15 Remarkable Films That Unfold in the Span of a Single Day

We are used to seeing films with storylines that take months and even years to unravel fully. However, something is compelling about movies that take place in just one day and still feature the correct dose of drama, tension, and emotion as characters evolve.

These movies sometimes become blockbusters despite the setting of a single day or location. Check out our top selection of 15 incredible that only took 24 hours to come full circle.

1. 12 Angry Men (1957)

12 angry men
Image Credit: MGM.

Reginald Rose's 12 Angry Men is a classic courtroom drama in a single day. The story is about a jury of 12 men tasked with determining the fate of a young man accused of murder. As they deliberate, tensions rise, and hidden prejudices are revealed.

You will be stunned by the intense focus on a single day's events. The powerful performances of its all-star cast make it quite memorable.

2. Dazed And Confused (1993)

Dazed and Confused
Image Credit: Alphaville.

Dazed and Confused follows a group of high school students on the last day of school in 1976. The story is presented against a backdrop of classic rock and teenage rebellion.

It captures the essence of a carefree summer night with its memorable characters, iconic quotes, and timeless soundtrack. This classic film, lasting an hour and a half plus, is a product of a one-day timeline.

3. La Haine (1995)

La haine
Image Credit: MKL Distribution.

La Haine is a French film, as you must have figured out from the name. It has a raw and intense atmosphere that must have taken a lot of effort to conjure over one day.

The film is set in the impoverished suburbs of Paris. The story is about three friends who try to navigate their encounters with police brutality, racism, and violence.

4. Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard Bruce Willis Alan Rickman Bonnie Bedelia
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Die Hard is a classic action movie that features Bruce Willis plays John McClane, a New York cop trapped in a Los Angeles skyscraper on Christmas Eve with a group of terrorists.

McClane fights to save the hostages and defeat the villains in what turns out to be a non-stop, adrenaline-fueled adventure.

5. Nine Queens (2000)

nine queens
Image Credit: Buena Vista International.

A lot can happen in a day when two con artists decide to team up for a lucrative scheme involving a valuable set of stamps known as the Nine Queens. But as they navigate through a web of lies and deceit, their plan becomes increasingly complicated and dangerous.

This gripping Argentine film will surely warm you up to the twists and turns of human nature in a high-stakes game of deception.

6. Run Lola Run (1998)

Run Lola Run
Image Credit: Arte.

There's no point having your watch on for this because it will be over before it begins. This thrilling German film tracks Lola as she tries to find 100,000 Deutsche Mark in 20 minutes to save her boyfriend's life.

The film uses three alternate timelines to explore the consequences of Lola's choices. One aspect of this movie you're bound to enjoy is its high-energy soundtrack and innovative storytelling.

7. Phone Booth (2002)

Phone Booth
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

In Phone Booth, Colin Farrell plays a publicist trapped in a phone booth by a sniper, forced to confront his lies and deceit.

The film takes place in real-time, which adds tension and urgency to the story. It also delivers a high-strung narrative with remarkable efficiency.

8. Victoria (2015)

Image Credit: Senator Film.

Victoria is an intense and thrilling crime drama that occurs throughout one night in Berlin. Miraculously, it was shot in a single continuous take.

In the story, a Spanish woman becomes entangled in a dangerous heist with a group of strangers. You'll notice the film's immersive style resonates from every perspective.

9. Margin Call (2011)

Margin Call
Photo Credit: Lionsgate.

With stellar performances from Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, and Stanley Tucci, Margin Calls highlights the messiness that can only happen in the financial industry.

Here, a group of Wall Street bankers discovers that their company is about to collapse, and they must save it. This film ultimately takes place on one day during the 2008 financial crisis.

10. 11:14 (2003)

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

If you love clever and straight-to-the-point plots, 11:14 will satisfy your curious mind. 11:14 is a concise film that was shot in one night.

The story follows a series of related events at exactly 11:14 pm, involving five characters whose lives collide unexpectedly.

11. Locke (2013)

Image Credit: A24.

Locke takes place in a car during a single night. Tom Hardy delivers an impressive performance as Ivan Locke, a construction manager who receives a life-changing phone call while driving.

The film is presented in real-time, and Locke battles different emotions after a series of calls that bring bad news.

12. Exam (2009)

Image Credit: IFC Films.

The Exam presents eight candidates vying for a coveted job at a mysterious corporation. The catch? They have 80 minutes to answer one question, and anyone caught communicating with the outside world or cheating will get disqualified. Tension builds as the clock ticks down, begging the question, who will win?

13. Clue (1985)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Based on the beloved board game, Clue is about six guests who are strangely invited to a mansion for dinner. But when their host is killed, the guests and the staff of the mansion have only a few hours to figure out who the killer is before more end up dead.

14. Waiting… (2005)

Image Credit: Lions Gate Films.

Set during one shift at a chain restaurant, Waiting… is about a group of service industry workers and what happens at the restaurant during their one shift. From hijinks to falling in love, the movie is a fun take on working at a restaurant. 

15. The Menu (2022)

The Menu
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

The Menu is a satirical film where high-class foodies have their elite dining experience turned into a nightmare, all in order to say they ate at this exquisite restaurant. 

Source: Reddit.

Boloere Divine Seibidor, fondly called B.S., is a Nigerian-based writer and poet. Her favorite topics include music, especially Hip-Hop, film, lifestyle, and fashion. She's been published by Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably, Wealth of Geeks. She enjoys romantic dinners, movie nights, and touring new sights. When she's not writing, she's delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.