The IMDb Top 250 is a great starting point to discover some of the best and most popular films of all time. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s got a lot of great movies in it, although an individual’s personal top 250 will never be exactly the same as a list like this, which takes into account all the votes from million IMDb users. .
With 250 movies on the list, watching everything is going to take some time, and that’s before you consider the length of some of these movies. It’s becoming clear that many of the most popular films of all time are epics, and the following films demonstrate that they are exactly that: being the longest-running films currently found in the IMDb Top 250.
‘The Green Line’ (1999) – 189 minutes
The green Line is a gripping prison film about a group of death row inmates and the guards who watch over them. It’s more than just a prison movie, as the story has a supernatural element, with one particular prisoner who has the gift of being able to heal people.
It is an ambitious film with many ideas and great emotions that it tries to arouse in the public, taking advantage of its duration of more than three hours. Whereas The green Line may not be as classic as a director Frank Darabontthe previous prison movie, The Shawshank Redemptionit’s still very good and should move even the most hardened and emotionally resilient viewers.
‘Gandhi’ (1982) – 191 minutes
Gandhi is a fairly straightforward biopic that follows a few key years in the life of Mahatma Gandhian Indian lawyer who devoted much of his life to practicing nonviolent resistance against British colonialism, being a key figure in India’s independence from British rule.
With its brisk pace in the narrative of Gandhi’s life, Gandhi feels its gargantuan length at times, it’s not always the most entertaining three-hour movie. That being said, Ben KingleyThe performance of in the lead role is excellent, and the film has an impressive sense of scale, which means it’s ultimately a good film, if not downright amazing.
“Schindler’s List” (1993) – 195 minutes
Schindler’s list uses striking black and white photography to tell the story of Oskar Schindlera once-selfish businessman who took it upon himself to save as many Jewish workers as possible during the Holocaust, with the total number over 1,000 by the end of World War II.
It is one of by Steven Spielberg most acclaimed films, as well as one of his longest running, and is notable for winning seven Academy Awards. It’s a long and emotionally draining watch, but it’s undoubtedly a masterpiece, because of how viscerally it captures the horrors of the Holocaust and how moving it ends up being.
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) – 201 minutes
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is made up of three very long films, but the third and final part – The king’s return — is the longest, at three hours and 21 minutes. It needs all the time it can get, however, as a saga as huge as The Lord of the Rings needs a suitably epic conclusion.
Not only was The king’s return the longest of all The Lord of the Rings movies, but it also won the most Oscars (11!) and has the highest body count of any movie in the trilogy. It goes to show that maybe sometimes bigger is better…
‘The Godfather: Part II’ (1974) – 202 minutes
There are no shorts in The Godfather trilogy, because while the original and the third part can last less than three hours each, neither misses the cut by much. The second film in the trilogy is by far the longest, at almost three and a half hours.
It makes sense, once you realize everything that goes into one movie. It’s almost two films in one, with the continuation of the main plot focusing on Al PacinoMichael struggles to be the family’s new boss, and a series of flashbacks showing Marlon Brando‘s Vito – now played by robert deniro — establish themselves in their early years. It’s like a sequel and a prequel edited into one, which means the huge runtime for The Godfather Part II is more than justified.
“The Seven Samurai” (1954) – 207 minutes
Seven Samurai is an epic film with a deceptively simple plot, but it’s what it does with that story (and how perfectly it executes it) that makes the film a classic. There is a city terrorized by bandits. Some farmers there have had enough. They hire seven wandering samurai to defend their city. A large climactic battle ensues.
Words really can’t do it justice, because it’s as simple as that. But it’s the memorable characters, the blend of humor and tragedy, the perfect pacing, the thrilling action and the master director’s flawless direction. Akira Kurosawa which Seven Samurai so awesome, with the 207 minutes of its runtime ticking by while watching.
‘Ben Hur’ (1959) – 222 minutes
Ben Hur is one of the greatest and most popular epics of all time, so its inclusion in the Top 250 on IMDb isn’t too surprising. It’s a larger-than-life biblical epic about a man trying to free himself and his family from slavery, all culminating in an iconic chariot racing scene.
Ben Hur, perhaps more than any other old-school Hollywood epic, is determined to be as big as possible. Beyond the gigantic execution, it features gigantic sets, a large number of extras and costumes, and large-scale action sequences. All of this may be a bit too much for some viewers, but it’s hard not to be impressed by some of his biggest scenes.
‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962) – 228 minutes
Whether Ben Hur was the greatest of old Hollywood historical epics, then Lawrence of Arabia could have been one of the best (and one of the last before they lost popularity). It functions as a great WW1 movie and character study of TE Lawrence, even delving into the psychology of the man and the internal demons that contribute to his downfall.
Lawrence of Arabia has a striking beauty above its scale, making for an overwhelming and powerful viewing experience. That’s a lot to take in, but at least the movie gives you almost four hours to absorb it all, because from the performances, to the music, to the colors, to the sets, there’s so much to absorb.
“Once Upon a Time in America” (1984) – 229 minutes
Just 11 minutes under four hours, by Sergio Leone final film (and arguably the best), Once upon a time in Americatells a decades-long story about a group of young boys who become ruthless Prohibition-era criminals as adults, before becoming regretful old men in their twilight years.
It feels like it absorbs an entire epic novel in just under four hours, and features some of the best visual storytelling and music ever filmed. Add the great performances of a perfect cast and a haunting and powerfully memorable ending, and Once upon a time in America easily emerges as one of the greatest detective epics in movie history.
“Gone with the Wind” (1939) – 233 minutes
carried away by the wind stands as both a defining film in the history of cinema and an often uncomfortable film with hard-to-ignore themes and values that loom as problematic far beyond most films of its same age.
These things can’t be ignored, but for viewers who want to appreciate the craft of film while acknowledging its shortcomings, carried away by the wind may have something to offer modern viewers, as it still ranks high enough to make the IMDb Top 250; the longest movie in there, too. That might be long enough for some to accept what the movie does well and what it definitely doesn’t.
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