10 Movies That Took Extremely Long Time To Make

5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater) – 12 Years


The coming of age story is a constantly reoccurring theme in cinema; therefore, if the movie is to sell, directors face the challenge of finding the unique ingredient that will make sure their film will stand out among the rest of the same genre. Linklater’s magical element was prolonging the making of the film to 12 years in order to realistically capture the growth and development of his protagonists by using the same actors at the different stages of their lives.

While in many cases the extended time period of creating the movie is quite unpredictable, Boyhood is one of the alternative cases where the director extended the time with specific intention – that is to capture Mason’s growth in the time span of school all the way from 1st grade to graduation.

The story itself is quite simplistic, following the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from childhood to adulthood capturing all the elements in between: family, school, first love and everything else a growing individual is plunged through.

The simplicity of the story is in fact what makes it so relatable and close to the heart. Watching not only the fictional characters grow up but the actors themselves, particularly Mason and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) definitely adds an emotive component to the film, forcing the audience to really solidify the bond.


4. The Manson Family (Jim Van Bebber) – 15 Years

The Manson Family (2003)

What is more unusual and shocking than the fact that The Manson Family took 15 years to come to the big screen since the beginning of its production time is the fact that nobody had tried to create a movie out of the notorious serial killer family before this.

Unlike many people of the sixties who lived in the hippie proverbs of love and peace, the Mansons took quite a different turn of mentality going out on a wild and brutal killing spree, the murders of which even got to the celebrity culture, after the murder of Roman Polanski’s wife.

Despite the easily selling story, Bebber initially tried to finance the movie himself – but when filming began, he realised that the funds were not even close to sufficient. Even the generous help of people in the industry, such as the music composition for the move didn’t help to move the production along. It was only until the film got picked up by Dark Sky Films that Bebber was able to get The Manson Family back into motion.


3. Tiefland (Leni Riefenstahl) – 20 Years

Riefenstahl began her work on Tiefland in 1934 and was faced with the biggest interruptions caused by the second world war. At first she stopped the process of her own accord in order to assist on the Nazi propaganda which proved to be a success, as her friendly relationship with Hitler allowed her to open her own film production company which was of great help for the movie.

Once her propaganda work subsided, Riefenstahl continued with her movie despite the location difficulties due to the continuation of the war. As the war came to an end, so did the production of Tiefland – and yet the release did not occur until 1954 since immediately after the war the film was taken away by the French, only to be returned years later with lost footage reels.

Set in Spain, the plot follows the story of a dancer, Martha (Leni Riefenstahl) who became the mistress of a rich landowner, Don Sebastian (Bernhard Minetti). But once Martha encounters Sebastian’s true arrogant and unkind nature she tries to escape whereupon she meets the peasant farmer, Pedro (Franz Eichberger) before she is taken back to her evil lover who is now on the verge of bankruptcy.

In order to save his money he decides to marry a rich young woman while keeping Martha on the side by forcing her into marrying someone whom he can easily take advantage of. Despite the 20 year wait, Tiefland was very unpopular with the critics, but it did serve as an important artefact in the display of the culture and context of Nazi Germany.


2. When We Were Kings (Leon Gast) – 22 Years

When We Were Kings (1996)

One of the most acclaimed documentaries about the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” championship of heavyweight fighters Muhammad Ali and George Foreman actually took 22 years to be completed and shows to the public. The wait was surely worth it as the documentary was received with the most positive words, and it even received the Oscar award of 1996 for the Best Documentary Feature, years after the fight of 74.

The reason for such a huge delay, surprisingly was the lack of funding that despite the big and mighty theme was very difficult to obtain. On top of that it took Gast and his team forever to complete the editing, rightly enough, considering they had over 250 hours of footage that was to be cut and stitched.

The documentary successfully captures the preparations and the fight itself, bringing back the intensity of the famous sportsmen two decades after the historical event occurred.


1. Silence (Martin Scorsese) – 28 Years

For 28 years Martin Scorsese was trying and attempting to bring together all of his artistic courage to finally create the movie adaptation to the Japanese novel of the same name, Silence, and finally in 2016 the much awaited passion project was finished and released to the public.

Not being a stranger to religious themes, Scorsese felt extremely close to the story set in 17the century Japan, of two Jesuit missionaries from Portugal, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver who embark on a journey in search of their mislead mentor (Liam Neeson) for whose faith they are in fear of.

After first receiving the rights to create the movie, Scorsese along with Jay Cocks to create the screenplay, Scorsese seemed to face somewhat of a creative block in regards to this piece, forcing them to continue working and breaking it down for two whole decades.

What followed next was a rampage of law suits, first from an Italian production company due to their disagreement at Scorsese taking on The Wold of Wall Street, and then from the novelist himself opening up a dispute for the rights of the novel. When all of that was finally settled in 2011, and the budget was confirmed, Scorsese finally got his mission into focus and head off to the burning heat of Taiwan with his cast and crew to set his masterpiece into action.

Author Bio: Polina is an aesthete and cinephile, devoted to using the arts to revive “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” in hopes of loosening up the world by defying the unnecessary social restrictions. When taking time off her edgy crusade she can be found soaking in a bubble bath with a Dostoevsky novel.