POLL: ARE MOVIES TOO LONG NOW?

falling asleep during movie

There has been a lot said in recent weeks about the length of movies such as Wolf of Wall Street. The common consensus is that movies are too long now. That particular film clocks in at around the three hour mark. It’s hardly a new phenomenon, with movies dating back as far as Gone With The Wind (nearly four hours) having excessive run times. Sometimes, in the case of Che and Nymphomaniac, the films are cut into two parts, but does that damage the films effect in anyway?

From a screenwriting perspective, we are always told to keep scripts to one hundred pages or less, and certainly not over one hundred and twenty pages. This is because each page signifies one minute of screen time, hence a ninety page script equals a ninety minute movie. Is this the perfect length for a film, or  do we, as cinema goers want to be told stories in a longer format? And is this because of the success of TV shows like Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and True Detective?

Let me know what you think! Like wise, feel free to comment as well.

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.

17 comments

  1. Not for me. I think if a film is trying to tell an epic story it needs to be long. There are 90 min films that feel longer than 3 hour movies. It’s all in the editing and creating a compelling story with sympathetic characters. If you can do that no movie will be too long for me.

  2. I’m somewhere between “Yes” and “Don’t Care” but I opted for the former because I was just commenting about this issue with a friend the other day. I’m not sure you need the word “Now” in the title of this post, though, since I think there have been movies that dragged on too long for their own good going back 30 or more years. For me, the optimal length of a movie is between 90 & 105 minutes, and even 2 hour movies work if the stories & editing are strong. I’ve enjoyed movies that pushed the 3 hour mark but I always left with the feeling that it would have been just as strong with an hour judiciously excised from the running time. I feel this way about albums as well. There are some spectacular albums that utilize the nearly 80-minute capacity of a CD, but for the most part a great album should be in the 30-45 minute range. After that it’s overkill, and this is coming from a huge jazz & prog-rock fan who loves some SONGS that are nearly an hour long.

  3. I think all stories should be told without mind for arbitrary length cut offs. They should take however much time they need to develop characters and complete conflict. So long as run times are not bloated unnecessarily, I don’t care about them.

  4. Tom

    Yeah I’m with James on this one, I voted ‘No’ because a good many films I’ve seen just aren’t good becaues they’re poorly made. Outside of Need for Speed recently, most films seem to run an appropriate length of time. NFS was def an example of padding a run time, but I dont think I’ve had that many instances in movies where I’m checking my phone for the time

  5. Movies are not too long, unless they are really bad.
    A movie which is too long for my taste is often stretched to fit a certain scheme. And this is a real pity.

  6. Nice idea!

    I voted yes with an asterisk as I’ve seen a few recently that would have benefited from some editing.
    However, if the quality keeps up with the quantity, I don’t really notice the length. My favourite record is the white album, which is a sprawling mess but because it’s so eclectic it works!

  7. giorge thomas

    Because I watch most movies from the comfort of my home, I don’t have any issue with film length. It becomes a problem when you’re in the cinema – there’s only so long you can hold your bladder for after you’ve drunk that gallon of coke they give you.

    It depends on the film. If I’m not entertained, if I’m not interested in the characters, than any film is going to seem long.

  8. 13mesh

    Nice post! For me, it depends on what genre of movie am I watching. I expect a longer duration out of Sci-Fi or Fantasy movies, because of the special effect and story line. I like a two hour powerful Drama movies too, because I think it allow the audience and director to explore the characters further. But, I don’t expect to watch two hours Comedy film, Animation, Action or other movie’s genre – they should stick to the good old 90 minutes 🙂

    Glad you brought TV series in this post because I do have a problem. I don’t mind to watch an hour of awesome TV, but I EXPECT lesser episodes in one season. I like how British TV does it, take Sherlock for example, it only has 3 episodes in each season but one episode can run for an hour and half, which makes perfect sense to me.

    Ha ha sorry for the long comment!

  9. I tend to think some films drag way longer than they should. If a film has to be three hours, it must be something that has a lot to say. If things can noticeably be cut, than why not do so? It gets annoying to sit down in a movie theater for over three hours at a time. Unless the film is remarkable….

  10. I prefer a film to be less than two hours long. But I think length will cease to be an issue as more and more movies are watched in the home: you can spread your viewing over two evenings.

    • No way! I can’t do a two evening thing! Once I start watching a film I’ll only stop if it is either excruciatingly bad (Dinner for schmucks for example) or I die. Hahao

  11. It depends on how good a movie is. If a looong movie is excellent, and the suspense keeps you up, that all that really matters. Gone with the Wind might be almost four hours long, but it’s an excellent movie.

  12. i dont think movies in general are too long nowadays, guaranteed a few of them are like the Wolf of Wall Street(awesome movie by the way) but its also all about the viewers perspective, for example an action oriented movie goer could find a dramatic piece longer than the actual movie is.

  13. also i felt 300: Rise of an Empire was short while my friend who watched the same movie with me thought that it was too long

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