• From left: Once Upon a Time in the West, The Last Emperor, Winter Sleep, Downfall, Reds (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Self-isolating? We've selected the best movies with generous running times, to sink your teeth into during the shut-in period.
SBS Movies

27 Mar 2020 - 11:47 AM  UPDATED 27 Mar 2020 - 11:47 AM

Housebound and looking for long-form cinematic storytelling to really immerse yourself in? Now's as good a time as any to prioritise those epic-length films whose runtimes might've previously been a deterrent. From Hollywood classics to landmarks of world cinema, SBS has a variety of full-course-meal movies for you to queue up...

Winter Sleep

Duration: 3hr 8min

In Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Palme D'or-winning chamber drama, Aydin (Haluk Bilginer), a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal (Melisa Sözen), with whom he has a stormy relationship, and his sister Necla (Demet Akbag), who is suffering from her recent divorce. As the snow begins to fall, the hotel turns into a shelter, but also an inescapable place that fuels their animosities. Ideal quarantine viewing. (Or maybe too close to home for some?)

★★★★ 1/2  Review from the 2014 Cannes Film Festival 


Duration: 3hr 7min

This is an ambitious 1981 biopic of American idealist/journalist John Reed (played by Warren Beatty, who also directed), who covered the 1917 Russian Revolution and married writer Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton). The story of the couple's on-off relationship is interwoven with the troubled and meticulously documented history of the period. The film won three Oscars - for direction, cinematography and best supporting actress (for Maureen Stapleton).

The Last Emperor 

Duration: 2hr 42min

Like Reds, another unlikely US box office hit (and Best Picture winner at the 1988 Oscars) during the Reagan years was Bernardo Bertolucci's dramatic history of Pu Yi (played brilliantly by John Lone as an adult), the last Emperor of China, from his lofty birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City, the object of worship by half a billion people; through his abdication, his decline and dissolute lifestyle; his exploitation by the invading Japanese, and finally to his obscure existence as just another peasant worker in the People's Republic.

The Big Blue 

Duration: 2hr 41min

The highest grossing French film of the 1980s, Luc Besson's cult fave follows Jacques (Jean-Marc Barr) and Enzo (Jean Reno) - a pair of friends who have been close since childhood, and who share a passion for the dangerous sport of free diving. In adulthood, however, their rivalry spurs them both on to deeper and deadlier dives.

Review and interview from The Movie Show 

Once Upon A Time In The West 

Duration: 2hr 39min

In Sergio Leone's epic 1968 Western, set against Ennio Morricone's legendary soundtrack, a mysterious stranger (played by Charles Bronson) with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow (Claudia Cardinale) from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad. This film is often regarded as the pinnacle achievement of the spaghetti western genre, alongside Leone's own The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966).

The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp

Duration: 2hr 36min

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1943 masterpiece details the experiences of a British officer, Clive Candy (Roger Livesey), through the trials and tribulations of his army career. "Every time I revisit The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp, it seems to have become more resonant, more moving, more profound," Martin Scorsese once said of the film.


Duration: 2hr 35min

An immersive art experience in which an intricate dot painting about Country is created by celebrated Pilbara artist, Allery Sandy. Like watching paint dry... in the best way possible.


Duration: 2hr 34 min

In 2016, Martin Scorsese finally realised his long-held dream to direct the religious epic Silence, an adaptation of the Shusaku Endo novel (which he read in 1989 while playing Vincent Van Gogh in Akira Kurosawa's film Dreams) about 17th century Jesuits (played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who risk their lives to bring Christianity to Japan. 

Martin Scorsese talks 'Silence' and says, "I couldn't make it as a Hollywood movie maker"

Paint Your Wagon 

Duration: 2hr 33 min

At the peak of California's Gold Rush Days, miners Ben (Lee Marvin) and Pardner (Clint Eastwood) share everything: the songs, the laughter, the gold... and their wife! Loosely based on the Broadway play, Paint Your Wagon sets a tale of California against a background of beautiful natural scenery, with some catchy songs by a familiar cast.

Joan Of Arc 

Duration: 2hr 33 min

Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Faye Dunaway and Dustin Hoffman star in Luc Besson's 1999 epic medieval war classic about the iconic French heroine and religious martyr of the 15th century. A 13-year-old Joan of Arc receives a vision that inspires her to rid France of its oppressors.

All Quiet On The Western Front 

Duration: 2hr 30 min

The 1978 version of the WWI anti-war novel (from German veteran Erich Maria Remarque) about the devastating story of a generation destroyed. A room full of German schoolboys are goaded by their schoolmaster to troop off to the 'glorious' war in 1914 and set off to become soldiers. Their disenchantment begins with brutal basic training and then, as they board the train to the Front, they see the crippled being rushed to hospital. It is their first glimpse of the grim-visaged reality of war.


Duration: 2hr 28 min

From WWI to WWII, with this depiction of Hitler's last days in Berlin from the perspective of his personal secretary Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara). It reveals the claustrophobic atmosphere in the bunker as well as the chaos reigning outside on the streets as Russian troops close in on the city. Bruno Ganz portrays Hitler as a half-crazed man trying to delude himself that victory is nigh. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005.


Duration: 2hr 28 min

The political and social changes that swept China during the 1980s are reflected in the lives of a troupe of musicians in this drama from acclaimed Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke (A Touch of Sin, Ash is Purest White). Set in Jia's native Fenyang in Shanxi Province, the film offers an epic history of China in radical cultural and economic transformation from Maoism to market capitalism.


Duration: 2hr 28 min

Based on actual events in 1838, Steven Spielberg's 1997 film tells the story of captured African slaves who took over their transport ship in a bloody revolt with the hopes of returning to their homeland. After the slaves are caught and imprisoned, their leader, Cinque (Djimon Hounsou), unable to understand the language or court system of America, tries to communicate his desire to return home to his defence lawyer, Roger Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey), and former slave Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman). The men plead for help with their groundbreaking court case from former president John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins).


Duration: 2hr 27 min

Cristina (Iulia Lumânarehave) and Tudor (Bogdan Dumitrache) have a happy family with their two children, Maria and Ilie. They are in their thirties and live an ordinary life in a nice apartment in a Romanian town, but one Sunday morning when Tudor takes his kids to the park, Maria disappears, and their lives abruptly change forever. Another great film from the Romanian New Wave, whose triumphs include 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days and The Death of Mr. Lazarescu.

The Square 

Duration: 2hr 27 min

Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is “The Square”, an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. From Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure), and winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, The Square is a merciless satire of modern art, hypocrisy and fragile male ego.

Sophie's Choice 

Duration: 2hr 44 min

Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her acclaimed performance as Sophie, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who lives in Brooklyn with her lover Nathan (Kevin Kline), a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo (Peter MacNicol), the movie's narrator, a young American writer new to New York City. But the happiness of Sophie and Nathan is endangered by her ghosts and his obsessions. Directed by Alan J. Pakula (All The President's Men, Klute).

Saint Laurent 

Duration: 2hr 24 min

Bertrand Bonello's (House Of Pleasures, Nocturama) lavish biopic stars Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent, spanning his early life from 1967 to 1976, when the famed fashion designer was at the peak of his career. Visually stunning and featuring an all-star supporting cast (Louis Garrel, Lea Seydoux, Brady Corbet, Helmut Berger, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Jérémie Renier), this lush portrait (not to be confused with 2014's Yves St Laurent, starring Pierre Niney) is as aesthetically minded as its subject.

The Baader Meinhof Complex 

Duration: 2hr 24 min

Director Uli Edel (Christiane F., Last Exit to Brooklyn) explores a dark period in German history with this drama detailing the story of the Red Army Faction, a left-wing terrorist organisation that became increasingly active in the late 1960s and '70s. Also known as the Baader-Meinhof Group, the faction was formed by the radicalised children of the Nazi generation with the intended goal of battling Western imperialism and the West German establishment. Nominated for the 2009 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Das Boot 

Duration: 2hr 23 min

The famed and feared German U-boat, the U-96, is patrolling the Atlantic during World War II when it encounters a convoy of enemy ships. Steeling themselves for battle, those aboard the submarine are surprised to find that it is nature rather than the enemy which poses the greater threat. Nominated for six Oscars, Das Boot is still regarded as one of the greatest war films ever made for its claustrophobic exploration of life on a U-boat. 

Watch the movie 


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