Top 15 Best Time Travel Movies of All Time
It turns out that it’s never easy to make a great time travel movies, Cuz, I have tried to watch several films about time travel themes and failed for a variety of reasons.
Obviously, there is logic that can become problematic, but all too often the story may rely too much on the plot device, resulting in a shortage of rich and memorable characters.
But there are some truly phenomenal time travel movies that exploit premise and create unforgettable creative stories, and many of them have long stood the test of time.
With that in mind, I looked back at the dictionary of movies that include time travel and curated a list of the best of the best.
In fact , some are silly, some are sweet, and some are just a hell of a lot of fun. As with all menus, this one is self-explanatory, and it will undoubtedly be a favorite.
Most time travel movies try to keep the actual mechanisms of time travel simple, but that’s certainly not true for writer / director / superstar Shane Carruth, the preliminary 2004 film.
The standalone drama revolves around two engineers who accidentally discover a time travel mechanism while messing with projects Entrepreneurial Technology.
Carruth is not “ashamed” of any science in the film, and charts have already been drawn up to explain the exact mechanisms of what happens in this film, but it nonetheless remains one of the most science-intensive time travel films ever made.
- Read Also: Top 10 Best Science Fiction Movies to Watch
14. The Terminator
Director James Cameron’s science fiction flagship movie of 1984 is both its most coherent and understated sequel, but The Terminator still packs a punch all these years after that.
With a really creative premise, a charismatic performance by Linda Hamilton, and proof that Arnold Schwarzenegger can act, the effect of The Terminator reaches beyond.
13. About Time
About time is definitely the most emotional entry on this time travel movies list. Writer / director Richard Curtis had hearts melted previously with Love Actually and Pirate Radio, but About Time brought the director back to the Four Weddings and Funeral Roots (which he didn’t direct, but wrote).
This type of time travel provides an opportunity to express philosophy about death and regret, and a film about time seizes it in a unique way by focusing on a very serious father-son relationship.
The romantic comedy part between Dominal Gleeson and Rachel McAdams is the hook, but the relationship between a time-traveling father and his son Gleeson and Bill Nighy is the heart of this tearful movie.
12. Back to the Future Part II
There are people who say Back to the Future Part 2 is a bad movie, and these people are wrong.
Director Robert Zemeckis’ original film is untouchable, but for the first sequel, the well-known ambitious filmmaker doubles as the premise of time travel while also echoing the first movie in great fashion.
First, we get a comic and full of Easter eggs into the future, and then we get to see the events of the first remastered movie where Marty McFly has to go back in time again to save the future – all while avoiding his other time – self travel.
It’s a rope hike of the incredibly difficult kind, and only a director with such vision and courage can pull it off.
You know, this movie was an absurd fiction until it kind of became a reality.
Director Mike Judge couldn’t just predict how Idiocracy would look more than a decade after its release, but in reality, judge and co-writer Eitan Cohen has definitely been doing every pulse of what was going on in America at the time – just enough to get the ugly facts.
That is still relevant today. While the central premise of a man being “frozen” for hundreds of years has been made before, it is the comedic subtlety with which Judge implements his deceptive vision of America’s future that makes Idiocracy endure. As well as one of the best time travel movies on our list that spans subconscious jokes.
Be it in a standalone movie like Brick or a blockbuster like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, writer / director Rian Johnson has always displayed an impeccable combination of ambition and subtlety, never allowing his reach beyond his grip.
Luber was Johnson’s first foray into the genre of science fiction, and he has done so aggressively, providing a twisted time-travel story rooted in the character first and foremost.
The film is among those movies that takes the prologue of time travel, So, “What would you do if you went back in time and met your younger self?”.
It spins on its head, adding stunningly tense action sequences and strong moral pitfalls for a good measure.
9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
As one of the best movies in the franchise (Fight Me), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is also considered one of the best time travel films ever.
Director Alfonso Cuarón shook the aesthetic and narrative approach to conditioning J. Rowling’s beloved book series, and while the premise of storytelling is Rowling, Cuaron’s execution makes this sky-high.
From immense cinematography to audio embellishments denoting audiences in changing time scenarios, Azkaban is full of wonder, curiosity, and danger, and it is among the absolute time travel movies pleasure to watch.
8. Star Trek (2009)
Director J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the Star Trek series avoided the problem of “erasing” the legacy of movies / TV shows that came before with one specific device: time travel.
This genius idea allows the Abrams entertainment movie to exist in the same universe as the previous Star Trek movies with Kirk, Spock and the entire gang, while also opening up new possibilities for the future – although Abrams’ Trek focuses on Young Kirk, he is in a new and changing timeline.
Hence the future is not 100% determined. Being able to explain this succinctly while also serving as an incredibly entertaining adventure is the little miracle that is Star Trek (2009), and while its Star Trek Into a Darkness time travel sequel hindered some of that goodwill, Abrams’ initial film was still standing as one of the most popular movies. That can be easily re-viewed in the twenty-first century.
7. 12 monkeys
While director Terry Gilliam is no stranger to time travel (Time Bandits just lost a spot on this movies list), his 1995 movie 12 Monkeys is still one of the most memorable entries in the genre to watch.
Science-fiction drama combines Gilliam’s most bizarre feelings with brave and ingrained time travel, resulting in an unforgettable dirty experience.
Brad Pitt delivers a very exceptional performance as a possibly insane patient in a mental institution while Bruce Willis plays a future inmate brought back in time to discover the origins of a deadly virus that has ravaged Earth.
Gilliam has never been for traditionalists, he keeps things delightfully weird all the time.
6. Edge of Tomorrow
Edge of Tomorrow is the perfect cocktail – a dash of Tom Cruise action, a sprinkler of Emily Blunt strength, a whirlpool of writer Christopher McQuarrie’s unique passions, and a big help to director Doug Liman’s unbridled ambition.
Many have tried and failed to imitate the “stuck in a loop” premise on Groundhog Day, but Edge of Tomorrow takes that solid block and works with it, making every scene refreshing even if we watch the same day being played over and over again.
The secret feature is to have Tom Cruise play a fickle coward, which contrasts with the public perception of his onscreen personality and results in a wonderfully refreshing viewing experience.
Edge of Tomorrow is White Whale of Hollywood: and among the most truly unique and super fun time travel movies you should watch.
5. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Director Bill & Ted’s excellent adventure of 1989 combines the genre of science fiction and teen comedy to result in a fantastic, cheerful, and innovative adventure. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are perfect as a pair of tired people using a time machine to complete a history report.
The whole thing is incredibly silly, but it’s made with such passion for its characters that it’s impossible not to love it.
There are tons of great jokes, especially regarding historical figures, and Rufus by George Carlin remains an icon to this day.
It’s a movie that maybe shouldn’t work, but it just works. Get great with each other, really.
4. Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes is unconditionally one of the best time travel movies to watch, although the audience who first set their eyes on the1968 film didn’t even know it that amazing final scene.
Astronaut Charlton Heston did not find a planet made up of apes, he traveled to planet Earth in the future where apes had already dominated the planet.
The movie is full of social and political commentary, which has continued throughout its understated sequels, and features one of the best scores Jerry Goldsmith created ever.
But it’s this ending, which paints the rest of the movie in a whole new light, that makes it a classic.
3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
We should have known, looking at Aliens and The Abyss, that James Cameron’s Terminator 2 wasn’t going to be just an old sequel.
In fact, the aspiring director made a completely different movie from the original Terminator, spun in the shadows of a comedy companion, PTSD drama, and family story in this science fiction thriller.
Terminator 2 is a small miracle of the movie to watch, as it turns its own premise on its head to present a time travel story similar to Terminator movies first stories, but different in key respects. It also feels positive epic. This is all the squares.
2. Groundhog Day
Superstar Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis famously nodded while celebrating Groundhog Day.
Murray reportedly wanted the movie to be more philosophical, while Ramis always pushed comedy.
But what makes Groundhog Day a cold classic is the push and pull between these two ideas. It’s funny, as it showcases some of Murray’s best comedic moments, but it’s also pretty heartbreaking.
The movie doesn’t ignore the loneliness inherent in the premise – to be stuck on the same day over and over again.
He goes to some surprisingly dark places, but Murray’s humanity always shines through, and Andie MacDowell does some wonderfully understated work. It is a complete classic.
1. Back to the future
Director Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 original takes a universal theme – the fact that we can’t really know what our parents were like when they were our age – and he adds his usual dash of crazy ambition by playing it as a journey through time story.
Given the hardships during production, it’s just insane that the movie is as cool as it happened. Michael J. Fox is a revelation. Christopher Lloyd is perfect. And Lea Thompson is so good that you forgot that she’s playing Marty’s mom.
It’s funny, fresh, different, and innovative, but it’s also rooted in universal truths that have made it relevant over the decades. And yes, it’s also one of the best movies about time travel and trying not to be your mom’s bones.