Time Traveler Movies: Top 10


What are the best time travel movies? First, a little history. The interest (or obsession?) Of the human to imagine times different from his own dates from, at least, the year 1733, when Samuel Madden posted Memories of the 20th Century, a book in which an angel travels from 1997 and 1998 to the 18th century. Learn about the best time traveler movies here.

The films about time travel would not take long to arrive and in 1921 it was releasedA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, adapted from Mark Twain’s book. Since then and to this day, practically countless stories have been filmed of people visiting a different time, who can move freely in their own history, or who are trapped in the same day that they must relive over and over again.

How do we put together this list?

With the latter in mind, to put together this list of movies about time travel, it was important to set some rules to define which films were eligible and which were not. The first, and most important of these rules, is that time travel has to be literal and explained in some way. They don’t tell fantasies (like Midnight in Paris) or transported to a television show that takes place in the past (such as Pleasantville: Love in colors).

The second rule that we set ourselves to select the best movies about time travel is that the trip has to be done by the main character or characters. That is, nothing to detonate history with an artifact that may or may not have traveled in time (as inDonnie darko) or narrative deceptions such as the outcome of a certain movie that we will not mention in case someone has not seen it (click hereif you want to know which one we are talking about).

You might also be interested in: The best movies about space.

Back to the Future Trilogy (Dir. Robert Zemeckis, 1985, 1989 and 1990)

Who has not yet seen the trilogy ofReturn to the future? If you are part of the select group of people who still don’t know Marty McFly, Doc and Biff, get ready for one of the best adventures of your life. The three films, still 30 years after their original release, still manage to capture the imagination and transport us to a world where (almost) everything is possible. It all begins when a teenager (Michael J. Fox) is transported 30 years into the past and, inadvertently, prevent his parents from falling in love.

And if you already saw it, trust us: it’s always a good time to walk through Hill Valley again.

You might also be interested in: Curious facts aboutReturn to the future.

Terminator 1 and 2 (Dir. James Cameron, 1984 and 1991)

Although both are very worthwhile, the second is one of the few sequels that can boast a similar or even higher level than the original film, with The Last Judgment being one of them. This was possible thanks to the fact that, although the original premise was repeated with temporary trips that would define the course of the future war against machines, James Cameron altered the mission of the T-800 by making it the eternal guardian of the young John Connor, decision which, in addition to being moving, resulted in important reflections on human nature.

You might also be interested in: Terminator: The complete saga, from worst to best.

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

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) Directed by Stephen Herek Shown from left: Alex Winter (as Bill S. Preston, Esq.), Keanu Reeves (as Ted Logan)

If you’ve never seen this eighties comedy where Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter travel through time in a phone booth accompanied by George Carlin… consider immediately putting it on your priority list. The 1991 sequel failed to live up to its predecessor, but the former is one of the most unforgettable adventures in time traveler movies.

La Jetée (Dir. Chris Marker, 1962)

time traveler movies

This is the movie that inspired 12 monkeys and one of the most interesting signs that even with few resources, the most interesting stories can make it to the big screen. Told from still photos, Chris Marker tells the story of a man who, after the devastation of the Third World War, travels to the past to collect information to help his present. On his journey, he meets a woman whom he remembered seeing on an airport apron in his childhood before witnessing the death of a man. Is Youtube.

Primer (Dir. Shane Carruth, 2004)

time traveler movies

Made by a mathematician todologist who wrote, photographed, edited and starred in, First is another good example of the triumph of independent cinema and that heavy and complex concepts can make for entertaining stories. It is relatively difficult to find, but there is a national edition on DVD, so it is not impossible either.

Planet of the Apes (Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968)

time traveler movies

If you haven’t seen the original 1968 tape, it’s very possible we’ve already ruined the ending for you. But… it’s from more than 50 years ago, what were you waiting to see it? In this one, Charlton Heston’s journey through time is a little different from the others on the list (he does it in real time, but without getting old or noticing), but it still qualifies and is well worth mentioning.

12 monkeys (Dir. Terry Gilliam, 1995)

Besides one of the best time traveler movies, 12 monkeys is also a good example of remakes that do work. Based on the aforementioned Chris Marker film, La Jetée, Gilliam injected into the original story Hollywood elements (among them, of course, the presence of Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis and Madeleine Stowe), a soundtrack exceptional and references to other classics of atmospheric cinema such as Vertigo.

Assassin of the Future (Dir. Rian Johnson, 2012)

time traveler movies

In the not too distant future, if the mafia wants to get rid of someone, they send him to the past so that a murderer – nicknamedlooper-, kill him and get rid of the body, essentially making that person cease to exist. One of theseloopers(Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is faced with the mission of his life by being entrusted with the murder of his future version (Bruce Willis). However, that future “me” has a mission to fulfill and will not stop until it is achieved.

The concept behind the latest film by Rian Johnson (Love scam, Brick) is unsettling, even within the science fiction genre; hence it is not wise to tell too much to avoid ruining the plot.

Read Sergio López Aguirre’s full review here.

See You Yesterday

time traveler movies

Produced by Spike Lee, See you yesterday (See You Yestreday) It has the particularity of having linked time travel with adolescent adventures and with social awareness / criticism. The film is about a young prodigy who invents a time machine that she plans to use to prevent the murder of her brother at the hands of a police officer. It is available on Netflix and, although it was a bit forgotten at the time of its release, it is a must for fans of time traveler movies.

Time Loops Movies

time traveler movies

They are not strictly time travelers, but movies about people who have been stuck reliving the same day over and over have given us highly entertaining works worth mentioning. We would highlight here in the first place Time spell, the classic Bill Murray comedy. After, of course, the fast-paced On the edge of tomorrow by Doug Liman with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. And finally, two comedies that managed to find something new for this subgenre: Palm springs (with Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti) and the risky Happy death day 2.

Special mentions:

  • The arrival (Dir. Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
  • Your Name (Dir. Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
  • Interstellar (Dir. Christopher Nolan, 2014)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 2004)
  • Timecop: Police of the future (Dir. Peter Hyams, 1994)
  • Escape to the future (Dir. Nicholas Meyer, 1979)
  • The butterfly Effect (Dir. Erin Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, 2004)
  • Ask the time to return (Dir. Jeannot Szwarc, 1980)
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Dir. Mamoru Hosoda, 2006)
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Dir. Leonard Nimoy, 1986)

The entry Time Traveler Movies: Top 10 was first published in Cinema PREMIERE.


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