Just when you thought blockbuster movies couldn’t possibly get any longer, the fine people at Universal Pictures announced the runtime for the next, long-delayed entry in the James Bond series. When it opens in October in the US, No Time to Die is set to keep movie-goers in their seats for a bladder-busting 2 hours and 43 minutes. Pretty epic for a spy caper.
No Bond movie has been short, mind you: Quantum of Solace, the briefest in the series’ history, runs 106 minutes; 2015’s Spectre is second-longest at 158 minutes. And Bond isn’t even an outlier among modern franchises: Avengers Endgame stretched to 182 minutes, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, 155 minutes. It seems everybody thinks they’re David Lean these days and that every action movie is Lawrence of Arabia.
Long movies are sometimes great, but length isn’t always (or even often) an arbiter of quality. Heck, some of the greatest films in history—across decades and a wide-swath of genres—tell their stories very effectively in 90 minutes or less. What follows are 26 of our favorites. Hang on. It’s about to get pithy up in here.