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List of works set in a single day

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This is a list of works of fiction set within a single period of 24 hours. This is limited to works where the one-day duration is a defining and non-trivial characteristic of the work, which will typically be mentioned in summaries and reviews of the work.

A "Day in the life" is a recurring device used in various media forms, such as novels, films, plays and television series, showing the events that happen to the character over a day. Some celebrated examples in literature are James Joyce's Ulysses, Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.


  • The Hours
  • Mrs Dalloway[1]
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  • Today Will Be Different
  • Ulysses[1]

Television shows[edit]

  • 24, each season of which is set over 24 hours


  • 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days[2][3] (2007)
  • American Graffiti[2][4] (1973)
  • The Daytrippers[2] (1996)
  • Before Sunrise[2][4] (1995)
  • The Breakfast Club (1985), set during a Saturday detention in an American school
  • Car Wash (1976), a day in the life of the owner and employees of a Los Angeles car wash
  • Clerks[2][4] (1994), set during a day at a convenience store
  • Dazed and Confused (1993), set during the last day of school
  • Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  • Do the Right Thing[2][4] (1989), set during the hottest day of summer in Brooklyn
  • Empire Records (1995)
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). Bueller and his friends take a day off from school.
  • Fruitvale Station (2013), covering the last day of a young man's life
  • Friday (1995), an American comedy film (and its sequels)
  • Friday (2012), an Indian film set on 11/11/11
  • Groundhog Day[2] (1993). A self-centered TV weatherman is forced to relive the same day over and over again.
  • Happy Death Day A college student is murdered on her birthday and must relive the same day until she finds a way to stop the killer.
  • High Noon (1952). The action is in continuous real time (more or less), covering less than two hours.[5][6]
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1970), a Norwegian-British film adaptation of the novel
  • One Fine Day (1996)
  • Rope[2] (1948). Two men hold a dinner party; among their guests are relatives of the man they have murdered
  • Run Lola Run[4] (1998). A woman has to raise 100,000 Deutsche Mark in twenty minutes to save her boyfriend's life.
  • A Single Man[2] (2009)
  • Sixteen Candles (1984), set on a girl's sixteenth birthday
  • The Swimmer[2] (1968)
  • Training Day (2001)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Higdon, David Leon (1992), "A First Census of the Circadian or One-Day Novel", The Journal of Narrative Technique, Eastern Michigan University Press, 22: 57, James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) and Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (1925) — probably the most famous circadian novels
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Gary M. Kramer (14 August 2015). "The 10 best movies that take place in one day". Salon.
  3. "The 21st Century's 25 Greatest Films: 15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days". BBC. 23 August 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Ziyad Saadi (2 May 2014). "Here's the 10 Best Films That Take Place Over 24 Hours (And The 5 Worst)". IndieWire.
  5. Howard Suber (15 December 1986). "High Noon". The Criterion Collection.
  6. Eric D Snider (8 December 2015). "12 Timely Facts About High Noon". Mental Floss.

See also[edit]

  • List of media set within one day

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