10 Classic Movies That Are Just As Long As ‘Justice League’
There are two possible reactions to this bombshell. The first, and most sensible, is a shrug, because it doesn’t matter how long a movie is so long as it gets the job done. Many of the best movies ever made are very short, many of the worst movies outstay their welcome. And we may eventually decide after we see Justice League that the movie was too short, or too long, but without enough information to make that judgment, all we’ve got right now is a number with no inherent meaning attached to it.
The other response, and the one that has been percolating around the internet all weekend, is to completely lose your mind. After all, Justice League has the shortest running time of any of the DC Extended Universe movies so far. These movies are supposed to give you a lot of bang for your buck, and this one is the crossover team-up we’ve all been waiting for. So surely we’ll want to see as much of it as possible, right?
Well, not necessarily because, again, what if Zack Snyder’s film (completed by Joss Whedon after Snyder suffered a family tragedy) doesn’t NEED to be more than two hours long? Isn’t it possible that the film is just good enough as is, and that more – sometimes, at any rate – is just more, and not inherently better?
Look, movies are pretty long nowadays. We pay a lot of money to see big epic blockbusters, so the idea of getting less time in the theater for the same amount of cash might seem – on the surface – like a rip-off. But a bigger ripoff would be to spend that money on a movie that’s too long and gets boring after a while and ultimately wastes your time. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay $15-20 to see a brilliant short movie than a movie that’s terrible and takes forever to finish.
Again, we just don’t know how good Justice League is going to be. Maybe it’ll be perfect. Maybe it’ll suck. Maybe we’ll wish it was longer, maybe we’ll say it was too long as it is.
But what I do know is that the running time of a movie is in no way indicative of its quality. Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca are shorter than Justice League, while Batman & Robin, Showgirls and The Lone Ranger are longer than Justice League. And a whole bunch of classic films, old and new, are EXACTLY as long as Justice League.
Let’s take a look at a handful of those, and calm ourselves the hell down. Okay?
Ten Classic Movies That Are Just As Long As Justice League:
If you think 121 minutes isn't enough time to make a great epic sci-fi/fantasy adventure film with lots of great characters, an iconic villain, and enough excitement and world-building to perpetuate a long-running franchise... well, you might not know Star Wars very well. The original running time was exactly 121 minutes.
The classic horror blockbuster The Exorcist won Academy Awards and still, to this day, is one of the highest grossing films in history (if you adjust for inflation), ran only 121 minutes long.
Photo: Warner Bros.
One of the most rich, character-driven, insightful and damning motion pictures of the 1970s was Network, and yes, it was exactly 121 minutes long. But hey, who knows what Sidney Lumet could have accomplished with 122 minutes!
Jane Campion's celebrated period piece The Piano earned three Academy Awards, for Best Actress (Holly Hunter), Best Supporting Actress (Anna Paquin) and Best Original Screenplay (Campion). And wouldn't you know it? It pulled that mighty feat off with a running time of exactly 121 minutes.
Photo: Miramax Films
One of the best football movies ever made is just 121 minutes long. The Longest Yard didn't need to be longer... did it?
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Don Cheadle earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for Hotel Rwanda, a harrowing drama about a hotel manager desperately trying to save refugees from the Rwandan genocide. And to think, it was one of the most emotional and powerful films of the new century despite only running 121 minutes.
Photo: United Artists / Lionsgate
Edgar Wright's ingenious Hot Fuzz is a brilliant buddy comedy, a smart cop movie, an unexpected murder mystery, and an action spectacular. And it managed to cram all of that into 121 minutes.
Photo: Rogue Pictures
John Frankenheimer's adrenaline-fueled, blisteringly sharp heist thriller Ronin has a great cast of characters and one of the best car chases in history, even though it runs only 121 minutes.
Ensemble superhero movies can be great in only 2 hours and 1 minute too. James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is 121 minutes long.
Photo: Marvel Studios
The movie that broke box office records, broke the mold, crossed all four quadrants, and proved once and for all that superhero movies were the biggest business around. Spider-Man helped changed the industry. And it did all that in only 121 minutes.
Photo: Sony Pictures
Top Photo: Warner Bros.
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on Canceled Too Soon and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.