3-hour-long Movies Like Oppenheimer: Most Hollywood blockbuster films typically have an hour and a half or more runtime. However, some narratives are so complex that they require more time to delve into their deeply layered storylines. In today’s fast-paced world, though, some viewers may find it challenging to dedicate three hours or more to watch a single film, especially if they prefer shorter viewing experiences due to limited free time.

Ultimately, the length of a movie may not matter as long as it remains entertaining and of good quality. While a long runtime might turn some viewers off, others do not mind it, recognizing that it can be necessary for certain epic films like “The Godfather,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and “Ben-Hur.” In these cases, the extended runtime makes us question the plot’s breadth but adds to these cinematic masterpieces’ brilliance.

Cinematic epics such as “Seven Samurai,” “Ben-Hur,” and “Schindler’s List” have all demonstrated that their length is not merely for show. They are magnificent works created by skilled directors and enhanced by exceptional actors and various film components. Their elongated runtimes provide room for profound character development, intricate plotlines, and unparalleled exploration of themes that leave a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of the audience.

Christopher Nolan debuted with a 70-minute independent film, ‘Following’ (1998). But over the years, he has made intense and thrilling blockbusters with longer running times, like Inception (148 minutes), The Dark Knight Rises (165 mins), and Interstellar (169 mins). Now he has hit the 3-hour mark with his latest magnum opus, Oppenheimer. Though it’s a biopic and a historical drama revolving around the famous physicist Robert J. Oppenheimer, Nolan’s magic and astounding performances have brought a sense of urgency and thrill to a conversation-filled article. Films like Oppenheimer, in fact, can stimulate movie lovers’ fascination for such detailed narratives. Hence, we have compiled a list of must-watch and thrilling 3-hour-long movies like Oppenheimer.

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1. The Irishman (2019)

10 Thrilling 3-hour-long Movies Like Oppenheimer That Are Worth Watching - The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman” is a compelling blend of crime drama, character study, and historical exploration, brought to life by a talented cast and masterful direction. It’s rich storytelling and complex characters have made it a film that continues to fascinate and captivate audiences worldwide. The Irishman is not just a crime thriller but a character study that allows viewers to explore its main characters’ moral dilemmas and internal struggles.

The film is known for its Epic Length and Narrative, which spans several decades, chronicling the life of Frank Sheeran, a truck driver who becomes involved with the Bufalino crime family. Martin Scorsese’s masterful direction, the outstanding performances of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, and the inventive use of music all play a role in creating an immersive and engaging viewing experience. Since Frank’s story is based on the non-fiction book “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt, which claims to be the true story, its extended run-time makes it even more intriguing for viewers who cherish stories that are rooted in real-life events.

2. Seven Samurai (1954)

10 Thrilling 3-hour-long Movies Like Oppenheimer That Are Worth Watching - Seven Samurai (1954)

This Japanese Classic is one of those long movies viewers can see and revisit over and over again without getting tired of its intriguing plotline. With its richly developed characters, alongside the narrative’s emotional depth and stunning action sequences, Seven Samurai is regarded as one of the most influential and celebrated films in cinema history. Directed by Akira Kurosawa and set in 16th-century feudal Japan, the film tells the story of a group of seven ronin (masterless samurai) who are hired by a small farming village to protect them from marauding bandits.

“Seven Samurai” is a great film due to its visionary direction, timeless story, complex characters, and pioneering cinematography. Its enduring legacy continues to inspire and captivate audiences, making it a true classic of the medium. The film’s perfect pacing and expertly choreographed action sequences allow the narrative and characters to be fully explored, creating a powerful and emotionally resonant film.

3. Schindler’s List (1993)

10 Thrilling 3-hour-long Movies Like Oppenheimer That Are Worth Watching - Schindlers List (1993)

This compelling and critically acclaimed historical drama, directed by Steven Spielberg, tells the story of a German businessman, Oskar Schindler, who embarks on a transformative journey during one of the darkest chapters in human history. Initially portrayed as an opportunist seeking profit, Schindler has a change of heart when he witnesses the atrocities inflicted by the Nazis upon the Jewish population. The film unfolds through a series of powerful and poignant scenes, capturing the Jewish workers’ daily struggles, fears, and acts of heroism under Schindler’s protection.

Understandably, “Schindler’s List” spans over three hours to comprehensively portray its devastating story, intricate character development, and thorough examination of the historical events of the Holocaust. Extended runtime is an advantage for those who appreciate immersive storytelling and thoughtful exploration of history.

4. Magnolia (1999)

10 Thrilling 3-hour-long Movies Like Oppenheimer That Are Worth Watching - Magnolia (1999)

Magnolia” is a remarkable and intricately woven drama celebrated for its ambitious and innovative storytelling, making it a unique and artistically valuable film. Set in the San Fernando Valley, the movie follows the lives of various characters, each grappling with personal demons and challenges. As the narrative unfolds, their individual stories converge and intertwine over the course of a momentous day. This ambitious film’s duration delves deeply into themes of forgiveness, regret, coincidence, and life’s unpredictable nature. The extended runtime provides ample room for a thorough exploration of these themes, enriching the movie with intellectual and emotional depth.

For those who relish immersive storytelling, in-depth character study, and ambitious filmmaking, the longer runtime of “Magnolia” proves to be a significant asset, elevating its impact and resonance. The gradual buildup of emotional moments culminates in a profound and cathartic experience for the audience. As the film embraces its extensive runtime, it masterfully captures the complexities of human existence.

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5. The Godfather Part 2 (1979)

The Godfather Part II - 1974

The Godfather Part II” stands out as an exceptional sequel, surpassing its iconic predecessor. Expanding on the underworld of the Corleone family, the film delves deep into its characters, exploring the family’s history and dynamics. This cinematic masterpiece received widespread critical acclaim and earned six Academy Awards, testifying to its brilliance and quality.

Functioning as both a prequel and a sequel, the film artfully follows two parallel storylines. One traces Michael Corleone’s ascent as the new Don of the Corleone crime family, while the other reveals his father’s early life, Vito Corleone, and his rise to become a renowned cartel leader. The intricate narrative captivates viewers, leaving them engrossed and unaware of the passage of its 200-minute runtime. Director Francis Ford Coppola skilfully balances dual narratives, maintaining a consistent tone and atmosphere, displaying his artistic vision and filmmaking expertise. “The Godfather Part II” is a rare gem that continues to enthrall audiences, cementing its place in cinematic history.

Read More: List of 100 Best Movies by Japanese Filmmaker Akira Kurosawa

6. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King

Directed by Peter Jackson and serving as the third and final installment of the epic fantasy Return of the King, it picks up where “The Two Towers” left off. It follows the perilous journey of Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and his loyal friend Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) to Mount Doom in Mordor to destroy the One Ring, the source of the dark lord Sauron’s power. Much like the monumental success of Titanic six years before, this film garnered critical acclaim and achieved tremendous box-office success, ultimately securing 11 Academy Awards.

It solidified itself as one of the most outstanding cinematic achievements in the fantasy genre. The extended runtime of “The Return of the King” may require a significant time commitment from viewers. Still, many fans and critics consider it an essential aspect of this exciting, adventurous film. It allows for a more comprehensive and immersive experience, elevating the film from a mere blockbuster to an epic and emotionally resonant cinematic achievement.

7. Ben-Hur (1959)

10 Thrilling 3-hour-long Movies Like Oppenheimer That Are Worth Watching - Ben-Hur (1959)

Ben-Hur is a timeless epic historical drama that won 11 Academy Awards for its grand scale, impressive chariot race sequence, and powerful performances, particularly Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Judah Ben-Hur. It is based on the 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ” by Lew Wallace, and follows the journey of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince who seeks vengeance against his childhood friend turned Roman adversary.

 Despite its 212-minute run time, which may challenge some viewers, “Ben-Hur” remains a classic and enduring film, revered for its impressive scale, compelling story, and breathtaking visuals. With a longer runtime, the film has the opportunity to develop its characters more deeply, allowing viewers to become more emotionally invested in their journeys and experiences. To this day, “Ben-Hur” continues to be regarded as one of the most epic films in history, with an ageless appeal that never wanes.

8. The Right Stuff (1983)

10 Thrilling 3-hour-long Movies Like Oppenheimer That Are Worth Watching - The Right Stuff (1983)

“The Right Stuff” is a compelling and inspirational portrayal of the pioneering era of space exploration, showcasing the early astronauts’ courage, determination, and resilience. Based on Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book of the same name, it chronicles the early years of the United States space program. For enthusiasts of historical dramas, space exploration, and compelling storytelling, “The Right Stuff” proves to be a must-watch.

With a runtime of 192 minutes, the movie delves into the astronauts’ personal lives, aspirations, and fears, revealing the human side of these legendary figures. Its epic scale and quality earned praise from critics, leading to several Academy Award nominations and four Oscar wins in categories such as Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and more. Overall, The Right Stuff is undeniably a well-crafted and compelling film that offers a deep look into the early beginnings of the U.S. Space Program. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best films of the 80s.

9. Titanic (1997)

Titanic (1997)

“Titanic” stands tall as one of the highest-grossing films of all time and remains one of the most memorable and heart-wrenching love stories.  The extended runtime allows for emotional moments as it follows the gradual development of Jack and Rose’s relationship, and the unfolding tragedy creates a more profound emotional impact. Being committed to historical accuracy, “Titanic” meticulously depicts the events surrounding the ill-fated ship’s sinking. The long-running time enables a thorough exploration of the disaster’s timeline, contributing to a more authentic portrayal of the momentous event.

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 With numerous Academy Awards, James Cameron‘s Titanic remains an adored and iconic film, thanks to its enthralling narrative, breathtaking visual effects, and the undeniable chemistry between its lead actors. Overall, Titanic is considered influential because it successfully combines an emotionally engaging love story with a historically significant event. Its spectacular visuals, captivating performances, and impactful themes have made it a beloved film that continues to touch the hearts of audiences worldwide.

10. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Directed by David Lean, this historical film is based on the life of T.E. Lawrence, a British officer who played a significant role during World War I in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire. As the film unfolds, it shows Lawrence becoming immersed in Arabian culture, becoming a pivotal figure in uniting the disparate Arab factions and leading them in guerrilla warfare against the Turk.

With a runtime exceeding three hours, the film has the luxury of delving into the intricate political, cultural, and military complexities of the Arabian Peninsula during the war. Despite its lengthy duration, “Lawrence of Arabia” captivates and mesmerizes its audience scene after scene, unfolding the compelling story of this brave British adventurer and soldier. The film’s stunning visuals, thrilling storyline, captivating music, and exceptional acting create a powerful and enthralling cinematic experience, drawing viewers in and keeping them entertained throughout.

Related to 3-hour-long movies: 10 Best Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar

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