50 best epic movies ever – part one

Technicolor wonders with sweeping cinematography and casts of thousands – here are the greatest...

This week it's the summer solstice – aka the longest day of the year.

So what better time to bring you the first part of our rundown of the 50 best epic movies ever made – aka some of the longest films in existence? Without further ado, here (in no particular order) is part one of our list – check out part two here.

A Bridge Too Far (1977)

Not the biography of a bridge building addict but an account of Operation Market Garden, the failed attempt to secure German-held bridges in the occupied Netherlands during WW2. The film, however, was anything but a failure, packing in a plethora of stars including Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, Laurence Olivier, and Anthony Hopkins – all directed by Richard Attenborough himself. A great way to swot up on your history!

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The finale in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy trilogy redefined the word epic – and strained the bladders of cinema-goers with its succession of endings. This version realigns the timing of the novels based on appendix notes to include elements from The Two Towers; Sam and Frodo’s rift over Gollum never happens in the book and the more tragic story of the Steward of Gondor is dulled down. But the epic Battle of the Black Gate more than makes up for that. Bonus points for anyone who can tweet us how many kills Legolas manages.