The running time for the upcoming “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” will be 2 hours and 41 minutes which will make it the 2nd longest Marvel movie so far (“Avengers: Endgame” was 3 hours 1 minute).  Plus, I’m willing to bet that “Avatar: The Way of Water” will be over 2 ½ hours since the first “Avatar” running time was that long (2 hours 42 minutes) and James Cameron’s blockbuster “Titanic” was even longer (3 hours 14 minutes).  So, I expect to see more of the usual stories about how movies are getting too long. 

This subject seems to come up almost every year and it really annoys me.  The facts are that THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LONG MOVIES!!  If you need proof, you can look at the Academy Award best picture winners.  There are 10 movies that won the Oscar for best picture that were over 3 hours long.  One of them was ALMOST 4 HOURS.

1939 – “Gone with the Wind” (3 hours and 58 min)

1959 – “Ben Hur” (3 hours 32 min)

1962 – “Lawrence of Arabia” (3 hours 38 min)

1974 – “The Godfather Part 2” (3 hours 22 min)

1978 – “The Deer Hunter” (3 hours 3 min)

1982 – “Gandhi” (3 hours 11 min)

1990 – “Dances with Wolves” (3 hours 1 min)

1993 – “Schindler’s List” (3 hours 15 min)

1997 – “Titanic” (3 hours 14 min)

2003 – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (3 hours 21 min)

If you count the number of best picture winners that are over 2 hours 30 minutes long, you get 30 movies.  30 movies in 93 years.  Almost one third of all the best picture winners have been over 2 hours 30 minutes long.  There are also several movies over 3 hours that were nominated but didn’t win like “Cleopatra” (3 hours 12 min), “Doctor Zhivago” (3 hours 17 min), “Barry Lyndon” (3 hours 5 min), “Tess” (3 hours 6 min), “Reds” (3 hours 15 min), “The Right Stuff” (3 hours 13 min), “JFK” (3 hours 9 min), “The Wolf of Wall Street” (3 hours), and “The Irishman” (3 hours 29 min).

So, why are there constantly articles about movies getting longer?  Probably because ACTION MOVIES are getting longer.  Like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Avengers Endgame”.  

A great example of this is the “Lord of the Rings” movies.  Not only were the original films about 3 hours each (2 hours 58 min, 2 hours 59 min, and 3 hours 31 min), they eventually released EXTENDED versions of each movie.  Then they showed ALL 3 MOVIES BACK-TO-BACK in a movie theater.  The showings of the 11+ hour screenings often would completely sell out.

Personally, I love SOME 3-hour movies but hate others.  2 of my favorite movies of all time are “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part 2”.  I’ve even watched what they call “The Godfather Saga” which is “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part 2” edited so it’s in chronological order.  It’s OVER 7 HOURS LONG and I love every minute of it.  I keep hoping they’ll release it on Blu-Ray. 

However, if the story isn’t good enough to hold my interest, then it shouldn’t be 3 hours long.  For example, “Titanic” which in my opinion is THE WORST BEST PICTURE WINNER EVER!!!  When people tell me “It won the Academy Award for best picture”, I say “L.A. Confidential” should have won.  I’m not the only one that thinks this. 

No matter what anyone thinks, it looks like longer movies are here to stay.  Let’s just hope they don’t decide to go EVEN LONGER.  Remember, “Gone with the Wind” was almost 4 hours long.  If you adjust for inflation, it’s also the biggest box office movie OF ALL TIME.