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A-List Actors Who Turned Down Roles in Tarantino Films

time travel movie name list

Quentin Tarantino is one of the most daring, high-profile writers and directors in Hollywood. In an era when many films feature recycled stories and ideas, he always stands apart with bold originality. With nine unforgettable films under his belt, Tarantino is a name Hollywood will never forget.

For some films, he had entirely different actors in mind when he wrote the scripts, and some of those actors would have undoubtedly made the iconic roles quite different. So, was it a good or bad thing when some A-list actors turned down roles in various Tarantino films? You be the judge!

Christian Slater as “Ringo” (a.k.a. Pumpkin)

Pulp Fiction opens to a scene in a restaurant featuring thieves Ringo and Yolanda (a.k.a. Pumpkin and Honey Bunny), played by Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer. Roth appears later in the film when we realize John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson were at the same restaurant.

time travel movie name list

Tarantino originally wrote the part with Roth in mind. However, the head of TriStar preferred Christian Slater. Slater had previously played the lead character, Clarence, in a film written by Quentin Tarantino called True Romance . Imagine hearing Slater’s voice announcing the robbery right before the opening credits.

Leonardo DiCaprio as “The Jew Hunter”

Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds received eight Academy Award nominations in 2010. The honors included Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, to name a few. The only award the film took home, however, was Best Supporting Actor. Christoph Waltz played the iconic Col. Hans Landa, otherwise known as “The Jew Hunter.”

time travel movie name list

Waltz also received the same award at the Cannes Film Festival. There’s no telling how the film would have turned out if Tarantino’s first choice, Leonardo DiCaprio, had taken the role. The director made an executive decision and decided the part should go to a German-speaking actor.

Warren Beatty as “Bill”

Originally, Quentin Tarantino wanted Kill Bill to be one movie instead of splitting it into two parts. Kill Bill Vol. 1 paid homage to old kung fu flicks, and Vol. 2 was an ode to Spaghetti Westerns. Martial arts movie legend David Carradine played the film’s namesake, Bill.

time travel movie name list

Tarantino initially penned an entirely different character, written explicitly for Warren Beatty. “It was really interesting reading ‘ Kill Bill ‘ again,” said the filmmaker, “that first draft, because that’s the Warren Beatty version. He’s much more of a James Bond type of character.”

Sylvester Stallone as “Louis Gara”

The 1997 flick Jackie Brown brought together some of Hollywood’s best actors. Tarantino is known for resurrecting actors’ careers, and you would be hard pressed to name another director who would put Robert Forster, Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton in the same movie.

time travel movie name list

Although Robert De Niro ultimately portrayed one of Tarantino’s most memorable roles, Sylvester Stallone was the first person asked to play the ex-con and gunrunner, Louis Gara. It wasn’t the first time Sly turned Tarantino down. He also asked Stallone to play Stuntman Mike in the grindhouse recreation Death Proof .

Will Smith as “Django”

Jamie Foxx’s first time working with Tarantino gave us the wonderfully entertaining and uncomfortable movie Django Unchained . The main character, Django, is a slave who is freed by a German bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz. The film pays homage to the 1970’s blaxploitation subgenre.

time travel movie name list

Close your eyes and imagine, if you will, Tarantino approaching another award-winning actor to play Django. The original frontrunner for the character was none other than Will Smith. Although he loved the story of a former slave rescuing his wife from a Southern plantation, Smith had different creative opinions about the story’s direction.

Sacha Baron Cohen as “Scott Harmony”

Django Unchained suffered some setbacks and filming took much longer than planned. Some characters and scenes had to be cut out of the film. One of those original characters was a man named Scotty Harmony, who wins Django’s wife, Broomhilda, when gambling. Harmony then loses the damsel in distress to DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie.

time travel movie name list

Sacha Baron Cohen was forced to choose between this role or Les Misérables , as it coincided with the editing schedule of The Dictator. “I’m sure Django is an incredible movie,” Cohen said in an interview, “but it was essentially one scene.”

Kevin Costner as “Ace Woody”

The original script of Django Unchained included a character named Ace Woody. The “sadistic slave-Mandingo trainer who works for Calvin Candie at his plantation, Candyland” was ultimately merged with another part — Billy Crash, played by Walton Goggins.

time travel movie name list

Tarantino pondered a couple of big names for the part of Ace Woody, and Kevin Costner was one of them. He was deep in negotiations for the role but was forced to pass due to scheduling conflicts. Now, we will never experience what it would have been like to have Kevin Costner dialogue in a Tarantino picture.

Kurt Russell as “Ace Woody”

After Kevin Costner backed out of Django Unchained , Tarantino turned to another seasoned actor as a replacement. Kurt Russell was initially cast as the slave trainer, Ace Woody. No reason was given for Russell leaving the project, and he later worked with the director in Death Proof and The Hateful Eight .

time travel movie name list

Already cast in the minor role of Billy Crash, Walton Goggins received some excellent news. Once Russell bailed on the film, the two parts were combined. Goggins wasn’t oblivious to the incredible opportunity and said, “It was unbelievable, man… It was a chance of a lifetime.”

Viggo Mortensen as “Ruthless Gang Leader”

Although it’s unclear exactly which character it would have been, Viggo Mortensen was asked to play a “ruthless gang leader” in The Hateful Eight. Mortenson says he met with Quentin Tarantino about the part, but scheduling kept him from accepting the job.

time travel movie name list

The Lord of the Rings star admits he would have had a great time working with the director, whom he considers “really smart and funny.” He also admitted to auditioning for two parts in Reservoir Dogs back in 1992. The actor had a blast reading with Harvey Keitel in a small office on the Fox lot.

Jennifer Lawrence as “Daisy Domergue”

Daisy Domergue, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, appeared throughout the entire epic western The Hateful Eight . The foul-mouthed fugitive was the primary antagonist, who was being brought to justice by Kurt Russell’s bounty hunting character, John Ruth. Originally, Tarantino had a much younger Jennifer in mind.

time travel movie name list

He is a huge fan of Jennifer Lawrence and met with her before filming. J-Law was filming Joy at the time and promoting The Hunger Games . “There was just no f—ing way in the world that she was available,” he said. “She was just doing me a courtesy to see me, I think.”

Matt Dillon as “Butch”

There’s no denying which film put Quentin Tarantino on the map. Pulp Fiction gave the writer/director an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay — and a bucket-load of Hollywood respect. It’s chock-full of memorable characters and lines, including Butch, the boxer paid to take a fall who fails to follow through, sparking the rage of the ruthless Marsellus Wallace.

time travel movie name list

It’s difficult to imagine anyone other than Bruce Willis saving Wallace’s life before claiming “Zed’s dead” to his girlfriend. Willis, who was asked to play Vincent Vega, wanted the role of Butch. Before that, the role was almost promised to Matt Dillon, star of Wild Things and There’s Something About Mary .

Mickey Rourke as “Butch”

Matt Dillon wasn’t the only other actor Quentin Tarantino had in mind to play Butch in Pulp Fiction . Hollywood bad boy Mickey Rourke was also on his mind. It would have been perfect, considering Rourke had just begun a new career in boxing, the character’s profession.

time travel movie name list

Mickey decided to focus on boxing and skip the movie, but he later regretted his decision. His comeback didn’t happen for another decade. Rourke also turned Tarantino down in 2007 for the part of Stuntman Mike in Death Proof . The closest they came to working together was on Sin City but on different segments of the film.

Kurt Cobain as “Lance”

By far, the most intense scene in Pulp Fiction occurs when Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace overdoses. Vincent Vega drives her to his drug dealer’s (Lance) house in a panic. The part is beautifully played by Eric Stoltz, who brings Mia back to life with a shot of adrenaline to the heart.

time travel movie name list

According to Courtney Love, her late husband and Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain, received multiple scripts. She says Quentin Tarantino had originally asked him to play the part of Lance. She asked, “You ever wonder why [Kurt] thanked Quentin on the back of In Utero ?”

Courtney Love as “Jody”

Lance also had a wife, Jody, who was around when he revived Uma Thurman’s character from an overdose in Pulp Fiction . Rosanna Arquette said it was a no-brainer to play the part, even for a small paycheck. She and Eric Stoltz were incredibly believable as a couple.

time travel movie name list

Courtney Love claims that Kurt Cobain was initially asked to play the part of Lance, and she also says she was approached to play the part of Jody alongside him. According to Daily Express , Tarantino denies ever offering the roles to either of them, so it’s just a rumor for now.

Pam Grier as “Jody”

There’s no doubt Quentin Tarantino has an affinity for Pam Grier. He referenced Grier in both Reservoir Dogs and True Romance before casting her as the lead in Jackie Brown. She even won a few awards for her role, including a Screen Actors Guild Award.

time travel movie name list

She showed up to read for the role of Jackie Brown, only to find posters of herself hanging in Tarantino’s office. She had previously read for the part of Jody in Pulp Fiction , but the director felt audiences would not appreciate Eric Stoltz’s treatment of her in the movie.

Johnny Depp as “Ringo”

The opening and ending scenes of Pulp Fiction are some of the most memorable. Tim Roth’s British accent as Ringo (a.k.a. Pumpkin) pretty much sets the wild film in motion. He also closes the motion picture down with his superior talent. There’s a good reason Tarantino always wants to work with him.

time travel movie name list

The head of TriStar Pictures did his best to put Christian Slater in Tim Roth’s place as Ringo. He also had another actor in mind to banter with Amanda Plummer before their armed robbery — Johnny Depp. Apparently, it took a while to win him over to Roth’s side.

Gary Oldman as “Jules Winnfield”

The original script for Pulp Fiction called for two of the main characters, Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, to be British. We’re not sure if the “Royale with cheese” discussion would have been just as timeless with someone other than Samuel L. Jackson, though. Regardless, Tarantino always has a method to his madness.

time travel movie name list

Producers considered Academy Award Winner (finally!) Gary Oldman for the role of Jules at the outset. Imagine for a moment Oldman reciting the “bad mother f—-r” scene. TriStar executives also tried to push for Oldman to play the part of the drug dealer, Lance.

Paul Calderón as “Jules Winnfield”

Quentin Tarantino flipped the Pulp Fiction script to make Vincent and Jules white and black Americans instead of British. One person who read for the role of Jules Winnfield was actor Paul Calderón. He had an incredible audition and almost got the part.

time travel movie name list

Impressed with his performance, Tarantino offered him the part of the bartender, Paul, who was known for his lines that rhymed. Later, Tarantino directed a film with three other filmmakers called Four Rooms , in which Calderón played a part in the film’s final section entitled “The Man from Hollywood.”

Sid Haig as “Marsellus Wallace”

A major plot point of Pulp Fiction centers around Marsellus Wallace and his briefcase. The underworld gangster needed to be played by a demonstrably tough actor. Ving Rhames was ultimately a great choice; however, he was not Quentin Tarantino’s first choice.

time travel movie name list

Wallace was originally going to be played by the late actor Sid Haig, from House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects . He is one of Tarantino’s favorite performers. Of course, we wouldn’t want either Ving Rhames or Sid Haig to throw us off a roof for massaging his wife’s feet.

Rosanna Arquette as “Mia Wallace”

Casting for the role of Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction was much more complicated than fans might think. Rosanna Arquette, who played Jody, the pierced wife of Vincent’s drug dealer, was just excited to be in the film. Of course, she originally aimed for a much more significant role.

time travel movie name list

Arquette had previously read the script for Natural Born Killers , which was written by Tarantino. Had she gotten her way, she would have been on the receiving end of the needle as Mia Wallace. She was one of many actors brought in to read for the iconic character.

Kate Beckinsale as “Mia Wallace”

Pulp Fiction was released in 1994 and quickly assumed its rightful place on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 list. Mia Wallace was such a memorable character, and casting her was one of the most challenging tasks for Quentin Tarantino and the other filmmakers.

time travel movie name list

Tarantino had not written the part specifically for Uma Thurman. Kate Beckinsale was one of the many performers to audition for the role, but Tarantino was forced to turn her down because she was only 19 years old at the time. That age was considered too young to play a believable Los Angeles gangster’s wife.

Jennifer Aniston as “Mia Wallace”

The journey to find Mia Wallace continued throughout the pre-production process. Uma Thurman wasn’t quite in the picture (pun intended) yet. Tarantino and casting directors Ronnie Yeskel and Gary Zuckerbrod had their work cut out for them. A couple of options had them looking to the small screen for possibilities.

time travel movie name list

The first television star that Tarantino considered was too busy hanging out with a few of her friends at Central Perk. Just think — Jennifer Aniston could have been the face on the Pulp Fiction posters! Friends appeared on NBC the same year Pulp Fiction was released.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as “Mia Wallace”

Casting Mia Wallace was becoming more difficult by the day. Quentin Tarantino had already considered Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston and many others for the role. He expanded his search throughout NBC studios and considered another actor from the biggest show on the network — and television altogether.

time travel movie name list

From the show about nothing, Seinfeld ‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a top choice to play the wife of Marsellus Wallace. Thank goodness it didn’t take, because we can barely picture her dancing with John Travolta, let alone think about her overdosing on heroin. Pulp Fiction would have been a completely different flick with a syringe sticking out of Elaine’s heart.

Michelle Pfeiffer as “Mia Wallace”

Before filmmakers found Pulp Fiction ‘s Mia Wallace in Uma Thurman, they searched Hollywood for the right woman. Quentin Tarantino had been inspired by Tony Montana’s wife, Elvira Hancock, in Scarface when he was writing the character. He believed Mia’s looks and personality matched Elvira’s.

time travel movie name list

Elvira was a breakthrough role for Michelle Pfeiffer, and she had proven her ability to snort cocaine while out on a date with her husband’s associate. Out of all the people who auditioned, Pfeiffer became Tarantino’s top preference — until he met his perfect match in Uma Thurman.

Uma Thurman as “Honey Bunny”

Uma Thurman was the face of Pulp Fiction , prominently displayed on the movie poster and the soundtrack album cover. She received an Oscar nod for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Her performance is breathtaking, and she deserves a mountain of credit for her acting prowess.

time travel movie name list

However, she originally read for the role of Yolanda (a.k.a. Honey Bunny). We can only imagine Uma finishing the line, “… and I’ll execute every mother f——g last one of ya!” before Tarantino realized he had found his Mia Wallace. The film catapulted Uma Thurman into superstardom.

Michael Madsen as “Vincent Vega”

Michael Madsen and Quentin Tarantino have a storied history together. Madsen appeared in four films released in 1992, one of those being Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs . The scene where Mr. Blonde cuts off the ear of the kidnapped police officer is probably one of the most iconic in cinema history.

time travel movie name list

Tarantino initially offered Madsen the role of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, but he turned it down. Madsen says he has no regrets about passing on the part of Vincent Vega. After all, Tarantino had another qualified actor in mind to play the soft-spoken thug.

Daniel Day-Lewis as “Vincent Vega”

Following Michael Madsen’s decision to not take the part of Vincent Vega, Quentin Tarantino turned to another top-tier actor when casting one of the most important roles in Pulp Fiction . The disgraced former owner of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, did not want John Travolta to play the part as long as Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis was actively interested in the role.

time travel movie name list

Despite pressure from Weinstein, Tarantino knew he had his man in Travolta. He even threatened to call off the whole project if Weinstein didn’t agree. The most thankful person was undoubtedly Travolta. If he hadn’t played the part of Vincent Vega, who knows where his dying career would have taken him.

Simon Pegg as “Archibald ‘Archie’ Hicox”

Inglourious Basterds was a supremely entertaining take on a serious topic. There’s just something appealing about a covert unit of Jewish soldiers hunting down and scalping Nazis. Some members of The Basterds weren’t Jewish, including Brad Pitt’s Hugo Stiglitz and Michael Fassbender’s Lieutenant Archibald “Archie” Hicox.

time travel movie name list

Before they offered Fassbender the role, Tarantino thought of another British actor to team up with The Basterds for Operation Kino. No one would have “pegged” comedic actor Simon Pegg for the part. He had a scheduling conflict (working with director Steven Spielberg, no less).

Adam Sandler as “The Bear Jew”

There are two extremely graphic, yet memorable, scenes in Inglourious Basterds that were given to actor/director Eli Roth. He plays Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz, who is known for using a baseball bat to smash the heads of Nazi commanders. He also had the opportunity to shoot a fictional Adolf Hitler in the face.

time travel movie name list

Tarantino almost bestowed those honors on another famous Jewish actor, Adam Sandler. That’s right — Happy Gilmore was asked by Quentin Tarantino to say “so long, sucker” to Nazi skulls. Sandler had to turn the role down because he was busy with Funny People .

Quentin Tarantino as “Mr. Pink”

Tarantino wrote the scripts for both True Romance and Reservoir Dogs quite some time ago. He originally wanted to make Reservoir Dogs on 16mm film with a minimal budget for his directorial debut. The initial plan was to cast a few of his friends as the main characters.

time travel movie name list

Tarantino chose his longtime producer Lawrence Bender for the part of Nice Guy Eddie. He had also written himself in as Mr. Pink, which ended up being hilariously portrayed by Steve Buscemi. Tarantino settled for the much smaller role of Mr. Brown, who died unceremoniously soon after the heist.


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Time Travel Movies

If time travel movies get you buzzing, like it does for me, then you would also be a little excited with finding a list of time travel movies. This list will show you all the time travel movies you will ever want to watch... If that's even possible. Please be aware that there are some mini/T.V series present in the listing due to exceptional ratings and user suggestions. For the best options feel free to change the 'sort by' option to 'IMDb ratings'. If you have any suggestions please don't hesitate to get in contact. Enjoy. 8 Pages of Luscious Movies!

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  • IMDb Rating
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1. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox , Christopher Lloyd , Lea Thompson , Crispin Glover

Votes: 1,273,225 | Gross: $210.61M

2. Back to the Future Part II (1989)

PG | 108 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

After visiting 2015, Marty McFly must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985...without interfering with his first trip.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox , Christopher Lloyd , Lea Thompson , Tom Wilson

Votes: 560,724 | Gross: $118.50M

3. Back to the Future Part III (1990)

PG | 118 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Stranded in 1955, Marty McFly learns about the death of Doc Brown in 1885 and must travel back in time to save him. With no fuel readily available for the DeLorean, the two must figure how to escape the Old West before Emmett is murdered.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox , Christopher Lloyd , Mary Steenburgen , Tom Wilson

Votes: 471,017 | Gross: $87.73M

4. The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

A human soldier is sent from 2029 to 1984 to stop an almost indestructible cyborg killing machine, sent from the same year, which has been programmed to execute a young woman whose unborn son is the key to humanity's future salvation.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger , Linda Hamilton , Michael Biehn , Paul Winfield

Votes: 905,472 | Gross: $38.40M

5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

R | 137 min | Action, Sci-Fi

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her ten year old son John from an even more advanced and powerful cyborg.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger , Linda Hamilton , Edward Furlong , Robert Patrick

Votes: 1,148,946 | Gross: $204.84M

6. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

R | 109 min | Action, Sci-Fi

A machine from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to protect a man and a woman from an advanced robotic assassin to ensure they both survive a nuclear attack.

Director: Jonathan Mostow | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger , Nick Stahl , Kristanna Loken , Claire Danes

Votes: 413,641 | Gross: $150.37M

7. Terminator Salvation (2009)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

In 2018, a mysterious new weapon in the war against the machines, half-human and half-machine, comes to John Connor on the eve of a resistance attack on Skynet. But whose side is he on, and can he be trusted?

Director: McG | Stars: Christian Bale , Sam Worthington , Anton Yelchin , Moon Bloodgood

Votes: 373,242 | Gross: $125.32M

8. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

PG | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

Two rock-'n-rolling teens, on the verge of failing their class, set out on a quest to make the ultimate school history report after being presented with a time machine.

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Keanu Reeves , Alex Winter , George Carlin , Terry Camilleri

Votes: 139,242 | Gross: $40.49M

9. The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A Chicago librarian has a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, creating complications in his marriage.

Director: Robert Schwentke | Stars: Eric Bana , Rachel McAdams , Ron Livingston , Michelle Nolden

Votes: 155,988 | Gross: $63.41M

10. Donnie Darko (2001)

R | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.

Director: Richard Kelly | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal , Jena Malone , Mary McDonnell , Holmes Osborne

Votes: 834,893 | Gross: $1.48M

11. Primer (2004)

PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention. C b

Director: Shane Carruth | Stars: Shane Carruth , David Sullivan , Casey Gooden , Anand Upadhyaya

Votes: 112,197 | Gross: $0.42M

12. 12 Monkeys (1995)

R | 129 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Bruce Willis , Madeleine Stowe , Brad Pitt , Joseph Melito

Votes: 637,705 | Gross: $57.14M

13. Groundhog Day (1993)

PG | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A narcissistic, self-centered weatherman finds himself in a time loop on Groundhog Day.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Bill Murray , Andie MacDowell , Chris Elliott , Stephen Tobolowsky

Votes: 666,945 | Gross: $70.91M

14. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart , Donna Reed , Lionel Barrymore , Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 482,021

15. Planet of the Apes (1968)

G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet where highly intelligent non-human ape species are dominant and humans are enslaved.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Charlton Heston , Roddy McDowall , Kim Hunter , Maurice Evans

Votes: 188,747 | Gross: $33.40M

16. Timecrimes (2007)

R | 92 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo | Stars: Karra Elejalde , Candela Fernández , Bárbara Goenaga , Nacho Vigalondo

Votes: 67,536 | Gross: $0.04M

17. Star Trek (2009)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father's legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful Romulan from the future creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time.

Director: J.J. Abrams | Stars: Chris Pine , Zachary Quinto , Simon Pegg , Leonard Nimoy

Votes: 615,519 | Gross: $257.73M

18. The Time Machine (2002)

PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races.

Director: Simon Wells | Stars: Guy Pearce , Yancey Arias , Mark Addy , Phyllida Law

Votes: 128,751 | Gross: $56.68M

19. The Time Machine (1960)

G | 103 min | Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi

A man's vision for a utopian society is disillusioned when travelling forward into time reveals a dark and dangerous society.

Director: George Pal | Stars: Rod Taylor , Alan Young , Yvette Mimieux , Sebastian Cabot

Votes: 43,862

20. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

G | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

The Muppets present their own touching rendition of Charles Dickens' classic tale.

Director: Brian Henson | Stars: Michael Caine , Dave Goelz , Steve Whitmire , Jerry Nelson

Votes: 65,258 | Gross: $27.28M

21. La Jetée (1962)

Not Rated | 28 min | Short, Drama, Romance

The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Étienne Becker , Jean Négroni , Hélène Chatelain , Davos Hanich

Votes: 36,327

22. Time Bandits (1981)

PG | 110 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Sean Connery , Shelley Duvall , John Cleese , Katherine Helmond

Votes: 67,047 | Gross: $42.37M

23. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

PG | 142 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for their third year of study, where they delve into the mystery surrounding an escaped prisoner who poses a dangerous threat to the young wizard.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Emma Watson , Rupert Grint , Richard Griffiths

Votes: 672,243 | Gross: $249.36M

24. Superman (1978)

PG | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest superhero.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Christopher Reeve , Margot Kidder , Gene Hackman , Marlon Brando

Votes: 184,110 | Gross: $134.22M

25. Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

G | 98 min | Action, Sci-Fi

The world is shocked by the appearance of three talking chimpanzees, who arrived mysteriously in a U.S. spacecraft. They become the toast of society, but one man believes them to be a threat to the human race.

Director: Don Taylor | Stars: Roddy McDowall , Kim Hunter , Bradford Dillman , Natalie Trundy

Votes: 37,880 | Gross: $12.30M

26. The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)

PG | 92 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Men seeking relief from the Black Death, guided by a boy's vision, dig a tunnel from 14th century England to 20th century New Zealand.

Director: Vincent Ward | Stars: Bruce Lyons , Chris Haywood , Hamish Gough , Marshall Napier

Votes: 3,909 | Gross: $1.33M

27. About Time (I) (2013)

R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

Director: Richard Curtis | Stars: Domhnall Gleeson , Rachel McAdams , Bill Nighy , Lydia Wilson

Votes: 374,824 | Gross: $15.32M

28. The A.R.K. Report (2013)

30 min | Short, Sci-Fi

In a bleak future where the Naarym child army has crushed nearly the entire world, can young Karmi help a secret government agency find the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, and unlock the ... See full summary  »

Director: Shmuel Hoffman | Stars: Katy Castaldi , Pascal Yen-Pfister , Ayden Crispe

29. Dimensions (I) (2011)

101 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

Cambridge, England, 1921 - or so it seems. A brilliant young scientist becomes obsessed with finding a way back to his past - no matter what the cost.

Director: Sloane U'Ren | Stars: Henry Lloyd-Hughes , Camilla Rutherford , Patrick Godfrey , Olivia Llewellyn

30. Quantum of Vengeance (2012)

26 min | Short, Drama, Horror

A young woman vows revenge against the person who murdered her father by traveling back in time.

Director: Ben Wydeven | Stars: Doug Gordon , Halley , Alissa Kulinski , Tim Towne

31. Looper (2012)

R | 119 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt , Bruce Willis , Emily Blunt , Paul Dano

Votes: 594,566 | Gross: $66.49M

32. Men in Black 3 (2012)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Agent J travels in time to M.I.B.'s early days in 1969 to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld | Stars: Will Smith , Tommy Lee Jones , Josh Brolin , Jemaine Clement

Votes: 380,437 | Gross: $179.02M

33. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

R | 86 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel.

Director: Colin Trevorrow | Stars: Aubrey Plaza , Mark Duplass , Jake Johnson , Karan Soni

Votes: 129,812 | Gross: $4.01M

34. The Man from the Future (2011)

106 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Zero is a brilliant scientist. However, 20 years ago, he was publicly humiliated when he lost Helena, the love of his life. One day, an accidental experience with one of his inventions ... See full summary  »

Director: Cláudio Torres | Stars: Wagner Moura , Alinne Moraes , Maria Luísa Mendonça , Fernando Ceylão

Votes: 6,764

35. Midnight in Paris (2011)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Owen Wilson , Rachel McAdams , Kathy Bates , Kurt Fuller

Votes: 443,013 | Gross: $56.82M

36. Source Code (2011)

PG-13 | 93 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

A soldier wakes up in someone else's body and discovers he's part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train within 8 minutes.

Director: Duncan Jones | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal , Michelle Monaghan , Vera Farmiga , Jeffrey Wright

Votes: 540,451 | Gross: $54.71M

37. Ticking Clock (2011 Video)

R | 101 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A reporter stumbles upon the journal of a murderer replete with plans to butcher specific people, and investigates on his own, finding that every trail leads to a 9-year-old orphan living in a group home.

Director: Ernie Barbarash | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr. , Neal McDonough , Nicki Aycox , Austin Abrams

Votes: 3,512

38. Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time (2010)

TV-Y7 | 50 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

Yugi, Jaden and Yusei must travel through time and team up to save a children's card game.

Director: Ken'ichi Takeshita | Stars: Gregory Abbey , Matthew Labyorteaux , Dan Green , Sean Schemmel

Votes: 2,012

39. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

PG-13 | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

A young fugitive prince and princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time.

Director: Mike Newell | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal , Gemma Arterton , Ben Kingsley , Alfred Molina

Votes: 300,048 | Gross: $90.76M

40. Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

R | 99 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

A malfunctioning time machine at a ski resort takes a man back to 1986 with his two friends and nephew, where they must relive a fateful night and not change anything to make sure the nephew is born.

Director: Steve Pink | Stars: John Cusack , Rob Corddry , Craig Robinson , Clark Duke

Votes: 183,209 | Gross: $50.29M

41. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010)

Not Rated | 162 min | Animation, Drama, Family

A week before Christmas, Kyon wakes up in a world where the SOS Brigade doesn't exist. Mikuru and Yuki don't recognize him, and Haruhi and Itsuki seem to have vanished.

Directors: Tatsuya Ishihara , Yasuhiro Takemoto | Stars: Aya Hirano , Tomokazu Sugita , Minori Chihara , Yûko Gotô

Votes: 7,810

42. Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966)

Not Rated | 84 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

Dr. Who and his companions arrive on Earth in the year 2150 AD, only to discover that the planet has been invaded and its population enslaved by the dreaded Daleks.

Director: Gordon Flemyng | Stars: Peter Cushing , Bernard Cribbins , Ray Brooks , Andrew Keir

Votes: 4,388

43. Time After Time (1979)

PG | 112 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

H.G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper to the 20th Century when the serial murderer uses the future writer's time machine to escape his time period.

Director: Nicholas Meyer | Stars: Malcolm McDowell , Mary Steenburgen , David Warner , Charles Cioffi

Votes: 20,242

44. Army of Darkness (1992)

R | 81 min | Comedy, Horror

A sardonic hardware store clerk is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must retrieve the Necronomicon and battle an army of the dead so he can return home.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell , Embeth Davidtz , Marcus Gilbert , Ian Abercrombie

Votes: 191,333 | Gross: $11.50M

45. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The Borg travel back in time intent on preventing Earth's first contact with an alien species. Captain Picard and his crew pursue them to ensure that Zefram Cochrane makes his maiden flight reaching warp speed.

Director: Jonathan Frakes | Stars: Patrick Stewart , Jonathan Frakes , Brent Spiner , LeVar Burton

Votes: 130,513 | Gross: $92.00M

46. Flight of the Navigator (1986)

PG | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

In 1978, a boy travels eight years into the future and has an adventure with an intelligent, wisecracking alien ship.

Director: Randal Kleiser | Stars: Joey Cramer , Paul Reubens , Cliff De Young , Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 50,830 | Gross: $18.56M

47. Run Lola Run (1998)

R | 80 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.

Director: Tom Tykwer | Stars: Franka Potente , Moritz Bleibtreu , Herbert Knaup , Nina Petri

Votes: 204,424 | Gross: $7.27M

48. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

PG | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral James T. Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to San Francisco in 1986 to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it: humpback whales.

Director: Leonard Nimoy | Stars: William Shatner , Leonard Nimoy , DeForest Kelley , James Doohan

Votes: 90,027 | Gross: $109.71M

49. The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

A United States Navy destroyer escort participates in a Navy "invisibility" experiment that inadvertently sends two sailors forty years into the future.

Director: Stewart Raffill | Stars: Michael Paré , Nancy Allen , Eric Christmas , Bobby Di Cicco

Votes: 16,417 | Gross: $8.10M

50. Frequency (2000)

PG-13 | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An accidental cross-time radio link connects father and son across 30 years. The son tries to save his father's life, but then must fix the consequences.

Director: Gregory Hoblit | Stars: Dennis Quaid , Jim Caviezel , Shawn Doyle , Elizabeth Mitchell

Votes: 113,877 | Gross: $45.01M

51. Triangle (2009)

R | 99 min | Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Five friends set sail and their yacht is overturned by a strange and sudden storm. A mysterious ship arrives to rescue them, and what happens next cannot be explained.

Director: Christopher Smith | Stars: Melissa George , Joshua McIvor , Jack Taylor , Michael Dorman

Votes: 126,016

52. The Visitors (1993)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Fantasy

A medieval knight and his servant ask a familiar wizard to move them back in time to prevent father-in-law's accidentally killing. Instead, they fly away to the 20th century.

Director: Jean-Marie Poiré | Stars: Christian Clavier , Jean Reno , Valérie Lemercier , Marie-Anne Chazel

Votes: 37,166 | Gross: $0.70M

53. Pleasantville (1998)

PG-13 | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Two 1990s teenage siblings find themselves transported to a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that colorless, complacent world.

Director: Gary Ross | Stars: Tobey Maguire , Jeff Daniels , Joan Allen , William H. Macy

Votes: 134,492 | Gross: $40.57M

54. Meet the Robinsons (2007)

G | 95 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Lewis is a brilliant inventor who meets mysterious stranger named Wilbur Robinson, whisking Lewis away in a time machine and together they team up to track down Bowler Hat Guy in a showdown that ends with an unexpected twist of fate.

Director: Stephen J. Anderson | Stars: Daniel Hansen , Wesley Singerman , Angela Bassett , Jordan Fry

Votes: 108,614 | Gross: $97.82M

55. Somewhere in Time (1980)

PG | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

A Chicago playwright uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time and meet the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.

Director: Jeannot Szwarc | Stars: Christopher Reeve , Jane Seymour , Christopher Plummer , Teresa Wright

Votes: 31,688 | Gross: $9.71M

56. Deja Vu (2006)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington , Paula Patton , Jim Caviezel , Val Kilmer

Votes: 322,743 | Gross: $64.04M

57. Galaxy Quest (1999)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

The alumni cast of a space opera television series have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help. However, they also have to defend both Earth and the alien race from a reptilian warlord.

Director: Dean Parisot | Stars: Tim Allen , Sigourney Weaver , Alan Rickman , Tony Shalhoub

Votes: 172,578 | Gross: $71.58M

58. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion. When she wakes up, she finds herself in her own past, just before she finished school.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Kathleen Turner , Nicolas Cage , Barry Miller , Catherine Hicks

Votes: 39,910 | Gross: $41.38M

59. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)

PG-13 | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Dr. Evil is back and has invented a new time machine that allows him to go back to the 1960s and steal Austin Powers' mojo, inadvertently leaving him "shagless".

Director: Jay Roach | Stars: Mike Myers , Heather Graham , Michael York , Robert Wagner

Votes: 244,594 | Gross: $206.04M

60. Timecop (1994)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

Max Walker, an officer for a security agency that regulates time travel, must fend for his life against a shady politician who's intent on changing the past to control the future.

Director: Peter Hyams | Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme , Mia Sara , Ron Silver , Bruce McGill

Votes: 62,791 | Gross: $44.85M

61. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949)

Approved | 106 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A singing mechanic from 1912 finds himself in Arthurian Britain.

Director: Tay Garnett | Stars: Bing Crosby , Rhonda Fleming , Cedric Hardwicke , William Bendix

Votes: 2,663

62. The Jacket (2005)

R | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

A Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a doctor's experiments, and his life is completely affected by them.

Director: John Maybury | Stars: Adrien Brody , Keira Knightley , Daniel Craig , Kris Kristofferson

Votes: 117,920 | Gross: $6.30M

63. The Lake House (2006)

PG | 99 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

A lonely doctor who once occupied an unusual lakeside house begins to exchange love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.

Director: Alejandro Agresti | Stars: Keanu Reeves , Sandra Bullock , Christopher Plummer , Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Votes: 155,751 | Gross: $52.33M

64. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal.

Directors: Eric Bress , J. Mackye Gruber | Stars: Ashton Kutcher , Amy Smart , Melora Walters , Elden Henson

Votes: 512,084 | Gross: $57.94M

65. The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006)

R | 92 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Nick Larson discovers a supernatural way to alter his life and travel back in time to key moments in his life by looking at photographs.

Director: John R. Leonetti | Stars: Eric Lively , Erica Durance , Dustin Milligan , Gina Holden

Votes: 37,009

66. The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations (2009)

R | 90 min | Crime, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Sam Reide uses his power to time travel to solve the mystery of his girlfriend's death.

Director: Seth Grossman | Stars: Chris Carmack , Rachel Miner , Melissa Jones , Kevin Yon

Votes: 20,479

67. Action Replayy (2010)

TV-PG | 129 min | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi

A young man tries to revive his parents' wilting marriage by traveling to the 1970s when their romance was budding and make it bloom: something more complex than he expects.

Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah | Stars: Akshay Kumar , Aishwarya Rai Bachchan , Aditya Roy Kapoor , Om Puri

68. Land of the Lost (2009)

PG-13 | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A space-time vortex sucks scientist Rick Marshall, his assistant Holly and a survivalist Will into a world populated by dinosaurs and painfully slow creatures called Sleestaks.

Director: Brad Silberling | Stars: Will Ferrell , Danny McBride , Anna Friel , Jorma Taccone

Votes: 74,293 | Gross: $49.44M

69. A Christmas Carol (2009)

PG | 96 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

An animated retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Jim Carrey , Gary Oldman , Colin Firth , Steve Valentine

Votes: 124,727 | Gross: $137.86M

70. Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009)

PG-13 | 83 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

While drinking at their local pub, three social outcasts attempt to navigate a time-travel conundrum.

Director: Gareth Carrivick | Stars: Chris O'Dowd , Marc Wootton , Dean Lennox Kelly , Anna Faris

Votes: 35,810

71. Mr. Nobody (2009)

R | 141 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.

Director: Jaco Van Dormael | Stars: Jared Leto , Sarah Polley , Diane Kruger , Linh-Dan Pham

Votes: 242,647 | Gross: $0.00M

72. Stargate: Continuum (2008 Video)

Not Rated | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Ba'al travels back in time and prevents the Stargate program from being started. SG-1 must somehow restore history.

Director: Martin Wood | Stars: Ben Browder , Amanda Tapping , Christopher Judge , Michael Shanks

Votes: 25,913

73. Minutemen (2008 TV Movie)

TV-G | 98 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

A comedy/sci-fi/adventure about three high school kids who invent a 10 minute time machine to spare others just like them from the humiliation they've endured.

Director: Lev L. Spiro | Stars: Jason Dolley , Luke Benward , Nicholas Braun , Chelsea Kane

Votes: 6,462

74. Premonition (I) (2007)

PG-13 | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

A depressed woman learns that her husband was killed in a car accident the previous day, then awakens the next morning to find him alive and well at home; then awakens the day after that to find that he's dead.

Director: Mennan Yapo | Stars: Sandra Bullock , Julian McMahon , Amber Valletta , Shyann McClure

Votes: 80,890 | Gross: $47.85M

75. Futurama: Bender's Big Score (2007 Video)

Not Rated | 88 min | Animation, Comedy, Musical

Planet Express sees a hostile takeover and Bender falls into the hands of criminals where he is used to fulfill their schemes.

Director: Dwayne Carey-Hill | Stars: Billy West , Katey Sagal , John DiMaggio , Tress MacNeille

Votes: 35,300

76. Idiocracy (2006)

R | 84 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Corporal Joe Bauers, a decisively average American, is selected as a guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program but is forgotten, awakening to a future so incredibly moronic he's easily the most intelligent person alive.

Director: Mike Judge | Stars: Luke Wilson , Maya Rudolph , Dax Shepard , Terry Crews

Votes: 176,936 | Gross: $0.44M

77. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

TV-PG | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda | Stars: Riisa Naka , Takuya Ishida , Mitsutaka Itakura , Ayami Kakiuchi

Votes: 69,599

78. Summer Time Machine Blues (2005)

107 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

A sci-fi club concocts a plan to repair a remote by using a time machine that suddenly appears.

Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro | Stars: Eita Nagayama , Yoshiaki Yoza , Daijirô Kawaoka , Munenori Nagano

Votes: 1,625

79. Click (2006)

A workaholic architect finds a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. Complications arise when the remote starts to overrule his choices.

Director: Frank Coraci | Stars: Adam Sandler , Kate Beckinsale , Christopher Walken , David Hasselhoff

Votes: 349,102 | Gross: $137.36M

80. A Sound of Thunder (2005)

PG-13 | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

A single mistake in the past, by a time travel company in the future, has devastating and unforeseen consequences.

Director: Peter Hyams | Stars: Edward Burns , Ben Kingsley , Catherine McCormack , Armin Rohde

Votes: 20,326 | Gross: $1.89M

81. Fetching Cody (2005)

Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Art, a drug-addicted dealer and hustler, arrives at his girlfriend Cody's apartment to find that she has overdosed on heroin. He tries to fix things by traveling back in time in an attempt to prevent her death.

Director: David Ray | Stars: Jay Baruchel , Sarah Lind , Jim Byrnes , Lucas Blaney

Votes: 1,456

82. 13 Going on 30 (2004)

PG-13 | 98 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Jenna Rink makes an unusual wish on her birthday. Miraculously, her wish comes true and the 13-year-old Jenna wakes up the next day as a 30-year-old woman.

Director: Gary Winick | Stars: Jennifer Garner , Mark Ruffalo , Judy Greer , Andy Serkis

Votes: 208,869 | Gross: $57.23M

83. Timeline (2003)

PG-13 | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A group of archaeologists become trapped in the past when they go there to retrieve a friend. The group must survive in 14th-century France before they can escape back to the twenty-first century.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Paul Walker , Gerard Butler , Billy Connolly , Frances O'Connor

Votes: 65,128 | Gross: $19.48M

84. Bottom Live 2003: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts Tour (2003 Video)

R | 93 min | Comedy

Eddie has locked himself away in the toilet and Richie finds he's been inventing gadgets and only to find himself joining Eddie on a adventure through time and space on-board Eddie's time machine "The Turdis" which is a toilet cubicle.

Director: Dewi Humphreys | Stars: Rik Mayall , Adrian Edmondson , Benjayx Murphy , Ethan Keaton

Votes: 1,128

85. The Hunt for the Hidden Relic (2002 TV Movie)

R | 182 min | Action, Thriller, Mystery

A German archaeological excavation in Israel finds a 2,000-year-old skeleton holding instructions for a video camera - results of an apparent time traveler who recorded footage of Jesus Christ.

Director: Sebastian Niemann | Stars: Matthias Koeberlin , Naike Rivelli , Manou Lubowski , Hans Diehl

Votes: 2,176

86. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

PG-13 | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Upon learning that his father has been kidnapped, Austin Powers must travel to 1975 and defeat the aptly named villain Goldmember, who is working with Dr. Evil.

Director: Jay Roach | Stars: Mike Myers , Beyoncé , Seth Green , Michael York

Votes: 219,488 | Gross: $213.31M

87. Timequest (2000)

R | 92 min | Sci-Fi

A story about a man who travels back in time to Fort Worth, Texas on November 22, 1963 and prevents the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Director: Robert Dyke | Stars: Victor Slezak , Caprice Benedetti , Vince Grant , Bruce Campbell

88. Time Changer (2002)

PG | 95 min | Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

A Bible professor from 1890 comes forward in time to the present via a time machine and cannot believe the things that he sees!

Director: Rich Christiano | Stars: D. David Morin , Gavin MacLeod , Hal Linden , Jennifer O'Neill

Votes: 2,767 | Gross: $1.28M

89. Returner (2002)

R | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A young woman from the future forces a local gunman to help her stop an impending alien invasion which will wipe out the human race.

Director: Takashi Yamazaki | Stars: Takeshi Kaneshiro , Anne Suzuki , Gorô Kishitani , Kirin Kiki

Votes: 11,506 | Gross: $0.07M

90. Pokemon 4Ever: Celebi - Voice of the Forest (2001)

G | 75 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

Ash must stop a hunter who forces the mythical Pokémon Celebi to help him destroy a forest.

Directors: Kunihiko Yuyama , Jim Malone | Stars: Veronica Taylor , Rica Matsumoto , Rachael Lillis , Ikue Ôtani

Votes: 9,161 | Gross: $1.73M

91. Kate & Leopold (2001)

PG-13 | 118 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

An English Duke from 1876 is inadvertently dragged to modern day New York where he falls for a plucky advertising executive.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Meg Ryan , Hugh Jackman , Liev Schreiber , Breckin Meyer

Votes: 87,965 | Gross: $47.12M

92. Just Visiting (2001)

PG-13 | 88 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

A French count is in England to marry the princess. She's killed. A wizard helps him time travel back before the murder - but ends up in Chicago, April 2000. A descendant helps him. Can he return to the 1100s?

Director: Jean-Marie Poiré | Stars: Jean Reno , Christina Applegate , Christian Clavier , Matt Ross

Votes: 19,945 | Gross: $4.78M

93. Black Knight (2001)

PG-13 | 95 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Martin Lawrence plays Jamal, an employee in Medieval World amusement park. After sustaining a blow to the head, he awakens to find himself in 14th century England.

Director: Gil Junger | Stars: Martin Lawrence , Marsha Thomason , Tom Wilkinson , Vincent Regan

Votes: 42,642 | Gross: $33.42M

94. Il Mare (2000)

105 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

In 1999, a voice actor moves from Il Mare, a seaside house, and leaves a Christmas card in its (magical) mailbox. An architecture student receives it in 1997, and a friendship separated by 2 years begins.

Director: Hyun-seung Lee | Stars: Lee Jung-jae , Jun Ji-hyun , Mu-saeng Kim , Jo Seung-yeon

Votes: 9,320

95. The Kid (2000)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

An unhappy and disliked image consultant gets a second shot at life when he is mysteriously confronted by an eight-year-old version of himself.

Director: Jon Turteltaub | Stars: Bruce Willis , Spencer Breslin , Emily Mortimer , Lily Tomlin

Votes: 43,806 | Gross: $69.69M

96. Ditto (2000)

110 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

Two students, separated in time, are somehow able to talk to each other using amateur radio, one in 1979 and the other in 2000.

Director: Jeong-kwon Kim | Stars: Yoo Ji-tae , Ha-neul Kim , Ha Ji-Won , Do-Yoon Kim

Votes: 2,197

97. Thrill Seekers (1999 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 88 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A reporter, learning of time travelers visiting 20th century disasters, tries to change the history they know by averting upcoming disasters.

Director: Mario Azzopardi | Stars: Casper Van Dien , Catherine Bell , Theresa Saldana , Peter Outerbridge

Votes: 2,709

98. Lost in Space (1998)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Family

The Robinson family was going into space to fight for a chance for humanity. Now they are fighting to live long enough to find a way home.

Director: Stephen Hopkins | Stars: Gary Oldman , William Hurt , Matt LeBlanc , Mimi Rogers

Votes: 74,220 | Gross: $69.12M

99. Time at the Top (1999 TV Movie)

G | 96 min | Family, Sci-Fi

Her building's elevator, having been altered by a retired physicist in the building, transports 14-year old Susan Shawson back in time from 1998 Philadelphia to the same place in 1881. ... See full summary  »

Director: Jim Kaufman | Stars: Timothy Busfield , Elisha Cuthbert , Gabrielle Boni , Matthew Harbour

100. Time Under Fire (1997)

R | 92 min | Action, Sci-Fi

A US submarine runs into a time rift. A special unit goes on a mission to see what's on the other side. They find themselves in an alternate dystopian America, now a one-man dictatorship. They decide to help the rebels.

Directors: Scott P. Levy , Tripp Reed | Stars: Jeff Fahey , Richard Tyson , Jack Coleman , Bryan Cranston

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The 25 Greatest Time-Travel Movies Ever Made

time travel movie name list

It must say something, surely, about humans, how often time-travel movies are about returning to the past rather than jumping to the future. As Mark Duplass’s forlorn character says in Safety Not Guaranteed , “The mission has to do with regret.” With all the potential to explore the unknown world of the future, so often when our minds conspire to bend the rules of time it’s instead to rehash the old. It’s compelling to watch a character in a movie do what we cannot — right past wrongs or uncover the reason for or meaning behind the events in their lives, whether they be emotionally catastrophic or merely geopolitically motivated.

So absent is the future from the canon, in fact, that when it is involved, typically future dwellers are leaving their own time to come back to the present. Back to the Future Part II aside, it seems as if there’s something about going forward in time that just doesn’t track for humans. (Of course, you could argue that this is because the present-day concept of bidirectional time travel would infinitely multiply or change beyond recognition any future that may occur, but that’s a knot for another article.)

In any case, the time-travel stories deemed worthy of Hollywood budgets aren’t always straightforward in their mechanics. Some films on this list barely qualify as time-travel movies at all; others could hardly qualify as anything else. There are movies about trips through time but also ones about the bending and fracturing and muddying thereof; then there are those about, as Andy Samberg aptly puts it in Palm Springs , “one of those infinite time-loop situations you might have heard about.” There’s even a movie in which we get only 13 seconds’ worth of time travel, when it functions more like a joke whose punch line hits at the film’s climax.

What these films all do have in common is a fascination with changing the way time works. That being said, the list leaves out movies in larger, more extended franchises in which time meddling is a one-off dalliance thrown into a sequel with little by way of foreshadowing: think Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban , Avengers: Endgame , and Men in Black III . (It also leaves off perhaps the Ur-time-travel movie, Primer , and the quite good Midnight in Paris because their directors don’t deserve the column inches.) We’re looking at self-contained stories using time mechanics from the start, with preference given to those that involve themselves more intently with the ins and outs of time travel; that ask questions about time, aging, memory and so forth; and that try to succeed at it in new and interesting ways. So let’s get to it.

25. Galaxy Quest (1999)

Does Galaxy Quest really count as a time-travel movie? Some compelling reasons argue that it doesn’t: Time travel isn’t a major factor in the plot, and the time traveling that does occur is, yes, only a 13-second jump. But its use of time travel is meaningful insofar as the movie itself is a loving spoof of Star Trek , which makes use of time travel in three films ( one of which made this list ), not to mention dozens of episodes across its various TV iterations. Tacking on time travel as a deus ex machina for the actors in a Star Trek– like show pressed into service as an actual space crew by an endangered alien race is the exact right amount of ribbing in a movie that’s as on point as it is hilarious.

Galaxy Quest is available to rent on Amazon .

24. Happy Death Day (2017)

Pick away at the surface of a time-loop movie and you find a horror movie. Most of the entries on this list are covered in enough feel-good spin to land as comedies, but Happy Death Day stares the horror of the time-loop phenomenon right in the face. (It’s also quite funny.) Reliving the same day over and over is an unimaginably potent form of psychological torture, and adding murder to the equation does little to dull that edge. The film follows a college-age protagonist struggling to escape from a masked slasher hell-bent on killing her again and again while she tries to solve the mystery of how she got stuck in a time loop.

Happy Death Day is available to rent on Amazon .

23. Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Seriously, this may be the only good movie in which the film’s whole focus is using a time machine to travel into the future. The fact that it’s a sequel is telling — the characters already traveled into the past in the first movie , and the filmmakers decided to save “traveling even further into the past“ for the third film in the trilogy. Still, Back to the Future Part II is a fun time that makes great use of sight gags and references, recasting scenes from the first film in the distant future year of 2015 with all its hoverboards and self-lacing Nikes.

Back to the Future Part II is available to rent on Amazon .

22. See You Yesterday (2019)

It’s a dirty little secret of time-travel movies that they tend to be, well, pretty white. Tenet ’s Protagonist aside, if Hollywood’s sending someone through time, they’re almost certainly not a Black person, and for obvious reasons: Most of post-contact North American history is deeply unfriendly to people of color, and the problems a person running around out of time and place is going to encounter are deeply compounded if they’ll likely be the target of racist abuse or violence — which makes See You Yesterday all the more compelling. Produced by Spike Lee and featuring one of filmdom’s most famous time travelers in a cameo role, it follows a Black teenage science prodigy who uses a time machine to try to save her brother from being killed by a police officer.

See You Yesterday is streaming on Netflix .

21. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

No offense to the Back to the Future franchise, but time travel never looks more fun on film than it does in the first Bill & Ted movie. It’s a concept that feels distinctly of a different era, so pure is its zaniness, that it’s hard to imagine anyone concocting it today. The titular duo, Californian high-school students in the ’80s, travel through the past looking for historical figures in order to ace a history project, then bring them all back to the present. High jinks ensue! We get Genghis Khan in a sporting-goods store and Mozart on an electric keyboard. What more could you want?

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is streaming on HBO Max .

20. Source Code (2011)

Time-travel-film aficionados know this won’t be Jake Gyllenhaal’s only stop on this list, but no matter. Source Code finds him repeating the same eight minutes over and over as he struggles to find the culprit in a train bombing — with each replay ending in his own death by explosion. For some reason, a romantic subplot is shoehorned into this, along with a bunch of frankly unnecessary technical mumbo-jumbo, but the core idea is a compelling mix of the time-loop movie and the train whodunit that Gyllenhaal is a perfect fit for.

Source Code is available to rent on Amazon .

19. 12 Monkeys (1995)

Some sort of law of nature dictates that every genuinely good idea and/or piece of true art has to at some point be turned into a Hollywood movie. Thank God La Jetée was adapted into something that can stand on its own feet artistically. 12 Monkeys may not retain its source material’s black-and-white look or stripped-down, static-image presentation, but it is a rollicking good time nonetheless. That’s in no small part due to director Terry Gilliam getting the best out of Bruce Willis and a young Brad Pitt, and recasting World War III as a planet-decimating virus. Which, like at least one other movie on this list , “speaks to the present moment,” or whatever.

12 Monkeys is available to rent on Amazon .

18. Run Lola Run (1998)

Unlike almost all of the other films on this list, the terms time travel and time machine don’t show up anywhere in Run Lola Run . Rather, it’s a sort of de facto time-loop scenario in which the protagonist tries repeatedly to pay a ransom to save her boyfriend’s life. In fact, if not for a few key details, it could easily be characterized (and often has been) as an alternate-endings movie rather than a time-travel film. But the fact that Lola seems to be learning from her past attempts with each successive one suggests that she is, indeed, using knowledge gained from previous loops to bring a satisfactory end to this situation.

Run Lola Run is available to rent on Amazon .

17. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

One of the most striking things about Groundhog Day is the mutability and replicability of its core conceit. Perhaps the best case in point is Edge of Tomorrow , sometimes known as Live. Die. Repeat. after its original tagline. It’s the kind of physically grueling movie only an actor as genuinely unhinged as Tom Cruise could pull off. A noncombatant thrust into a war against invading aliens, Cruise’s character finds himself reliving day one of combat over and over, slowly but surely refining his techniques in order to survive the extraterrestrial onslaught. Like the central twosome in the much less violent Palm Springs , he winds up with a partner in (war) crime, teaming up with the similarly time-trapped Emily Blunt, and the explanation for the replay glitch here is actually pretty satisfying.

Edge of Tomorrow is streaming on Fubo TV .

16. Star Trek (2009)

If you could create some sort of an advanced stat to measure controversy generated per unit of interesting filmmaking decisions, J.J. Abrams would have to be near the top in terms of his ability to rig up movie drama from almost nothing. This is a guy whose filmography is like Godzilla rip-off, Spielberg homage, safe reboot of cherished IP, repeat. Star Trek may be his best film, though, a sure-footed reinvention of a dorky sci-fi franchise that made it, well, cool. Somehow, the beauty of Spock and Kirk’s bromance being woven through chance encounters with future selves kind of … works?

Star Trek is available to rent on Amazon .

15. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

There’s a relative dearth of time travel in animated film, which perhaps is a function simply of the fact that it’s less impressive to stage in a world that’s already unreal. If you can Looney Tunes your way through physics, what’s so special about grabbing the flow of time and tying it into a bow? Still, the original Girl Who Leapt Through Time deserves mention here. It’s a beautiful story that interlaces the complexity of time leaping with the intensity of teenage emotion and the thorny process of growing up where the opportunity to redo things leads, over time, to growth — a less shitty Groundhog Day , in a way.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is available to rent on Amazon .

14. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

She may not be the most famous, decorated, or emulated actress of her generation, but Aubrey Plaza is someone whose personality spoke to the irony-soaked 2010s in a way that simply could not be denied. Her character on Parks and Recreation , April Ludgate, was, by all accounts, created specifically to channel Plaza’s real-life personality to the screen, and she plays essentially the same character in Safety Not Guaranteed . Here, she’s a sarcastic intern at a magazine working on a story about a would-be time traveler and using her feminine wiles to slowly gain his trust. The chemistry between Plaza and Mark Duplass is probably the film’s high point; the subplot about the FBI feels like it was clipped out of a bad X-Files episode.

Safety Not Guaranteed is streaming on Tubi .

13. La Jetée (1962)

At only a 28-minute run time, La Jetée is arguably too short to merit inclusion on this list. However, what it lacks in content (and in, well, moving images; it’s almost exclusively a collection of static black-and-white shots set to voice-over), it more than makes up for in inventiveness and influence, and it would be a travesty to leave it out in favor of more recent by-the-book fare. Tracing the tale of a man held prisoner in post-WWIII Paris being used in time-travel experiments as his captors seek to remedy the postapocalyptic state of the world, he’s sent into both the future and the past and ends up unraveling a lifelong personal mystery while he’s at it.

La Jetée is streaming on the Criterion Channel .

12. Planet of the Apes (1968)

Unlike the worse but more straightforwardly time-traveling Tim Burton remake, the relationship between the original Planet of the Apes and time travel is inexact — technically, the astronaut crew that lands on the titular planet does travel forward 2,000 years, but it’s not done via a time machine. The travel isn’t instantaneous: It literally does take them 2,000 years to get there; they’re just unconscious and on life support. Still, the way the film’s ending handles the iconic reveal is exactly in line with the best of the time-travel canon, the telescoping, mise en abyme feeling of the world shifting in front of your very eyes without your moving an inch.

Planet of the Apes is available to rent on Amazon .

11. Groundhog Day (1993)

The famous Bill Murray vehicle essentially invented the infinite-time-loop genre (and it’s hardly a movie that succeeds on the strength of its concept alone), but the idea at its core is so steeped in the casual misogyny of late-’80s and early-’90s cinema that it’s hard to watch today without cringing. Murray’s character employing what amounts to PUA-style techniques over and over and over in a desperate bid to fuck his hapless co-worker just doesn’t hit the way it did back then. If the story arc didn’t present a guy detoxifying himself of the worst aspects of masculinity in order to be worthy of a woman’s love as the primary way for a 20th-century white man to achieve full personhood, this would be much higher on the list.

Groundhog Day is streaming on Starz .

10. Predestination (2014)

This is probably the most complicated film on the list. Following a “temporal agent” (played by Ethan Hawke) who’s trying to prevent a bombing in 1970s New York, it’s based on a Robert A. Heinlein short story and features Shiv Roy herself, Sarah Snook, in a star-making turn as someone with a complicated backstory and a secret. Like the best sci-fi, the film’s premise raises all kinds of fascinating questions about the titular concept and throws in some interesting musings on sex, gender, and the self in the process.

Predestination is streaming on Tubi .

9. Looper (2012)

Wes Anderson gets a lot of flak for his overwrought twee visuals, but Rian Johnson has a knack for making movies that feel and function like dioramas even if they don’t look it. Narratively speaking, everything here is constructed just so — and there’s a certain beauty in that — but who ever had a profound experience of art by looking at a diorama? Looper was probably Johnson’s least precious pre– Star Wars film, which is nice because the temptation to drastically overmaneuver the mechanics of a time-travel story can lead to disaster. The tech used to Bruce Willis–ify Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face is distracting, and the third act’s retreat from the postapocalyptic city of the future to the postapocalyptic corn farm of the future is a brave choice that the film struggles to land. Still, Johnson’s vision of a future in which organized crime runs time travel is compelling and well worth a watch.

Looper is streaming on Netflix .

8. Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko is a bit of a genre mash-up. Part high-school movie, part sci-fi flick, part bleak meditation on the soullessness of late-’80s America, it’s nevertheless a weirdly successful piece of filmmaking that makes fantastic use of a young Jake Gyllenhaal, a great supporting cast (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, and Patrick Swayze among others), and an absolutely iconic haunting cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World.” Watching high schoolers navigate parallel universes, wormholes, and time travel is a dicey proposition, but director Richard Kelly makes it work, somehow.

Donnie Darko is streaming on HBO Max .

7. Back to the Future (1984)

While it’s clearly superior to the sequel (and leagues ahead of the final film in the trilogy), the original Back to the Future is a bit of a mess (John Mulaney was right , to be honest). Its racial and gender politics are cringey, and the incest subplot is weird (“It’s your cousin Marvin. Marvin Pornhub . You know that new plot element you’ve been looking for?”), but there’s a clear interest in time travel beyond its shimmering surface: the very real addressing of the “grandfather problem” in time travel via the slow disappearance of Marty from his family photo, the accidental invention of rock music, and a genuine curiosity about the nuts-and-bolts mechanics of time machines. Ahh, what the hell. It’s a romp.

Back to the Future is available to rent on Amazon .

6. Palm Springs (2020)

No offense to Gen-Xers and boomers, but the best time-loop movie of all time is Palm Springs . The film isn’t without its missteps, but it’s much more curious about life than Groundhog Day was through the eyes of Murray’s misanthrope. Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg‘s characters, stuck in the loop together, are a perfect comedic match, and their shared humanity makes for a beautiful arc. The film raises questions about what’s worth doing in life when nothing lasts and how to stay sane when every day is the same. Of course, as a sort of polar opposite of Tenet , it benefited from coming out during the pandemic by speaking, as it does, to the experience of lockdown.

Palm Springs is streaming on Hulu .

5. Tenet (2020)

Interstellar wasn’t enough for Chris Nolan, apparently. Tenet ’s legacy may end up being little more than that of the COVID action movie no one saw — a bloated thriller that Nolan fought to get into theaters and bar from home viewing reportedly to swell the size of his own pockets. It really did suffer from bad timing, though, because this is genuinely a quintessential big-screen popcorn movie whose absurdity is all the more palatable when it’s given the audiovisual bombast it deserves. Ambitious in scope as it traces a war on the past by the future (yes, you read that right), Tenet is as enamored of action tropes as it is in bucking them, and its investment in rendering visible the brain-bendingly knotty mechanics of moving through time is laudable, even when the movie itself remains opaque — as impenetrable as the future, as hazy as the past.

Tenet is streaming on HBO Max .

4. The Terminator (1984)

A partner to Blade Runner in the mid-’80s invention of sci-fi noir, The Terminator is a stunning film in many ways, despite the third act’s now-iffy visual effects. While it’s not James Cameron’s debut, and it would go on to be bested by its sequel , it functions as an incredible showcase for an emerging young director who would exclusively make big stories for the rest of his career. Arnold Schwarzenegger is perfectly cast as the relentless, unemotional killer cyborg sent back from the future to terminate the mother of the eventual resistance leader, and the film’s romantic subplot has just the perfect amount of time-travel-induced cheesiness for it to work.

The Terminator is streaming on Amazon Prime Video .

3. Interstellar (2014)

It’s not inaccurate to say Christopher Nolan is a director who’s more interested in scale and scope than in expressing the minutiae of the human experience in its purest form. But in Interstellar, a Nolan movie in its titular ambitions, there’s a core element of time travel wrought not as sci-fi fireworks but as a paean to the sheer force and will of the power of love. It both does and doesn’t work, depending on your capacity for cheese in space, but even besides that, Nolan’s use of time as story arc — the way Miller’s planet functions, in particular — is conceptually masterful in the best kind of time-travel-movie way.

Interstellar is streaming on Paramount+ .

2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Whereas the franchise’s first movie spends more time on the question of time travel, in the second it takes a bit of a back seat to the action itself. It’s hard to fault director James Cameron for this decision; T2 remains one of the best action movies of the ’90s and — along with Jurassic Park and The Matrix — one of the decade’s best when for special effects. The groundbreaking T-1000 would honestly be enough to get this movie on the list; a tween John Connor grappling with questions of predestination and the fact that he is vicariously responsible for his own conception feel almost like icing on the time-travel cake. Much as in 12 Monkeys , time travel here is mistaken for delusion, as valiant Sarah Connor, in a Cassandra-esque nightmare, has to battle against the future only she knows is coming. Of course, Cassandra never had access to any firepower stored in underground desert arsenals.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is streaming on Netflix .

1. Arrival (2016)

It’s fair to wonder whether Arrival really is, in fact, a time-travel movie. The Ted Chiang short story it’s based on isn’t about time travel per se; rather, it’s an exploration of alternate forms of temporal understanding. The linguist protagonist, played by Amy Adams, doesn’t travel through time so much as come to experience it differently. Still, the plot ends up hinging on foreknowledge that she is granted not via visions but by actually experiencing her future simultaneously with her present and past. For our purposes, though, that’s time fuckery enough to merit inclusion, and boy howdy does the film deliver in overall quality. Partly, that’s simply a question of the source material. Chiang is arguably the most talented (and possibly the most decorated) American sci-fi writer of his generation. But the source story is not especially Hollywood friendly, and director Denis Villeneuve has adopted it lovingly, borrowing a plot device from another of Chiang’s stories, the more straightforwardly time-travel-based “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” in order to add some third-act blockbuster flavor. The result is a beautiful meditation on love, choice, and courage that packs art-film ethos into a genuine sci-fi blockbuster.

Arrival is streaming on Hulu and Paramount+ .

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The 15 Best Time Travel Movies Ever Made, Ranked

Trigger Warning: There are two 'Back to the Future' movies on this list.

Making a great time-travel movie, as it turns out, is not very easy. Quite a few films have tried and failed for a variety of reasons. There’s the logic, obviously, which can become an issue, but oftentimes a story might rest too heavily on the plot device, resulting in a lack of rich or memorable characters. But there are some truly phenomenal movies involving time travel that seize upon the premise and craft unforgettable and inventive stories, many of which have long stood the test of time.

With that in mind, I’ve looked back at the lexicon of films involving time travel and curated a list of the best of the best. Some are silly, some are sweet, and some are just a hell of a lot of fun. As with all lists, this one’s subjective, and there will undoubtedly be one or two of your favorites that don’t make this cut, but I’ve done my best to make the case for why these 15 films, in particular, are the best time-travel movies ever made.

RELATED: The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 21st Century So Far

Most time-travel movies try to keep the actual mechanics of the time-travel simple, but that’s definitely not true of writer/director/star Shane Carruth ’s head-spinning 2004 film Primer . The indie drama revolves around two engineers who accidentally discover a mechanism of time travel while tinkering with entrepreneurial tech projects. Carruth doesn’t “dumb down” any of the science of the movie, and indeed charts have been made to explain the exact mechanics of what’s going on in this film, but it nevertheless remains one of the most scientifically intense time-travel movies ever made.

14. The Terminator

I mean, this has to be on the list right? Director James Cameron ’s groundbreaking 1984 sci-fi action flick is far more grounded and low-key than its sequel, but The Terminator still packs a punch all these years later. With a truly inventive premise, charismatic performance from Linda Hamilton , and proof that Arnold Schwarzenegger could act, The Terminator ’s influence reaches far and wide.

13. About Time

About Time is certainly the most emotional entry on this list. Writer/director Richard Curtis had previously melted hearts with Love Actually and Pirate Radio , but About Time brought the filmmaker back to his Four Weddings and a Funeral roots (which he didn’t direct, but he did write). The time-travel genre offers the opportunity to wax philosophical about death and regret, and About Time seizes it in a unique way by focusing on a very earnest relationship between a father and a son. The romantic comedy portion between Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams is the hook, but the relationship between time-traveling father and son Gleeson and Bill Nighy is this film’s tearjerking heart.

12. Back to the Future Part II

There are people who say Back to the Future Part II is a bad movie, and those people are wrong. Director Robert Zemeckis ’ original is untouchable, but for the first sequel the notoriously ambitious filmmaker doubles down on the time travel premise while also echoing the first movie in a brilliant way. First, we get a kitschy, Easter Egg-filled vision of the future, then we get to see the events of the first film recontextualized as Marty McFly has to go back in time once again to save the future—all while avoiding his other time-traveling self. It’s a tight rope walk of an extremely difficult sort, and one that only a director with this much vision and guts could pull off.

11. Idiocracy

You know, that movie that was ridiculous fiction until it kind of became reality. Filmmaker Mike Judge couldn’t have predicted just how spot-on Idiocracy would be over a decade after its release, but indeed Judge and co-writer Etan Cohen certainly had their finger on the pulse of what was happening in America at the time—enough to hit upon ugly truths that remain relevant today. While the central premise of a man being “frozen” for hundreds of years has been done before, the comedic precision with which Judge executes his dumbed-down vision of America’s future is what makes Idiocracy endure. And also the batin’ jokes.

Whether it’s in an indie noir-like Brick or a massive blockbuster like Star Wars: The Last Jedi , writer/director Rian Johnson has always showcased an impeccable mix of ambition and meticulousness, never allowing his reach to exceed his grasp. Looper marked Johnson’s first foray into the sci-fi genre, and he did so with vigor, offering up a twisty time-travel story rooted in character first and foremost. The film takes the premise of, “What would you do if you went back in time and met your younger self?” and spins it on its head, adding in terrifically tense action sequences and heady moral quandaries for good measure.

9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

As the best movie in the franchise (fight me), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban also stands as one of the best time-travel movies ever made. Director Alfonso Cuarón shook up the aesthetic and narrative approach to the adaptation of J.K. Rowling ’s beloved book series, and while the foundation of the storytelling is all Rowling, Cuaron’s execution really makes this thing soar. From tremendous cinematography to aural motifs that clue the audience in to the shifting time scenarios, Azkaban is full of wonder, curiosity, and danger, and it’s an absolute joy to behold.

8. Star Trek (2009)

Director J.J. Abrams ’ 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise sidestepped the problem of “erasing” the legacy of the films/TV shows that came before by using one specific device: time-travel. This genius idea allows Abrams’ wildly entertaining film to both exist in the same universe as the previous Star Trek movies with Kirk and Spock and the whole gang, while also opening up new possibilities for the future—even though Abrams’ Trek focuses on Young Kirk, he exists in a new and changed timeline, so the future is not 100% set. That the film is able to explain this concisely while also serving as an incredibly entertaining adventure all its own is the minor miracle that is Star Trek (2009) , and while the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness hampered some of that goodwill, Abrams’ initial film still stands as one of the most effortlessly rewatchable blockbusters of the 21st century.

RELATED: 7 Must-Watch Time-Travel TV Shows

7. 12 Monkeys

While filmmaker Terry Gilliam is no stranger to time travel ( Time Bandits just missed the cut on this list), his 1995 film 12 Monkeys remains one of the most memorable entries in the genre. The sci-fi drama combines Gilliam’s more odd sensibilities with gritty and grounded time-travel, resulting in a dirty and unforgettable experience. Brad Pitt delivers a pretty phenomenal performance as a maybe-crazy mental institution patient while Bruce Willis plays a future prisoner sent back in time to discover the origins of a deadly virus that ravaged the Earth. Never one for the traditional, Gilliam keeps things delightfully strange throughout.

6. Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow is the perfect cocktail—a dash of Tom Cruise action, a sprinkle of Emily Blunt strength, a swirl of writer Christopher McQuarrie ’s unique sensibilities, and a heavy helping of director Doug Liman ’s wild ambition. Many have tried and failed to imitate the “stuck in a loop” premise of Groundhog Day , but Edge of Tomorrow takes that nugget and runs with it, keeping every single scene fresh even if we’re watching the same day play out over and over again. The secret sauce is having Tom Cruise play an out-and-out coward, which stands in contrast to the public perception of his onscreen persona and results in a wonderfully refreshing viewing experience. Edge of Tomorrow is the White Whale of Hollywood: a genuinely unique and wildly entertaining blockbuster.

5. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure combined the sci-fi genre with the teen comedy to result in a wonderfully inventive—and hilarious—adventure. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are perfect as a pair of burnouts who use a time machine to complete a history report. The whole thing is an incredibly silly affair, but it’s made with such affection for its characters that it’s impossible not to love. There are terrific jokes aplenty, especially involving historical figures, and George Carlin ’s Rufus remains an icon to this day. It’s a movie that probably shouldn’t work, but totally does. Be excellent to each other, indeed.

4. Planet of the Apes

So Planet of the Apes is technically a time-travel movie, even though audiences who first laid eyes on the 1968 film didn’t know it until that final, jaw-dropping scene. Charlton Heston ’s astronaut Taylor hasn’t simply stumbled upon a planet made of apes, he’s traveled into a future Earth where apes have actually taken over the planet. The film is rife with socio-political commentary, which continued throughout its underrated sequels, and features one of the best Jerry Goldsmith scores ever created. But that ending, which paints the rest of the film in a whole new light, is what solidifies it as a classic.

3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

We should have known, given Aliens and The Abyss , that director James Cameron ’s Terminator 2 wouldn’t just be any old sequel. Indeed, the ambitious filmmaker made a very different movie than the original Terminator , weaving in shades of a buddy comedy, PTSD drama, and family story into this sci-fi actioner. Terminator 2 is a minor miracle of a film, turning its own premise on its head to present a time-travel story that’s similar to the first Terminator , but different in key ways. It also feels positively epic. This one ticks all the boxes.

2. Groundhog Day

Star Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis famously butted heads while making Groundhog Day . Murray reportedly wanted the film to be more philosophical, while Ramis was always pushing the comedy. But it’s the push-and-pull between these two ideas that makes Groundhog Day a stone-cold classic. It’s hilarious, featuring some of Murray’s best comedic moments, but it’s also profoundly sad. The film doesn’t disregard the inherent loneliness of the premise—being stuck in the same day over and over again. It goes to some surprisingly dark places, but Murray’s humanity always shines through, and Andie MacDowell does some terrifically understated work as his foil. It’s a classic, full-stop.

1. Back to the Future

But there’s really nothing like Back to the Future , is there? Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis ’ 1985 original takes a universal idea—the fact that we’re never able to truly know what our parents were like when they were our age—and adds his usual dash of insane ambition by playing that out as a time-travel story. And given the hardships during production, it’s crazy the movie turned out as great as it did. Michael J. Fox is a revelation, Christopher Lloyd is perfect, and Lea Thompson is so good you forget she’s actually playing Marty’s mom. It’s hilarious and new and different and inventive, but it’s also rooted in universal truths that make it so relevant throughout the decades. And yes, it’s also a movie about trying not to bone your mom.

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The 23 best time travel movies of all time

From Back to the Future to Looper to Palm Springs, the time travel narrative traverses the film spectrum. Here are EW’s picks for 23 of the best. 

Despite time travel being considered more of a science fiction trope, there is something positively enchanting about the idea of being able to go back to another time or forward into the future, even if just for a moment. While this list deals with a mix of films, some of which consider the hazards of time travel (mostly through time loops), for the most part, these films see time travel as a net positive. Time travel is also a sphere that is mostly occupied by television, thanks to shows like Doctor Who , Quantum Leap , and Lost , even though the number of time travel movies has shot up over the past two decades or so.

Unfortunately, the earliest this list goes is 1962; while there are some time travel movies from the Old Hollywood days, they lack a lot of the imagination and thoughtfulness about the nature of time that the movies on this list bring. This list is a mix of straight dramas, killer action, rollicking comedies, and heartfelt romance — and sometimes, all of those elements exist in a single movie. This list is unranked, and mostly grouped together according to each movie's particular "genre" of time travel: conventional time machines, time loops, magical circumstances, and missions to save the past and the future at the same time. These are 23 of the best time travel movies of all time.

La Jetée (1962)

Kicking off an unranked list of time-travel movies chronologically seems like a good place to start, actually. La Jetée is also probably the most experimental of the films on this list. A French Left Bank short film set in a post-nuclear apocalypse future told through narration and photographs, this is not the first time-travel film by any means, but its impact on the time-travel movies that came after, like 1995's 12 Monkeys , cannot be understated.

A young prisoner (Davos Hanich) is forced to undergo torturous experiments to induce time travel by using impactful memories — and unlike those who came before him, he succeeds, but he ends up discovering a time loop in the process. This is an incredibly stylish telling of what is now a familiar type of story, but in 1962, it was absolutely revolutionary. Honestly, because of its unique technical and visual elements, it still is.

Watch La Jetée on Criterion Channel

Time After Time (1979)

Nicholas Meyer is behind not one, but two brilliant time-travel movies that made this list. For this particular film, he not only wrote the screenplay but also made his directorial debut. The tale of two 19th-century former friends, H.G. Wells ( Malcolm McDowell , unusually wide-eyed and adorable) and John Leslie Stevenson a.k.a. Jack the Ripper ( David Warner , never more menacing yet charming), as they chase each other through 1979 San Francisco thanks to Wells' time machine, Time After Time doesn't spend too much time on the science of time travel, and it's better for it.

This is, in essence, a romantic thriller, as Wells falls for quirky bank clerk Amy ( Mary Steenburgen , delightfully independent) while in search of his old friend turned enemy. It has chase scenes, interrogation sequences, gory murder (courtesy of Jack), and a delightful sense of humor as Wells learns to navigate the future. He thought it would be a utopia; instead, he finds a world in sore need of his idealism, kindness, and dedication to justice.

Where to rent or buy Time After Time

The Back to the Future trilogy (1985, 1989, 1990)

While it's true that the first Back to the Future movie is probably one of the greatest time-travel movies of all time, with its two sequels living in its shadows, all three are essential to understanding the character of Marty McFly ( Michael J. Fox ). The Back to the Future trilogy is an '80s version of a bildungsroman about a teenager who has to learn that there's much more to life than being, well, a teenager. The first film, confidently directed by Robert Zemeckis , is imbued with so much humor and heart, it's all too easy to get sucked into a plot that should be convoluted, but that works so awfully well.

Back to the Future Part II evokes a bit less feeling than the original, and it's significantly grittier, but it's still " another fantastic voyage " as EW's Ira Robbins wrote, flinging Marty and Doc Brown ( Christopher Lloyd ) into a slightly prescient future version of 2015. Back to the Future Part III , meanwhile, restores the heart, but its story is slighter as it wraps up Marty's saga, sending Doc off on a brand new adventure all his own. While the first Back to the Future movie is required viewing for any time travel enthusiast, stick around for the rest of the trilogy, too: Even if this franchise's view of time travel is riddled with potential paradoxes, they are entertaining paradoxes nonetheless.

Watch the Back to the Future trilogy on Tubi

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

"Be excellent to each other" is the reigning philosophy of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure , the adventurous, fun-loving, stoner time-travel comedy that spawned a franchise, including a third installment released in 2020. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves absolutely triumph in the roles of lackadaisical teenagers Bill and Ted, respectively, as they journey through time to bring back legends in order to pass their history class.

If the film seems silly, that's because it is meant to be. Whereas the Back to the Future franchise intended to craft a legend, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure kicks off the journey with George Carlin as the duo's time travel guide and mentor, Rufus, who intends to enlighten the pair on their mission and destiny. In any other film, the two budding legends, with their free-wheeling ideals and misadventures, would bring down the fabric of time and space itself. However, Excellent Adventure is not a time-travel film that forces you to think too hard about its premise; instead, it invites you to just kick back and have a good time.

Watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Amazon Prime Video

Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Meet the Robinsons received mixed reviews when it first debuted, but of the 3-D animated movies that came out of Disney Animation in the 2000s, it's probably the most imaginative and outstanding of the bunch. Following a young orphan as he goes on a fantastic voyage into the future with another young boy who is a time traveler (kind of), Robinsons is stylish to a point and is filled with heart. It's probably also the most kid-friendly entry on this list, but its good-natured humor and complicated emotional palette will appeal to adults, too.

It also fits neatly into a more classic genre of time travel, with time machines, eccentric inventors, and kids looking to make an impact — not just on their time, but on the time they find themselves in, be it the near future or the distant past.

Watch Meet the Robinsons on Disney+

Run Lola Run (1998)

This is, in many ways, the time loop movie; debuting in 1998 to rave reviews, Run Lola Run , a German experimental thriller, is one you will not be able to shake, long after you've finished a viewing (or even a second, to catch what you missed the first time). The protagonist, Lola (Franka Potente, in a punishingly physical performance), is forced to relive a scenario, again and again, involving saving her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) from certain death.

Potente's performance alone is worth the watch, and of the films on this list, Run Lola Run is actually one of the shorter ones, using its 80-minute runtime to its full advantage. The other time loop movies on this list are also worthy viewing experiences in a lot of ways, but for a pure shot of adrenaline, you can't miss the film EW deemed "a masterful pop piece, humming with raw romance, youth, and energy." If you're interested in more of director Tom Tykwer 's work, he also codirected 2012's Cloud Atlas with the Wachowskis , which, while not a pure time-travel movie, certainly plays with the intertwined nature of time and memory.

Where to rent or buy Run Lola Run

Source Code (2011)

Duncan Jones made a splash with his 2009 feature directorial debut Moon , a moody, philosophical insight into possible lunar labor practices in the future. He followed that thoughtful film up with Source Code , which, while not a movie that could always be described as "thoughtful," could certainly be described as moody. Hitchcockian in a sense, Source Code follows the misadventures of a U.S. Army pilot ( Jake Gyllenhaal ), as he attempts to stop a terrorist attack on a Chicago commuter train — repeatedly.

Source Code does have something to say about the commodification of bodies and minds in the service of the so-called "greater good"; while Gyllenhaal's Captain Stevens' services are no doubt helpful, are they necessary, the film asks. Is it really a good idea to force someone to relive an incredibly stressful idea, over and over again? The movie has its funny moments, even in the thick of all the intense chase scenes through the train; EW noted back in 2012, "The director finds moments of humor in unlikely corners of that train of fools." Indeed. If you enjoyed a film like The Commuter (2018), but thought it could use a time loop and the potential of alternate realities, Source Code is your next mandatory viewing.

Watch Source Code on Showtime

Looper (2012)

Before Rian Johnson introduced us to Benoit Blanc or journeyed to a galaxy far, far, away , he made the tangled time-travel film fittingly called Looper . Starring Bruce Willis , Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a younger Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt , Looper tells the tale of a contract killer sent after his next target: himself. This is a complicated film, and it is imperfect in a lot of ways, but its brutal appraisal of a possible dystopian future, and the efforts one man takes to prevent that future, are worth the amount of head-scratching you might find yourself doing throughout.

That Johnson likes his narratives to be impenetrable Gordian knots that only his designated protagonist can solve can perhaps be frustrating to the audience. However, if there's one thing that the Knives Out franchise seems to have reinforced, it's that not trying to unpack the mysteries of his work might work to your advantage as a viewer, because Johnson will probably have someone explain what just happened by the end, anyway. Like most of his films, Looper has a social conscience lurking within it as well. As EW's Lisa Schwarzbaum noted , "It's time to wipe the drops from our eyes or else get stuck in a loop, an endless cycle, a rut" about Looper 's core tenet back in 2012. It's a worthy takeaway from a film obsessed with self-fulfilling prophecies people find themselves within.

Watch Looper on Freevee

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Time loop movies need some incredible editing in order to really succeed, and Doug Liman 's enthralling Edge of Tomorrow certainly does so on that point. While Tom Cruise is the lead as a cowardly lion–turned–near-super soldier, all eyes are on Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski, who rules this movie as one of the few heroes this dystopian, post-alien invasion world actually has left. While the quest Cruise and Blunt go on may be a bit convoluted, the film is so incredibly entertaining because it's so sharply cut, keeping up the pace even as we see similar things over and over and over again.

A tip of the hat must, of course, go to the action, which is as compelling as you would expect from a mega-star who seems determined these days to do all of his own stunts. In an era of often depressing science fiction, Edge of Tomorrow , as EW's Chris Nashawaty mentioned , is a fun, "deliciously subversive kind of blockbuster" to immerse your senses in for two hours, if nothing else.

Watch Edge of Tomorrow on Max

Interstellar (2014)

While this film might technically be considered more of a space opera than a time-travel movie, there's no reason it can't be both. Christopher Nolan 's Interstellar is a dazzling portrait not just of space travel, but of the love between a father and daughter that stretches over the thin fabric of both time and space. Matthew McConaughey as the astronaut father has never been so serious, but acclaim needs to go to Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway as Nolan's strongest women characters to date.

Interstellar varies between being almost too tense to stand, and, at other points, utterly relaxed. As a cinematic experience, it feels all-encompassing, using every possible outstanding special effect to draw its viewers in before the script hits them with emotional truth. While Nolan can certainly be considered " cold and clinical " as EW noted, his space-journeying meditation on the intersection between love and time is anything but.

Watch Interstellar on Paramount+

Palm Springs (2020)

Releasing a time loop movie during a global pandemic where life felt increasingly repetitive and bizarre was certainly a strategy for Hulu and Neon with Palm Springs , but it paid off. While the film was certainly developed long before COVID-19, the scenario of two wedding guests trying to escape the situational loop they've found themselves definitely resonated at the time, and it still does. Palm Springs may seem serious from the above description, but it is actually a fun sci-fi-tinged tale that is largely driven by the comedic skills of leads Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti .

EW noted that the movie avoids " true discomfort comedy ," and honestly, it's all the better for it. If Palm Springs had been angrier, it wouldn't hit home so hard, and it also wouldn't be nearly as entertaining. Instead, it's an often sweet rom-com that doesn't take itself or its completely made-up time loop physics too seriously. It was a Sundance darling for a reason, never quite letting up on the wild ride it takes its characters or its viewers on over the course of its 90 minutes.

Watch Palm Springs on Hulu

Somewhere in Time (1980)

Somewhere in Time might employ one of the strangest methods of time travel of all the movies on this list: time travel by hypnosis, of all things. (And self-induced hypnosis, for that matter.) Time travel on such shaky ground can't possibly hold up, and it somewhat doesn't, in the end. Science fiction great Richard Matheson adapted his own novel into a lackadaisical screenplay for this film, starring Christopher Reeve in a perfectly tragic role as the young man who gives his all for a woman (Jane Seymour) he can never really have.

In many ways, Somewhere in Time feels like a curio of the era from which it came, serving as a time capsule of how stories were told in the late-'70s and early-'80s. That is actually not a mark against it; this is a film that is just a peak tragic romance in a lot of ways; special nods must also go to Christopher Plummer as the young woman's cynical mentor, who seems to possess a certain foresight about the impossibility of Reeve's character. If you want a time-travel movie that is beautifully romantic, from its iconic score to its grand cinematography, you shouldn't stray from Somewhere in Time .

Watch Somewhere in Time on Tubi

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

The tale of a grown, about-to-be-divorced woman forced to relive her high school days and her courtship with a dorky-cool musician, Peggy Sue Got Married might be one of Francis Ford Coppola 's most small-scale movies, but it decidedly has the most soul of his catalog of mostly epics. Peggy Sue ( Kathleen Turner , in an Oscar-nominated performance) just wants to leave Charlie (Nicolas Cage) behind, but her time-traveling coma dream conspires against her to force her to reconsider. (It forces Charlie to become a better person, too.)

The film combines the cynicism of a rightfully embittered '80s housewife with the unbridled idealism of a '60s teenager to make one heck of a sincere cinematic concoction. That the film starts at a high school reunion could mean it becomes awkward very quickly, but instead, it's completely joyful. Whether Peggy Sue Got Married started a tradition of "person has some sort of crisis and subsequently ends up in another time" movies is unclear, but it does have a rather clear descendant in one of our next entries.

Where to rent or buy Peggy Sue Got Married

Kate & Leopold (2001)

Doesn't everyone want a young Hugh Jackman from the 19th century to fall out of the sky and into their lives? Leopold (Jackman) is a foppish and geeky, if not perfect, gentleman who quickly has Kate ( Meg Ryan ) falling for him despite her modern understanding of the world. That so many time-travel movies somehow end up in romantic territory is an interesting phenomenon, but one that does make sense. There is something appealing about falling for someone whose time is not your own.

Kate & Leopold is decidedly not a perfect film, although it is the first of director James Mangold 's and Jackman's collaborations (see 2017's Logan for the much grittier future fruits of their labor). It's fluffy, it's light, and it creates a paradox without even really acknowledging it. Someone looked at the Meg Ryan comedies of the '80s and '90s and asked, "But what if we made them science fiction?" It works in spite of itself, with Jackman's physical comedy as he plays " a doll of a boyfriend " and Ryan's sardonic tone carrying the day.

Watch Kate & Leopold on Paramount+

13 Going on 30 (2004)

When a 13-year-old girl is crushed after being tricked at her own birthday party, she makes a wish to be "30, flirty, and thriving," quickly waking up the next day to find herself just that, in the body of Jennifer Garner . Instead of traveling back to the past à la the protagonist of Peggy Sue Got Married , Jenna (Garner, Christa B. Allen) ends up in a potential future, where she is all the things she wished for, but definitely not as happy as she thought she would be.

The 2004 rom-com is a magical time travel tale — there's literally "magic wishing dust" — but that doesn't take away from the hilarity that comes with a 13-year-old trying to navigate an adult woman's life. Of course, in the end, Jenna learns her lesson — it's okay to just be young, for a little bit longer — but the journey she goes on as she discovers not just herself but also her true love ( Mark Ruffalo ) is worth all the silliness in the end.

Watch 13 Going on 30 on Max

Mirai (2018)

This lovely little gem directed by Japanese animation visionary Mamoru Hosoda tells the story of a little boy who unhappily gets a baby sister and ends up learning a lot of lessons about the past and the future. Kun (Moka Kamishiraishi) gets a chance to meet not only the grown, future version of his sister Mirai (Haru Kuroki) but also members of his family at different points in their lives. Mirai is a delightfully imaginative film with some gorgeous animation that contains some " mind-boggling visuals " as EW's Christian Holub pointed out.

It is also a genuinely heartwarming tearjerker; while all ends well for little Kun, the meditations this film offers on the nature of family bonds over the course of multiple generations might just leave you in a state of reflection on your own ties that bind. While many time-travel movies tell their stories from the perspective of youth, few unveil them through the eyes of a rambunctious preschooler, and gaining that perspective, in this case, allows for a truly precious journey.

Where to rent or buy Mirai

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

If you know anything about Star Trek , you know the fourth film is "the one with the whales," but if you don't know anything about the franchise, you probably also know that this one is "the one with the whales." Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home often gets acclaim as the funny Star Trek movie, but it brings a lot more than just comedy. The original crew of the Enterprise fling themselves back in time to save humpback whales in the past in order to save the future from a strange probe that threatens Earth...and will stop, but only if it hears some natural whalesong.

The crew finds themselves in 1986 San Francisco, so it's great that Time After Time's Nicholas Meyer returned to the franchise not as director (he helmed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ), but as a screenwriter. Watching these characters from a literal utopia navigate a world not designed for them creates not only dynamic humor but great tension as well. As they almost always do, the Enterprise team breaks all the rules in order to save the future as well as the whales. Or, as EW noted in a tribute to the film: "It has heart, and passion — Save the Whales! — and a tremendous sense of fun."

Watch Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home on Max

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Star Trek: First Contact doesn't particularly feel as much like a Star Trek movie as Voyage Home does, and EW, in fact, says it harnessed "a sleek, confident style fully independent of its predecessors." As a Trekkie, this may not be the most complimentary way of looking at it, but as a film fan, however, it might be the highest honor someone could bestow upon a movie within this franchise. Captain Jean-Luc Picard ( Patrick Stewart ) turns from a peace-loving diplomat to a Borg-slaying action star while the rest of his crew tries to get the inventor of the Warp Drive (the technology upon which the future relies) to stop drinking so much and actually invent the thing. James Cromwell, as the inventor, Zefram Cochrane, serves as the comedic relief for a remarkably serious and often scary film.

The Borg, '90s Star Trek 's biggest villain, are the main antagonists here, and they do provide some chilling action, even if the introduction that they can easily time travel would really wreck things for some future Trek series. Stewart manages the transition from his mild-mannered diplomat to traumatized warrior well, turning in one of his most ferocious performances. Star Trek: First Contact also gives us a look at a post-apocalyptic world in the midst of a recovery, and in that respect, it makes it both a thoughtful entry in the Trek canon and a time travel action-thriller with a brain.

Watch Star Trek: First Contact on Max

The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

What would a best time-travel films list be without including at least one of the Terminator movies? While an often brutal franchise with diminishing returns after James Cameron 's first two installments, the misadventures of an evil cyborg-turned-good (played to physical perfection by Arnold Schwarzenegger ) in a consistently dangerous world are always thrilling and entertaining.

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, mother of the future's savior (and much, much more), is also due an acknowledgment; while the films are remembered for Schwarzenegger's portrayal of the T-800, Hamilton is the heart of this franchise a great deal of the time, as she refuses to die or let her son face the same fate, either. The first two Terminator films are so much more than "scary robots take over the world, everybody dies" – they're action-packed, bloody thrillers with startling narratives, pioneering visual effects, and, of course, time travel as the catalyst.

Watch The Terminator on Max

Where to rent or buy Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

"Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke...I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED": This is part of the joke classified ad from which this movie was inspired. You might inspire a more risky movie from the tone of the ad, but what you get is a light comedy that served as the first leading film role for Aubrey Plaza . This Colin Trevorrow -directed film isn't so much about time travel as it is about the cultural assumptions that surround the concept, and those who think it might be possible.

In that sense, it's a meta-narrative on nearly every time travel story which has come before it, and quite possibly, that will come after it. EW called it " a fable of 'redemption' "; redemption, and the acts of salvaging something, anything, for the benefit of the future, is a regular time travel theme, from all those time machines to all those time loops. Safety Not Guaranteed manages to explore these themes with a lot of irony and a splash of heart.

Where to rent or buy Safety Not Guaranteed

Related content:

  • The Terminator movies, ranked
  • Back to the Future cast: Where are they now?
  • Let's talk about the plot of Interstellar

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Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991.

The 20 best time-travel movies – ranked!

As Adam Driver accidentally winds up 65m years ago , facing not just dinosaurs but an asteroid, we count down the best films about going backwards, or forwards, through the ages

20. Timecop (1994)

Regardless of what anyone says, I believe in my heart that Timecop was greenlit because someone showed a studio executive a picture of Jean-Claude Van Damme and said the word “Timecop” out loud, at which point they had to throw a script together as quickly as possible. Nothing about Timecop makes sense. It is the most 90s film ever made.

19. Tenet (2020)

I have to be careful here, because Tenet might not be a time-travel movie. Certainly time passes in it and some of the people are going backwards in time in it. But I’ve seen this movie twice now, and it mainly just seems to be about people mumbling everything, except for Kenneth Branagh, who gets to shout very loudly three times. Anyway, here it is.

18. Cavegirl (1985)

Finally, a film that uses time-travel for the correct reason; to allow a horny 1980s high school student to go back to prehistory so that he can convince a smoking hot, bikini-wearing cavegirl to have it off with him. You will note I’ve ranked this above Tenet .

17. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)

Heather Graham and Mike Myers in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Weird to think that Austin Powers was originally a fish-out-of-water comedy, in which the promiscuous titular character had to navigate the (then) uptight world of the 1990s. That all fell apart for the sequel, where Powers was sent back to the 60s to shout his catchphrases at people who actually appreciated them. That makes it a time-travel movie, right?

16. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

God, this film. In summary: Ashton Kutcher plays a man who experiences blackouts, only to learn some years later that he can travel back in time and inhabit his younger self’s mind during the blackouts. But in doing so, he unleashes a world of unintended consequences. He becomes a murderer and loses limbs. Seek out the director’s cut if you can, because it ends with Kutcher’s character deliberately strangling himself in the womb with his umbilical cord. No, really.

15. The Tomorrow War (2021)

Wherein Chris Pratt is drafted into a war that takes place 26 years later, because the invading aliens have already killed all the soldiers who were alive at the time. It’s a great premise for a film – we all pay the price for the actions of other generations – let down by a truly confusing ending. Admit it, you forgot this film even existed, even though it cost $200m to make and only came out 18 months ago.

14. The Time Travelers (1964)

A 1964 movie made on the cheap with genuinely terrible effects, The Time Travelers is about a group of scientists who travel to the future, fight some mutants and then return. What sets it apart, though, is its crazed ending. The film ends with the scientists venturing into the distant future, whereupon the film plays through again, faster and faster and faster until it cuts away to a still of the galaxy. Are they trapped in a loop? Is free will an illusion? Did the producers just run out of money? We may never know.

13. The Adam Project (2022)

A buddy movie where the buddies are the same person … Walker Scobell and Ryan Reynolds in The Adam Project.

In which a young boy’s life is turned upside down when he is visited by an older version of himself from the future. The good news? He grows up to be a fighter pilot. The bad news? He also grows up to have all the cadences and surface-level snarky patter of Ryan Reynolds. What follows is a buddy movie where the two buddies are the same person.

12. Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

So seminal that it was namechecked in Avengers: Endgame . A flat-out comedy that primarily exists to allow a bunch of middle-aged men to act like teenagers, Hot Tub Time Machine is a film about an enchanted Jacuzzi that sends people back to the mid-1980s. Possibly a bit too bawdy for its own good, there’s a hint of a message about the unreliability of nostalgia here.

11. Flight of the Navigator (1986)

This family film involves a young boy who goes missing in a Fort Lauderdale ravine, only to show up eight years later having not aged. There are UFOs and rubbery little creatures and whatnot, but there’s a real emotional wallop to the moment when the boy realises that the world has moved on without him, right down to the scene (that plays out like a horror movie) where the boy realises that his parents have become unrecognisably ancient, even though they are probably only in their early 40s.

10. Primer (2004)

Some see Shane Carruth’s Primer as the gold standard of what a time-travel film should be. It’s the sort of movie that seems unnervingly realistic, from the down-at-heel engineers to the unshowy nature of time travel itself, where people in effect just get in and out of some boxes. Almost entirely unwilling to explain itself, for years Primer fans have come to rely on a series of graphs and charts to figure out what the film actually is.

9. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

A time-travel movie that may or may not have any actual time-travel in it, Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed is a delicate wonder of a thing. A man places an ad in a magazine asking for a time-travel companion – “Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before” – and the respondents slowly come to realise that all is not quite as it seems.

8. Planet of the Apes (1968)

Maurice Evans and Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes.

If you haven’t seen Planet of the Apes, then the fact that I’ve put it on a list of time-travel movies is probably quite a heavy spoiler, and for that I’m sorry. But what a reveal this is – what seems at first like a silly movie about Charlton Heston being persecuted by some monkeys quickly becomes something darker and much more sinister. That new Adam Driver movie probably could have achieved something similar, if it hadn’t blabbed its big secret in the trailer.

7. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Endgame is a lot, so much so that it is effectively a time-travel movie bookended by two entirely separate movies. And, yes, it takes a lot of liberties with time-travel, from Tony Stark’s “Huh, I did it” invention to the lazy referencing of other time-travel movies as a shorthand for what the characters can do. Nevertheless, when they get to it, the film nails it. The Battle of New York is the obvious highlight, with Captain America fighting Captain America and the Hulk embarrassed by his unreconstructed former self, but the heart of the film really comes when Tony meets his father as a man and learns to let go of the past.

6. Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar is also a lot. But at its core is a simple ethical quandary: would you try to save the world if it meant missing your children’s entire lives? Matthew McConaughey has to touch down on a planet during a space trip. The problem is that every hour he spends there is equal to seven years on Earth. Is the trip important enough for him to miss seeing the wonder of his children grow into adults? Technically, if you want to be fussy about this, Interstellar is a time dilation movie rather than a time-travel movie. But it gets a pass, largely because McConaughey sells the agony of the moment so beautifully.

5. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

A hilarious example of predestination … George Carlin, Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

There are times when Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure feels like it was written by a toddler off his face on pop. But that’s a deliberate ploy, a way to camouflage all the careful rigour that underpins the script. The lead characters are initially reluctant to embark on their time-travel adventure, until they’re visited by versions of themselves from the near future who compel them to do it; a beautiful and hilarious example of predestination in action. Extra points are awarded thanks to the film’s total lack of interest in consequences. Swiping Abraham Lincoln and Napoleon from their respective eras has no bearing on world history whatsoever, which is probably quite lucky.

4. Looper (2012)

One problem with time-travel movies is that the rules always need to be explained upfront. In lesser hands, this can lead to all manner of clunky, stilted exposition. But when Rian Johnson dabbled in the genre with Looper , he gave us a masterclass in “show, don’t tell”. The sequence where poor Paul Dano’s character is tortured at two different points in time simultaneously, with the older version following instructions carved into the younger version’s arm, is arguably one of the most inventive uses of time-travel in the entire history of cinema. All that plus this is Bruce Willis’s last truly great performance.

Bruce Willis as Joe in Looper.

3. The Terminator (1984)/Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The lure of the first two Terminator movies were the killer robots running around murdering everyone. But they were very smartly built around a framework of pure time-travel. We only see the future in brief flashes, but what’s important is the present. It is very, very important that Kyle Reese (a guy from the future) has sex with Sarah Connor (a woman from the present), because only that will save humanity as we know it. It’s a hell of a pickup line, but the device also elevates what could have simply been a shonky B-movie into the realm of the classics.

2. Idiocracy (2006)

The smartest time-travel movies use the device as a mirror, telling us more about the times we live in now than the times the characters visit. Enter Idiocracy, Mike Judge’s stinging satire about modern times. An average person is cryogenically frozen and wakes up in the future, shocked to discover that the global IQ has fallen off a cliff in the intervening years. Surrounded by aggressive stupidity, he single-handedly saves the US from famine by suggesting that they use water – and not an electrolyte drink – to grow crops. We are conservatively 15 years from this happening in real life.

1. Back to the Future (1985)/Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Prescient … Michael J Fox and the Hoverboard Girls in Back to the Future Part II.

The only conceivable first choice. The first two Back to the Future films (the third, which is basically just a western, is far less imaginative) have come to define time-travel as a genre. They deliver a complex set of hard sci-fi rules about what can and cannot happen during time-travel and – miraculously – manage to do it in a way that kids can understand. Good music, cool clothes, a million catchphrases and, in the case of the second film, an unnervingly prescient prediction of how Donald Trump would turn out. Just perfect.

  • Science fiction and fantasy films
  • Back To The Future
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Interstellar

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The 35 Best Time Travel Movies

Ready for 1.21 gigawatts of sci-fi greatness?

Headshot of Darren Orf

These are the 35 best sci-fi films that explore the fluidity of time.

🤯 You love mind-bending science. So do we. Let’s nerd out over it together.

35. Timecop

jean claude van damme in timecop

Jean-Claude Van Damme is a cop who polices time. Don’t need to say more, but I guess I will. In 1994, time travel becomes a favorite pastime of criminals, and timecops like Van Damme must catch any chronal abusers and bring them to justice. As is often the case, Van Damme’s own time-muckery with the past creates different and divergent timelines that not even Doc Brown’s chalkboard could work out. But Timecop isn’t exactly a film that’s going for narrative clarity here.

34. The Final Countdown / The Philadelphia Experiment

sky, blue, atmosphere, darkness, space, geological phenomenon, cloud, night, sea, vehicle,

Although most people would file this film under “flop,” The Final Countdown contains such an amazing premise it has to be recognized. The crew of the U.S.S. Nimitz enters a storm vortex and is transported to Pearl Harbor in 1941, turning a favorite imaginary war-game scenario into real life. Although the actual film elements aren’t necessarily memorable, it does give us an incredibly good look at the Nimitz (the film was shot on the actual carrier).

We tossed in The Philadelphia Experiment at the same spot, since it’s essentially the reverse of The Final Countdown .

33. Men in Black 3

By the time director Barry Sonnenfeld directed Men in Black 3 in 2012, the franchise was 15 years removed from its fun and campy original, and Men in Black 2 had sucked out much of the charm. That’s why MiB 3 , despite its faults, is still a surprising underdog of a film.

Agent J (Will Smith) goes back in time to stop an alien from mucking up the past and killing Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones/Josh Brolin). The film recaptures much of the original’s fun, and Josh Brolin’s portrayal of a young Tommy Lee Jones playing Agent K is simply awe-inspiring. Honestly, that acting work alone earns this spot for MiB 3.

32. Flight of the Navigator

Sort of like E.T. , but with time travel. What Flight of the Navigator lacks in a substantial plot, it more than makes up for in charm.

David Scott Freeman falls into a ravine and is knocked unconscious—for eight years. Although he doesn’t age, everyone he knows does, and he soon finds he’s part of something much larger. It’s a fun film that will never outshine any Spielberg classics, but its campiness is too genuine to ignore.

31. Time After Time

H.G. Wells, Jack the Ripper, and time travel ... that’s it . Just click the arrow.

30. Timecrimes

A film with perhaps the lowest budget on this list, Timecrimes is a Spanish-language movie that follows a typical time travel trope (many copies of one person causing major problems) but creates 92 minutes of truly enjoyable cinema. The fun moments of Timecrimes are the reveal after reveal after reveal, which snowballs into a fascinating plot.

29. Source Code

Source Code is like Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow with a twist. Instead of going back in time as himself, Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) enters the body of someone else as he tries to stop a mass murder attempt. What the film lacks in depth, it more than makes up for in pulse-pumping action, and the premise itself is a refreshing take on the usual time travel idea.

It will likely never be considered an example of high science fiction, but as far as time travel goes, it gets good grades.

28. Donnie Darko

Perfect amounts creepy and perplexing, Donnie Darko is another strange example of time travel, which is why it belongs on this list all the more. Darko (Gyllenhaal again) is a high school kid with a less-than-sunny disposition. But when he begins seeing frightening hallucinations of a deranged and grotesque rabbit, things slowly begin to unravel, going from bad to weird pretty quickly.

For such a small-budget film (that was almost released straight to home video!) it’s made an outsized impact on science fiction and indie filmmaking. It’s a great movie, but also a polarizing one.

27. Safety Not Guaranteed

Director Colin Trevorrow’s debut film Safety Not Guaranteed follows three journalists—well, one journalist and two interns—on a road trip to meet the eccentric Kenneth (Mark Duplass), who placed an ad in a local newspaper looking for a time-travel companion. Although at its heart a romantic comedy, the film explores human perception of time and the indelible regrets, traumas, and even fantasies that fill our memories. Although the idea of actual time travel plays a significant role in the film, it’s used mostly as a symbol to analyze the importance of being present and always looking with hope toward the future.

26. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Smashing together the old X-Men guard with the new is what makes X-Men: Days of Future Past one of the more successful cinematic outings for the mutant team.

In the film, Kitty Pryde sends Wolverine back through time to stop apocalyptic events from unfolding. Maybe that’s not the most original plot, but it’s one that’s too fun to resist (if only for the Quicksilver scene alone ).

25. Predestination

Based on Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi short story “All You Zombies,” Predestination is a head trip, like any proper time travel film should be. With a strong performance from Ethan Hawke and a script that will keep you guessing, the film is one of the more solid time travel entries in recent years and is a film that garners a rewatch so you can catch every detail.

24. Star Trek: First Contact

The Next Generation ’s big screen outings are a mixed bag, to put it nicely, but the best film by far is the time-bending Star Trek: First Contact . Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise-E travel to the past to prevent the cybernetic Borg from mucking with Earth’s history. It’s a good film all by itself, but even more excellent if you’re an invested Star Trek fan. We get to see huge, never-before-seen moments in the Star Trek universe, like humanity’s first encounter with the Vulcans, and the Borg are just an excellent adversary.

23. Army of Darkness

“Shop Smart. Shop, S-Mart.”

Depending on who you ask, Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness is either the best sequel to any film ever, or the worst—there isn’t much room in between. The chainsaw-toting Ashley “Ash” Williams is tossed back to medieval times where he must fight off a horde of undead monstrosities with only his ingenuity and his “boom stick.”

Even though it’s slapstick comedy with wonderfully B-movie action sequences, it remains an absolute joy to watch.

22. Doctor Strange

In this Marvel sleeper hit , Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) becomes the Sorcerer Supreme, and in typical Marvel fashion, is tasked with saving the world. Although the visuals alone are worthing giving this movie a shot, its manipulation of time as a superpower rather than a world-altering plot device is what sets it apart from the rest.

21. Sleeper

Although not technically time travel (long stretches of cryo-sleep instead), Sleeper is Woody Allen’s sci-fi comedy that’s absurd, hilarious, and strangely poignant. Miles Monroe is a jazz musician and health-food-store owner who wakes up in the 22nd century after a botched gall bladder operation. The world is, as you’d expect, quite different, and Monroe is a hilarious character to explore it with.

Tenet is an “A for effort” addition to this list. The film has all the trappings of a Christopher Nolan flick—stunning cinematography, a star-studded cast, head-scratching plot points, etc., etc. And Tenet does take time travel movies one step further with the introduction of time inversion, the idea that objects and people can travel into the past at the same temporal pace that they can travel into the future. Although a fascinating concept, it’s also a confusing one, which is why Nolan spends much of the film’s 150-minute runtime explaining what’s going on. Tenet is a fascinating time travel story though ultimately one a bit lost in its own exposition.

19. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

This 2006 award-winning anime is a coming-of-age time travel story that even rivals Back to the Future . After schoolgirl Mokoto Konno discovers a time travel device that gives her the power to leap through time, she uses her new gifts for mundane high school stuff, passing tests, avoiding awkward conversations, and to address her chronic lateness.

When she learns what her time traveling does to others around her, and as the seriousness of her time jumping becomes more apparent, the film blossoms into an important story about loss and friendship.

Crime noir meets science fiction in Rian Johnson’s Looper , and the match is magical. In a future where time travel is invented and immediately made illegal, crime syndicates use the technology for time-hopping assassinations. But to tie off some temporal inconsistencies, the assassin must eventually become the target—and that’s where things get interesting. This isn’t flawless sci-fi, but it’s certainly inventive.

17. Run Lola Run

On its surface, the German film Run Lola Run is about a blazingly red-headed woman running through the streets of Berlin in an attempt to save her boyfriend’s life. However, the twist is that once Lola reaches a dead-end (sometimes literally) in one of her runs, the film starts over from the beginning and Lola runs through Berlin once again, only this time small changes in her path create largely divergent outcomes by the film’s end. Although time is more of a thematic device than a strictly plot-driven one in Run Lola Run, its ruminations on time and the exploration of the Butterfly Effect , the idea that small incidents can have lasting repercussions, makes Run Lola Run one of the most unique films on this list.

16. Avengers: Endgame

What happens when the big purple monster man annihilates half the population? Time travel, baby. Tony Stark and gang concoct a convoluted plan that’ll save the universe from being cleaved in two, including some very inventive scenes that play with time travel. Like most time travel plots, Endgame creates more questions than it answers, but it’s best to just sit back and enjoy.

Headshot of Darren Orf

Darren lives in Portland, has a cat, and writes/edits about sci-fi and how our world works. You can find his previous stuff at Gizmodo and Paste if you look hard enough. 

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100+ Best Time Travel Movies

A list of the best time travel movies from the 1940s to the 2020s.

time travel movie name list

Table of Contents

Time travel movies fascinate us.

time travel movie name list

Playing with the laws of time is more than an amusing plot device. It’s also a method of covering important themes of redemption, morality, progress, and our place in the universe.

Paradoxically, at the heart of most time travel films — indeed, a fantastical genre if there ever was one — are real and practical questions such as:

  • Can we overcome our past mistakes?
  • How do we break vicious habits?
  • How do our actions affect future generations?
  • Is love eternal?
  • How much of our reality in an illusion?
  • Is it too late? Can we alter fate?

Here we’ll survey the whole time span of time travel films throughout Hollywood history and how these movies address those questions above. Let’s move through time!

Old Time Travel Movies

A connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court (1948).

time travel movie name list

Based on a Mark Twain novel from 1889, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court is a funny musical about time travel. It stars Bing Crosby — the 1900s singer most famous for his rendition of “White Christmas” — as a mechanic who in the year 1912 bumps his head on a crowbar and is thrown back to Britain in the year 528 AD. Film critics generally agree it is the first time travel movie ever made. In terms of historical importance, it’s a whimsical story that works because it plays off fun and universal fantasy: What kind of chaos and fun would you have if you could travel in time? Bing Crosby shows us.

The Time Machine (1960)

time travel movie name list

Director George Pal was the first filmmaker to bring H. G. Wells’s novel The Time Machine to Hollywood. The movie plot stays close to the original novel. A scientist in the Victorian era builds a machine that brings him to the year 802,701, where he finds a very different Earth dominated by two tribes at war. Like the book, the movie is an archetypical voyage-and-return story where the journey changes the narrator and his perspective on the world and where it is going. The film is perhaps most important in retrospect, though, for introducing us to technological machines that can traverse time, a trope that would be widely embraced in action and sci-fi movies.

The Time Travelers (1964 )

time travel movie name list

The Time Travelers is a B-movie from the 1960s. Despite existing on the fringe of pop culture, the film has an amusing campy flavor, and given the film’s small budget, it showcases admirable ingenuity. It’s about a group of scientists who accidentally open a portal to the future with disastrous consequences. The future is an atomic wasteland with mutants, and like the protagonist in The Time Machine , the scientists must find their way back to the present day. Many fans of this film believe director Ib Melchior deserves more credit within the sci-fi genre, and the film did inspire the TV series The Time Tunnel (1966) and remake Journey to the Center of Time (1967).

time travel movie name list

Jubilee (1978)

time travel movie name list

Derek Jarman’s Jubilee is an avant-garde film born out of the punk rock era in Britain. The premise: Queen Elizabeth I (born in 1533) is transported by an occult figure to the United Kingdom in the 1970s. There she encounters a new world of gangs, totalitarian police, and a far-reaching dystopia of wretchedness. While the story has more of scrapbook feel than a coherent plot, Jarman’s unique film uses time travel as a device to make political and cultural commentary stating that across all time, whether punks or royalty, we all get corrupted by power, perhaps especially the outcasts. For more on Jubilee and its unusual history, read “A right royal knees-up” by Stuart Jeffries in The Guardian .

time travel movie name list

Time After Time (1979)

time travel movie name list

Nicholas Meyer’s Time After Time has a fantastical plot: the serial killer Jack the Ripper finds a time machine made by the author H.G. Wells. Then Jack the Ripper uses it to travel to modern America—San Francisco to be exact. H.G. Wells must use the time machine as well and track down Jack the Ripper before he causes too much chaos. This film is a prime example of a time travel story that tickles the imagination with whimsy and playfulness for the sake of entertainment.

New Time Travel Movies

Somewhere in time (1980).

time travel movie name list

Somewhere in Time , starring Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour, is perhaps the most romantic time travel movie ever made. Christopher Reeve plays a young playwright in college. After the performance of his first play, an old woman comes up to him and hauntingly says “come back to me” while handing him a watch. A decade passes. He still has the watch. What did this old woman mean? Why did she give him this watch? As Reeve investigates, he eventually figures out how to travel back in time after talking to a physics professor. As he’s warped back to time, he meets this old woman again in her younger form. The movie is most remembered for romantic lines such as “I cannot find the words. Except for these: ‘I love you.’ Such would I say to him if he were really here.”

Time Bandits (1981)

time travel movie name list

Writer and producer Terry Gilliam describes his motion picture Time Bandits as the first installment of his “Trilogy of Imagination,” with  Brazil  (1985) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen  (1988) as the second and third installment. All three films deal with time, aging, and escapism. Time Bandits is the only one of the three films to use time travel in the plot, and when director Terry Gilliam was asked why, he said that time travel was a “ metaphor for a child’s imagination ” and their “cosmic megalomania” — which is a beautiful statement about a beautiful and enchanting film.

time travel movie name list

The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)

time travel movie name list

The title of this film refers to a notorious incident that may or may not have happened at the Philadelphia Naval Yard in 1943—conspiracy theorists insist it happened, while the US Military denies it ever took place. Briefly, it involved an experiment with electromagnetic forces in which a ship, the USS Eldridge, disappeared from the radar.

In this cinematic retelling of the story, which takes the original rumored incident and fictionalizes it to add a time-travel element, David (Michael Pare) and Jim (Bobby Di Cicco) star as two sailors who jump ship in the middle of the experiment, only to find themselves transported to the year 1984. Faced by an angry mob at a restaurant, they take a woman named Allison (Nancy Allen) hostage at gunpoint and escape. Jim’s physical condition deteriorates to the point where he ceases to exist, but it is revealed he was somehow able to return to 1943. David stays in the year 1984 and gradually falls in love with Allison.

Terminator Franchise (1984 – 2021)

time travel movie name list

The Terminator franchise is undeniably influential in the time travel genre and as one of the most important legends within the the greater sci-fi cinematic canon. The franchise began in 1984 with the release of James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd’s The Terminator , a story about two time travelers from 2029 — Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) and The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) — going back to the 1980s to battle out the future of humanity. In sum, Kyle Reese has traveled back to the 80s to stop artificial intelligence from taking over the world and nuking most of humanity out of existence on August 29th, 1997 by protecting Sarah Connor and her unborn child John, who will lead the resistance against artificial intelligence in the 2020s. The Terminator, a cyborg or cybernetic organism, is there to kill Sarah and Reese and to ensure the child is never born so the self-aware computer system Skynet can rule the planet.

time travel movie name list

Although the first Terminator film was a blockbuster success, the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day cemented the franchise’s place in pop culture and is considered one of the best sequels ever made in Hollywood. In Judgment Day , Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character is sent back to the 90s, but this time as a hacked version designed to protect rather than kill Sarah and John Connor. The success of the sequel was due to the comical and heartwarming dynamic between Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character and the young child John Connor (Edward Furlong) and the riveting sci-fi comic-book action.

time travel movie name list

With the launch of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003, James Cameron left the franchise due to an internal dispute . Although Terminator 3 is still a fun and amusing movie, it marks the rapid commercialization of the franchise that led to a slew of additional sequels that many found to be lackluster: Terminator Salvation (2009), Terminator Genisys (2015), and Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), as well as a spinoff TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox. In 2019’s Dark Fate , James Cameron returns to providing a background writing credit and serving as a producer, and the plot is actually a direct sequel to Terminator 2 and ignores the mythology created in the other versions.

Regarding the impact the franchise had on time travel, this quote has had the most staying power: “there’s no fate but what we make for ourselves” — and throughout all the films, the sense that we can control our destiny is at the heart of the narrative. For a detailed analysis of the actual science and absurdity of time travel in these films, read this conversation with a theoretical physicist .

Trancers (1984)

time travel movie name list

Trancers (also released as Future Cop ) is an example of a sci-fi action time travel movie. In a strange case of morphic resonance , it was released just a month after The Terminator and shares a similar storyline. Jack Deth, played by Tim Thomerson, is a Los Angeles cop from the 23rd century who hunts “trancers” (futuristic zombies). His most wanted criminal and the creator of these trancers has escaped by traveling back to the 1980s, so Jack has to travel back in time to catch him and stop his evil dominance. The movie had many sequels and adaptations; however, it never became the same kind of pop culture phenomenon the Terminator franchise became.

time travel movie name list

Back to the Future Trilogy (1985 – 1990)

time travel movie name list

Director Robert Zemeckis made one of the most memorable blockbusters of all time with Back to the Future (1985). The next two films in the trilogy, Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990) were also roaring, action-adventure flicks adored by fans and with high accolades on the ranking site Rotten Tomatoes.

time travel movie name list

What made these big Hollywood motion pictures work so well? Entertainment journalist Emily VanDerWerff explains how Back to the Future is just a super, super fun movie:

We all have a favorite big, dumb, fun movie that’s loud and raucous and less interested in any thematic depth than in giving us a great time. Such movies exhaust any critical objections and simply leave you spinning around, with a giddy smile on your face. For me, that movie is and always shall be  Back to the Future , a movie I consider literally perfect. Tell me about its imperfections. Point out to me its plot holes. Lecture me on how time travel doesn’t work like that. I don’t care. It’s a weird little science-fiction incest comedy that, to me, sets the standard all other popcorn movies must match, the one that leaves them all feeling a little bit lacking.

time travel movie name list

That is indeed the appeal — they’re just cinematic adventures that don’t purport to be anything else. Naturally, in terms of the logic of the time travel within the films, it’s a mess, but who cares? The Back to the Future franchise is important as time travel movies, because they provide a marvelous and comedic spectacle in a unique approach to science fiction.

time travel movie name list

The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)

time travel movie name list

In this, the first big-budget collaboration between Australian and New Zealander filmmakers, Griffin (Hamish McFarlane) is a nine-year-old psychic boy whose abilities enable him to view alternate realities. He is able to look back and envision England in the 1300s, where the Black Plague threatens to kill everyone in a small, snowy village, so some of the men begin digging into the ground in a desperate attempt to find “the far side of the world.” The find it, indeed—but it’s a giant city in the 1900s, which causes the film suddenly to switch from black and white to full color in the manner of The Wizard of Oz. The tunnelers take their Old World beliefs with them as they attempt to navigate this strange new city—for example, when they see a submarine surface, they are terrified because they think it’s a giant sea creature coming to attack them.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

time travel movie name list

In this, the first film of a successful 1980s franchise, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are a pair of high-school would-be musicians in San Dimas, CA who are tasked with a high-school history project requiring them to describe how three prominent historical figures would describe life in San Dimas in the 1980s. They are visited from the year 2688 by a man named Rufus, whose time capsule resembles a phone booth. During their journeys to the past, Bill and Ted are able to transport Napoleon Bonaparte, Princess Elizabeth of England, Socrates, Sigmund Freud, Joan of Arc, and Abraham Lincoln to San Dimas in the 1980s, causing their high-school project to be a rousing success. Their time machine also allows them to travel into the future year of 2688, where they realize that they not only became successful musicians—they are the most admired men in history.

Forever Young (1992)

time travel movie name list

The narrative setup of the film involves cryogenics more than zipping through the space-time continuum. A test pilot is transported from 1939 to 1992 and falls in love. One lover of the film praises the way the storyline transcends many genres: “The movie, every bit a sci-fi film, manages to be a pretty engaging chick-flick as well. What I like most about it is that it manages to balance both genres fairly convincingly, and in the process, we are left with a nice piece of fiction, although something that won’t go down as a classic film by any stretch of the imagination, still manages to have great pacing and keep its audience’s attention until the final, beautiful moments.”

Groundhog Day (1993)

time travel movie name list

Groundhog Day is a classic time travel film and perhaps the greatest fantasy comedy in cinematic history. Bill Murray’s character is forced to relive the same day, February 2, over and over again. He’s stuck in a time loop with no way out. The film is comical and heartwarming. It also captures an important paradox of time for all of us—how do we break out of our own habits and beliefs and see the world as something new? While all might not be stuck in a literal time loop, our daily routines can frequently put us in a metaphorical time loop that Groundhog Day lays bare and inspires us to break and be open to the new.

Timecop (1994)

time travel movie name list

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as a world-weary cop in the year 1995 who must travel in time to prevent a corrupt US government and its Time Enforcement Police—an organization set up to prevent any sort of time travel that will subvert the government’s stranglehold on such technology. His first journey takes him all the way back to the year 1863, where he must bust a Civil War conspiracy where gold intended for Robert E. Lee’s army is stolen, forward to the year 2004, when the same gold is used to finance a corrupt Senator’s campaign. Roger Ebert wrote, “More than most movies about time travel, ‘Timecop’ invites you to meditate on the logical contradictions of the genre.”

12 Monkeys (1995)

time travel movie name list

Bruce Willis stars as James Cole, a prisoner in the year 2036 who is trapped in a tunnel underneath Philadelphia after a worldwide plague wiped out most of humanity back in the mid-1990s. As part of the one percent of humanity who survived the pandemic but also as a prisoner whose life is not deemed to be worth much, Cole “volunteers” to travel back in time to stop a maniacal animal-rights activist (Brad Pitt) from releasing the virus that almost exterminated humanity. This involves Cole first being scrubbed clean and then placed in a plastic time-travel device. But since time travel has not yet been perfected, he is first sent back to 1990, and then even further back to 1914, before finally landing in Baltimore in 1996, right before the outbreak. Without revealing the ending, director Terry Gilliam reveals why Cole’s mission may not have been successful: “[It] seems, in the short term, to be a disaster. But in the long term, it’s good for the people 40 years in the future, because they’ll reclaim the world. It’s like agriculture, you gotta chop the plants down, dig ‘em into the ground, and in the future great shoots will sprout up.”

Retroactive (1997)

time travel movie name list

A time-travel road thriller by director Louis Mourneau, Retroactive stars Frank Whaley as Brian, a brilliant physicist obsessed with time travel. James Belushi plays Frank, a sociopathic computer chip thief. After Frank and his wife Rayanne (Shannon Whirry) pick up a female psychiatrist whose car broke down on the roadside, Frank flies into a rage when he learns that Rayanne has been cheating on him and kills her. But Brian’s flux capacitor allows Rayanne to travel back in time 20 minutes before her murder several times—with things only getting worse until she finally gets it right. According to a review in Gizmodo , “ Retroactive does have some interesting thoughts to share about the similarities between time travel and psychotherapy. Karen explains to Frank and Rayanne that the essence of psychotherapy is examining your past life and imagining what you would do differently given a second chance.”

Blast from the Past (1999)

time travel movie name list

This romantic comedy film by Hugh Wilson is the most realistic time travel movie on the list because, well, it could actually happen. Brendan Fraser has lived his whole life in a bomb shelter, and now at the age of 30, his dad—played by Christopher Walken—allows him to leave the bunker. Fraser’s character is indeed a blast from the past, as he knows nothing about society and current pop culture; all he knows is what he knew 30 years ago when he went into the bunker. While technically it’s not a time travel movie, it does deal with time distortion as well as typical time travel plot devices, and it’s a rather fun and heartwarming movie that contrasts a radically changing society with the difficulty humans have dealing with it.

Donnie Darko (2001)

time travel movie name list

Donnie Darko is a cult film and has a rich philosophical backstory about time travel and alternative timelines. The director of the film, Richard Kelly, goes so deep on the topic he even wrote a companion book called Philosophy of Time Travel , which explains the metaphysics of the film in greater detail. The plot while rather complex has divided critics since release — but the movie resonates both as a highly esoteric sci-fi movie and fun coming-of-age tale.

Primer (2004)

time travel movie name list

Abe and Aaron are two engineers who spend their spare time developing entrepreneurial tech projects out of Aaron’s garage. During an experiment with electromagnetic reduction of an object’s weight, they stumble upon the “A-to-B” causal loop effect, meaning that objects suspended in the weight-reducing field can travel back and forth in time in a repeating loop. Abe builds a device he calls “The Box,” big enough for one human, to test whether it will enable him and Aaron to travel back and forth in time. It works—in six-hour intervals, which are long enough for them to do things such as successfully bet on stock-market manipulations. But since they begin to notice adverse effects of the experiment, such as ear bleeds and their handwriting progressively worsening, they develop a “failsafe” box that enables them to travel backward in time four days to prevent the cumulative negative effects of their time traveling. However, the failsafe box fails — and proves to be anything but safe.

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

time travel movie name list

Ashton Kutcher stars as Evan, a troubled man in his 20s who suddenly discovers that he is able to travel back in time merely by reading his childhood journals. He attempts to travel back to change things so that he and everyone he knows in the present is in a happier and better place. But just as the scientific concept of the “Butterfly Effect” dictates, changing even one tiny thing can have unintended and even disastrous consequences. For example, during one spate of time-traveling, Evan accidentally kills his girlfriend and winds up in prison and must devise a way to escape. The film was a box-office success and led to two sequels: The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006) and The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations (2009).

Kate & Leopold (2001)

time travel movie name list

Kate & Leopold is a typical Hollywood romance movie about an English duke time traveler from 1876 who falls in love with a woman from 21st century New York. Like most time travel stories, Kate & Leopold is filled with inconsistencies and has a terrifying premise . Regardless, the movie was a mainstream success in the early 2000s because it used time travel to portray a perfect love that transcended time and space. Real love can be hard and sad. So what better way to idealize romance than bringing it outside time? This is why the subgenre of time travel romance works so well with audiences.

13 Going On 30 (2004)

time travel movie name list

Jenna is a 13-year-old girl in 1987 who dreams of fitting in with the “cool kids,” who at her school are a clique known as the Six Chicks. Her best friend, Matty, builds her a Barbie’s Dream House and sprinkles it with “wishing dust.” But Jenna’s interest in Matty is only platonic. When the Six Chicks pull a prank on Jenna—promising to bring the boy she has a crush on at school—they instead bring Matty, which causes Jenna to feel betrayed and to kick Matty out of the house. She is so enraged by her betrayal, she bangs her head against the closet and wishes she was thirty—causing some of the wishing dust to fall on her head and for her to be transported 17 years into the future to the year 2004, where she is 30 but still feels as if she is 13.

time travel movie name list

Southland Tales (2006)

time travel movie name list

Southland Tales feels more like a puzzle (or cinematic hieroglyphic) than a movie, which is a nice way of saying it’s an incomprehensible mess. Directed by Richard Kelly of Donnie Darko fame, Southland Tales is by almost all accounts an “ego-fueled folly” and a terribly, terribly bad movie . Despite Southland Tales ‘ unwatchable nature, it features a blockbuster cast of pop-culture darlings:

  • Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) plays amnesiac action star and Mandy Moore plays his wife.
  • Amy Poehler’s character is a punk neo-Marxist.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a porn star named Krysta Lynn Kapowski (aka Krysta Now).
  • Justin Timberlake plays an Iraq War veteran addicted to a drug called Liquid Karma.
  • Seann William Scott plays a cop.

time travel movie name list

Actors aside, Southland Tales is not a conventional Hollywood blockbuster. Consider the film cost over $17 million to make and generated less than $300,000 in theaters. Southland Tales is more in the tradition of the aforementioned arthouse time travel film Jubilee from Derek Jarman than The Terminator franchise, offering esoteric cultural and political prophecy through a heap of images that begin in media res and lack a comprehensible storyline to anyone but the most patient cinephile.

time travel movie name list

How is time travel related to the story? Suffice it to say that Seann William Scott’s character notices his reflection is delayed in the mirror and some kind of black hole thing opened up in a desert that is causing a wave of chaos. There are nods to the rip in the space-time continuum from Donnie Darko as well.

time travel movie name list

Southland Tales can be interpreted more generously . The movie isn’t just a science fiction time travel film, it is the ultimate postmodern time travel film. Why? Because it presents a Gen Z version of time where traditional notions of narrative and time have been eroded to the point of no return, and we all live in the amnesia-inducing and ahistorical nowness of social media feeds. There is no time to traverse, just content blocks to bounce endlessly and mindlessly through, which is how the movie moves in a way.

time travel movie name list

Indeed, it might be said if Southland Tales was released as 15- to 60-second clips posted to TikTok and Instagram Reels instead of as a linear film in theaters, it might be a viral success. For the movie is just a weird scrapbook of skits of lip-syncing, conspiratorial thinking, stunts, dancing, extremist politics, dress-up, and surveillance footage all tinged with an ooze of faux-sexuality and drugged-up schizophrenia.

Deja Vu (2006)

time travel movie name list

Filmed in New Orleans, Déjà Vu stars Denzel Washington as a New Orleans police officer who is enlisted in a new government project called Snow White. He is shown a video screen and told that it allows him to look at images from four days and six hours ago from any possible angle. What he is not told but discovers on his own is that a screen is actually a time machine that allows him to view and manipulate events as they actually are happening four days and six hours ago, so he marshals his energies to prevent a bombing and save a woman’s life.

Timecrimes (2007)

time travel movie name list

A man named Hector looks through binoculars deep into the woods, where he sees a woman who appears to be naked. When he searches in the woods for her, he finds her lying naked on a rock. Suddenly, a man with a bandaged face appears and stabs Hector with a pair of scissors. The man begins to chase Hector through the woods, but Hector escapes into a house which he thinks is abandoned, only to realize there’s some strange machinery there. The “strange machinery” turns out to be a time machine, causing Hector to travel back in time one hour—where he must engage in battle with his own self an hour in the future. Through a series of disasters, he realizes to his horror that the naked woman he saw in the woods was his own wife.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

time travel movie name list

In this cinematic adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s novel of the same name, Eric Bana stars as Henry DeTample, a man whose ultra-rare genetic disorder enables him to time-travel while his patient wife Clare waits for him at home, unaware of why he constantly goes missing. Since he is the time machine himself, he can only travel back so far as his birth but not before. He uses his strange powers to travel back in time and save his mother from a car crash that would have killed her.   Roger Ebert  wrote, “If you allow yourself to think for one moment of the paradoxes, contradictions, and logical difficulties involved, you will be lost.”

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

time travel movie name list

Three friends, seeking a vacation, travel to a run-down ski lodge for a few days, only to discover that the hot tub is actually a time machine that transports them back to the year 1986, when they’d previously spent an extremely unpleasant night at the same resort in the same hot tub. But since they want to make sure that one of the friends’ nephews will be born, they have to recreate the steps of that fateful night without changing a thing. Reel Views wrote, “An attempt to flavor The Hangover with a little Back to the Future , this film argues that what happens in the ’80s stays in the ’80s, but does so with middling results.”

Source Code (2011)

time travel movie name list

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Colter Stevens, a soldier who was mortally wounded in Afghanistan but wakes up in the body of a man named Sean on a Chicago subway train. Colter realizes to his horror that as Sean, he is part of a top-secret governmental time-travel experiment designed to find the terrorist who bombed the train and to prevent it from happening. He relives the last eight minutes of Sean’s life over and over again in his attempt to thwart the bombing. Reel Views wrote, “ Source Code is what might happen if one cross-bred Groundhog Day with 24 and The Matrix .”

Looper (2012)

time travel movie name list

In a dystopian future, time travel is controlled by organized crime, and a “looper” is someone who kills criminals who time travel to the past from the future to alter history. Bruce Willis stars as Joe, who is sent back to the past, only to confront his former self, who is tasked with assassinating his future self. But both versions of “Joe” survive, sending the crime syndicate who controls time travel into a frenzy to remediate the situation before it gets out of control.

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

time travel movie name list

Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED.

In a film that is about time travel but seems to contain no actual time travel and is based on a real-life ad placed in a magazine in 1997, a journalist named Jeff (Jake Johnson) takes it upon himself to track down the prankster who placed the ad. Two interns assist him in his quest and are able to save two lives—but it remains unclear whether any time travel actually took place in the process. Because of this, Roger Ebert hailed Safety Not Guaranteed as a sterling example of how “to make a time-travel movie containing no apparent paradoxes.”

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

time travel movie name list

The slogan of this Tom Cruise film is Live Die Repeat , and this captures the contribution of this film to the time travel canon. Edge of Tomorrow is a retread of Groundhog Day applied to a high-tech military confronting an alien invasion . Cruise’s character, Major William Cage, wakes each day to relive the same massacre and must figure out a way to overcome it. Director Doug Liman fought for the time travel element of the film and recalls in an interview with Collider that the movie studio wanted to remove it :

When you try and develop a movie with a world that involves time travel, you quickly realize that humans are never going to travel through time because there are so many paradoxes. You can hardly get through a screenplay. At some point during the development of the screenplay of the first film, Warner Bros said to me, ‘Does he need to travel through time? Maybe he could just battle aliens.’ I was like, ‘Well if you want me to make this movie, he does. I’m not interested in aliens, I’m interested in the repeating the day part.’ Doug Liman

time travel movie name list

Thankfully Warner Bros allowed the film to keep the time loop element, and many people consider it one of the best action films of the 2010s, an assessment we concur with. Edge of Tomorrow is a tremendous cinematic accomplishment for the way it balances humor, incredible sci-fi special effects, action, and stellar acting performances with a refreshingly clever screenplay.

time travel movie name list

Time travel in the film is facilitated by a super organism alien that is so advanced it has a different understanding of time as well as the ability to traverse it. When Tom Cruise’s character kills a special breed of this alien, the chemical-blood element seeps into his body giving him the ability to repeat time as well. The film does not fixate much on the mechanics or physics of how this works but as a result, it feels believable enough.

Predestination (2014)

time travel movie name list

Predestination reaches into the core of the paradoxes inherent in the very idea of time travel. It stars Ethan Hawke as a temporal agent with the ability to inhabit time loops and to stop crimes before they happen. In the process of sending Hawke’s character back to 1970 in an attempt to avert a 1975 attack by a character known as the Fizzle Bomber…then back to the 1960s…and then forward to the 1980s… it becomes unclear whether or not Hawke’s character and those of several other prominent players are actually the same person. In the process, time-travel quandaries such as the Predestination Paradox , the Bootstrap Paradox , the Temporal Paradox , and the Let’s Kill Hitler Paradox are all explored. A review on Astronomy Trek states, “this cerebral sci-fi thriller navigates through multiple twists of fate as the story’s tragic key character is gradually revealed to be [a] self-created entity trapped within a closed loop in time.”

Reset (2017)

time travel movie name list

Produced by Jackie Chan and directed by Korean filmmaker Yoon Hong-seung, Reset is a time travel movie in Chinese with English subtitles. The film has an emphasis on time travel realism with a focus on wormhole technology and parallel universes but is thoroughly an action thriller about a young mom who loses her son and then is forced to travel through time and different universes to get him back. GirlsWithGuns  praised the film for its “fresh and original concept, exactly the kind of thing which Hollywood desperately needs in the genre of late” — and it’s a unique contribution to time travel cinema from a non-English perspective.

When We First Met (2018)

time travel movie name list

When We First Met is a good example of a time loop movie used as a narrative structure for a romantic comedy. It applies the Groundhog Day formula to figuring out who you love, and the day repeated over and over again is Halloween. Our time traveler, Noah — played by Adam DeVine of Comedy Central’s Workaholics fame — keeps going back in time to try to make a girl fall in love with him. Many parts of the film are cliché, and time travel physics are naturally a mess, but it’s an amusing and heartwarming film for a rainy day.

See You Yesterday (2019)

time travel movie name list

What if Spike Lee produced Back to the Future instead of Steven Spielberg? And what if that film captured the same fun and whimsy of the Back to the Future franchise but addressed racism and police violence instead? This is exactly what is accomplished in See You Yesterday — social relevance is merged with the fantastical and imaginative power of a sci-fi time travel movie. As a time travel movie, and as a philosophical statement, the movie does an incredible job of being playful but also delivering a real-world message, which critic Carla Hay at the Culture Mix describes thus: “ See You Yesterday shows people, no matter what their age, that life is not about changing the past but how we move forward.”

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

time travel movie name list

The culmination of the first three phases of Marvel Studios films (aka The Infinity Saga), Avengers: Endgame is the second highest-grossing movie of all time with a $2.7 billion tally. With half the population wiped out by Thanos, the Avengers attempt a daring trip through time in an attempt to reverse the Mad Titan’s destructive actions to bring balance to the galaxy. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo revisit several important time frames in the MCU and challenge the normal time travel rules by having younger and older versions of characters directly interact. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley establish some basic time travel laws that hold up within the context of the film while also poking fun at the Back to the Future time paradox. Endgame is the culmination of 21 films so prepare to spend some time on an extended marathon session to fully appreciate all the references.

Palm Springs (2020)

time travel movie name list

Palm Springs is a Hulu original film and arguably the most original comedic take on the Groundhog Day formula since, well, Groundhog Day in 1993. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti star in the film as a pair of 20-somethings stuck in a time loop together on November 9th, the wedding day of their mutual friend. It’s a unique time travel film because of how successful the gonzo, often nihilistic humor is throughout the film’s 90-minute runtime. Palm Springs is also successful in provoking the viewer to ask interesting questions about their own life, like how much fun would you have if you could live the same day over and over again with no consequences for your actions? Likewise, what existential dread would you feel living a life with no responsibility? The film joyfully brings you to that adventurous thought experiment.

Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

time travel movie name list

In this, the third film in the Bill & Ted time-travel series that came out nearly thirty years after the 1991 sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, the time-traveling aspiring rock stars find themselves as middle-aged and stuck in the near future where they still have been unable to find the musical success which will enable them to save the world. They are then suddenly transported to the year 2067 and are confronted with their elderly and dying selves. They must return to the past in a hurry to sing and record a hit that will save the universe — but the song will happen with the help of their daughters, Billie and Theadora. As a time travel movie, Bill & Ted Face Music is particularly fun because they travel back in this movie to put all the best musicians that ever lived into a supergroup.

The Adam Project (2022)

time travel movie name list

Ryan Reynolds stars in this sci-fi/drama film from Netflix that explores time travel and multiverses . The Adam Project is most successful as family-friendly movie with heartwarming laughs. The charming plot involves an older version of oneself visiting the younger version and the two teaming up to save the world. It is typical formulaic Hollywood, but it works as a fun little ride of a movie.

The Flash (2023)

The Flash (2023)

In The Flash , the scarlet speedster discovers that he can travel through time using the “speed force” that give him his superpowers . The Flash, who is Barry Allen in his everyday life, decides to use his newfound time-traveling ability to go back in time and prevent the death of his mother. Naturally, his actions have dire consequences. The Flash tries to explain time travel in a novel way, presenting it as an action that changes timelines not just in a straight line towards the future, but in a way that alters events in all directions of space and time. So Barry doesn’t just change his past, he changes the history of events years prior to the date he travels to, and in locations he’s never even been to. This way of looking at time travel gives the filmmakers unlimited freedom to change whatever they want within the DCEU even if it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

More Time Travel Movies

time travel movie name list

  • Cyborg 2087 (1966) takes place in the year 2087, where governments are now using totalitarianism to control the population. A group of “free thinkers” send a cyborg time traveler back into the past to target the person they believe is responsible for their dystopian society.
  • Planet of the Apes (1968) a great deal of this popular franchise has aspects of time-bending woven within the plot.
  • Je t’aime, je t’aime (1968) is a 60s sci-fi time travel film from France. A suicide survivor just released from the hospital agrees to participate in a mysterious time travel experiment. He is sent back in time and forced to relive his most painful memories.
  • The Final Countdown (1980) this Kirk Douglas film tells the story modern aircraft carrier thrown back to 1941 near Hawaii.
  • Cavegirl (1985) follows a high-school boy who gets lost on a class trip and ends up entering a time portal that sends him to the Stone Age. He falls in love and must fight off murderously jealous cannibal cavemen!
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) Kirk and his crew travel back from the 23rd century to San Francisco in the 1980s to avert a situation that could destroy life on Earth.
  • Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982) a dirt-bike racer wanders off course in the desert and winds up being transported to the year 1877.
  • Flight of the Navigator (1986) opens with a young man discovering that he has been the face of a missing-child poster for the past eight years. The plot weaves together alien spaceships, time dilation, and mind transfers.
  • Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) the second installment in this stoner series featuring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter.
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) is a 1960s-inspired film that follows a cheeky British spy who fights his nemesis throughout time in an effort to save his future self. Dr. Evil has invented a powerful new time machine and is determined to sabotage Austin Powers’s future.
  • Frequency (2000) centers on an NYC detective whose firefighter father died in a tragic accident thirty years earlier. The detective ends up finding a faulty radio that opens a channel of communication across time between him and his late father.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) in the third installment of one of the most successful literary and film franchises of all time, Harry Potter and his friends use the Time Turner, an hourglass that sends you back one hour in time for every time you turn it upside-down and reset the trickling sand. This proves to be a lifesaver for Harry, who learns to his dismay that the evil Lord Voldemort has escaped Azkaban prison and is seeking to kill him.
  • Click (2006) features a workaholic husband and father, played by Adam Sandler, who discovers a magic remote-control device that allows him to control time and fast-forward through any moment in life that he wishes. He soon discovers devastating disadvantages to this technological miracle.
  • Premonition (2007) is a supernatural thriller about a woman whose husband dies suddenly. The storyline weaves throughout the widow’s experiences in the days leading up to his death. She attempts to piece together clues to identify his killer and save herself.
  • Triangle (2009) is set on a cruise ship caught in a time loop.
  • Star Trek (2009) a Romulan ship called the Narada and Spock’s vessel simultaneously go into a black hole and are sent back in time, but 25 years apart.
  • Haunted – 3D (2011) marks India’s first 3D feature film release. This supernatural horror flick focuses on a realtor responsible for selling a haunted house. He experiences sinister paranormal presences and travels back in time to prevent them from ever coming alive.
  • Sound of My Voice (2011) deals with charismatic cult leader that claims she is a time traveler.
  • 11 A.M. (2013) is a Korean sci-fi thriller that dives into a futuristic underwater marine laboratory where a time machine is invented. Surveillance-camera footage offers the lab workers clues on troubling mysteries of the past.
  • About Time (2013) at age 21, a man named Tim (Domnhall Gleeson) realizes he’s able to travel back in time and fix his life, so he travels back in time to get a girlfriend—but it doesn’t quite end well.
  • Interstellar (2014) this Christopher Nolan film deals with time travel from light speed travel and intergalactic exploration. More of a study of aging in time vs. on Earth than time travel, it still touches on many tropes of time distortion and travel.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Wolverine is sent into the past with a daunting mission: He must change history and, in the course, assure a better future for both humans and mutants.
  • Lucy (2014) stars Scarlett Johansson as a young woman who is kidnapped and forced to conceal and smuggle drugs into Europe. An accident punctures the powerful drugs into her bloodstream, causing her to develop psychokinetic powers such as time travel and telekinesis.
  • Doctor Strange (2016) features many time loops, which director Scott Derrickson says isn’t technically time travel: “Well, we don’t time travel in the movie. He reverses time, and time resets. But there’s only ever one timeline, and so it’s a movement of that timeline back and then forward.”
  • Synchronicity (2016) is a cyberpunk movie inspired by Blade Runner . A man needs to travel back in time to stop an attractive young woman and a wealthy tycoon from stealing his invention.
  • Time Trap (2017) this low-budget sci-fi movie was made popular through distribution on Netflix. A critic at Inverse describes the movie: “Time Trap  is the perfect indie gem to see storytelling in its most simple form. The exposition takes a found-footage angle, making it feel all the more real, even when the footage is found in the suit of an 8-foot-tall spaceman. Yes, it’s cheesy, but it strikes the perfect balance of mindless fun and thought-provoking concepts.”
  • Happy Death Day (2017) takes the Groundhog Day formula and applies it a slasher and serial killer film. Watch this one if you’re looking for a horror movie with time travel.
  • The Man With The Magic Box (2019) is a Polish sci-fi dystopian film set in 2030. A janitor finds a time-traveling device and accidentally gets himself stuck in 1950s communist Poland.
  • In the Shadow of the Moon (2019) is a science-fiction movie from Netflix in which Rya, the protagonist, travels back in time in nine-year intervals to kill the people responsible for the mess the world has become in the present.
  • James vs .  His Future Self  (2019) James’s future self travels back in time to prevent the invention of a time machine, which leads to a battle between future and past versions of the same man.
  • 2067 (2020) is an Australian science fiction film where time travel is used to fix climate change.
  • The Tomorrow War (2021) a man gets drafted to travel into the future, where he must do battle in a war where humanity is forced to confront everything that went wrong in the past. This is one of the newest and most exciting time travel movies released in a while.
  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) An aging Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is drawn into an adventure that involves his goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and an artifact that is said to hold the secret to time travel.

History of Time Travel Storytelling

Time travel storytelling as a science fiction phenomenon began with Enrique Gaspar’s book The Time Ship (1887) and became mainstream in the late 1800s because of the success by H. G. Wells’s novel The Time Machine (1895). In terms of cultural memory, it might be said the fever dream tour of the past and future in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (1843) is the most imprinted time travel story in Western consciousness.

time travel movie name list

As far as Hollywood’s impact, Robert Zemeckis’s Back to the Future franchise (1985 – 1990) has a great deal of pop culture clout. The ancient idea of infinite loop or eternal return popularized in Groundhog Day (1993) has become a mainstay plot device of modern cinema. And of course there is the Terminator franchise (1984 – 2021), which defined action movies and made Arnold Schwarzenegger into a star.

Like ghost movies , time travel movies transcend any one genre. Time travel is used in everything from romance films to comedies to arthouse cinema to Marvel superhero movies to thrillers and, of course, to science fiction. No matter the genre, though, basically all time travel films require a suspension of disbelief, as they’re full of plot holes and hardly scientifically accurate .

Meet The Author

Chris Laverne

Chris likes weird movies more than horror movies. He studied media, philosophy and literature at Hampshire College. His writing for Creepy Catalog tends to use cinema as a portal for understanding larger societal trends.

time travel movie name list

Every item on this page was chosen by a Town & Country editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

25 of the Best Time Travel Movies Ever Made

These films will have you flying through the years, decades and dimensions—and ready to do it over and over again.

Headshot of Charlotte Chilton

From star-crossed lovers to harrowing action sequences, the plots to these films didn't stay in one dimension.

Back to the Future

What is a list of time travel classics a without a nod to Marty McFly and his friend Doc Brown from the 1980's classic, Back to the Future ? Although the second and third movie are equally as entertaining– it's hard to beat the original.

Somewhere in Time

Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour play the ultimate time-crossed lovers in this romantic drama that will have you rooting for time to be by their side.

The Lake House

Settle in for a mystifying romance and watch the relationship between the characters of Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves unfold — all while they are communicating with each other separated by two years of time.

The Time Traveler's Wife

Every marriage requires work, but when your husband has a condition that causes him to involuntarily time travel– your issues are outside the normal scope of relationship stressors. The romantic drama starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana follows a newlywed couple through the trials and tribulations of their unusual relationship.

Palm Springs

When carefree Nyles (Andy Samberg) and reluctant maid of honor Sarah (Cristin Milioti) have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, the two get stuck in a time loop that they can't escape.

Kate & Leopold

A 19th-century bachelor (Hugh Jackman) falls through time and meets a 21st-century woman (Meg Ryan). What more could you want in a time travel movie, honestly?!

Time After Time

No, not the Cyndi Lauper song: this is a time travel movie where H.G. Wells (Malcom McDowell) chases Jack the Ripper (David Warner) through time, and they end up in... 1979 San Francisco! When there, Wells falls for a bank clerk named Amy (Mary Steenburgen). There's a bit of everything: Romance, action, adventure, and obviously, time travel.

Source Code

When Jake Gyllenhaal finds himself inside the body of a man he doesn't know, he quickly figures out there's an important reason for why he's been sent back in time. The film's plot twists as well as the climax of his pressure-filled mission makes for incredible action and drama.

Donnie Darko

A cult classic ever since it's release in 2001, Donnie Darko takes a dark twist on teenage time travel.


Interstellar left audiences perplexed, bewildered, and all around baffled as it's characters journey through a wormhole in space.

Groundhog Day

Ever used the term groundhog day to describe a never-ending day? Well you can thank the 1993 film for that! Comedian Bill Murray stars as a weatherman who finds himself trapped reliving the same day over and over again.

In Loop , actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt star in the marvelous film that combines the the best traits of a mob drama with the intrigue of the space-time continuum.

13 Going on 30

As a thirteen-year old in the 1980's, all Jenna Rink wants is to skip over her teenage years and live as a sophisticated and self-assured 30 year old (who didn't want that?). But when she gets exactly what she's dreamed of, she realizes it's not everything she though it'd be. In a film which imbues the message "enjoy the journey not the destination" cliche, Jennifer Garner does an amazing job of keeping the role refreshing and sweet.


The intertemporal plots of the film Predestination along with actor Ethan Hawke's marvelous performance will leave you wanting to view it over and over again.

The Family Man

Although the film Family Man is more about an alternate universe than actual time travel, watching Nicolas Cage portray an investment banking bachelor who gets thrust into the life of a suburban dad to teach him what really matters in life is just too good not to recommend it.

Doctor Strange

Marvel dips its toe into the world of time travel with the release of Doctor Strange, the story of a neurosurgeon who introduces the audiences to an entire world of alternate dimensions.

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow takes the winning concept behind Groundhog Day and combines it with an action-fueled adventure starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.

The film was met with mixed reviews from critics, however the plot's time travel complexities are extremely well done and will satisfy any sci-fi lover.

What would you do if you could go back in time and re-do any moment? We're sure you'd change a few corny pick-up lines, awkward conversations, and coulda-woulda-shoulda moments and that's exactly what you'll find in this romantic comedy meets fantasy drama.

The Adjustment Bureau

Matt Damon and Emily Blunt will captivate you as they protect their love from a mysterious group that is aiming to tear them apart.

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  5. Time Travel Movies

    If time travel movies get you buzzing, like it does for me, then you would also be a little excited with finding a list of

  6. Category:Films about time travel

    Pages in category "Films about time travel" · List of films featuring time loops · 0–9. 6:3 Play It Again Tutti · 11 A.M. (film) · A. A spasso nel tempo · A spasso

  7. The 25 Greatest Time-Travel Movies Ever Made

    Pick away at the surface of a time-loop movie and you find a horror movie. Most of the entries on this list are covered in enough feel-good spin

  8. The 15 Best Time Travel Movies Ever Made, Ranked

    Trigger Warning: There are two 'Back to the Future' movies on this list. 15-Best-Time-Travel-Movies. Making a great time-travel movie, as it

  9. The 23 best time travel movies of all time

    ... movie. This list is unranked, and mostly grouped together according to each movie's particular "genre" of time travel: conventional time

  10. The 30 Best Time Travel Movies of All Time

    ... time”—it's like you are time traveling when you watch this movie! ... No list of time travel films would be complete without at least one

  11. The 20 best time-travel movies

    ... list of time-travel ... Technically, if you want to be fussy about this, Interstellar is a time dilation movie rather than a time-travel movie.

  12. The 35 Best Time Travel Movies

    A film with perhaps the lowest budget on this list, Timecrimes is a Spanish-language movie that follows a typical time travel trope (many

  13. 100+ Best Time Travel Movies

    The title of this film ... This romantic comedy film by Hugh Wilson is the most realistic time travel movie on the list because, well, it could

  14. 25 Best Time Travel Movies Ever

    What is a list of time travel classics a without a nod to Marty ... What more could you want in a time travel movie, honestly?! WATCH NOW.