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How Does Oppenheimer's 3-Hour Runtime Compare to the Longest Films Ever Made?

Christopher Nolan's new film is 3-hours long, but it's far short of the record for the longest movie ever... by weeks

By James Grebey

Oppenheimer is a movie about the creation of a big, big bomb. So, fittingly, it has a big, big runtime. The film, now streaming exclusively on Peacock, is 3 hours long, making it the longest film that director Christopher Nolan has ever made. Starring Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the main scientist behind the creation of the bomb that ended War War II and ushered in a scary new era for mankind, Oppenheimer is a star-studded war drama that packs plenty into those three hours. 

Now, three hours is long for a movie, but how does Oppenheimer stack up against some of the other long movies? Turns out, it’s actually closer to a brisk little watch when compared to some truly lengthy films. Here are some of the longest movies ever made, broken down by category, as a straight list of the longest films would consist almost entirely of movies you’ve never heard of.

How Long is Oppenheimer?

Oppenheimer runs almost exactly three hours long. The film's exact runtime is 180 minutes 9 seconds.

What’s the Longest Movie of 2023?

Oppenheimer may be lengthy with its 3-hour runtime, but there’s another major 2023 release that’s even longer. Killers of the Flower Moon, the latest film from the great Martin Scorsese, will premiere this December. The movie, an adaptation of David Grann’s book of the same name, tells the story of a series of murders of Osage Indians in 1920s Oklahoma and the early FBI’s efforts to investigate them. Killers of the Flower Moon is 3 hours and 26 minutes long. 

What’s the Longest Film to Win Best Picture?

Should Oppenheimer end up getting a nomination for the top prize at the upcoming Academy Awards, it won’t be the longest movie ever to win that Oscar. The 1939 film Gone With the Wind, which won Best Picture at the 12th Academy Awards, boasts a runtime of 3 hours and 42 minutes. 

What Is the Longest Animated Movie?

Technically, the longest animated movie is Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht, which clocks in at 4 hours and 48 minutes in length. However, the 2005 direct-to-DVD release is a film adaptation of a video game that’s largely comprised of cutscenes from the game, so it doesn’t really count. The 2019 extended cut of the 2016 anime In This Corner of the World, about a young bride living in WWII Japan, has a truer claim to the record and a runtime of 2 hours and 48 minutes.

What’s the Longest Traditional Film to Win an Oscar?

In 1968, the Soviet film adaptation of War and Peace became what was, at the time, the longest movie ever to win an Oscar when it took home the Best Foreign Language Film award. War and Peace has a runtime of 7 hours and 11 minutes. It would hold the record for the longest movie to win an Oscar for nearly 50 years. 

What Is the Longest Film of Any Sort to Win an Oscar?

It kind of feels like cheating to say O.J. Simpson: Made in America, a jaw-dropping documentary about the rise and fall of the football player at the center of the most famous murder trial of the ‘90s, is a long movie. The seven-part film, which is 7 hours and 47 minutes long, won the Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards. Shortly after, the Academy changed the rules so that no other multi-part documentary is eligible for the category. So, if a movie or documentary is going to beat Made in America’s record, it’s going to need to be close to 8 hours long in one sitting, no breaks allowed. 

What Is the Longest Movie Ever Made?

Amra Ekta Cinema Banabo, a black-and-white Banghalsdeshi film whose title translates to We Will Make a Film in English but has also been called The Innocence, holds the record for the longest traditional film. (As opposed to an experimental film, which we’ll get to in a second.) The 2019 movie, which follows various characters in the wake of the Bangladesh Liberation War and explores the country’s soul, is 21 hours and 5 minutes long. 

What is the Longest Experimental Film?

An experimental film, that is one that never played in mainstream cinemas and may have, at best, appeared in some form in a museum, are more akin to artwork than anything you’d consider a traditional movie. That’s certainly the case for the 2012 Swedish film Logistics, which is a real-time tracking of a simple gadget, a pedometer, from where it ended up on a store shelf back through its shipping, construction, and production. Logistics had its five-week-long premiere at a library in the Swedish city of Uppsala, because the movie is 857 hours long. That’s 35 full days, plus a bonus 17 hours.

Really makes the thought of holding your pee when you sit through Oppenhemier’s mere 3-hour runtime seem like no big deal, eh?

How To Stream Oppenheimer?

Oppenheimer is now streaming exclusively on Peacock alongside a slew of behind-the-scenes featurettes.

The NBCUniversal platform currently offers two monthly subscription plans: Premium ($5.99 a month with ads) and Premium Plus ($11.99 a month with no ads and download access for certain titles). If you're a student, you can enjoy the Premium plan for just $1.99 for an entire year!

Looking for some theatrical action in the meantime? The HoldoversMy Big Fat Greek Wedding 3The Exorcist: BelieverFast XRuby Gillman, Teenage KrakenFive Nights at Freddy's, and Strays are all streaming on Peacock!

Originally published Jul 21, 2023.