a-half hours, Exodus is a film that’s clearly trying to play in the same ballpark as successful epics like Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia. It’s a historical drama that focuses on the creation of the state of Israel in the aftermath of World War Two, and a dangerous voyage undertaken by hundreds of Jewish refugees who are trying to get there.

It’s not the worst film in the world, but it is somewhat dry and so incredibly long that it’s even likely to test the patience of those who like old Hollywood epics. Paul Newman fans may stick it out until the end, but others might find themselves wishing the film’s story was a little more condensed and briskly paced.

2 ‘Gone with the Wind’ (1939) – 238 minutes

Gone With the Wind (1939)

A controversial and gargantuan film, Gone with the Wind comes in at just under four hours. It was perhaps the largest-scale Hollywood production of its time, telling a sweeping story of romance and war in North America’s southern states during the Civil War, continuing into the years following the nationwide conflict.

While some of the film’s content and messages might stick out the most to modern viewers, they’re also likely to take issue with the length. 238 minutes is a ton of time to spend on one movie, and given the second half devolves into less-compelling melodrama, it ends up being a bit of a slog to reach its well-known ending.

1 ‘Satantango’ (1994) – 432 minutes

Satantango - 1994

According to some, Satantango is infamous for its length, while others praise it for being over seven hours long. It’s earned a good deal of critical acclaim, but is not for everyone, telling a grueling about a struggling Hungarian village and its inhabitants dealing with the difficulties caused by the fall of Communism.

It uses its huge runtime to emphasize the boredom and depression felt by its characters, and is undeniably successful in making viewers feel those emotions throughout. However, like Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, some may wonder if it really needs all 432 minutes to do this effectively.

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