Longest movie?

What’s the longest movie ever made? Let’s assume that we only care about movies which were commercially released in the US. Gettyburg is 261 minutes. Are there any longer?

Didn’t Andy Warhol make one of the Empire State Building…hours and hours and hours of it?

According to Guinness World Records, the “Longest Film Documentary” is “Grandmother Martha (France 1996) – which follows the life of ex-actress and entertainer Martha Stelloo – runs for a total length of 24 hours 12 minutes,” though I suppose this violates your premise. I saw no other entries for “Longest Film.”

IMDb says The Cure for Insomnia is “the longest movie ever made,” though I imagine it, too, violates your premise.

According to IMDB the winner is The Cure for Insomnia at 85 hours, although I imagine it didn’t have a very wide release. Its premier was in Chicago, though.

Another contender is Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery (1928). It did get released to regular movie theaters but it was broken up into 18 pieces to make it watchable.


Although BerlinAlexanderPlatz is pretty damned long (they made a joke using it in MST3K), I think it was originally broadcast on TV as a miniseries, so it dopesn’t really count.

Thelongest commercially released film (and which I’ve seen0 is the Russian version of War and Peace, which clocks in at about 7 hours, IIRC. I’ve seen it on TV as a sort of miniseries, but I’ve seen it at a college, where they had one LONG intermission for dinner. I’ve also seen it in an obscenely carved-up abridgement that was only two hours long (!!).

Great flick. The scenes of the battle of Borodino, with a big chunk of the Russian army in period costumes in Napoleonic battle formations photographed from (I assume) a glider are breathtaking. Until the advent of CGI, nobody was able to put anything like it on the screen.

There was a humdinger put out by an Art school in Chicago, appropriately called “Cure for Insomnia”, according to a webpage I saw once. It ran about 85 hours. I don’t know if it showed more than once though.

If we’re talking about films made to be shown to the general public (as opposed to art films like Warhol’s), the original cut of Greed was over eight hours. However, I don’t think it was ever shown pubically in that version; the longest restored version (using still photographs for the lost footage) is listed in the IMDB as 240 minutes. But it still was probably the longest commercially made film ever made, if not projected to the public.

As far a longest actually shown, a good candidate is Abel Gance’s Napoleon, with a six-hour running time in its original version. It was rereleased in the 90s as a 235 minute version, and rereleased again in 2000 at over five hours.

The IMDB says it’s 390 minutes long – that’s 6 1/2 hours. Long enough:


Since this is about films, I’ll move this to Cafe Society.

moderator GQ

I watched it last month. What a good movie! Leo Tolstoy sure was a smart guy; “man is meant for happiness.” Because it was a work night, I had to force myself to stop the tape so I could get some sleep (compared to Gangs of NY at half the length, where I kept checking my watch).

War and Peace* would also show up in any thread asking which is the most expensive movie. Adjusted for inflation, it would have cost over a billion dollars if made today.
*how could they name this movie? According to Ronald Reagan there is no word for peace in Russian.

Shoah, the Holocaust documentary clocks in at 9 hours, 26 minutes. When it was in theatrical release, though, it was divided into two pieces and they were generally shown on consecutive nights, or even consecutive weeks, so I don’t know how that would affect its standing as “longest film.”

I rented the tapes to see it, and had to further divide the two four hour halves again, watching it in four sittings, not just two. It was just too damn depressing to take in all at once.