Plenty of movies have broken records during the long and lustrous history of cinema.
The US might be the biggest movie industry in the world, with the record for the largest domestic film market by domestic box-office receipts. Titles like the Harry Potter saga (the highest-grossing fantasy film series) have made history. Some indie gems will blow you away (like the shortest film ever made).
But what are the most curious Guinness World Records titles in entertainment history?
These are the five film records you (probably) don’t know about - and a few more for good measure!
Most retakes for a scene with dialogue
"You know what I’m talking about, don't you?" - Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers)
This scene in The Shining (USA, 1980) might be one of the most iconic conversations in Hollywood.
The audience never fails to hold their breath while Detective Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) explains to young Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd) what "shining" means, but not many know that the iconic scene took no less than 148 retakes.
The director Stanley Kubrick (USA), wanted a seamless delivery for the scene and insisted on perfection.
Turns out, perfection took 148 retakes to be achieved!
Largest battle sequence on film
"A software to rule them all."
Forget Sauron's ring, because the secret for jaw-dropping (and record-breaking) battle scenes lies in a single software developed by Weta Digital (New Zealand).
With the aid of this unique program, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings (NZ/USA, 2001–03) trilogy broke the record for largest battle sequence on film.
Weta Digital created a bespoke crowd-simulation software to bring to life battles featuring the colossal amount of 200,000 characters.
The program, with the tale-telling name "Massive," combined digital animation with an AI that governed the interactions between the fighting characters.
Most expensive costume from a film
Marilyn Monroe's interpretation of The Girl in The Seven Year Itch (USA, 1955) is completed by the iconic dress worn by the starlet during the scene in which she stands on a subway grate.
Marilyn Monroe’s ivory cocktail dress, designed by Oscar-winner William Travilla, is without doubt one of the most iconic garments in film history, and it's the most expensive costume from a film of all time.
The dress was auctioned for $4.6 million (£2,845,101,61) in Beverly Hills, USA, in 2011.
The whopping auction price broke the record previously achieved by the black Givenchy garment worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (USA, 1965).
Did you know that actress Roxanne Arlen also wore the same dress for her role of Mrs. Roberts in Bachelor Flat (USA, 1961)?
The longest movie ever made
The longest movie ever made is The Cure for Insomnia (USA, 1987).
Directed by John Henry Timmis IV, the film is 85 hours long (3 days and 5 hours).
Not following the classic narrative structure of most movies, The Cure for Insomnia consists of X-rated footage, music videos and poetry recited by L.D. Groban. In total, the feature runs for 40 times longer than the average full-length film.
It premiered non-stop (yes, in its entirety) from 31 January to 3 February 1987 at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, US. All the existing copies are considered lost.
If you’re looking for the shortest feature film classified instead, that would be the 7-second long Soldier Boy (USA, 2004).
Directed by Les Sholes (USA), the short follows the story of a couple, Johnny and Alice, separated during WWII.
Most computer-generated photo-real animals created for a film
Moving Picture Company (MPC) created 86 animal species for Disney’s remake The Lion King (USA, 2019).
To give new life to Simba's story, MPC was in charge of all the VFX shots for the movie. Among the species we can count rhinos, lions (obviously), a huge amount of birds and smaller (but not less realistic) insects like butterflies and termites.
Some numbers for this jaw-dropping remake:
- 1,150 artists worked on the creation of these animals, including 130 animators
- 237,000 reference images used
If that seems like a lot, you'd be surprised to know that this isn't even Disney's most expensive feature!
Tangled (USA, 2010) was six years in the making and smashed the record for most expensive Disney animated film. The movie had a total estimated production budget of $260 million (£168 million).
More almost unbelievable movie records
Are you looking for more never-heard-before movie trivia?
Here are some parts of cinema history that are almost unbelievable – but entirely true!
- The first Hollywood movie to feature a toilet was the thriller Psycho (USA, 1960). Before Hitchcock’s psychological masterpiece, Hollywood movies considered showing toilets of poor taste.
- James Bond’s action-packed new title, No Time To Die (USA, 2022), counts the most high explosives detonated in a single film take. The ending scene used the equivalent of 136.4kg TNT.
- The ending credits of Kids in America (USA, 2005) displayed the longest screen kiss in film history. The kiss lasted 6 minutes and 44 seconds!
- The most viewed movie trailer in 24 hours was Marvel Cinematic Universe’s blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home (USA, 2021). The new Spiderman movie assembled (pun intended) 355.5 million global views between 23-24 August 2021.
- Universal Pictures Brasil (Brazil) broke the record for most dogs attending a film screening: a gathering of 120 pups for the premiere of The Secret Life of Pets 2 (USA, 2019).
Read about all about the new movie award records achieved at the Academy Awards 2022.