Best Time Travel Films ever made
written by Souranath Banerjee
Best Time Travel Films ever made – We, the mortals have been fascinated with the idea of Time Travel probably ever since the time we have grasped the concept of ‘Time’ itself.
Keeping in mind H. G. Wells‘s epic science fiction novel The Time Machine, numerous books and films have been conceptualized on time travelers who seems to have the magical ability to effortlessly leap through their past, present and future; an unclenched human desire unfortunately impossible in reality (yet).
Be it the recent Christopher Nolan movie Interstellar or the blockbuster Matrix trilogy directed by The Wachowski Brothers; though these movies are more focused on the metaphysical angle but somehow the inherent philosophy of time traveling is very much embedded in them.
And so many other films have taken this concept of jumping in time to such unique levels of imagination!
Basically, we are desperately in search of a world where time machine exists, time travel is possible, and time travelers no longer has to be those mysterious characters of some SiFi cinema.
Well, best of luck but till that time comes, lets enjoy some of the Best Time Travel Films ever made!
20. Donnie Darko (2001)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPeGaos7DB4
Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), the troubled unpopular teenager whose imaginary friend (an oversized bunny named Frank) tells him a unique secret – ’28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 12 seconds. That is when the world will end.’
Now what does Donnie do?
Directed by Richard Kelly, an amazing concept; one of the most popular and brilliant Time Travel Film of all time!
19. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_ULXRMvU7k
A school girl learns the unique secret to time travel, and her new ability though at first seems pretty awesome, but later becomes difficult for her to handle.
Directed by Mamoru Hosoda, this artistic young Japanese anime flick tells a well crafted emotional story that points out the few ingenious problems faced only by those who have learnt to travel through time.
18. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_8WZxHScMk
A particular gene causes a man to time travel involuntarily but though it seems fun and magical in the beginning it eventually takes a toll on his married life!
Directed by Robert Schwentke, this is one of the few successful time-travel romantic movies that actually involves you emotionally.
Starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams a film worth your time!
17. Source Code (2011)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiBVUulE_wo
A soldier is set on an experimental government program where his consciousness is being inserted into another human to alter the reality but then he has very less time for his mission – he lives only eight minutes before it restarts!
Directed by Duncan Jones, this is a super-cool time travel flick starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga.
16. Primer (2004)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nj5MMURCm8
Four budding entrepreneurs built some device that they soon realize can be also used as a time-machine!
But this film is much more philosophical than any other so called time-travel flicks.
Shane Carruth‘s debut film, he being the lead-actor, writer, director and also the producer of this amazing movie redefines the very concept of independent cinema.
15. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010)
Suzumiya Haruhi no shôshitsu (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFvd94LPU4U
One morning you make up and your world has changed – one of your friend goes missing and the others don’t seem to recognize you at all!
The main characters and the plot of this movie originates from the popular anime TV Series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006). But even if you haven’t seen the series the film directed by Tatsuya Ishihara and Yasuhiro Takemoto is a great watch!
14. Mr. Nobody (2009)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpi0qsp3v_w
‘You have to make the right choice. As long as you don’t choose, everything remains possible.’
Year 2092, a one hundred eighteen year old man is recounting his strange life story – the choices he made or could have made.
Jared Leto at his best, written and directed by Jaco Van Dormael, a brilliantly executed concept that portrays the illusions of life involving the past, the present and the future!
13. Looper (2012)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iQuhsmtfHw
A professional “looper” is a hired henchman who use time travel to terminate his targets, men who are sent from the future to the past to be killed by him! But what if his future self becomes the target of his own past?
Directed by Rian Johnson, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels – a cool action-packed time-travel drama.
12. The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF6etkcJp_c
A computer generated parallel world has been created by a group of scientists but then the unexpected murder of the elderly member of this company automatically turns his colleague into a potential suspect!
An underrated time-travel mystery with an innovative story line, directed by Josef Rusnak and starring Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Mueller-Stahl.
11. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_yJBUaNnpY
From 1912 to Arthurian Britain, 528 A.D, a mechanic is teleported back in time – a splendid comedy and one of first movie that popularized the idea of time-travel!
Adopted from Mark Twain‘s popular SiFi novel by the same name, actually there are multiple films based on this novel but this one directed by Tay Garnett and starring Bing Crosby is the most successful one!
10. The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8_dgqfPXFg
Some people want to forget their past but some people want to change it. But at what cost?
This film is one insane back and forth ride between the past and the present, with some super cool plot twists and thrilling sequences.
With two sequels to follow, this was a well-crafted film directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber.
The other two sequels though not as popular as the first one: The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006), The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations (2009).
9. Triangle (2009)
A deserted ship seems to be the best rescue plan for a group of passengers stranded in the ocean. Or is it?
A dangerous outcome of repetitive events that seem to occur no matter what you do to stop it.
Directed by Christopher Smith, a real cool concept where a never ending cycle of events keep haunting you till the end.
8. About Time (2013)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7A810duHvw
At the age 21, a young boy’s father reveals to him that the men in their family can actually time-travel whenever they wish and change their lives accordingly!
And with the help of this unique ability the young boy goes out to fall in love and make his life a better place, but it isn’t as easy as it seems.
Directed by Richard Curtis, a beautiful love story with a time-travel angle.
7. Timecrimes (2007)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvlTcH4KCWk
Traveling in time can be fun for most people but in this Spanish thriller, things get real messy when a man goes back in time and finds his own life to be in danger!
With several plot twists and intense paranoia, the innovative screenplay keeps you hooked till the very end.
A clever, very well crafted time-travel film by director Nacho Vigalondo.
6. The Jacket (2005)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCxQ83Pg1Ko
A Gulf war veteran wrongly accused of murder ends up in a mental asylum, put in a straight jacket and tortured.
But this gives him the unique ability to visit into his future and see things that will happen and this unusual power changes his life for ever.
Directed by John Maybury, an interesting take on taking a peep into the future.
5. Predestination (2014)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayAt1BZmJH0
Directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig (as The Spierig Brothers), this is surprisingly one of the most underrated time-travel films in spite of being highly entertaining and a very innovative storyline!
A tale of a time-traveling agent who is set on his final assignment to capture an elusive criminal but there is a unique surprise that awaits him at the end!
4. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuggl3cZD8A
Time machine does exist and a man is sent back to the past to find the cause of an epidemic man-made virus that has wiped out most of the human population.
Can he find the maker of the virus and save the planet?
Directed by Terry Gilliam, this is one unique Si Fi tale that is both thrilling and unpredictable, brilliant performances and great script.
3. Groundhog Day (1993)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSVeDx9fk60
A pompous weatherman is stuck in a time loop and he is forced to relive a particular day again and again!
Directed by Harold Ramis, this is a brilliantly unusual twist that turns the general time-travel film’s pattern upside down.
My all time favorite, a classic time-travel comedy that guarantees you a good time and enough laughs for weeks!
2. The Terminator (1984)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHz95RYUbik
Directed by none other than James Cameron, the first installment of the remarkable idea where a machine is sent from the future to kill one particular girl in the present world who holds the key to the epic man Vs machine future battle!
An indestructible cyborg in the human form who seems to be unstoppable and determined to terminate his victim. A revolutionary film of the time!
The other installments that followed the original: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator Salvation (2009), Terminator Genisys (2015).
1. Back to the Future (1985)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvsgGtivCgs
A time machine has been invented by a mad scientist and a teenager is accidentally sent back thirty years to the past.
Now the teenager must make sure that his parents should fall for each other so that he can eventually come into existence!
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, probably the most popular time-travel drama ever made.
The other two installments that followed the original one: Back to the Future Part II (1989), Back to the Future Part III (1990).
and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)
+1. Les visiteurs (1993)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h23J5YC98FM
An accidental time-travel – a senile sorcerer who teleports a medieval knight and his sidekick from 1123 to the modern-day France – a perfect French comedy, quirky and hilarious!
Underrated and yet a cult classic, directed by Jean-Marie Poiré, with Jean Reno and Christian Clavier in the lead, this is one of the funniest time-travel movies made till date.
A few other films that are not included in the list but are almost as entertaining as any others: The Time Machine (1960), Sleeper (1973), Time After Time (1979), Somewhere in Time (1980), Time Bandits (1981), Blackadder Back & Forth (1999), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Time Lapse (2014).
Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com, www.impawards.com