Fabulous Films that Put Me to Sleep

Ironic? Yes, when critically acclaimed films, exciting films, those classics that lull me and I nod off. Whether I was eight, sixteen, twenty-five, or forty when I watched them, they function better than a sleeping pill. Why?


The Music

The score is iconic, but the repetition of the score throughout is like waves lapping on a shore and hypnotises me.

Explosive Scenes That Last Too Long

I know when a fight sequence begins, I can go make popcorn, go to the bathroom, talk to Mom on the phone and come back and it feels like I missed nothing. How many wallops and explosions and screams must there be before it becomes redundant?

Too Little Happening That Lasts Too Long  

I know the cinematography is revolutionary. I know the story is powerful. Still. These are the ones where all that silence puts me to sleep.

They are way too long

I love these films, but I can’t make it through them in one sitting, or I’m snoring on the couch.

How is that films you love put you to sleep? Does this happen to you?

47 thoughts on “Fabulous Films that Put Me to Sleep”

  1. I love 2001, but I have also only seen it twice (and recently), so who knows what effect it’ll have on me later in life. I haven’t seen some of the rest you identify here, but Vertigo, Man of Steel, Return of the King, The English Patient and The Magnificent Seven could all put me to sleep, if I were watching them in the wrong mood. In fact, I have actually slept a few times during The English Patient and Return of the King.

    But the great movie that really knocks me out cold: Bladerunner. I first watched it a couple weeks ago, but it took me three sittings and restarts to get through it. The characters are narrative are so underdeveloped that I had a devil of time staying awake for it.


    1. Hi James. YES ! To Bladerunner. I find it annoying when I can’t stay awake–I can’t even blame it on watching the film at 2 in the morning. I like Peter Jackson a lot, but his films bore me. Terrible!


    1. Ha, Ha. Sure could be! I just can’t figure out why too much noise and too little noise knocks me out. Add the water films–All is Lost and Castaway,too–water films–forget about it. 😉


  2. Don’t put Out of Africa (thanks for mentioning that one June), The English Patient, There Will Be Blood in front of me. Can’t, won’t get through those again. I have other issues with Gone With The Wind. Interesting list, Cindy.


  3. I must agree with your choice of Vertigo because I really struggled to sit through that film (and Citizen Kane) when I first watched them in the wake of the Sight and Sound Poll a couple of years ago.
    I’m obviously more of a Western fan than you are though because I love Elmer Bernstein’s and Ennio Morricone’s music for The Magnificent Seven and The Good the Bad and the Ugly, although I take your point about the repetition. Sergio Leone’s style certainly isn’t to everyone’s taste. I know several people who’ve never made it past the 10 minute long opening credits of Once Upon a Time in the West.


    1. Jean Renoir’s masterpiece is a great example of how the wrong mood or wrong time of the day or with the wrong person can affect your appreciation of it. You have sophisticated tastes. I haven’t seen Rules of the Game in ages. I ought to revist.


    1. Thanks, Mark. There are stellar moments, but as a whole with the music going on and on, it’s hard for me to stay awake. You are right–so many better Hitch films grab me and don’t let go.


  4. Once I had the flu and was on the couch. I put the TV on Lord of the Rings and kept nodding off, but then I’d wake and was startled to see I hadn’t slept much. I kept this up and then I finally realized I was watching a marathon and the movie kept repeating. I had slept on and off for over ten hours.


  5. I’ve sat down to watch Gone with the Wind at least 3 times. There certainly are some things about that movie that I appreciate as far as great film making is concerned. BUT … it just can’t hold me for some reason?? I’ve never completed watching it all the way through.
    A lot of the modern movies – especially all those comic book films – are brilliantly made, have very high production values, and are filled with action. BUT … three weeks later I can’t recall even one scene from the movie!!! They don’t put me to sleep, but they don’t stick. What does that say exactly? Immersion and connecting ?? in Art … has more to do with touching us on a heart level ? a spiritual level ?
    Many movie critics judge movies from an intellectual level – while audiences do the opposite – on the heart level.
    I just watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty the other day. Critics (Rotten Tomatoes) gave it a 50% – while audiences rated at 75%. This is pretty common.
    I liked it. It connected with me.


    1. I hear ya, Cowboy. I think we hear it’s a masterpiece, a classic, and so we are ready to believe it. Many times, yes, great stuff. But then, I feel embarassed that I just can’t get into it. Others, like the music scores, they are awesome, they affect me a little too much–comforting, lulling, safe films that calm me into sleep. Hard to explain! Gone With the Wind. I’ve seen 2/3 all the way through. Fall asleep. Wake up at the end to hear him say, Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Terrible.


  6. It took me a couple of sittings to finish Lawrence of Arabia but not because it put me to sleep, it’s just a super long movie. Oh no, Vertigo bored you? That’s on my to-watch list this year, hoping I’d enjoy it. A classic movie that nearly put me to sleep was The Bishop’s Wife, I might watch the remake though.

    “How many wallops and explosions and screams must there be before it becomes redundant?” Valid point, I think Man of Steel suffers from this in the third act, it just became so tedious.


    1. I’m the type who really WANTS to like the film. I find it sad when excitment becomes tedious. Yes, some are just too long–another would be Dr. Zhavago I still haven’t seen it all the way through and it has a lovely score. Vertigo is not boring–just wears on you, that music. YOu still should see it!


  7. Peter Jackson’s King Kong and The Man of Steel both really put me to sleep. King Kong because it was just far too long and I also don’t think it is very good at all. The Man of Steel because like you so rightly point out, the end action sequence is far too long (and ‘samey’) to be enthralling.


    1. Hi Tim! Nice to hear from you. There were great moments in both films–I loved the interplay with Lane, Costner, and the younger Superman. Everything except the end action sequence. King Kong’s chemistry with Naomi Watts was surprisingly tender–expecially the Grand Central Park Ice Scating scene. But I agree, even with the dinosaurs rolling around, all that voodoo hocus pocus, the bugs, the batting of the planes, instead of being excited, I was yawning.


    1. I know genre films follow a format and so you know the story before you watch it–Heroes, War, RomComs. The ones that are supposed to be artistic, clever, or unusual–those are films that get my attention these days. Even then, it’s sad when they are predictable and thus boring. I find I’m looking for the shining moment in an otherwise lack-luster production.


    1. I agree! While initally a fabulous invention, I find them more tiresome and insulting to my intelligence–it’s like they stole my imaginative abilities and superceded with something too fantastical to enjoy. If that made sense. 😉


  8. I feel myself agreeing with you on Lawrence of Arabia – I’ve never watched it in one sitting! For me, three hours is a long time…I’m not a fan of sitting in a cinema for three-plus hours so avoid films of that length if I can help it (preferring instead to watch them at home on DVD/blu-ray). That way I can stop and have a cup of tea (or perhaps a glass of wine). I know that doesn’t sit well with some film fans who have to watch a movie straight through but I’m far too fidgety!

    …believe it or not, I’ve watched Lawrence of Arabia over three days in the past – maybe an hour each day! 🙂

    Others you mention – such as Vertigo and Close Encounters – I will watch in one sitting. Close Encounters is actually one of my all-time favorite films so I can’t imagine myself daring to stop it mid-way unless nature calls! 😉


    1. Hi Dan, yes, I agree, it’s too much for my senses, butt, and brain to sit there for 3 hours for a saga film. I love Close Encounters, it’s gotta be top three of all time favorite sci-fi. John Williams score is gripping. I can’t explain why the film lulls me into a state of relaxation so much so that I want to sleep. I frequently have to half the film to get through it. 😉


  9. When I smell super schmaltz, I stay away. Titanic is just too overbearing to me. Don’t get me wrong, years after it came out I did see it on video. Meh. I’m sure the cinematography and visual affects were brilliant, but I have to be in a certain mood for these movies. And I would take a lot of bathroom breaks, experimented on making chocolate popcorn, or read a book. The English Patient is another one that strikes me as a loooong soap opera. The nurse the patient, the love yada yada yada, pain. anguish.

    One last thing is that I loved Nebraska as much as I loved other movies this year, like American Hustle. That is a slow gem with a lot of things going on. The mother was so funny.

    Quiz Q: what type of car did Kate and Leo get it on in? It was so steamy. I mean, please.


    1. 1912 Renault Type CB Coupe de Ville. What fun place to mess around in. 😉
      Yes, Titanic is a gigantic film that I enjoy. It doesn’t put me to sleep, but I’m sure glad I can pause! Your reference to another soap opera, The English Patient, is another good example. Grand, sweeping love stories aren’t your thing!
      Glad you shared 🙂


  10. Hi, Cindy:

    You picked some great ones!

    I saw CE3K once and never felt the urge to see it again. It says something about a film when the funniest line is delivered by Richard Dreyfuss off handedly commenting on The Devil’s Peak, “Yeah, I have one just like it in my living room.” .

    I’ve seen ‘Gone With The Wind’ so often, that its main attraction now is picking out matte paintings as opposed to what is shot off sound stage and on location. ‘Giant’ is also a sprawling film, but it does have Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, Dennis Hopper and James Dean to help move the story along. Dean’s Jett Rink, all grown up and constantly drunk is a Hoot!

    ‘2001’ does not move quickly, but I don’t think it was made to move any other way. Still a classic of model work and future projection. Give its better story lined ‘2010’ with Roy Scheider, Hellen Mirren, John Lithgow and Bob Balaban a shot. It fills in some gaps from Kubrick’s earlier touchstone film.

    ‘The Professionals’ is kind of in the same boat, music wise as ‘The Magnificent Seven’. Never got the hang of ‘There Will Be Blood’. Still think Harold Robbins’ ‘The Carpetbaggers’ is a much better tale of Texas oil men.

    I don’t know one guy who has successfully sat through ‘The English Patient’.


    1. Remember the Jerry Seinfeld episode where Elaine goes Apes over her distain for ‘The English Patient’? I love the book by Canadian Michael Ondaatje. Still think this epic film is remarkable.


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