I love long takes in various movies and TV shows. One-take movies are even better! One shot movies usually means that the whole movie is filmed in a single, continuous shot without any cuts. I recently watched Victoria, which inspired me to write this article and give you the best recommendations of films filmed in one continuous take. Just imagine how stressed out the actors must have been. The great responsibility you have. If you screw up, especially near the end of the take. Scary even thinking about it.
Victoria (2015) – 140 min.
Directed by Sebastian Schipper, Victoria is an incredible film that will amaze you before, during, and after watching the film itself. It’s 140 minutes long and it’s shot in one, single take. There are no edits to make it seem like it’s only one take. The amazing cast (Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski and more) have been rehearsing the film for a while. They’ve only shot 3 whole takes, and they used the third one for the official movie release. We wont write about the story or plot of the film, because we feel like it will just ruin the movie. We don’t recommend watching any trailers or reading reviews. We do, however, recommend watching the film!
Birdman (2014) – 119 min.
One of the most popular one-take films out there. Received numerous awards, including Oscars. From the director Alejandro G. Iñárritu and with the cast Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and more, the film is an incredible masterpiece that gets your undivided attention throughout all the intense scenes. Although, it’s wroth noting that Birdman is not an actual one-take, as it was edited a few times to seem like it was shot in a single take. It still does have very long takes. If you are just getting into one-take movies and unusual films in general, this is the film you should start with. As always, we don’t recommend watching any trailer or reading any reviews before watching the movie itself, but you probably already know a lot about it since it was quite popular after the official release.
Rope (1948) – 120 min.
A classic. Alfred Hitchcock does it best. Starring James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, this film takes place in one room and it’s filmed in one take. Worth noting that the movie is edited to seem like it’s shot in a single take. It does have quite long continuous takes, though. You can’t go wrong with a Hitchcock film. It already withstood the test of time, so it’s worth watching.
Russian Ark (2002) – 96 min.
An actual one sequence shot. Great Russian historical drama directed by Alexander Sokurov. The whole film was filmed in the Winter Palace of the Russian State Hermitage Museum. The film was well-received by critics and audiences worldwide and it will stay in history as a classic one-take movie. We’d avoid trailers and any other info related to the movie. Just watch it.
Enter the Void (2009) – 163 min.
Gaspar Noe does his magic in this incredible artistic film. Depending on your taste in movies, you can’t go wrong with Gaspar Noe. Although not a real single take, as it’s edited a few times to seem like one, the film is still one of the greatest one-take films of all times. It even has some amazing POV shots. The whole movie is actually an out-of-body experience and it’s shot through the point of view of Oscar (Nathaniel Brown). Watching this film is a colorful, scary and amazing experience. As Noe puts it: “psychedelic melodrama”.
Irréversible (2002) – 97 min.
Another piece by Gaspar Noe, starring Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel, among others. Edited to seem like a single long-shot, but an incredible drama. It employs a non-linear narrative, which is one of the reasons why the long takes simply just work. The film’s soundtrack was done by Thomas Bangalter (from Daft Punk). Beware, though. The movie is quite violent and you may have to stay away from it if you are light-hearted. Still, worth the watch. Definitely recommend it.
Those are the 5 one-take films I recommend. What are yours? Please leave your suggestions in the comments, I’m in the lookout for more 1-shot movies. I really love them.