Top 10 Time Travel Films

Time-Travel…one of the great concepts of fiction…allowing creative minds to let their imaginations run wild. In film, there have been some great examples of time-travel as we find out…

If you found out you could travel through time, what would you do with this amazing power? Help avert a war, maybe try to cure various diseases? Well, for twenty-one-year-old Tim, the answer is obvious, he uses it to get a girlfriend. However, things turn out to be a lot trickier than he first thought with some hilarious results. To celebrate the release of Richard Curtis’ new romantic comedy About Time, we have put together a list of ten of the best movies to time travel their way into a cinema near you…

10. Groundhog Day (Ramis, 1993)

Bill Murray, Groundhog Day, Phil
Not so much about time travelling as being stuck in time, this hilarious flick sees obnoxious weatherman Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, being forced to repeat the same day over and over. While visiting the town of Punxsutawney, Phil become trapped in a loop which so happens to coincide with the worst day of his life.

9. Flight of the Navigator (Kleiser, 1986)

Flight of the Navigator, Film,
A great movie for all the family which tells the story of David, a twelve-year-old boy who is abducted by aliens and taken on an adventure that sees him travel eight years into the future.

8. Back to the Future 2 (Zemeckis, 1989)

A fantastic sequel to the smash hit Back to the Future. Marty’s adventures in time continue as he travels back to 1955 in a desperate bid to sort out the future timeline. This classic movie introduced us to the hoverboard and self-drying clothes.

7. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Herek, 1989)

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Best Mall movies,
This is the film that propelled Keanu Reeves to fame as one half of this hilarious duo. In this most bodacious of movies, our heroes travel back and forward in time collecting famous people from history as they attempt to pass their history test.

6. Planet of the Apes (Schaffner, 1968)

The original and still the best, this film tells the story of an astronaut played by Charlton Heston, who crash lands on a mysterious planet ruled by apes. Famous for its stunning make-up effects, this film is as good today as it was 45 years ago.

5. Star Trek First Contact (Frakes, 1996)

Star Trek First Contact
Led by Captain Picard, the 8th movie in the Star Trek franchise sees the crew of the Enterprise travel back in time to do battle with the infamous Borg. As the Borg attempt to stop humanity’s first contact with alien life, Picard and co do everything in their power to ensure history is not altered.

4. The Terminator (Cameron, 1984)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator, James Cameron, Action, Horror,
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, this brilliant sci-fi movie tells the tale of a cyborg assassin sent back from the year 2029 on a mission to kill Sarah Connor. This film helped propel Arnie to his place as the biggest action movie star in the world, where he remained for a very long time.

3. The Time Machine (Pal, 1960)

Not to be mistaken for the 2002 remake, this tale tells the story of H George Wells, played by Rod Taylor, a time traveller who invents a time machine and then travels back and forth in time. To his horror, Rod sees that humanity has evolved somewhat, and not for the better. Despite being over half a century old, this film remains one of the greatest time travelling adventures ever to hit the big screen.

2. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Cameron, 1991)

The Terminator, T2, Judgment Day, Arnold Schwarzenegger,
If there were ever a sci-fi sequel that is better than the original this is it. Arnie returns, this time, battling for the good guys as he attempts to protect Sarah Connor from an even more advanced Terminator. With ground-breaking CGI, this movie raised the special effects bar higher than it had ever been before.

1. Back to the Future (Zemeckis, 1985)

Back To The Future, Film, Robert Zemeckis, Michael J Fox,
The first of this hugely successful trilogy sees Marty McFly accidentally sent back thirty years in time as he attempts to escape Libyan terrorists. Through a chain of events, Marty disrupts the time line resulting in his mum and dad never marrying. Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd both give show-stopping performances in what is undoubtedly the best time travelling movie of all time!

Big thanks to Showcase Cinemas who we collaborated with to create this post!

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  1. Avatar
    Fulmer Reply

    A good list. Not a fan of Bill & Ted so : Looper (2012). Time After Time (1979). Frequency (2000). Peggy Sue Got Married (1986). La Jetee (1962) short.

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    ruth Reply

    Great list, but I agree w/ the Fulmer’s comment above that Frequency and Looper are great. I haven’t even heard of Flight of the Navigator before. Btw, no mention for Timeline? He..he.. yes I know it’s not a GREAT film but I thought the concept was intriguing.

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      Rodney Reply

      Ruth – you need to check out Flight of the Navigator, it’s a great film from the 80’s that taps into your childhood a lot like Neverending Story, The Last Starfighter, Short Circuit and The Goonies. Worth a look.

      And let’s be honest, Timeline was rubbish. I mean, Paul Walker as a time traveler? If he’s not driving cars, he’s out of his depth! LOL!!

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      Dan Reply

      Haha! I’d have to lump Timeline in with that Fred Ward film about the time-travelling biker called Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann which is equally rubbish!

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    Rodney Reply

    A great list (it brings up so many memories!) but I have a problem with the Back To The Future films in this one. Completely agree with BTTF 1 at the top, but # 2, while having a substantial and often confusing time travel element, isn’t as good a film as, say, the thurd one. I’d probably have had BTTF 3 in the list somewhere, or found a way to combine them (considering they were filmed at the simultaneously). That said, a great list that could have gone anywhere (or anywhen, really)!!!

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      Dan Reply

      Totally agree about Back To The Future II. Part III is a much more cohesive story. I’ve tried to sing the praises of it before but usually find myself outnumbered by Part 2 fans. Glad to see plenty of love for Part III.

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    Mark Reply

    Good list, but definitely MIA is 12 Monkeys (a sort of remake of La Jetee). Also missing is the fouth Star Trek film when they travel back to kidnap the whale. Then there’s The Time Traveller’s Wife.

    Time After Time also came immediately to mind, but Fulmer beat me to it.

    Plus I think Rodney has a point – BTTF III before II … II just gets too messy and repetitive.

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      Dan Reply

      …Ooh! Star Trek 4 – good call! 🙂

      Of all the Star Trek films after Wrath of Khan (my favourite), Star Trek 4 is the one I watch the most. Love the time-travel element and it is so much fun (there’s a real comic element to it which is so different to Star Trek 2, or another favourite, Star Trek 6)

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      Rodney Reply

      Damn, I shoulda thought of Whale Trek as well. Good catch!!

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    Dan Reply

    Back To The Future is definitely number one for me but I echo those comments about Frequency which is, to quote Spielberg (when talking about Lawrence of Arabia), “a miracle” of a film and one of my favourites.

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    Evan Crean Reply

    Some great films on this list gents. I love BTTF I and II, Terminator I and II, First Contact, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I would also include 12 Monkeys, Looper, and Frequency to my own list, as others have already mentioned. I agree with Rodney that Timeline is rubbish and with Dan that Star Trek 4 is totally underrated.

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    Pete Turner (@ilovethatfilm) Reply

    Beautiful list! Who doesn’t love a good time travel film? I’d have to put 12 Monkeys in and replace Star Trek as I’ve never seen that one.

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    Colin Biggs Reply

    I would be too tempted to add Looper to this list, but anything that includes the first two Terminators and Back to the Future is fine by me.

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    Neal Damiano Reply

    Nice list……but I can’t believe Time Bandits is not up here? Not only would I have it on the list but it would be number 2 just under Back To The Future. The fact it wasn’t included is just painful to see. Such a good travel film!!

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    Judy Reply

    I’ve just been singing the praises of ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ in your Nicolas Cage thread, and must do the same here – for my money it’s up there with ‘Back to the Future’ and deserves a place near the top of the list. Enjoyed reading this!

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