Prepare: Avengers Endgame is going to be three hours long

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More than three hours…. You read that right. The final installment in the Avenger trilogy will be over three hours long. That’s 182 minutes to be exact.

A friend of mine said the movie’s runtime was broken down as follows: Two hours and 50 minutes for story, 10 minutes for the credits and two minutes for the bonus scene. How he knew, I haven’t asked. But I will take his word for it.

Will there be an intermission for this movie, just like the old three-hour long films from the 1950’s and earlier movies? From all indications, there isn’t one. So be careful with the cold drinks when watching Avengers Endgame in the cinema.

But around 60 years or so ago, such long movies were more common. I was told that such three-hour long movies were the real blockbusters of Hollywood.

This list is based on what I’ve actually got to watch and what my friends recommended.  My list is partly based on what I remember watching starting from the 1970’s.

First in my personal list is the 1956 movie “Ten Commandments,” which starred Charlton Heston as Moses. It was a movie depicting the biblical Moses, the escape of the Israelites from Egypt, their harrowing escape via the parting of the Red Sea, and of course, the handing down of the Ten Commandments. This was 220 minutes long and had an intermission for the audience to answer the call of nature.

I saw this movie several times as a kid several times. Now why would a kid watch such a movie more than once? Easy answer. Back in the 1970’s, it was an annual ritual for movie theaters to show biblical themed movies during Holy Week. It was one way for cinema owners to earn money while ostensibly observing Lent. It was an annual thing that my family did every Holy Week. That annual showing of bible-based movies in the local theaters ended, I think, in the early or mid-80’s.

The next one of my list is “Ben Hur,” again starring Charton Heston. This was released in 1959 and had a runtime of 212 minutes. This movie also became a Lenten staple in the local theaters in the 1970’s.

The one thing that stood out for me in this movie was the chariot race. This was done using real horses, chariots and people and as such, very exciting to watch. This was old-school movie magic.

Third on my list would be the movie “Spartacus”, which was released in 1960. This movie, which starred Kirk Douglas as the rebellious gladiator Spartacus, had a runtime of 197 minutes. I first saw this movie with my Dad when he brought home a video tape of the movie. I remember it was on a Betamax format. Yes. There’s a pattern here. Dad liked Charlton Heston and Kirk Douglas movies and he brought me along to watch those films with him.

The fourth on my personal list was the classic “Gone with the Wind.” Filmed in 1939, this movie which was based on a part of the American Civil War had a runtime of 238 minutes. Again, I first saw this movie on a Betamax tape in the late 1970’s with my Dad.

Again, this was another one I watched with my Dad. This was “Lawrence of Arabia” and starred Peter O’Toole as the historical figure Lawrence of Arabia. Released in 1962, this movie had a runtime of 216 minutes. This was one of the Betamax movies that my Dad brought home from Greenhills in the late 1970s. I was so intrigued by this movie that years later, I bought a biography of Lawrence of Arabia.

Now, here was the first three-hour long movie that I watched on my own in the cinema. This was the movie “Gandhi”, which was based on the real-life story of India’s Mahatma Gandhi. Released in 1982, the film had Ben Kingsley as Gandhi. This movie had a runtime of 191 minutes. And I don’t remember this having an intermission, like the older three-hour long movies.

The next three-hour long movie I remember seeing was “The Right Stuff”, which was in 1983. I saw this on our family’s Betamax machine and the film consisted of about three video tapes. It had an ensemble cast with Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris and Dennis Quaid. But the stand out, for me, in this film was Ed Harris who played the role of John Glenn. A close second was Sam Shephard for his portrayal of Chuck Yeager, the pilot who broke the sound barrier and made space flight possible. Yeager, unfortunately, was not among those chosen by NASA to be the first astronauts.

After that, I saw the movie “Titanic” in the cinema in 1997. It was a grueling film for me to watch at 194 minutes long. I went to the movie theater thinking “Titanic” was a disaster movie. It was actually a romantic film. I didn’t know that tiny bit at that time. The real Titanic took about 160 minutes to sink after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage to New York City.

The next movie is one that I personally like. In fact, I’ve seen both its theatrical and extended versions more than a dozen times. And the last time I accessed this movie was when I was stuck in a horrendous traffic jam.  And my friends and I got to finish the entire movie.

This movie was third film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, namely “The Return of the King.” First released in 2003, it had a runtime of 201 minutes. The extended version was about 230 minutes. So the next time you’re in near grid lock traffic, I recommend this movie.

Now, a friend told me that I should include this movie on my list. This one’s an exception because I haven’t seen this film in its entirety. I’ve only been able to see bits and pieces of it over the years and I have never really went out of my way to watch the full movie of The Godfather II. It was the second installment about what happened to a Mafia family who originally hailed from Sicily, I think. Sharing top billing in this movie were Al Pacino, Robert de Niro and Robert Duvall. This movie was released in 1974 and was 202 minutes long.

And that rounds up my personal top ten list of three-hour long movies. If “Avengers Endgame” is as good as I expect, then I will have to put it in my top ten list. And that means I have to say goodbye to “Godfather II”.



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