The Top Very Long Films Ever... aka Bum achers.
Jun 23, 2001 (Updated Jun 24, 2001)
The Bottom Line Here's my list of the best films which are most likely to make your bum ache. At least if it is a good film, your suffering isn't in vain!
Have you ever been watching a film and realised that a lot of time has passed and the film still looks like it is nowhere near a conclusion? This, I find, is generally only a bad thing if a) you are actually in a hurry for something, or more likely b) the film is mince.
There are some people who no doubt would also not bother watching a film if they knew before hand that it was going to be about 3 hours long...
So with long films in mind, I've decided to do my list of the best long films that I have seen. I've decided on a cut off time of about 2 1/2 hours as the minimum requirement, but some of the films on my list pass that mark without any problems. So here is my list of films most likely to give you piles, in no particular order...
What the heck, I'll start with by far the longest...
Stephen King's The Stand.
The whole thing clocks in at a mammoth 345 minutes, that is 5 hours 45 minutes, and as such I think of all the films I'm going to mention it is the one that is most likely not to be watched in one go! If I remember right when I first watched it, I did it in 1 1/2 hour sets!
Virtually the entire world's population is wiped out when a top secret military lab accidentally releases a deadly virus (although in the film you only ever see and hear of America...), leaving behind a small group of survivors who seem to completely immune to the virus. Each person deals with the catastrophy in their own way, but each is also drawn by one of two forces, that of Mother Abigail, who embodies everything that is good, and that of Randall Hagg who defines all that is evil and corrupt. The story itself is mindblowing and very thought provoking, and their is enough time to include many sub-plots which keep the film fresh and interesting so as not to let the main plot become boring. This was the first film which I can remember seeing Gary Sinise star in, and it was all that I needed to instantly admire his acting ability. Simply put he is superb. That being said, their isn't s single poor, or sub par performance from anyone, and Rob Lowe deserves a credible mention for his portrayal of Nick Andros, someone who is deaf and mute and doesn't believe in God, but who is chosen by God as one of the most important people in aid of Mother Abigail.
The film is littered with emotional scenes, and the whole scope and scale of the film is beyond compare. I even remember a tear coming to my eyes at the very end when the camera is remembering all the good people who died in trying to rebuild civilisation as a better place, without Randal Hagg and his followers. The only thing about this film which I am disappointed in is the fact that I forgot about it when making up my top 10 films of all time list.
Next off I'll go for my only foreign film entry -
La Reine Margot: Version Longue
I have to go for the Version Longue otherwise it wouldn't be over 150 minutes long! The film is about the 1572 St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, the events leading up to it, and the consequences resulting from it. The central character is Marguerite, commonly known as Margot, wonderfully portrayed by Isabelle Adjani, who I have to mention was about 38 when she made this film but could easily pass for 21... *drool*... Anyway, she is a Catholic sister to King Charles IX, but on the night of the massacre she comes to the aid of La Mole, a protestant who she had had a brief sexual encounter with days earlier. Her experiences with him play on her feelings, and soon she has fallen in love with him, even though he is supposed to be her enemy. There are so many aspects to this story, and the whole film is so gripping and amazingly done that the 2 hours 35 minutes seem to pass so quickly. Whether it is the story of love, the action scenes, the plotting, the murdering, each scene keeps you watching. This is an incredible film, and one that everyone really has to watch.
The Abyss. Special Edition.
This is a really good underwater sci-fi epic starring Ed Harris, Michael Bhein and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The main plot is about a nuclear submarine that struck ground, and deep see miners and divers who are sent out to rescue any survivors if possible. But enter in the underwater "aliens", a marine going crazy and wanting to play with a nuclear weapon, and mutiny among a put together team of civilians and military personel and things in the film really hot up. What the special edition version of the film offers compared to the normal version is a new insight on the aliens. Before they were portrayed as these really kind and caring, if very curious, creatures, who came to the aid of Ed Harris when he willingly was going to sacrifice his life to save theirs. In the S.E, however, they are shown as more vindictive judgemental creatures who do not like what we are doing with the world, and want to make sure that we are pushed on to the right track, even if it means punishing us. Unlike other directors cuts and S.E's, where there is just extra footage that doesn't really change the film that much, the S.E here adds that whole new level to it, and your opinion on the creatures. For me this is a highly under-rated film, that is worth the watch.
Aliens Special Edition.
Ok so my dvd says it is 148 minutes long, but I was sure that my video version before I sold it on said it was 157 minutes long, so that is why it is here. For me this installment of the Alien Saga is the best. It combines the suspense of the first with a lot more out and out action, to keep the violence and carnage loving side of us happy. There are LOTS of aliens here, not like the first and third films where only one is on offer, and that allows us to the see the creature much more clearly - and what a joy that is. As far as evil alien designs go, you really cannot get any better than H. R. Geiger's design. Sleek, dark, evil looking and very very scary (I think I would lose control of a few of my body functions should I bump into one in real life...). What more can you ask for in a film? The hairs stand on the back of my neck even thinking about the "beep" coming from the motion tracker.
Coming from Scotland, I have to include this one. Although that is not my only reason for including it, it is a damn fine film too. It tells the historic tale of William Wallace and his fight against English oppresion in Scotland. A large amount of artistic licence was used for the plot, as it isn't exactly historically accurate, but hey the Scots kick English butt and it makes for great entertainment! Gibson actually pulls of an ok Scottish accent too, so you don't have another Hollywood film where a UK person is being played by someone with an American accent (Kevin Costner - Robin Hood). In Braveheart there are tales of love, revenge, justice, peace and tranquility. The evil Edward Longshanks is superb as the ruthless English King, and Sophie Marceau is good eye candy who acts very well too. The battle scenes are what makes the film stand out even more. Through the intensity and realism I was stunned the first time I saw it. This itself I was surprised about as I love gore films, but boy were some of the scenes brutal. Excellent stuff.
Saving Private Ryan.
Despite the fact that it may seem that only the Americans fought on the D-Day landings, as there are no British or French in sight, this film merits this place for being almost 3 hours long, and for containing the most realistic war scenes commited to film. The opening 20-30 minutes focus on the D-Day landings. I went to see this film as I heard the war scenes were very gory and realistic, so the gore loving side of me was desperate to see it. When I did see it though, instead of having a big gore satisfied smile on my face, my jaw dropped. Those opening minutes alone perfectly point out the futility of war, and how so many people gave up their lives on that day, without really making any contribution to the war. All some people managed to do before they were killed was throw up on the boat taking them to the beach, and then get in the way of bullets the instant the boats landing ramp lowered. Their time spent alive on the battlefield might only have been 2 seconds. It was horrifying. So be warned, this is NOT a feel good film! The rest of the film doesn't live up to these opening moments, and the "last stand" fight off at the end is too cheesy, but with excellent acting all round, particularly from Tom Sizemore and Tom Hanks, this is a brutal war film which should not be missed.
The Green Mile
Another Tom Hanks film, again clocking in at about the 3 hour mark. It is about death row, commonly known as the Green Mile due to the green flooring, and a huge man who has been convicted of murdering two little girls. I do not want to go much into the plot of this film as it is one where each surprise should be witnessed while watching the film. What I will say though is that the acting is impeccable, the story is very touching and extremely sad, and I think Mister Jingles is great! Very much a weepy film, and as a tough bloke I have no reservations in saying that tears came to my eyes at the end of this one also.
Dances With Wolves.
If I have heard right, there are a couple of versions of this film out there. A long one which is about 3 hours long, and an even longer one which is nearer the 4 hour mark. Well I have only seen the 3 hours one... This is one of Kevin Costner's better films, about a man's dream to see the frontier, and to discover what is out there, when in fact he discovers himself. I think this film is great as it shows the white americans to be the bad people, always automatically assuming that the native american indians are bad, when they themselves, or at least the tripe which Costner enters into, are peaceful, spiritul people who lead simple lives. The scenery is stunning, and the buffalo hunting scenes are breath-taking. Alas in some places the film is a little dull, but this is a minor complaint, as watching the character chnage in Costner, and the story on the whole is very interesting, thought provoking and entertaining. I would like to see the even longer version out of curiosity, to find out if it adds anything to the story.
Well there you go. 8 very long films, which I only recommend you watch in the one day if you are really really bored, and don't mind leaving a permanent bum imprint on your couch.