List of films with longest production time

This is a list of films shot over three or more years. The list excludes projects comprising individual films not shot over a long period, such as the Up series, The Children of Golzow, or the Harry Potter series.

The Other Side of the Wind holds the record for a movie to be in production for the longest time. It was in production stage for 48 years. (1970-2018)

List of filmsEdit

Ellar Coltrane portrayed Boyhood's protagonist from ages six to eighteen.
Film Release year Number of years Notes
5-25-77 TBD 17 Shooting began in summer 2004. Numerous versions of the film have been screened over the years, included a rough cut at Star Wars Celebration IV. Director Patrick Read Johnson has stated several dates over the years for the films release. As of 2021 the film hasn't been released in any format.
The Act of Killing 2012 8 Work on the film began in 2005.[1]
Avatar 2 2022 12 This film was announced in 2010 after the release of Avatar with writing and visual effects prep work happening simultaneously for seven years. Filming began in 2017 and is expected to conclude in 2022. It was one of the films affected by COVID-19.[2] By the time of its intended December 2022 release, it will have been nearly 13 years since production began.[3][4]
Bad Taste 1987 4 Shot primarily on weekends over the course of four years.[5]
BalikBayan #1: Memories of Overdevelopment, Redux VI 2017 38 Kidlat Tahimik began shooting in 1979, with the film being released unfinished in 2010, 2015 (Redux III) and 2017; film production is still ongoing.[6]
Begotten 1989 4 An experimental film by director E. Elias Merhige, the director worked mainly alone and had to act as uncredited roles in the film.[7]
Blood Tea and Red String 2006 13 A stop-motion film. Director Christiane Cegavske worked primarily alone.[8]
Boyhood 2014 12 Filming took place once or twice a year, starting in summer 2002 and ending in October 2013. The cast and crew gathered to film scenes for three or four days annually.[9]
Anji 2004 7 Shooting of the film began on 10 October 1997. It is the first Telugu film to win the National Film Award for Best Special Effects at that time.
Anna: 6 - 18 1993 13 A documentary film by director Nikita Mikhalkov, which was shot during a period of thirteen years, from 1980 to 1993 depicting his eldest daughter, Anna.
Coffee and Cigarettes 2003 18 The first segment filmed in 1986, while the final six were completed in 2003.[10][11]
Dimension 2010 7 Filming took place in three-minute segments from 1991 to 1997. The original plan was to film once a year, from 1991 until 2024, but director Lars von Trier abandoned the project in the late 1990s. The finished footage was released on DVD in 2010.[12][13]
Dangerous Men 2005 21 The film was in production from 1984 to 2005, despite screening of a finished cut in 1985[14]
Delgo 2008 6 The film started production in 2001. Two voice actors, Anne Bancroft and John Vernon, died during production.[citation needed]
Eraserhead 1977 6 Due to the minimal length of the script, director David Lynch struggled to finance his debut film.[15]
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time 2021 9 First announced in 2012 alongside Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, it was initially slated for a 2013 release, then a 2015 release, then was put on hold because Hideaki Anno was working on Shin Godzilla. Although a 2020 release was planned, it was further delayed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was released on March 8, 2021.
Everyday 2012 5 Filming took place twice a year, once in summer and once in winter. The cast and crew gathered for a few weeks each time, whenever they had gaps in their schedules.[16]
The Evil Within 2017 13 Originally titled The Storyteller, filming began in 2002, with director Andrew Getty constantly starting and stopping the film's production. Getty died in 2015, two years before the film's release with only editing and color correction remaining, leaving editor Michael Luceri to finish the film on his own.[17][18]
The Fall 2006 4 Shot in 24 countries.[19]
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 2001 3 Production started in October 1997, and the film was released in July 2001. It was the first CG animated film with photorealistic humans.
Finding Nemo 2003 6 Development started in 1997, and the film was released in 2003.
Flexing with Monty 2010 16 Shooting started in 1994 and was finally completed in 2008 during which both the film's male lead (Trevor Goddard), and the original producer died.[20]
The Grand Bizarre 2018 5 Footage was collected in fifteen countries, including Turkey, Greece, Israel, Morocco and Indonesia.[21][22]
Koyaanisqatsi 1982 7 The first part in the Qatsi trilogy directed by Godfrey Reggio. Production began in 1975 and ended in 1982.[23]
Killer Bean Forever 2009 5 Killer Bean Forever is a CG-animated film that had a 5 year production period and was released in 2009. It was Jeff Lew's feature length directorial debut, who animated the film entirely by himself, and was also credited for producing, writing, editing, music and cinematography, along with voicing Jet Bean.
Hard to Be a God 2013 7 Filming took place on and off for a period of seven years, beginning in the autumn of 2000 and was followed by an additional six years of post-production.[24][25]
Hell's Angels 1930 3 Howard Hughes' fighting plane film, referenced in The Aviator. A long shooting schedule, made longer when Hughes decided to add sound at the advent of "talkies".[26]
Hoop Dreams 1994 5 Filming included over 250 hours of footage. Originally planned to be a 30-minute piece for PBS, Hoop Dreams developed into a 170-minute documentary that took three years to edit.[27]
Horizon Blue 2019 24 Hiroshi Harada started production on the film in 1995, and finished production in 2019. It had its world premiere at the Kanazawa Film Fest on September 23, 2019.
Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam 2002 6 It took six years to make, with huge sabbaticals between shoots due to production problems.[28]
Inside Out 2015 5 Development lasted for five and a half years, with three of its duration for the production.[29]
It Happened Here 1964 7 Filmed by Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo, who began work on the film as teenagers, with a cast that mostly consisted of amateur actors.[30]
Jet Pilot 1957 8 Howard Hughes' other fighting plane film which was shot between 1949 and 1951.[citation needed]
Khrustalyov, My Car! 1998 7 Production lasted for seven years due to difficulties in financial backing.[31]
Lake of Fire 2006 16 A documentary film. Director Tony Kaye filmed this documentary over a period of 16 years; he funded it by spending $6 million of his own money.[32]
Los resucitados 2017 23 Filming began in 1994 on both video and 8 mm. First rough cut was assembled in 1997, but lost shortly thereafter. It was later discovered, incomplete, with portions of audio missing. Final cut with a completely new dub was released to film festivals (including Sitges Film Festival) in 2017.[33][34]
Mad God 2021 30 A stop-motion animated film by Phil Tippett, production was shelved for 20 years before resuming in 2013.
Man in the Mirror 2008 38 Work began in 1970 and completed in 2008.[citation needed]
Marketa Lazarová 1967 7 Works started in 1960 and finished in 1967.[35]
Marwencol 2010 4 A documentary film initially planned to be shot over a single weekend, the director wound up taking four years to work on it.[36]
Meri Biwi Ka Jawab Nahin 2004 10 Work on the film began in 1994. Meri Biwi Ka Jawaab Nahin (transl. My Wife is Not The Answer) is a 2004 Indian film directed by Pankaj Parashar and produced by S. M. Iqbal. It stars Sridevi. The film was shot in 1994 and delayed for 10 years, finally releasing in 2004.
Meru 2015 3 The first portion took place in 2008, while the final portion was shot in 2011.[37]
Movie 43 2013 4 Filming spanned four years in order to work around the ensemble cast members' schedules.[38]
Mughal-e-Azam 1960 14 From its beginning in 1946 to its release in 1960, several crew members including the producer and cast were changed. The film was also abandoned briefly during the Partition of India.[39]
On the Silver Globe 1988 12 After production was shutdown by the Polish cultural authorities in 1977, the film's director, Andrzej Żuławski, returned to Poland in 1988 and smuggled the remnants of the film to the Cannes Film Festival where it was screened for the first time. The missing segments of the film were filled in with shots of modern-day Warsaw while Zulawski's voice-over explained which segments were missing.[citation needed]
On-Gaku: Our Sound 2019 7 Directed and mostly animated by Kenji Iwaisawa, who worked on the film for over seven years.
Othello 1951 3 An adaptation of the Shakespeare play directed by Orson Welles. The total production time stretched from 1948 to 1952.[40] Welles also produced Filming Othello, a documentary about the making from 1974 to 1978.[41]
The Other Side of the Wind 2018 48 Principal photography began in 1970 and concluded in 1976. After four decades of difficulties that interfered with the editorial and post-production processes, the film was finished earlier in 2018 and was released in November 2018.[42]
The Overcoat TBD 41 An adaptation of the short story written by Nikolai Gogol, directed by Yuri Norstein.
Pakeezah 1972 14 Filming began in 1958 and continued until 1964 when lead actress Meena Kumari separated from director Kamal Amrohi. The film was put on hold for five years until fellow actors Nargis and Sunil Dutt convinced Kumari to finish it in 1969.[43]
Perspective 2020 9 A Canadian feature film wherein each of its nine chapters was completed a year apart over a nine-year period. The first eight of the nine chapters were completed in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively, with the last chapter completed in 2020.[44]
Redline 2009 7 Animated over seven years using 100,000 hand-made drawings.[45]
Roar 1981 11 Directed by Noel Marshall, the film's production was constantly delayed after numerous accidents arose, such as a flood from a dam that burst three years into filming, which destroyed equipment and the ranch built for the film.[46]
Samsara 2011 4 Filmed on location in 25 different countries.[47]
Shoah 1985 11 The first six years were devoted to recording interviews conducted in 14 different countries.[48]
Shrek 2001 6 Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to adapt the book by William Steig in 1991, and the film project was put into active development in 1995.
Shōjo Tsubaki 1992 5 Work began in 1987 and was finished in 1992.[citation needed]
Sleeping Beauty 1959 7 Disney animated film; production spanned 1951 to 1958.[citation needed]
Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection 2009 25 First announced in 1984 for a 1987 release. After going through several different revisions, production made some steps in 1993, but got put on hold. Resurrection was finally released in 2009. It was intended to be the start of a new film series, which got cut short due to Yoshinobu Nishizaki dying in 2010.
Steamboy 2004 10 Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the film was in production for ten years and utilized more than 180,000 drawings and 440 CG cuts.
The Slow Business of Going 2000 5 Shot one scene at a time over a period of five years in hotel rooms and other locations in various countries. The script was constantly evolving and there was just one consistent cast member, with various other actors appearing in each scene.
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya 2013 8 Work began in 2005 with no deadlines. It was officially announced in 2008 and completed in 2013. This was Isao Takahata's final film, having died in 2018.[49]
Tellurian 2016 4 A film produced My Iron Star Films. Despite claims the film is nearly finished the expected release date is yet to be confirmed with insiders claiming this could be as late as 2026. Crowdfunded, a number of disgruntled investors are still to receive products that were promised to them on investment.
The Thief and the Cobbler 1993 29 Work began in 1964 and was finished in 1993.[50]
Tiefland 1954 20 Script work began in 1934, shooting lasted from 1940 to 1944, and the film was finally shown in 1954.[51]
Toy Story 1990 5 Development began in 1990 as a follow-up to the Pixar short film Tin Toy, tentatively titled A Tin Toy Christmas.
The Tragedy of Man 2011 23 The film went into production in 1988 but encountered difficulties as the production model for Hungarian cinema changed.[52]
Train Station 2017 5 Filmed in 25 countries, 40 filmmakers collaboratively wrote and shot over a period of five years.[53]
Twenty Years Later 1984 20 Work began in 1964 and was finished in 1984.[citation needed]
Voyage of Time 2016 13 Although the actual production for this documentary began in 2003, Terrence Malick has been filming footage since the 1970s and the film features scenes that were filmed in the 1970s, such as the scene featuring Aboriginal Australians.[54]
Where the Dead Go to Die 2011 3 Director, animator, writer and composer Jimmy ScreamerClauz would stop animating the adult animated horror film for months at a time, before starting again.[55]
Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East 1989 7 Bae Yong-kyun, a professor at Dongguk University in Seoul, spent seven years making this film with one camera and editing it by hand.[56]
Why Is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow? 1994 13 Kidlat Tahimik began filming in 1981.[57]


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