Top up your watchlist… 17 very long films

From binge-ready epics to cinematic monuments, these films push three hours or much, much more – all available with a free 14-day trial on BFI Player.

How many have you seen?

Betty Blue (1986)

Director Jean-Jacques Beineix

Betty Blue (1986)

Jean-Jacques Beineix’s story of a volatile, highly sexual relationship was one of the most successful French films of the 1980s.

You’ll need… 3 hours 5 mins

Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)

Director Jacques Rivette

Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)

Jacques Rivette’s exhilarating combination of theatricality, paranoia and ‘la vie Parisienne’ follows two young women as they enter a mysterious realm upon eating a magic sweet.

You’ll need… 3 hours 14 mins

Comrades (1986)

Director Bill Douglas

Comrades (1986)

Bill Douglas’s epic story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, six Dorset labourers deported to Australia in the 1830s for forming a trade union.

You’ll need… 3 hours 2 mins

The Falls (1980)

Director Peter Greenaway

The Falls (1980)

Peter Greenaway’s epic first feature, constructed as an excerpt from an imagined, filmic directory listing everyone affected by VUE – the Violent Unknown Event.

You’ll need… 3 hours 15 mins

Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Director Ingmar Bergman

Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Bergman’s magisterial and sumptuous portrait of an early 20th-century Swedish family.

You’ll need… 3 hours 1 min

Kwaidan (1964)

Director Masaki Kobayashi

Kwaidan (1964)

This stunningly beautiful anthology of Japanese ghost stories is one of the most meticulously crafted supernatural films ever made.

You’ll need… 3 hours 3 mins

Napoleon (1927)

Director Abel Gance

Napoleon (1927)

One of the most magnificent spectacles in all cinema, Abel Gance’s silent epic features full-scale historical recreations of episodes from Napoleon’s personal and political life.

You’ll need… 5 hours 33 mins

Norte, the End of History (2013)

Director Lav Diaz

Norte, the End of History (2013)

Lav Diaz’s epic drama follows the contrasting stories of two men: a law school dropout who descends into criminality and the humble family man wrongly accused of his crimes.

You’ll need… 4 hours 10 mins

My Voyage to Italy (2001)

Director Martin Scorsese

My Voyage to Italy (2001)

Martin Scorsese’s two-part love letter to Italian cinema is epic and sprawling in scope but also a deeply personal and moving testament to his passion for film.

You’ll need… 4 hours 6 mins

A Personal Journey through American Cinema

Director Martin Scorsese

A Personal Journey through American Cinema (1995)

Only slightly shorter than his ode to Italian cinema, this is Scorsese’s epic history of American film, tackling the studio system past and present, technique and directors including Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick and John Cassavetes.

You’ll need… 3 hours 45 mins

Red Beard (1965)

Director Akira Kurosawa

Red Beard (1965)

Kurosawa’s poignant, episodic story of a 19th-century doctor (Toshiro Mifune) working in a clinic for the poor, and his tumultuous friendship with a young intern.

You’ll need… 3 hours

Rocco and His Brothers (1960)

Director Luchino Visconti

Rocco and His Brothers (1960)

Italian maestro Luchino Visconti’s epic drama follows a mother and her five sons who move from a small town to Milan, changing their lives forever.

You’ll need… 2 hours 59 mins

Seven Samurai (1954)

Director Akira Kurosawa

Seven Samurai (1954)

Credit: Toho Co., Ltd

Farmers hire a band of samurai to defend them against marauding bandits in Kurosawa’s influential epic, a touchstone for action movies ever since.

You’ll need… 3 hours 27 mins

Shoah (1985)

Director Claude Lanzmann

Shoah (1985)

Claude Lanzmann’s monumental chronicle of the Holocaust has been acclaimed by many as the greatest documentary ever made.

You’ll need… 9 hours 27 mins

A Touch of Zen (1969)

Director King Hu

A Touch of Zen (1969)

King Hu’s epic swordplay saga combines ghost story, martial arts mastery and Buddhist mythology to stunning, hypnotic effect.

You’ll need… 2 hours 59 mins

The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)

Director Ermanno Olmi

The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)

Ermanno Olmi’s Palme d’Or-winner, about the hardships faced by peasants in late 19th-century Lombardy, is a masterpiece of neorealism.

You’ll need… 3 hours 6 mins

Woman in the Moon (1929)

Director Fritz Lang

Woman in the Moon (1929)

Fritz Lang’s second silent sci-fi classic after Metropolis (1927) is a space exploration saga about scheming scientists searching for gold on the moon.

You’ll need… 2 hours 50 mins

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