Comingsoon.net is taking the next 24 hours to look at the greatest movies that take place in one day. Check out our selections in the gallery below!
to 2001: A Space Odyssey Cloud Atlas to , the medium of film has often taken advantage of just how sprawling and epic a movie’s timeline can be. That’s why it’s so surprising whenever a filmmaker decides to keep things tight, confining the timeline to 24 hours or less. This creative decision is one of the most impactful, as it adds an immensely urgent tone to the entire ordeal. The Tree of Life
Second-best only to playing out in real time, a movie that takes place over the course of one day automatically feels a lot more fast-paced than the average movie with a longer timeline. No matter if its an uproarious comedy or a gripping drama or a trilling piece of science fiction, these movies are prime examples of the 24-hours-or-less gimmick.
one day movies
One of a few 70s sci-fi movies that changed the genre forever, Ridley Scott’s
Alien follows a crew of astronauts who attempt to survive a murderous creature on the loose aboard their ship. It’s as tense as can be, amplified only by the fact that it’s taking place over the course of a single 24-hour period.
Before Sunrise (1995)
Richard Linklater is one of the best American filmmakers currently working today. His perfect
Before trilogy is the perfect example of this, with the first installment Before Sunrise remaining the strongest entry of them all. Young Jesse and Céline wander around Vienna as they get to know each other over the course of the day and into the night.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Another of Linklater’s greatest hits,
Dazed and Confused combines the best things about a Linklater screenplay with the camaraderie of an 80s John Hughes film. Serving as a love letter to the Midwest and the 70s, Dazed and Confused provides a look at the last day of school for a group of Texas high schoolers.
Die Hard (1988)
One of the closest instances of a movie playing out in real-time,
Die Hard stars Bruce Willis as the infamous John McCane, a New York City cop visiting his wife’s office Christmas party. When the celebration is hijacked by a group of terrorists, McClane takes it upon himself to climb up the high-rise, floor by floor, in an attempt to put a stop to things.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Spike Lee has proven himself time and time again to be one of the most interesting filmmakers around. One of his earliest entries,
Do the Right Thing, follows the rising racial tension in a Brooklyn neighborhood on the hottest day of the summer.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Al Pacino and John Cazale star in Sidney Lumet’s memorable bank robbery drama. As the afternoon drags on, their attempted heist grows more and more out of hand.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
John Hughes’s seminal high school hangout film delivers exactly what the title promises: a trio of high schoolers on their day off. The three skip school, “borrow” an expensive sports car, and make their way through Chicago on a much-needed break—they just have to make sure they make it back before their parents get home from work.
Groundhog Day (1993)
Bill Murray’s greatest dramatic comedy,
Groundhog Day presents a very serious conundrum: What would you do if, every morning, you found yourself waking up to the same day, day after day? It’s a maddening experience for the film’s lead, forced to go through the same motions without any clear way to stop the time loop.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies are unmissable—this was apparent even with his second feature,
Magnolia, back in the late 90s. Following a whole slew of lonely Californians over one single day, Anderson brings forth some truly incredible performances from a cast full of A-listers like Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Saturday detention is one of the worst punishments imaginable for the average high schooler. That’s why this mid-80s classic resonates with so many: it features a lovable group of misfits, slowly finding more and more in common with one another as their Saturday sentence drags on.