List of films with the longest production time

This is a list of films shot over three or more years. This list does not include projects composed of series of films shot over an extended period, except where individual films within those projects meet this criteria.

The Other Side of the Wind holds the record for a film to be in production for the longest time; it was in production stage for 48 years (1970–2018).


Film Release year Number of years Notes
EarthBound, USA 2023 10 Documentary on the EarthBound fandom directed by Jazzy Benson.
Maidaan 2024 5 Principal photography commenced on 19 August 2019 and experienced long delays due to COVID-19 pandemic and Cyclone Nisarga ultimately ending in May 2022.[1][2] The film was scheduled to release in theatres on 3 June 2022 but was delayed due to impending post-production works. The film was set to be released on 23 June 2023 but was delayed again.[3][4]The film was released on 11 April 2024.[5]
5-25-77 2022 18 Shooting began in summer 2004. Numerous versions of the film have been screened over the years, including a rough cut at Star Wars Celebration IV. It officially premiered in 2017 followed by a limited theatrical release. The film with its final cut was released on November 22, 2022.
The Goat Life 2024 16 Based on the 2008 novel Aadujeevitham by Benyamin, the project was started by director Blessy in 2008 who also produced the film. Prithviraj Sukumaran was cast in the lead role. However, production was stalled due to financial constraints and the film languished in development hell untill 2015 when co-producers came on board. Shooting resumed in 2018 and concluded in 2022 over six schedules being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The film eventually released on 28 March 2024.[6]
Indian 2 2024 6 A sequel to director S. Shankar's 1996 film Indian,the story was conceived in 2015 and project announced in September 2017.[7][8] Principal photography commenced in February 2019 but was affected by various factors including an accident on the sets,the COVID-19 pandemic and the filming of Shankar's Game Changer and lead actor Kamal Haasan's Vikram.[9][10][11][12] Filming eventually resumed in August 2022 and concluded in January 2024.[13][14] The film eventually released on 12 July 2024.[15]
The Devil You Know 2013 8 The film was shot in 2005 and released in 2013.
A Letter to Momo 2011 7 Directed and written by Hiroyuki Okiura, this Japanese animated film started production in 2004, and was completed in 2011. It had a world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was released in Japan on April 21, 2012.
A Tree of Palme 2002 10 Directed and written by Takashi Nakamura, the film took seven years to plan out and was produced over three and a half years.[citation needed]
The Act of Killing 2012 8 Work on the film began in 2005.[16]
The Adventures of Chatran 1986 4 This Japanese directed by Masanori Hata and associate director Kon Ichikawa edited the film together from 74 hours of footage (400,000 ft or 120,000 m of film), shot over a period of four years. It was released on July 12, 1986, in Japan. The American version, retitled The Adventures of Milo and Otis, features a different soundtrack and cuts out 15 minutes from the original Japanese version.
Amra Ekta Cinema Banabo 2019 9 Principal photography began in January 2009. Filming was completed in 176 days in over 9 years.[17] Also notable for being the longest non-experimental film ever made.[18][19]
Anji 2004 7 Filming began in October 1997.
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.
Apocalypse Now 1979 3 Inspired by Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness and originally pitched from screenwriter John Milius as a war comedy, the film was made in pre-production in 1975 and then filmed in 1976, completed with an overbudget of $25 million. The film was originally scheduled for an April 7, 1977, release (on director Francis Ford Coppola's birthday), the film was released two years later in 1979 as a work in progress at the Cannes Film Festival, albeit with mixed reception. The film was later released months later on August 15, 1979.
Avatar: The Way of Water 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 concluded in 2020. It was one of the films affected by COVID-19.[20] By the time of its December 2022 release, it had been nearly 13 years since production began.[21][22]
Ayalaan 2024 7 Officially announced in 2016, and filming began in June 2018. The film was affected due to financial constraints with the production house and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before concluding in January 2021, and additional photography took place in November 2022.[23][24][25]
Bad Taste 1987 4 Shot primarily on weekends over the course of four years.[26]
BalikBayan #1: Memories of Overdevelopment, Redux VII 2023 45 Philippine National Artist Kidlat Tahimik began shooting in 1978, with the film being released unfinished in 2010, 2015 (Redux III) and 2017 (Redux VI); the final version of the film, subtitled Redux VII, was completed in April 2023.[27][28][29]
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.[30]
Bethune: The Making of a Hero 1990 5 An international coproduction that saw its budget rise to become the most expensive film in Canadian history.[31]
Blood Tea and Red String 2006 13 A stop-motion film. Director Christiane Cegavske worked primarily alone.[32]
The Boy and the Heron 2023 7 Hayao Miyazaki started working on the film in 2016 whilst working on the CG animated short film Boro the Caterpillar, and planned to have it released by 2019 in time for the Olympics. Due to a slow production, with Miyazaki's age being a factor, the film was pushed back. Despite the setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic, the film's production allowed more work to be done at a consistent rate. It was released on July 14, 2023.
Boyhood 2014 12 The long production schedule was intentional to show the natural aging of the actors in a story taking place over 12 years. 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.[33]
Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva 2022 7 Its pre-production was started in 2014, filming started in 2017 and ended and released in 2022.[34]
Chatô, o Rei do Brasil 2015 20 Filming began in 1995 for a 1997 release,[35] production was paused and then resumed in 1999 but was later cancelled again.[36][37] Production completed in 2015.[35]
Coffee and Cigarettes 2003 18 The first segment filmed in 1986, while the final six were completed in 2003.[38][39]
Coraline 2009 4 Completing the film involved more than 500 people over four years. Principal photography alone took 18 months. With Coraline, LAIKA has become the first company to do a feature-length movie using replacement faces printed on a 3D printer. There were a total of 207,336 possible face combinations for the character. This film marks the first time that a stop-motion animated morphing sequence has ever been accomplished. The sequence runs for 130 frames, or nearly six seconds.
Dangerous Men 2005 21 The film was in production from 1984 to 2005, despite screening of a finished cut in 1985.[40]
Dead Souls 2018 13 Filming began in 2005, with interviews being shot in a continuous period until 2008. Further filming was then suspended due to both Wang Bing becoming ill and then due to becoming committed to other projects. Production restarted in 2014 and continued until 2017. It is also one of the longest films ever made.[41]
Deewana Main Deewana 2013 10 This Bollywood film was filmed in 2003 but did not see release till 2013, due to various reasons, primarily that it did not find any distributors for theatrical release.[42]
Delgo 2008 6 The film started production in 2001. Two voice actors, Anne Bancroft and John Vernon, died during production.[citation needed]
Dhruva Natchathiram: Chapter One – Yuddha Kaandam 2024 11 Filming began in January 2017 went into production hell as the director Gautham Vasudev Menon suffered financial constraints, before completing the film in February 2023.[43]
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.[44][45]
Eraserhead 1977 6 Due to the minimal length of the script, director David Lynch struggled to finance his debut film.[46]
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.[47]
The Evil Within 2017 15 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.[48][49]
Evolution of a Filipino Family 2004 11 The pre-production was started in December 1993 in Jersey City, and began photography on 8 March 1994 in New Jersey. The Philippine shoot started in early 1997 in Gerona, Tarlac. The shooting ended in April 2003. But more scenes were added October–November 2004, and finally stopped 31 January 2005. It is also one of the longest films ever made.[50]
The Fall 2006 4 Shot in 24 countries.[51]
Fantastic Mr Fox 2009 4 A stop motion animation adaptation of Roald Dahl's book of the same name. Directed by Wes Anderson, the production of the film began in 2006.[52] Recording just 90 seconds of stop motion took one week to do.[53]
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.[54]
Foodfight! 2012 12 Announced in 2000 and scheduled for a theatrical release in 2003, the film suffered many production setbacks (including the theft of hard drives in 2002) and finally received a limited theatrical release in the United Kingdom in June 2012, followed by VOD and DVD releases in the United States in 2013.[55][56]
Gantz: O 2016 5 A CG animated film based on the Osaka arc from the original manga, this film started production in 2011, and was released on October 14, 2016.[57]
The Grand Bizarre 2018 5 Footage was collected in fifteen countries, including Turkey, Greece, Israel, Morocco and Indonesia.[58][59]
Hard to Be a God 2013 12 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.[60][61]
Harlock: Space Pirate 2013 5 Adapted from the manga Space Pirate Captain Harlock by Leiji Matsumoto, and directed by Shinji Aramaki, the film started production in August 2008. The CG-animated film was produced by Toei Animation and Marza Animation Planet on a budget of ¥3 billion ($30 million). The film had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2013, and a release in Japan followed shortly afterwards on September 7.
Hell's Angels 1930 3 A 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".[62]
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.[63]
Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam 2002 6 It took six years to make, with long sabbaticals between shoots due to production problems.[64]
Inside Out 2015 5 Development lasted for five and a half years,[65][66] with three of its duration for the production.[67]
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.[68]
Jet Pilot 1957 8 A Howard Hughes' fighting plane film which was shot between 1949 and 1951.[citation needed]
Junk Head 2017 7 This Japanese stop motion film, which started life as a short, spent seven years in production. It was directed by Takahide Hori, who also sculpted the models, designed the sets, composed the score, wrote the screenplay and provided voice work. The completed film debuted at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Canada on July 23, 2017. After a few film festival tours, Hori re-cut the film and it was given a wide release on March 26, 2021, in Japan.
Khrustalyov, My Car! 1998 7 Production lasted for seven years due to difficulties in financial backing.[69]
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.
Kill It and Leave This Town 2020 14 The film took fourteen years to animate. Wilczyński had originally intended Kill It and Leave This Town to be a short film, however eventually ended up deciding to make it his feature debut.
The King and the Mockingbird (Le Roi et l'Oiseau) 1980 33 Regarded today as a masterpiece of French animation,[70] Le Roi et l'Oiseau begun production in 1948 as La Bergère et le Ramoneur. However, the film suddenly stopped production and was released unfinished by its producer in 1952 without the approval of director Paul Grimault or screenwriter Jacques Prévert. In 1967, Grimault obtained the rights to the film and spent the next decade raising financing to complete the film as originally intended, finally releasing it in 1980.
Koyaanisqatsi 1982 7 The first part in the Qatsi trilogy directed by Godfrey Reggio. Production began in 1975 and ended in 1982.[71]
Legend of Destruction 2021 8 An Israeli animated film where three and a half years were spent with concept development, initial sketches and storyboarding, followed by four and a half years of producing the illustrations.[72]
Mad God 2021 30 A stop-motion animated film by Phil Tippett, production was shelved for 20 years before resuming in 2013.
Marketa Lazarová 1967 7 Works started in 1960 and finished in 1967.[73]
Marwencol 2010 4 A documentary film initially planned to be shot over a single weekend, the director ultimately took four years to complete it.[74]
Meri Biwi Ka Jawab Nahin 2004 10 Work on the film began in 1994. Meri Biwi Ka Jawaab Nahin (transl. My wife is incredible) 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.
Merrily We Roll Along TBD 5 Having previously directed Boyhood, Richard Linklater decided to shoot this film on again off again for a span of 20 years. Filming began in 2019 and is expected to be finished around 2039.[75]
Meru 2015 3 The first portion took place in 2008, while the final portion was shot in 2011.[76]
Metropolis 2001 5 Adapted from Osamu Tezuka's 1949 manga, this Japanese animated film produced by Madhouse on a budget of ¥1.5 billion ($15 million) took five years to create. It used traditional cel animation combined with then cutting-edge CG visuals. It was released on May 26, 2001.
Microcosmos 1996 3 Nature documentary that took 15 years of research, 2 years of equipment design and 3 years of shooting.[77]
Movie 43 2013 4 Filming spanned four years in order to work around the ensemble cast members' schedules.[78]
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.[79]
New York Ninja 2021 37 Shot in 1984, left unfinished until Vinegar Syndrome stepped in to release it in 2021.
Nimona 2023 8 Based on the graphic novel by ND Stevenson, the film originally started out production at Blue Sky Studios and was initially planned to release in 2020. After various delays, the film was cancelled by Disney (due to the closure of Blue sky), then revived due to an acquisition by Netflix. It was released on June 30, 2023.
On the Silver Globe 1988 12 After production was shut down by the Polish cultural authorities in 1977, the film's director, Andrzej Żuławski, returned to Poland in 1988 and smuggled out 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.[80] Welles also produced Filming Othello, a documentary about the making from 1974 to 1978.[81]
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.[82]
The Overcoat TBD 43 An adaptation of the short story written by Nikolai Gogol, directed by Yuri Norstein. Began production in 1981. Still in production as of 2024.
Pakeezah 1972 16 Filming began in 1956 and continued until 1964 when lead actress Meena Kumari separated from the director, Kamal Amrohi, her husband. The film was put on hold for five years until fellow actors Nargis and Sunil Dutt convinced Kumari to finish it in 1969.[83]
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.[84]
Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama 1993 9 A co-production between Japan and India and based on Hindu mythology, the film started production in 1984. It was completed in 1992, and utilised over 100,000 hand-painted cels. It was released in 1993.
Redline 2009 7 Animated over seven years using 100,000 hand-made drawings.[85]
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.[86]
RRR 2022 4 Directed by SS Rajamouli, Its pre-production was started in 2018 by announcing cast, it was released in 2022
Samsara 2011 4 Filmed on location in 25 countries.[87]
Salaar 2023 3 Filming started on 2020 and concluded on 2023. The film was released on December 22, 2023.
Shoah 1985 11 The first six years were devoted to recording interviews conducted in 14 countries.[88]
Sholay 1973 3 Most part of this film was shot outdoor in hills, remote area near Ramanagara, India with large starcast including Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan[89]
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.
The Simpsons Movie 2007 9 The movie was officially green-lit in 1997, and production on the film officially ended in May 2007.
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]
Songs from the Second Floor 2000 4 Shot over four years in Sweden.[90]
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 in 2010 due to the death of Yoshinobu Nishizaki.
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 Story of The Tortoise & the Hare 2002 50 Ray Harryhausen began making the film in 1952, but abandoned it soon after, with only about 4 minutes of film completed. Around 50 years later, Seamus Walsh and Mark Caballero asked Harryhausen if they could finish it with him.
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 Story of Film: An Odyssey 2011 5 Shot over a period of five years around the world.[91]
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.[92]
The Thief and the Cobbler 1993 29 Work began in 1964 and was released in an unfinished state in 1993.[93]
Tiefland 1954 20 Script work began in 1934, shooting lasted from 1940 to 1944, and the film was finally shown in 1954.[94]
Toy Story 1995 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.[95]
Train Station 2017 5 Filmed in 25 countries, 40 filmmakers collaboratively wrote and shot over a period of five years.[96]
Tumbbad 2018 7 This Indian Hindi film was filmed in 2012 and then re filmed again, post production work run for 2.5 years.[97]
Twenty Years Later 1984 20 Work began in 1964 and was finished in 1984.[citation needed]
Uncle Meat 1987 19 Conceived in 1968 by Frank Zappa, fleshed out in 1970, finished in 1982, and released direct-to-video in 1987.
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.[98]
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.[99]
Winged Migration 2001 3 The documentary was shot over the course of three years focusing on hundreds of bird species.[100]
Wonderwell 2023 7 The feature debut of Vlad Marsavin, the film was shot in 2016, and is Carrie Fisher's final performance. Due to Fisher's death in December 2016, six weeks before the shoot was scheduled to finish, post-production took an additional six years, with it being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The completed film is finally releasing in June 2023.
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.[101]
Why Is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow? 1994 13 Kidlat Tahimik began filming in 1981.[102]
Youth (Spring) 2023 9 Wang Bing shot the film between 2014 and 2019, followed by a four-year post production process.[103]
Udhaya 2004 5 Filming began in November 1998 and eventually completed in 2001 with prolonged delays.[104][105] The film eventually released on 26 March 2004,a month before lead actor Vijay's Ghilli.[106]
Zack Snyder's Justice League 2021 5 The principal photography for the movie began in October 2016.[107] After director Zack Snyder faced a family tragedy and creative differences between him and the studio, he left the project.[108][109] Following his departure, some of the footage, albeit heavily modified in post-production, had been used alongside newly shot scenes from a drastically different script in the 2017 movie Justice League.[110] Following a multi-year fan campaign for the release of the original film,[111] the movie was completed according to original plans and released to the public in March 2021.[112]
Vishwaroopam II 2018 5 The sequel to the 2013 film Vishwaroopam, shooting commenced in June 2013 and was stuck in production hell due to the financial problems of producer Venu Ravichandran.[113][114]Principal photography resumed in October 2016 after lead actor Kamal Haasan took over the production and eventually completed in November 2017.[115][116]The film released on 10 August 2018.[117]
Indian 3 2025 8 The sequel to S. Shankar's Indian and Indian 2,it is scheduled to release in January 2025.[118]
Game Changer 2025 4 The film was announced in February 2021 with Ram Charan in the lead and S.Shankar as the director in his debut Telugu directorial.[119] Principal photography commenced in October 2021 with a proposed completion in December 2022.[120][121] However, production was stalled due to Shankar resuming his other long pending project Indian 2 and working simultaneously on both films.[122] The principal photography was eventually completed with the final schedule in July 2024.[123]
Andhagan 2024 5 The Tamil remake of the Hindi film Andhadhun, the film is scheduled to release on 15 August 2024 after being in development hell since 2019.[124][125]

See also



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