How Long Should a Film Be?

Audiences will allow a book to be as long as it wishes, the theater to last for roughly 3 hours (with an intermission), a television show to last for roughly an hour but they seem to be a little more flexible with how long they will tolerate a trip to the silver screen.

And the guidance is incredibly vague,  “According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Film Institute, and British Film Institute, a feature film runs for 40 minutes or longer, while the Screen Actors Guild states that it is 80 minutes or longer.”

I have long regarded films lasting between 80-90 minutes with deep suspicion as they have either been perfectly crafted gems or borderline un-watchable messes that have been desperately padded to something near an appropriate length (we’ll see which category the 83 minute Grimsby fits in if I’m ever able to get off my deathbed.)

On the other end of the scale, we have the ‘bladder busters’ which tend to win all the awards, such as Superman V. Batman which will clock in at 2 hours 31 minutes, longer than either Avengers film or even The Godfather Part 2. 

Or, if you’ve got a lot of time on your hands you can catch the 2012 classic Logistics  which ran for 35 days/240 hours. Or, if your pushed for time I strongly recommend the shorter (but still 10 days/240 hours long) Modern Times Forever (Stora Enso Building, Helsinki. 

Myself? I think films should aim for being between 90-120 minutes. Shorter for action film which tend to have a relatively simple plot, longer for more complicated, engrossing films.

What do you think?


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