The longest standing ovation at Cannes? A whopping 22 minutes

As Hollywood’s finest gather at Cannes Film Festival this week, the event’s strangest phenomenon – and greatest overindulgence – has been making headlines: the standing ovation.

The French Riviera event breeds longer standing ovations than any typical night at London’s West End. In part, this is because, after the screening finishes at each world premiere, a camera swoops in on the cast and crew in attendance, and projects their faces onto the enormous Palais screen. Ovations perhaps only continue for so long because of the camera feed – each time its lens homes in on another star of the film, there are renewed claps and cheers.

The standing ovation has become such a part of the festival’s glittering fabric that people whip out stop-watches (or their phones) to record how long they last.

The longest in the event’s history is thought to have been for Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 fantasy-horror Pan’s Labyrinth.

At the film’s premiere, the audience stood, thwacking their hands together and swooning, for a total of 22 minutes. That’s the length of most sitcom episodes.

The movie was arguably worth getting sore palms for. The sinister film, which incoporated elements of myth, fairy tales and folklore, along with influences from Del Toro’s own childhood, was set five years after the Spanish Civil War, and went on to win three Oscars at the Academy Awards.

Guillermo del Toro's ‘Pan's Labyrinth’ (Warner Bros.)
Guillermo del Toro's ‘Pan's Labyrinth’ (Warner Bros.)

Other films to receive cringingly long standing ovations at the festival include Michael Moore’s 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 (20 minutes) and Jeff Nichols’ 2012 drama Mud (18 minutes).

In 2021, Annette star Adam Driver appeared to get so bored during the film’s Cannes standing ovation that he started smoking a cigarette.

At the 2024 festival, Kevin Costner’s Western epic Horizon: An American Saga has been making headlines for the length of its standing ovation – which, at 11 minutes and 40 seconds, is measley compared to its forebears.