Is there any time limits for the running time of the movies in hollywood?

Unlike Bollywood and Kollywood , Hollywood movies run for only 1.30 to 2 hours.

But in case of Bollywood and Kollywood, movies run minimum 2.30 hours.

  • 4
    There are so many Hollywood movies which are more then 2 hrs long like Avatar.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Oct 26, 2012 at 9:59
  • 6
    Longer running times mean less showings per day in movie theaters. This means less money per day. So naturally studios try to cut the running time for a theatrical release. Once it's out on DVD a longer version (e.g. Director's Cut, Extended Cut) isn't a problem anymore.
    – Oliver_C
    Oct 26, 2012 at 10:43
  • 2
    There is no set limit AFAIK, BUT around 2:00hr is generally considered the maximum (with exceptions of course), as that allows for two evening shows. If the movie was 2:30 that makes having two evening shows difficult, taking into account that most people usually work until 5:00PM. Oct 27, 2012 at 3:42
  • 1
    Also, IMO, films in the US are generally watched in a single sitting unlike films in India which always have a break / Interval sometime during the middle. This could also determine the acceptable length of films in either countries.
    – saurabhj
    Oct 30, 2012 at 5:39
  • 1
    "Hollywood movies run for only 1.30 to 2 hours." Not true. There is no actual time limit to movies, the Lord of the Rings movies were more than 3 hours, as well as The Ten Commandments, and many other films.
    – Peachy
    Nov 10, 2012 at 10:01

3 Answers 3


Question: Is there any time limits for the running time of the movies in Hollywood?

Fact 1. Let us categorized first what Hollywood movies are. Hollywood is a district in Los Angeles, California. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word Hollywood is often used as a metonym of American cinema. Therefore, when we say Hollywood, that would mean the United States cinema or movies produced in the United States.

Fact 2. Then there is also the case of what could be considered a film/movie. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Film Institute, and British Film Institute, a feature film runs for 40 minutes or longer, while the Screen Actors Guild states that it is 80 minutes or longer.

Answer: Based on the above facts, I would say there maybe a minimum running time requirement for feature films/movies but there is no maximum running time limit for Hollywood films.

But this standard minimum running time is not adhered by film makers, thus there are Hollywood films that are as short as 4 seconds and as long as 87 hours.

Therefore, one could also say that there is no running time limit.

To prove my point, here is a list of popular shortest and longest American films:

Longest running time:

  • Cleopatra (1963) - 242 mins
  • Once Upon a Time in America (1984) - 229 mins
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - 222 mins
  • Gone With the Wind (1939) - 221 mins
  • Heaven’s Gate (1980) - 220 mins
  • The Ten Commandments (1956) - 220 mins
  • Ben-Hur (1959) - 212 mins
  • Dr. Zhivago (1965) - 203 mins
  • Apocalypse Now Redux (1979) - 202 mins
  • Malcolm X (1992) - 202 mins
  • Giant (1956) - 201 mins
  • The Godfather Part II (1974) - 200 mins
  • Schindler’s List (1993) - 195 mins

Note: The Cure for Insomnia, directed by John Henry Timmis IV, was officially the world's longest movie, according to Guinness World Records with 5220 minutes (87 hours).

Greed, a silent film directed by Erich von Stroheim is one of the longest American film ever made with 462 minutes (almost 8 hours) running time.

Shortest running time:


Although there seems to be a a good length defined for Hollywood movies, Bollywood produced 2.30 hours length movies. There are a number of reasons for that:

1)Bollywood movies are long because they do have singing and dancing, but it also gives the masses a chance to get out of the heat of India and into some air conditioning. The singing/dancing added to the story simply makes the movie a more rounded entertainment experience for the average movie goer.

Movie tickets in India are cheaper than in the U.S. Yet the population is poorer, so they want good value...paisa vasool(make the most of the money)...for their money.

2) While Bollywood films have singing and dancing, classifying them as "musicals" isn't totally correct. Hollywood musicals have the actors breaking into song in the middle of a scene. In Bollywood, the song sequences are generally stand alone, meaning a lot of times, they are nearly like music videos (and they are marketed like this to help promote the movies). Sometimes, the songs are used to push the storyline along with various scenes of the actors doing something. In this way, it actually shortens the film by pushing the plot along without excessive dialog. Bollywood movie soundtracks can be as important to the marketing of the film as the movie themselves.

3) Another difference is that religion can play an important role in Bollywood movies. While not every one features something about religion, it is important to note that religion is an important aspect of Indian culture, so you will find more religious tones or ideas in Bollywood films than you will in Hollywood. So it goes without saying that nudity or overt sexual scenes are not prevalent in Bollywood films. Beautiful women in swimsuits? Sometimes. Steamy sex scenes (sometimes not even kissing) are a no-no. Many times, it depends upon the actor's feelings as to whether he/she will kiss in a movie. Some will, some won't. These are real facts in Bollywood movies.

However we are seeing changes:

Take a filmmaker like Karan Johar, who makes decidedly old fashioned Bollywood movies albeit in new clothes. Karan's last movie My Name is Khan clocked in at 145 minutes. Now take an upstart filmmaker like the brilliant Dibaker Bannerji. His last movie Love Sex aur Dhoka had a running time of just over 100 minutes. Imtiaz Ali's Love Aaj Kal? 122 minutes. Ayan Mukerji's Wake Up Sid? 138 minutes.

At the end I would like to add a picture to describe although Indian films are cheaper to produce, cheaper to promote or lengthy in time it is the business which has forced hollywood production house to come to India.



Wikipedia says

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute, all define a feature a film with a running time of 40 minutes or longer. The Centre de la Cinématographie in France defines it as a 35 mm film than 1,600 metres, which is exactly 58 minutes and 29 seconds sound films, and the Screen Actors Guild gives a minimum running of at least 80 Today, a feature film is usually 70 and 210 minutes[citation needed]; a film is between 60 and 120 minutes[citation needed]. An anthology film a fixed sequence short subjects with a common theme, combined a feature film.

But there is no clarification I found for Indian movies yet.

  • 1
    Yes , absolutely thats what i expected. There is a minimum and maximum time limits for hollywood movies. For indian movies also there maybe the Min and Max limits to be followed... Thanks Oct 26, 2012 at 10:13
  • @TrackRuler "Usually Between" does not mean there is a maximum running time... and it's also an un-cited piece of information, so it means nothing.
    – Catija
    Jul 10, 2015 at 14:09

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