Now that Game of Thrones holds the new record, how long is the longest battle scene ever filmed?
The folks behind Game of Thrones claimed that the battle in season 8 episode 3, known as the Battle of (or at) Winterfell, would be the longest battle scene ever set to film in television or movies. So, how long was it? What is our new record?
This post does not contain spoilers i.e. we talk battle details but don’t tell you died.
From the moment the flaming cavalry started running and the flaming cannon balls started flying to the moment Arya stabbed the Night King and the whole army dissolved/died, we’re looking at 67 minutes. What the final count will be will no doubt be announced at some point, but counting the full 82 minutes seems like an extremely loose definition of “battle scene.” (Is a battle scene defined more by “battle” — every shot related to a single battle? — or “scene,” you know, a sequence of continuous action?)
According to an on-set cover story by EW, the battle was filmed over 11 weeks of night shoots and involved over 750 people, both behind and in front of the camera. As Screenrant reported in March, “the battle will span the entire episode in which it appears.” It was written by Thrones co-creators Dan Benioff and D.B. Weiss and directed by Miguel Sapochnik. Sapochnik also directed “Battle of the Bastards” and “Hardhome.”
As we know from season 8 episodes 1 and 2, the gang is very much all there in Winterfell. Jon and Dany and their assembled team (Tyrion, Jorah, Grey Worm, etc.), Arya and Sansa Stark, Brienne is there, Theon arrived, Tormund, Davos and the Hound, too. As Tyrion comments, everyone who has ever fought the Starks, with the exception of Cersei, has gathered to defend their home (and also hopefully save humanity). The death count was expected to be high — and if not high, then at least heartbreaking.
Previously, the title of longest filmed battle scene belong to Helm’s Deep, the 40-minute battle in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. If the Battle of Winterfell is recognized as being the full length of the episode — 82-minutes — then the new record is more than twice as long, and awfully unlikely to ever be broken.
Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4 airs Sunday, May 5 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.