After doing a Back to The Future Marathon the other night, we rekindled our love for time travel movies again. the idea of time, how it resets, duplicates and confuse…mesmerizes us. We started listing the best time travel movies ever made, and although the list is definitely not a comprehensive one this is out top 10 time travel movies
1. Planet of the Apes
The original of course with Charlton Heston. Director Franklin J. Schaffner and screenwriters Michael Wilson and Rod Serling (of Twilight Zone fame) pulled off one of the best twist endings in movie history — spoiler warning, I guess, if you require them for 45-year-old movies — when they concluded the story of Charlton Heston’s journey to a distant planet “where apes evolved from man” with a jaw-dropping shot of the Statue of Liberty buried in said planet’s sand, revealing that they’d not traveled through space, but through time. It still packs a punch.
2. Midnight in Paris
One for the art lovers and more cultured viewers. In contrast to the big-budget extravaganzas director Woody Allen chooses to forego special effects for his 2011 comedy completely; when Gil Pender goes back to the 1920s, he’s just sort of there. The expected fish-out-of-water jokes and inside-literature references ensue, but Midnight in Paris is most notable for its message, and that is that the past is often romanticized out of proportion, and that even those whose past we long for are themselves restless and unhappy in their present.
3. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
The fourth, and perhaps most beloved, film in the original Star Trek series finds the crew of the Starship Enterprise traveling to San Francisco, circa 1986, to save the humpback whale from extinction. Cleverly plotted and assembled, while deploying a welcomely self-aware sense of humor that was all too infrequently displayed by the very serious series.
4. Edge of Tomorrow
Although Tom Cruise technically never travels through time, the concept is alive and well in this sci-fi action film. Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Cruise) is a soldier who inadvertently finds himself fighting on the front lines during an alien invasion that threatens to take over Earth. After being exposed to the alien’s blood, he is then caught in a time loop, stuck repeating the same day over and over, growing into a ruthless killing machine with each passing “day.” This idea is used to both comedic and thrilling effects, as Cruise must interact with the other solders, a take-no-prisoners warrior (Emily Blunt) and a swarm of ever-growing alien life forms that he has to cut through each and every day in his efforts to defeat them.
All of the Groundhog Day comparisons don’t do enough justice to director Doug Liman’s handling of such a high-concept fiasco. It is, in other words, just plain awesome.
Joseph-Gordon Levitt channels his inner badass to act as the younger version of Bruce Willis, nailing Willis’s cool and tense action presence. The best case made on film for “If time travel is outlawed, only outlaws will have time travel!”. This movie is one of the more thrilling time-travel-infused flicks of the last few decades. We loved this film, and it adds a very intense plot and graphic consequences of playing with time.
Ditching the fantasy, Primer tackles the science of time travel more directly than most of the films on this list—or at least it appears to. Shane Carruth’s tightly woven narrative is all about appearance. It follows the work of two engineers who stumble upon an interesting side-effect in their efforts to reduce the weight of objects: they find they can travel through time. At first they do what anyone would do, and use their invention to make some fast cash, but greed and confusion soon take over, and the film unravels into a mess of double-crossings and alternate timelines—so much so that, of all the films on this list, Primer probably most rewards multiple viewings. A moral lesson wrapped in a sci-fi tragedy, Primer saps all the fun out of time travel.
7. Twelve Monkeys
The brilliant mind of Terry Gilliam once again emerges on this list, taking Chris Marker’s La Jetée (see below) and making it grimier. Beginning in post-apocalyptic Philadelphia in 2035, Twelve Monkeys glimpses Earth’s surface as contaminated by a virus that forces survivors to hide underground. Cole (Bruce Willis) must travel back to the ’90s to collect information on this deadly virus, but, of course, nothing goes as planned. While Cole questions his sanity, he must not only find a way to escape the mental institution in which he’s been placed, but he must also race against fate to un-do his ultimate undoing. A cauldron of plot twists, excellent performances and environmentalism, Twelve Monkeys makes an inarguable case for inevitable human doom.
8. The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day
It may be a cop-out to count these two films in one slot, but, as with our No. 10 pick, together The Terminator and its sequel introduce us to perhaps pop culture’s longest-lasting, most archetypal time travel plot. James Cameron didn’t always have the budget to make things like Titanic or Avatar, but even at the start of his career his ideas were always larger than life. Whether Terminator 2 is one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than its predecessor is up for debate, though Cameron takes what made his first film a hit and enhances everything: from the sophistication of its effects and action, to the depth of the characters, to the complexity of its narrative. One cannot stress how influential Cameron’s films are, so much so that they seem to defy space-time itself, reaching both deep into the past and far into even our future to define every facet of modern science-fiction film making.
Being the best ‘90s-era Jean Claude Van Damme movie is, yes, kinda like being the leper with the most fingers, but Timecop is a zippy little actioner, stylishly directed by Peter Hyams (2010, Outland) and featuring a post-Ferris Bueller turn by Sloane Peterson herself, Mia Sara. More importantly, it’s got a clever premise, imagining a future where time travel is tightly controlled by government agents like the Muscles from Brussels, the better to keep corrupt politicians like Ron Silver from manipulating markets and elections.
10. Back to the Future, Back to the Future, Part II and Back to the Future, Part III
This was a given. The three-part epic journey of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his legitimately insane mentor Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) not only provides the crucible through which practically every comedy adventure made since must pass, it proves that even one insignificant kid’s actions make a universe of difference. There is little to add to a popular discussion of these films besides pointing out their diminishing returns with each successive entry, but that hardly takes away from the brilliance of Zemeckis’s storytelling. No plot point is wasted, no shot infused with anything less than humor and emotional breadth—if this sounds a bit schmaltzy, or a bit overboard with praise, then stop to consider how cherished these films are in the course of American cinema. As they mess with history, so too do they make history, and from that standpoint, it’s hard to imagine anyone feeling the need to go back to make this trilogy any better.