Five Great Movie Epics

Scott Wallace
11th Jul 2016

Is your film appetite unable to be satisfied by films of a standard size? Particularly in winter, when getting comfy with a good movie is a perfect use of your downtime, movies of epic proportions are a great way to lose yourself for a few hours. Make sure you have plenty of snacks, and get as comfy as possible before you devour any of these five cinema feasts.

Seven Samurai (1954) - 200 minutes

The inspiration for Western remake The Magnificent Seven, as well as an enormous inspiration for filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, Akira Kurosawa's epic of feudal Japan might be the most exciting three hours a film could possibly offer. The plot is simple: a small village, besieged by bandits, decide that they have had enough, and hire a motley crew of seven samurai to help. It may sound cliche, but the relationships of camaraderie, honour, and pride among the seven men are complex and ever-changing. It is a film painted in broad strokes about courage and determination, but also a finely etched work of marvellous detail.

Seven Samurai is available to stream on Netflix, Stan., or Presto, and is available on DVD through Madman.

The Right Stuff (1983) - 193 minutes

The relatively unsung heroes of the space race are celebrated in this larger-than-life adaptation of Tom Wolfe's bestselling nonfiction book. An amazing ensemble cast, including Dennis Quaid, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Sam Shepard, Barbara Hershey and more bring to life the real men - as well as their brave, devoted wives forced to look death in the eye every day - who made enormous leaps for the American space program. With painstaking attention to detail, as well as an engrossingly poetic narrative flow, The Right Stuff is awe-inspiring, sad, funny, and at times even very beautiful.

The Right Stuff is available on DVD & Blu-Ray through Roadshow Pictures.

La Belle noiseuse (1991) - 240 minutes

French filmmaker Jaques Rivette's disregard for short running times is the stuff of legend, but every single moment of the enormous La Belle noiseuse feels entirely essential. It is a film about the slow, laborious artistic process of painter Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) as he is inspired to pick up a long abandoned work with the young Marianne (Emanuelle Béart) as his muse. The iconic Jane Birkin also appears as Frenhofer's wife Liz. On the surface it may seem turgid and glacially slow, but for anyone with an interest in art and creativity, La Belle noiseuse is a quietly intense revelation.

La Belle noiseuse is available to stream for free via SBS On Demand.

Magnolia (1999) - 188 minutes

Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) truly made his mark with this messy, uncompromising, and very beautiful film. Cycling between many different, interconnected stories throughout its length, Magnolia follows unusual paths of relation and reflection to tell its beguiling tale, taking place on a single day in the San Fernando Valley. The ensemble cast includes an Oscar-nominated performance from Tom Cruise, as well as Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Philip Baker Hall and many more.

Magnolia is available to stream on Presto, and is available on DVD through Reel DVD.

Che (2008) - 257 minutes

Technically two parts, but forming one gargantuan whole, acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh's retelling of the life of Che Guevara is gritty and raw. Benicio del Toro stars as the Argentine Marxist revolutionary, whose story is told in captivating detail in non-linear order in the film's first part, with the second part detailing Guevara's decisive actions in Bolivia. Che is possibly the most unflinching look available at the life of the controversial and often misunderstood revolutionary, whose image has become so ubiquitous even while the man himself has faded from popular memory. Che revives its subject with brutal and gripping efficiency.

Che is available to stream on Netflix, for free via SBS On Demand, and is available on DVD & Blu-Ray through Transmission Films.