The 50 Best 3-Hour-or-Longer Movies, According to Rotten Tomatoes

Ora Sawyers

For some people, a 3-ish-hour runtime is an automatic mark against a movie—especially if they’re sitting in a theater with no chance to press ‘pause’ for a bathroom break. For other people, an especially long runtime might help justify the time and money required for a movie theater excursion in the first place. And as CNN explains, it is the massive franchise spectacles and superhero films—the types of movies that do well at the box office—that seem to be trending longer these days. 

That said, lengthy flicks are nothing new. On Rotten Tomatoes’ list of best movies that run 3 hours or longer, 33 of the top 50 were released before the year 2000. The first-place finisher, Akira Kurosawa’s 207-minute epic Seven Samurai, premiered in 1954. Other classic epics that made the list include Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Spartacus (1960), Ben-Hur (1959), and Gone With the Wind (1939).

Kurosawa is far from the only internationally acclaimed director known for lengthy cuts. In third place is Ingmar Bergman’s 1982 period drama Fanny and Alexander, which clocks in at 188 minutes (and a 512-minute version aired as a miniseries in Sweden). Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, and David Lean all have two films apiece in the top 50. 

The climaxes of a couple beloved movie franchises garnered enough critical praise to rank high as well—namely, 2019’s Avengers: Endgame and 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. And it wouldn’t be much of a list of long movies if Titanic wasn’t on it somewhere: The 1997 pop culture phenomenon came in 35th place.

See if your favorite flick made the top 50 below, and check out Rotten Tomatoes’ full 100 here.

  1. Seven Samurai (1954) // 100 percent
  2. O.J.: Made in America (2016) // 100 percent
  3. Fanny and Alexander (1982) // 100 percent
  4. Schindler’s List (1993) // 98 percent
  5. The Leopard (1963) // 98 percent
  6. Children of Paradise (1945) // 98 percent
  7. The Godfather, Part II (1974) // 96 percent
  8. An Elephant Sitting Still (2018) // 96 percent
  9. The Right Stuff (1983) // 96 percent
  10. The Last of the Unjust (2013) // 96 percent
  11. The Irishman (2019) // 95 percent
  12. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) // 95 percent
  13. Short Cuts (1993) // 95 percent
  14. Hamlet (1996) // 95 percent
  15. Andrei Rublev (1966) // 95 percent
  16. Avengers: Endgame (2019) // 94 percent
  17. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) // 94 percent
  18. The Best of Youth (2002) // 94 percent
  19. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) // 93 percent
  20. Apocalypse Now Redux (1979) // 93 percent
  21. Carlos (2010) // 93 percent
  22. Spartacus (1960) // 93 percent
  23. Norte, The End of History (2013) // 93 percent
  24. Kwaidan (1964) // 91 percent
  25. Eureka (2000) // 91 percent
  26. Gone With the Wind (1939) // 90 percent
  27. Reds (1981) // 90 percent
  28. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013) // 89 percent
  29. The Deer Hunter (1978) // 89 percent
  30. The Last Emperor (1987) // 89 percent
  31. Malcolm X (1992) // 89 percent
  32. Barry Lyndon (1975) // 88 percent
  33. Giant (1956) // 88 percent
  34. Napoleon (1927) // 88 percent
  35. Titanic (1997) // 87 percent
  36. Winter Sleep (2014) // 87 percent
  37. Once Upon a Time in America (1984) // 87 percent
  38. Mysteries of Lisbon (2010) // 86 percent
  39. The Ten Commandments (1956) // 86 percent
  40. JFK (1991) // 85 percent
  41. Gandhi (1982) // 85 percent
  42. Ben-Hur (1959) // 85 percent
  43. King Kong (2005) // 84 percent
  44. Grindhouse (2007) // 84 percent
  45. Doctor Zhivago (1965) // 84 percent
  46. Magnolia (1999) // 83 percent
  47. Dances With Wolves (1990) // 83 percent
  48. Fiddler on the Roof (1971) // 83 percent
  49. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) // 79 percent
  50. The Green Mile (1999) // 79 percent
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