Kevin Bacon, Tom Hanks, and Bill Paxton in a scene from 'Apollo 13’.

The best long movies to watch on Netflix

Written by:
March 27, 2024
Universal // Getty Images

The best long movies to watch on Netflix

It's not just you: Films have been getting longer. According to data one researcher collected from Letterboxd, movies in the 1980s averaged 113 minutes, while in the 2020s, films are 15% longer, averaging 130 minutes.

Historically, the length of a movie has been associated with its quality—to some, a narrative should be so vast and sprawling that it couldn't be wrapped up in a mere 90 minutes. That perception has held strong over the years among both moviegoers and critics.

Data journalist Stephen Follows conducted an analysis of films released between 2000 and 2016, looking at their ratings and run times. He found that movies under 90 minutes received, on average, a 5.9 out of 10 audience score on IMDb, while those over 90 minutes averaged 6.4. The analysis also found that critics tend to give under-90-minute movies a lower average score on Metacritic: 50.8 vs. 55.4 out of 100.

As an analysis from the Center for the Digital Future points out, previously only established directors like Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino, and Peter Jackson had the resources and institutional support to make long films. Now, more up-and-coming and less established directors are trying their hand at longer flicks, capitalizing on that long-held belief that lengthier equals better.

There's nothing like being immersed in the universe of a film, which is a lot easier to do when it's longer than two hours, as this allows you to really understand and envelop yourself in the movie's world and characters. After all, some of the most universally beloved and critically acclaimed films are famously long, including "Titanic" and "The Godfather." While you may get fatigued watching a three-hour movie in a theater, at home the pause button is your friend.

With all that said, for your next free afternoon, Stacker compiled a list of the best long movies on Netflix using data from Reelgood. The list includes American movies with a run time above 135 minutes, which were then ranked by their IMDb user rating. (Data is current as of March 12, 2024. Cast and other data points were added for supplementary insights.)

Spoiler alert: The list contains not one, but two Tarantino films, as well as several critically acclaimed book adaptations. Happy watching!

#25. Unbroken

- IMDb user rating: 7.2 (181K reviews)
- Run time: 137 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Action & Adventure
- Director: Angelina Jolie
- Cast: Jack O'Connell, Garrett Hedlund, and Domhnall Gleeson
- Release date: Dec. 25, 2014

Based on the 2010 biography by Laura Hillenbrand, the film tells the story of Olympic athlete and World War II veteran Louis Zamperini, who was taken as a prisoner of war by Japanese forces. Though nominated for three Academy Awards for technical achievements, critical reviews were mixed. Despite its long run time, Manohla Dargis of The New York Times said it could have been even longer, suggesting that some parts of the story were rushed: "That's scarcely enough time for any life, but it's impossible when each chapter in that life could itself be a book (including an underplayed epiphany)," Dargis wrote.

#24. Don't Look Up

- IMDb user rating: 7.2 (573K reviews)
- Run time: 138 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Comedy
- Director: Adam McKay
- Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Meryl Streep
- Release date: Dec. 8, 2021

Adam McKay is known for making funny movies that make people think about the state of the world. While his recent work has tackled the U.S. economy ("The Big Short") and former Vice President Dick Cheney ("Vice"), "Don't Look Up" sees him taking on a fictional story that serves as a metaphor for climate change. In the film, two astronomers embark on a media tour to warn humankind about an approaching comet set to destroy the planet. After it dropped on Netflix (following a limited theatrical release), the film was met with mixed reviews but was well-watched: It set a new record for the most viewing hours in a single week on Netflix, possibly aided by its lengthier run time.

#23. The Great Gatsby

- IMDb user rating: 7.2 (588K reviews)
- Run time: 143 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Romance
- Director: Baz Luhrmann
- Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan
- Release date: May 9, 2013

One of several adaptations of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, "The Great Gatsby" won big at the box office and took home Academy Awards for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design, but garnered mixed reviews. Critics didn't seem concerned with the film's length, but more so its focus on the big, lavish party scenes rather than a close interpretation of the book. A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote it was "less a conventional movie adaptation than a splashy, trashy opera, a wayward, lavishly theatrical celebration of the emotional and material extravagance that Fitzgerald surveyed with fascinated ambivalence."

#22. The King

- IMDb user rating: 7.3 (140K reviews)
- Run time: 140 minutes
- Genres: Romance, Drama
- Director: David Michôd
- Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, and Sean Harris
- Release date: Oct. 11, 2019

"The King" is based on a series of "Henriad" Shakespeare plays following King Henry V; this adaptation focuses on the era of Henry V's rise after his father dies while navigating both politics and grief. Praised overall by critics and audiences for its gripping performances, it was criticized by historians for its lack of accuracy.

#21. It

- IMDb user rating: 7.3 (585K reviews)
- Run time: 135 minutes
- Genres: Fantasy, Horror
- Director: Andy Muschietti
- Cast: Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, and Bill Skarsgård
- Release date: Sept. 6, 2017

The horror film adapted from the Stephen King classic follows a group of kids in a small Maine town terrorized by an evil clown. It was a box office hit, earning a spot on Deadline Hollywood's 2017 list of "Most Valuable Blockbusters," and became the highest-grossing Stephen King horror film ever, even beating "The Shining" after adjusting for inflation. The film was beloved by critics, who seemed unfazed by the film's length. Though Vanity Fair, Salon, and IndieWire all labeled it an Oscar contender, the film did not go on to garner any Academy Award nominations.

#20. Elvis

- IMDb user rating: 7.3 (222K reviews)
- Run time: 159 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Biography
- Director: Baz Luhrmann
- Cast: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, and Olivia DeJonge
- Release date: June 22, 2022

Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis" was largely beloved by audiences and critics. The musical biopic garnered eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and earned breakout star Austin Butler a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Variety didn't mind its long run time, describing the film as a "fizzy, delirious, impishly energized, compulsively watchable 2-hour-and-39-minute fever dream."

#19. Uncut Gems

- IMDb user rating: 7.4 (305K reviews)
- Run time: 135 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Comedy
- Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
- Cast: Adam Sandler, LaKeith Stanfield, and Julia Fox
- Release date: Dec. 13, 2019

"Uncut Gems" is a high-wire crime film following a down-on-his-luck jewelry dealer caught up in debt. The film, though polarizing for audiences, was a breakout role for Julia Fox and cemented directors Benny and Josh Safdie as masters of the genre. To top it all off, many critics called comedian Adam Sandler's performance the best of his career, cementing his status as a dramatic actor.

#18. Wonder Woman

- IMDb user rating: 7.4 (685K reviews)
- Run time: 141 minutes
- Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
- Director: Patty Jenkins
- Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and Robin Wright
- Release date: May 30, 2017

Superhero movies, with their expansive history and complex fight scenes, tend to be long. The 2017 remake of "Wonder Woman" joins that list, and served as the breakout role for Gal Gadot. At 141 minutes, the movie was long, but that didn't keep it from being praised by critics—some of whom called it the best film of the DC Extended Universe, while others noted the chemistry between Chris Pine and Gadot. The film also garnered numerous awards and nominations, including winning the Critics Choice Award for Best Action Movie.

#17. The Wailing

- IMDb user rating: 7.4 (78K reviews)
- Run time: 156 minutes
- Genres: Horror, Mystery
- Director: Na Hong-jin
- Cast: Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, and Chun Woo-hee
- Release date: May 12, 2016

"The Wailing" is a South Korean horror film following a village plagued by a mysterious illness and subsequent deaths after the mysterious arrival of a stranger. The film's length of 156 minutes prompted some critics to suggest it could have been tighter: "After two hours and 40 minutes, it's extremely underwhelming to be left with the table-scraps of a better movie," wrote David Ehrlich in IndieWire.

#16. Ready Player One

- IMDb user rating: 7.4 (466K reviews)
- Run time: 140 minutes
- Genres: Action & Adventure, Science-Fiction
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, and Ben Mendelsohn
- Release date: March 28, 2018

Based on Ernest Cline's dystopian novel, "Ready Player One" follows a group of people who immerse themselves in a virtual world called the OASIS in order to escape their harsh reality. Chock-full of pop culture references and extensive visual effects, "Ready Player One" received critical acclaim for its nostalgic references, visuals, and action sequences, as well as for capturing the spirit of the original novel.

#15. Jackie Brown

- IMDb user rating: 7.5 (371K reviews)
- Run time: 154 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Crime
- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert De Niro
- Release date: Dec. 25, 1997

An homage to Blaxploitation films, Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" follows the story of a flight attendant who gets caught between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the police, and a gunrunner after being caught smuggling money. The film was often compared to Tarantino's previous works, but "Jackie Brown" received critical acclaim and earned an Oscar nomination for Robert Forster's supporting performance. The script is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel "Rum Punch" and marked Tarantino's first adapted script.

#14. Apollo 13

- IMDb user rating: 7.7 (312K reviews)
- Run time: 140 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Action & Adventure
- Director: Ron Howard
- Cast: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon
- Release date: June 30, 1995

"Apollo 13" depicts the true story of the ill-fated Apollo 13 lunar mission in 1970; after the explosion of an oxygen tank on board, the crew must navigate to return safely to Earth. During production, director Ron Howard used a giant airplane nicknamed the "Vomit Comet" in order to achieve realistic zero-gravity scenes. The film was beloved by audiences and critics: It became the second-highest five-day opening of all time in 1995 and was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning two for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

#13. Beasts of No Nation

- IMDb user rating: 7.7 (85K reviews)
- Run time: 137 minutes
- Genres: War, Drama
- Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
- Cast: Abraham Attah, Idris Elba, and Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye
- Release date: Oct. 16, 2015

"Beasts of No Nation" follows a young boy forced to become a child soldier in a warring, unnamed country. For the making of the film, the production team collaborated closely with local communities in Ghana, including hiring local crew members and extras. Critics were generally silent about its run time but praised its performances and themes. "Beasts of No Nation" received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor for Abraham Attah at the Venice Film Festival.

#12. Roma

- IMDb user rating: 7.7 (167K reviews)
- Run time: 135 minutes
- Genre: Drama
- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Cast: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, and Diego Cortina Autrey
- Release date: Nov. 13, 2018

In 2018, "Roma" put Mexican cinema center stage. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, the film is a semiautobiographical film set in Mexico City in the early 1970s following the life of a domestic worker set against the backdrop of political unrest.

Filmed in stunning black-and-white cinematography, "Roma" was praised for its meticulous attention to detail in portraying everyday life, as well as for its verisimilitude, which was in part due to Cuarón employing a mix of professional actors and nonprofessionals, including lead actor Yalitza Aparicio, who had no prior acting experience. Roma received numerous accolades, including three Academy Awards: Best Director for Cuarón, Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Language Film.

#11. All Quiet on the Western Front

- IMDb user rating: 7.8 (224K reviews)
- Run time: 148 minutes
- Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
- Director: Edward Berger
- Cast: Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, and Aaron Hilmer
- Release date: Sept. 29, 2022

"All Quiet on the Western Front" is based on the novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque, which follows a group of German soldiers during World War I. A remake of the 1930 film, "All Quiet on the Western Front" was nominated for many awards, including nine Oscars. Though generally received well in the U.S., some German critics panned the film, including Süddeutsche Zeitung, who wrote, "148 minutes of blockbuster-compatible war kitsch is being slapped with a title that is internationally known and guarantees prestige and good sales. Maybe even an Oscar."

#10. The Irishman

- IMDb user rating: 7.8 (414K reviews)
- Run time: 209 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Crime
- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci
- Release date: Nov. 4, 2019

"The Irishman" is an epic mobster crime film based on the book "I Heard You Paint Houses" by Charles Brandt. Directed by Martin Scorsese with a veteran cast, the film follows the life of a truck driver turned hit man who eventually becomes involved with the Bufalino crime family and the disappearance of labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa. The film was famous for its use of de-aging technology, which was used on Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci to portray their characters across several decades.

The run time for "The Irishman" became a widespread topic for discussion, with several reviews noting its length. The New Yorker, however, wrote that watching it on Netflix was the best way to see the film, both to take breaks and to extend the viewing experience. "'The Irishman' is three and a half hours long, and, watching it at home, I took breaks for reasons other than banal practicalities: I found myself overwhelmed by feelings and thoughts and sheer beauty, and I often stopped the movie to savor the moment, back up a bit, and watch a scene again," wrote Richard Brody. "Viewed this way, the movie stretched out closer to five hours—a day very well spent."

#9. Everything Everywhere All at Once

- IMDb user rating: 7.8 (517K reviews)
- Run time: 139 minutes
- Genres: Comedy, Action & Adventure
- Directors: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
- Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and Stephanie Hsu
- Release date: March 24, 2022

Helmed by the directing duo the Daniels, "Everything Everywhere All at Once" is a science-fiction kung-fu dramedy that follows the story of a Chinese immigrant woman who, struggling to pay her taxes, suddenly finds herself navigating multiple parallel universes. At a run time of 140 minutes, critics were relatively quiet about its length, but the film received widespread critical acclaim for its originality and heartfelt storytelling, which has already made it a cult classic. It went on to win seven of its 11 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

#8. Society of the Snow

- IMDb user rating: 7.8 (103K reviews)
- Run time: 144 minutes
- Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
- Director: J.A. Bayona
- Cast: Enzo Vogrincic, Agustín Pardella, and Matías Recalt
- Release date: Dec. 14, 2023

"Society of the Snow" follows a real-life survival story. In 1972, a Uruguayan rugby team's plane crashed over the Andes mountains, leaving its remaining survivors fighting to stay alive—by any means necessary. One of the things that was notable about the production is that much of the cast included newcomer actors from Uruguay and Argentina.

The Wall Street Journal noted that the film's length was essential to its effectiveness as a story: "The length of his film is an essential element in Mr. Bayona's message about desperation and hope and, dare one say it, the resilience of the spirit," wrote John Anderson. "The soiled, ailing, sunburned husks of men who emerge from the mountains are heroes, though they look every bit like ghosts."

#7. The Hateful Eight

- IMDb user rating: 7.8 (638K reviews)
- Run time: 168 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Crime
- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh
- Release date: Dec. 25, 2015

Set in post-Civil War Wyoming, Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" follows a group of strangers seeking refuge from a blizzard in a stagecoach stopover—where tensions rise and nobody is who they claim to be. Tarantino shot the film in Ultra Panavision 70, a rare format not used in motion pictures in decades, substantially adding to the cost of the film. The film received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics—some of whom pointed to its significant length. "Stretched to three hours, including a pointless (old fashioned) overture and intermission … does it live up to the 'Cinema Event' Tarantino has hyped it as? Hell no," wrote Roger Moore.

#6. The Batman

- IMDb user rating: 7.8 (769K reviews)
- Run time: 176 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Crime
- Director: Matt Reeves
- Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, and Paul Dano
- Release date: March 1, 2022

"The Batman" explores Bruce Wayne's early years as Batman, who investigates a series of murders by a serial killer in Gotham City and has his first encounters with the Riddler and the Penguin. Filming and release were both delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, it went on to be the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2022.

Though superhero films tend to run long, with a nearly three-hour run time, "The Batman" is longer than many other superhero films, prompting criticism. Gizmodo published an article declaring "The Batman" to be "waaaaaaaaaaay too long." Still, the film impressed critics, who praised Robert Pattinson's brooding version of the superhero, along with the setting's gritty atmosphere. The film garnered three Oscar nominations for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects.

#5. Marriage Story

- IMDb user rating: 7.9 (333K reviews)
- Run time: 137 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Romance
- Director: Noah Baumbach
- Cast: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, and Laura Dern
- Release date: Nov. 6, 2019

Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story" follows a couple going through a brutal coast-to-coast divorce and custody battle. It is his second film about divorce after "The Squid and the Whale" (2005), both of which drew inspiration from his own experiences with divorce. The film's length didn't appear to be an issue for critics: "Marriage Story" received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for the performances of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, and garnered six Academy Award nominations, including a win for Laura Dern in Best Supporting Actress.

#4. Warrior

- IMDb user rating: 8.1 (492K reviews)
- Run time: 140 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Action & Adventure
- Director: Gavin O'Connor
- Cast: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, and Nick Nolte
- Release date: Sept. 9, 2011

"Warrior" is a sports drama following two estranged brothers who both decide to enter a mixed martial arts tournament—where they must come to terms with their relationship and their pasts. Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy underwent significant martial arts training for the roles. "Warrior" didn't receive much major awards recognition, though Nick Nolte did land an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The film's length was not a major point of discussion among critics, though nine years after the film's release, film website Pajiba wrote an article applauding the final 10 minutes of the movie, calling the ending "the best film ever made."

#3. Hacksaw Ridge

- IMDb user rating: 8.1 (586K reviews)
- Run time: 139 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Biography
- Director: Mel Gibson
- Cast: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, and Vince Vaughn
- Release date: Nov. 3, 2016

"Hacksaw Ridge" is a biographical war drama telling the story of Desmond Doss, a medic who served in World War II despite being a conscientious objector. Doss refused to carry a gun and became an unlikely hero by saving 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa without firing a single shot.

Critics praised it as being one of the best war films of all time, though one critic thought the film's battle scenes were too long, writing, "Here we get THREE 10-20 minutes scenes of unbearable gore, where one, at half the length, would have been much more effective." "Hacksaw Ridge" was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won two Oscars for Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.

#2. L.A. Confidential

- IMDb user rating: 8.2 (602K reviews)
- Run time: 138 minutes
- Genres: Drama, Crime
- Director: Curtis Hanson
- Cast: Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and Kevin Spacey
- Release date: Sept. 19, 1997

Based on the novel of the same name by James Ellroy, "L.A. Confidential" is a modern neo-noir film, following three detectives as they investigate a series of interconnected crimes in 1950s Hollywood. The film featured a stellar ensemble cast, with standout performances from its leads and supporting actors, including Kim Basinger and Danny DeVito.

"L.A. Confidential" received widespread critical acclaim for its "taut pacing, brilliantly dense writing and Oscar-worthy acting," according to the critics' consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, which ranks it high among both critics and audiences. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won two Oscars including Best Supporting Actress for Basinger and Best Adapted Screenplay.

#1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

- IMDb user rating: 8.6 (346K reviews)
- Run time: 140 minutes
- Genres: Action & Adventure, Animation
- Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers
- Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, and Brian Tyree Henry
- Release date: May 31, 2023

Sequel to the animated, critically acclaimed "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (2018), "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" follows Miles Morales as he crosses paths with Gwen Stacy, also known as Spider-Woman, and embarks on a journey through the multiverse, encountering different versions of Spider-People from alternate realities.

The film boasts a stacked ensemble cast including Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Greta Lee, Daniel Kaluuya, Mahershala Ali, and Oscar Isaac. "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" was praised for its innovative animation techniques and powerful storytelling. While most of the critical praise was positive, The Wall Street Journal thought sections were too long, writing: "Running two hours and 20 minutes, 'Across' loads up with jumpy but not especially engaging action scenes."

Data reporting by Karim Noorani. Story editing by Cynthia Rebolledo. Copy editing by Tim Bruns. 

Trending Now