Last week, I posted a list of my Top 10 Films Under 90 Minutes (click here to view the list!). It got me to thinking…in the interest of fairness (and I’m all about fairness and justice), what about the other end of the spectrum? What about those bum-numbing films? Those films over three hours? I think any film over two hours is pushing its luck, but over three hours? It has to be a pretty special film to be over three hours AND keep you entertained. After some hardcore thinking, I came up with a list of Top 10 Films Over Three Hours! Here it is…

I hear this film is over three hours long. But why would I torture myself by watching it?
  1. Hamlet (1996)

You have to admire Kenneth Brannagh for bringing ALL of Hamlet to the screen. After buying the DVD, I wondered whether I could sit down for four hour to watch it. Couldn’t I read the actual play quicker than that? However, during the opening minutes I was glued to the screen by Brannagh’s wonderful visuals. But he also steals the show as Hamlet. How selfish of Kenneth! Of course, it can’t hold a candle to The Lion King as a Hamlet adaptation. But as a faithful and sumptuous Shakespeare adaptation few Shakespeare adaptations can match it. Simply glorious!

  1. Spartacus

This is the epitome of classic swords and sandals epics…and also happens to be directed by Stanley Kubrick. You wouldn’t guess it, of course. But it remains his most accessible work by miles. It’s a who’s who of famous classic film stars, such as Kirk Douglas, Olivier, Ustinov and Curtis. It may have been written by a filthy commie, but who cares? This tale of a slave who became a gladiator who defied an empire is maybe a little overly long, but full of drama, suspense, and seeing one man become a hero! Who doesn’t want that? You’ll want to defy tyranny after watching this true epic.

  1. The Green Mile

Do I think that The Green Mile could be cut by fifteen minutes or so? Yes, I do if I haven’t watched The Green Mile for a while. But then I sit down (preferably after reading the book!) and put the DVD in…and I’m spellbound for over three hours. It’s yet another score for King film adaptations, and ranks #7 in my Top 10 King Films Adaptations (click here for my list!). Tom Hanks excels here, but Michael Clarke Duncan excels even more. Once again, Frank Darabont and King make an excellent team. It’s a film full of emotional manipulation that’s easily forgiven. And if you have dry eyes at the end…then you have no heart!

  1. Malcolm X

Do you want your black history film directed by a black man and headlined by Denzel Washington as a pivotal figure in black history (let’s face it: Denzel was robbed of that Best Picture Oscar!)? Then Malcolm X is your film! This has to be one of my favourite screen biopics (I struggled to choose between this and Gandhi…). Denzel puts on a performance that isn’t simple mimicry, but captures the person behind the façade of Malcolm X. Denzel’s performance is enough on its own to recommend this film, but the narrative takes us through his peaks and troughs with a natural pace and vitality. Nothing seems forced here. While it’s probably biased in his favour, Malcolm X still welcomes the man’s weaknesses and flaws, a perspective that most biopics gloss over.

  1. The Deer Hunter

I’ve never liked Apocalypse Now. If I want a long film about Vietnam, I’d always choose The Deer Hunter. Not only is it a deserved Best Picture Oscar winner, but it has one of the most bittersweet and powerful endings in movie history. But it’s a film where you don’t want the ending to come; you could watch more and more. It’s about a ridiculous war and the effect of that war on the people fighting it. If you’re fighting for an illusion, then how does that impact you? The Russian Roulette sequence is a symbol of that futility. Utterly enthralling filmmaking (I placed it at #4 on my Top 10 War Films list! Click here to view the list).

  1. The Godfather Part II

This is magnificent filmmaking on all sorts of levels, isn’t it? Do I even need to describe why I’m including it on this list? Any self-respecting film fanatic should have seen this (and Part I, of course!). It’s a great example of not only a sequel, but a prequel as well. You see, a prequel should add to our understanding of its predecessor, not simply be a moneymaker full of nonsense! And a sequel should challenge our preconceptions of a sequel, without being a remake of the original. I can’t say much more about The Godfather Part II…except watch it right now!

  1. The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino needs a solid editor who’ll cut his movies down to size. Inglorious Basterds needed about half an hour cut out. Also, the overly long monologues in most of his recent films need to be curtailed. But The Hateful Eight is his most successful long movie, in my humble opinion. I enjoyed Django Unchained, but felt bored in the saggy middle act. I watched this at the cinema and didn’t feel fidgety or bored once. The Hateful Eight keeps the tension high from the opening moments, and barely lets you off of the edge of your seat for the duration. It’s a dream team of actors, bouncing and playing off each other in a (relatively) taunt screenplay. And the score from Ennio Morricone is sublime. Three hours passes by in an instant.

  1. JFK

Ahhh, the time when Oliver Stone was willing to throw himself head first into controversy was wonderful. What happened to him? Not only was Stone at the height of his powers, but Kevin Costner was at the height of his powers as well. The two worked together to re-invigorate conspiracy theories around the world. I did toy with the idea of replacing this with Nixon, and highly underappreciated film. But I’d prefer to watch JFK over Nixon five out of seven days of the week). It plunges us deep into the conspiracy theories surrounding JFK’s assassination, especially the magic bullet theory. Let’s face it: you shouldn’t take JFK as a history lesson. But you should take it as a starting point to think about the “facts” presented to us by the media at large. And take it as a gripping three hour thriller that never lets go.

  1. Doctor Zhivago

I’ve watched a few of the classic epic films, but none have had the staying power (in my mind) more than Doctor Zhivago. It has all the hallmarks of the classic epic: lavish production, an intense love story over the backdrop of war, and Omar Sharif. Does it trivialise the events of the Russian Revolution? Yes…but in an epic romance, the historical event is only the backdrop. What counts is the romance. It flares off the screen with chemistry and fire, keeping us tuned into the screen for over three hours. Oh, it has Alec Guinness in it as well (“Can you play the balalaika?”). What more could you want?

  1. Schindler’s List

Come on, how could I not compose a Top 10 Films Over Three Hours without Spielberg’s masterpiece? I’ve re-watched this several times, but I most recently re-watched it after a visit to Auschwitz and Schindler’s Factory (half Contemporary Art Museum, half History Museum). It’s a miracle that Spielberg released Jurassic Park and this in the same year. This is emotional filmmaking at the highest level, a film everyone should watch to see the depravity and immorality of human beings. But you’ll also see the good nature of humans as well. Harrowing, but vital viewing.

Honourable Mentions

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


Once Upon A Time In America

Seven Samurai

Agree or disagree? Any you’d take away or add? What is your Top 10?

Click here for Hammy’s Top 10 Films Under 90 Minutes



  1. badparentingweb February 6, 2018 / 6:18 pm

    Big props to Hamlet! The Branaugh version is THE only version.

    Great list here. Making me want to rewatch Zhivago and Deer Hunter. Was Lawrence of Arabia not over three hours? I’ve actually never seen that one, to my total shame and discredit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews February 6, 2018 / 6:27 pm

      Cheers! Absolutely adored Hamlet! I haven’t watched Lawrence of Arabia either! When I do, I may have to alter this list!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews February 6, 2018 / 9:09 pm

      Cheers! The ending of The Deer Hunter is one of my all-time favourites.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.