Top 5 x 2 Time Travel Movies

When I started to come up with this list, I started to argue with myself about what actually consistutes a time travel film.  There were 2 major categories in the ones I deemed the best.  First, there are those where we know something about both time periods.  We meet people who are literally out of their own time.  The first 5 represent those.  In particular, you must know about BOTH time periods.  Looper wouldn't qualify much for this list because we see almost nothing of the future.  Terminator is a bit of a cheat because we NEVER actually see the future, but everything that happens in the past is tied to what will happen in the future.  The other category involves repeating time, as opposed to being part of two times.  As these are fairly iconic movies, I'm only giving a single line to describe the time travel.
1. Back to the Future - Marty McFly uses the Delorean to travel back to 1955 and meets his parents and influences the future.
2. Twelve Monkeys - A convict tries to gather information about a virus that devestated humanity.
3. Midnight in Paris - A writer is transported back to his favorite time period, the 1920s in Paris, and interacts with his literary and artistic heroes.  * Bonus because this goes back in time twice to the 1890s too.
4. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure - Two high school students use a magic telephone booth to travel throughout history and steal icons and bring them to a high school presentation before returning them.
5. Terminator 2: Judgement Day - John Connor sends a Terminator back in time to protect his younger self to ensure that Skynet never gets built.

The second category of time travel involves repeating a sequence of time in an effort to have time come out differently.
1. Galaxy Quest - Easily the shortest redo, the Omega 13, lets them go back 13 seconds to prevent everyone from being killed.
2. Groundhog Day - Best movie that should be sappy but isn't as Phil Connors learns to be a good person by reliving Groundhog Day (Feb 2) about 10,000 times.
3. Run Lola Run - 3 parallel universes where Lola runs to try to stop bad things happening to her boyfriend and by her boyfriend.
4. Sliding Doors - What happens when you miss the subway and your day has the chance to go in 2 directions, but ultimately if you look far enough into the future, you might end up at the same point anyway.
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - The time turner allows Harry and Hermione to go back in time and save 2 different lives, but still lets Wormtail get away.

What other genres of time travel should I consider?  Also, I haven't seen MANY of the most famous time travel flicks, so forgive anything lacking, but definitely make an argument for why I should see it.


  1. Jess, you know I'm a sucker for time travel movies and so this is MY FAVORITE BLOG POST OF ALL TIME!
    However, I feel that The Time Machine (1960), Star Trek IV, Star Trek: First Contact, Frequency, and Planet of the Apes deserve a mention too.
    I could watch the first scenes of The Time Machine (until he gets to the future) over and over and it never gets old. (Same for the recent remake.) Granted, I lose interest after that.
    The same for Frequency. When there's the fight in the house in both the past and future and you can see the past directly affect the future fight, that's really cool to watch and I could watch that over and over.
    If someone doesn't like Star Trek IV, then I'd tell them "Double dumb ass on you!" The movie not only appeals to Trekkers, but has mass-market appeal since it's a lighthearted trip to 80's SF. ...and for the more hardcore Trekkers, they can see Picard & Company kick some borg ass and then travel back to the 21st century to help a drunk bastard invent warp drive.
    As for Planet of the Apes (the classic), that Statue of Liberty scene at the end is just iconic.

    Of course, there are plenty of "bogus" time travel films Timeline, Primer, Hot Tub Time Machine, Land of the Lost, and The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones.

    1. Pat, I agree on the Star Trek movies, particularly First Contact. Watching them attempt to pursuade a drunk he'll be a hero is awesome.

  2. A recent title that deserves mention in the time travel canon: Duncan Jones' SOURCE CODE.

    1. I do really like Source Code. But it fit both lists - you see 2 different times substantially, and they repeat the same time period over and over. It's a bridging film.

  3. Interesting post, Jess! I've only seen 7 of the 10 you mentioned, but they were definitely worth mentioning! (I still love Bill & Ted!) I also agree with the comments about STAR TREK IV & SOURCE CODE. If you haven't seen SOURCE CODE, you should.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.