10 Amazing Movies Over Three Hours Long

Size matters.

Lord Of The Rings Return Of The King Aragorn
New Line Cinema

The three-hour epic is a type of movie that we don't see very much of anymore. With studios becoming more money-minded and often less willing to take risks, tighter, easily-digestible entertainment is usually preferred instead of longer, more challenging pieces that might have less wide appeal.

That's not to say longer films don't exist today, because they absolutely do. Avengers: Infinity War ran for two and a half hours, and the Transformers movies have inched closer to three. Still, these are exceptions rather than rules, and a runtime right around that two-hour sweet spot is usually what we can expect from our movies.

But if you wind the clock back 10 or 20-plus years, movies that last over three hours become much more common, and their ability to pack in a ton of story and character development often made them the most celebrated flicks to release in a given year.

Sometimes you just want to watch something short and easy, but for those times when you feel like sinking your teeth into a meatier dish, you really can't go wrong with any of this lot.

10. Doctor Zhivago

Lord Of The Rings Return Of The King Aragorn

Runtime: 3 hours 13 minutes

David Lean's romantic epic was heavily criticised upon its initial 1965 release. Many weren't happy with its oversimplification of such a dense source novel, and disliked the way that it underplayed the horrific events of the Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war.

And to be fair, the movie does mostly sweep the politics of the story to one side, opting instead to place a greater focus on the romance between Yuri Zhivago and his love interest, Lara Antipova. But if you judge the movie purely for what it is - a romantic drama - and forget what could have been, then there's a lot to appreciate.

Doctor Zhivago is a beautifully shot, skilfully scored (two things that won it Oscars) love story set against the backdrop of one of the most troubling time periods in Russian history. Is it a little cheesy at times? Absolutely. But it's the good kind of cheese, and with its engrossing characters and intense central romance, the movie does more than enough to earn its lengthy runtime.


Writer and video editor WhatCulture/WhoCulture. Bought a 4K copy of The Martian in 2016 and still haven't watched it.