Well, gang, we did it. We sat through all three hours and twenty-six minutes of Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon, and we did it all without a pee break. And when the UTI comes, we’ll thank him for it.
But Martin Scorsese‘s not the only director playing fast and loose with the endurance of audiences through new movies this year. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer was three hours long, but enough of us were seated for that to generate over $942 million at the box office. Likewise, since Marty’s Killers of the Flower Moon release date arrived over the weekend, it’s earned a very respectable $44 million.
Does this mean the era of ‘Why are movies so long these days?’ is over? Looking at audiences reactions, it would seem so. “Killers of the Flower Moon is like a slow drip of liquid evil but I was absolutely glued to the screen the entire runtime,” said Twitter user @anyatastic.
“One great thing about watching Killers of the Flower Moon last night, I didn’t even notice the runtime, I was so captivated by the story I sat entranced for the entire three-plus hours,” wrote CraigMinett.
Equally, even if the runtime does feel long, some say it’s a purposeful move from one of the best directors of all time. “People saying you don’t feel the runtime – I absolutely disagree and I think that’s the point. It’s exhausting, it’s excruciating,” wrote @xtinatucker.
Whether you think Killers of the Flower Moon is one of the best movies of the year or completely overrated, you probably assume you’ve earned a pat on the back for enduring it in the first place. But if you think a three-and-a-half hour movie is an accomplishment, how about five hours? Seven hours? How about… fourteen hours?
Sure, Killers might be Scorsese’s second-longest non-documentary movie (behind The Irishman’s 3hr 48m length) but it’s pennies compared to some of the longest movies of all time. In fact, the longest cinematic movie on record clocks an eye-watering 14 hours and 33 minutes.
Resan, a Swedish documentary, was released in 1987 and is a years-long examination of nuclear weapons and military spending… Well, at least we know the world’s longest movie is about something cheery. Even the movie at the bottom of the list, Tsahal, is five hours and four minutes, meaning Killers of the Flower Moon doesn’t even come close to what constitutes a ‘long’ movie.
Originally, Scorsese’s new flick was supposed to be longer, but the director ended up cutting it down because it felt like a “police procedural.” Maybe if he’d kept scenes in, he might have had a shot at earning a place on the list.
Personally, I’m not too bothered about lengthy runtimes, but some of these movies would push me to my limits in a single sitting, for sure. At least with Killers of the Flower Moon, there’s ample opportunity to take bathroom breaks (FYI, the best time to do so is when Leo DiCaprio is taken in by the FBI for an interrogation, in my opinion) and who knows, maybe this will open up the long-overdue discussion of whether intermissions have a place in the movies again?
For more on the man of the hour, take a look at why Martin Scorsese has one major problem with classic Westerns, and take a look at why his new movie could make Oscars history. If that’s not enough, check out our list of the best drama movies and best movies based on a true story for more true-to-life cinema. Finally, check out the other 2023 movies we’re excited to see before the year ends, like The Marvels (we’re sure Scorsese is desperate for that one, too).