The 12 Best Long Takes In Film History!

By Yash Thakur. Posted on October 24, 2015

Like the description under the video states: "There's no greater statement of a director's prowess than a long shot in a single take." Long takes have been the testing ground for a director's vision and capability to hold onto a scene, as well as hold the audiences' attention. In early days, long shots were common, but today, with the advancement of technology and time, long takes are almost redundant. With fast cuts, one can experiment with the audiences emotions and heighten or lower the effects considerably.

But even in modern day cinema, directors still use long takes as a form of undisturbed communication. Paul Thomas Anderson, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Inarritu still use long takes to give viewers an immersive experience. Below are 10 best such shots, compiled by CineFix, a popular film channel on YouTube.

The Protector (Dir: Prachya Pinkaew)

Scene- Restaurant Fight Scene

Synopsis: A young fighter named Kham must go to Australia to retrieve his stolen elephant. With the help of a Thai-born Australian detective, Kham must take on all comers, including a gang led by an evil woman and her two deadly bodyguards.

Running time: 4 minutes

The Mirror (Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky)

Scene- Burning Barn Scene

Synopsis: A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation.

Running time: Roughly 1 minute

Atonement (Dir: Joe Wright)

Scene- The Beach Sequence

Synopsis: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. Based on the British romance novel by Ian McEwan.

Running Time: 5 1/2 minutes

Weekend (Dir: Jean-Luc Godard)

Scene- Traffic Jam Scene

Synopsis: A supposedly idyllic weekend trip to the countryside turns into a never-ending nightmare of traffic jams, revolution, cannibalism and murder as French bourgeois society starts to collapse under the weight of its own consumer preoccupations

Running time: 7 Minutes

Hard Boiled (Dir: John Woo)

Scene- Hospital Shootout

Synopsis: A tough-as-nails cop teams up with an undercover agent to shut down a sinister mobster and his crew.

Running Time: 2 minutes, 40 seconds

The Player (Dir: Robert Altman)

Scene- Opening Shot

Synopsis: A Hollywood studio executive is being sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected - but which one?

Running Time: 7 minutes, 47 seconds

Touch of Evil (Dir: Orson Welles)

Scene- Bomb Sequence

Synopsis: A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Running Time: 3 1/2 minutes

Boogie Nights (Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson)

Scene- Little Bill Sequence

Synopsis: The story of a young man's adventures in the Californian pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Running Time: 3 minutes

Gravity (Dir: Alfonso Cuaron)

Scene- Opening Shot

Synopsis: A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after a catastrophe destroys their shuttle and leaves them adrift in orbit.

Running Time: 12 1/2 minutes

Goodfellas (Dir: Martin Scorsese)

Scene- Copacabana Lounge

Synopsis: Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy.

Running Time: 3 minutes, 13 seconds

Snake Eyes (Dir: Brain De Palma)

Scene- Boxing Match

Synopsis: A shady police detective finds himself in the middle of a murder conspiracy at an important boxing match in an Atlantic City casino.

Running Time: 12 minutes

Children of Men (Dir: Alfonso Cuaron)

Scene- Car Scene

Synopsis: In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.

Running Time: 4 minutes


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