Top Time Travel Films

by hb | created - 30 Sep 2010 | updated - 19 Nov 2014 | Public

What's your Favorite Time Travel Film that treats time travel in a thoughtful consistent way?

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1. Primer (2004)

PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
68 Metascore

Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.

Director: Shane Carruth | Stars: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya

Votes: 82,603 | Gross: $0.42M

Certainly the cheapest to make! Buy the DVD or be prepared to stream it a few times to have a chance of following the storyline as intended; you'll need it.

2. Los cronocrímenes (2007)

R | 92 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
68 Metascore

A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo | Stars: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo

Votes: 47,404 | Gross: $0.04M

Perhaps a 'Primer'-lite, in terms of it's complexity, it's still a cut above grade-school time travel complexity in the remaining films on this list.

But a great film in its own right with a name and cover-art that would cause most people to pass it up. A shame, it's a super film.

Don't miss it.

3. Time Bandits (1981)

PG | 110 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

7.0
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79 Metascore

A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, John Cleese, Katherine Helmond

Votes: 49,493 | Gross: $42.37M

One of the handful of films I've seen more than once, and the even smaller group that I had to own. Has everything I enjoy in a film - humor, drama, visual effects, and - of course - time travel.

4. La Jetée (1962)

Not Rated | 28 min | Short, Drama, Romance

8.3
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The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Étienne Becker, Jean Négroni, Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich

Votes: 23,679

Not really a 'film', it's a short series of black and white shots. It's the inspiration for 12 Monkeys, so if you liked that you'll like this.

5. The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

8.0
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83 Metascore

A seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield

Votes: 665,060 | Gross: $38.40M

Perfect.

6. Twelve Monkeys (1995)

R | 129 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
74 Metascore

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Joseph Melito

Votes: 505,628 | Gross: $57.14M

7. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

PG | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

6.9
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44 Metascore

Two seemingly dumb teens set off on a quest to prepare the ultimate historical presentation with the help of a time machine.

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, Terry Camilleri

Votes: 91,646 | Gross: $40.49M

8. The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

6.1
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A United States Navy destroyer escort participates in a Navy "invisibility" experiment that inadvertently sends two sailors forty years into the future.

Director: Stewart Raffill | Stars: Michael Paré, Nancy Allen, Eric Christmas, Bobby Di Cicco

Votes: 12,153 | Gross: $8.10M

9. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

8.5
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86 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 828,553 | Gross: $210.61M

The remainder in the series were good as well, but only one makes the list.

10. Groundhog Day (1993)

PG | 101 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

8.0
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72 Metascore

A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky

Votes: 490,199 | Gross: $70.91M

Questionably a time-travel film, I included it because it has the essential elements.

11. Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

G | 98 min | Action, Sci-Fi

6.3
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69 Metascore

The world is shocked by the appearance of three talking chimpanzees, who arrived mysteriously in a U.S. spacecraft. They become the toast of society, but one man believes them to be a threat to the human race.

Director: Don Taylor | Stars: Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman, Natalie Trundy

Votes: 26,872 | Gross: $12.30M

12. The Jacket (2005)

R | 103 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

7.1
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44 Metascore

A Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a doctor's experiments, and his life is completely affected by them.

Director: John Maybury | Stars: Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Daniel Craig, Kris Kristofferson

Votes: 98,820 | Gross: $6.30M

A nice twist on the usual time travel fare. Suspenseful and nicely shot. Worth seeing.

13. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

R | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.0
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72 Metascore

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel.

Director: Colin Trevorrow | Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni

Votes: 107,214 | Gross: $4.01M

A time-travel date movie. Not a great film, IMHO, but enjoyable and tight enough story to carry it along.

14. Donnie Darko (2001)

R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.1
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88 Metascore

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Director: Richard Kelly | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne

Votes: 643,477 | Gross: $0.19M

15. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

R | 113 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

7.7
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30 Metascore

Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal.

Directors: Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber | Stars: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Melora Walters, Elden Henson

Votes: 391,666 | Gross: $57.94M

16. Triangle (2009)

R | 99 min | Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

6.9
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A group of friends suffer a yachting accident and take refuge on a cruise drifting on the open sea, but quickly realize they were better off on the upturned yacht

Director: Christopher Smith | Stars: Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman

Votes: 78,044

17. The Final Countdown (1980)

PG | 103 min | Action, Sci-Fi

6.7
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A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Director: Don Taylor | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross, James Farentino

Votes: 17,607 | Gross: $16.65M

18. Army of Darkness (1992)

R | 81 min | Comedy, Horror

7.6
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57 Metascore

A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Ian Abercrombie

Votes: 140,804 | Gross: $11.50M

19. Planet of the Apes (1968)

G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.0
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79 Metascore

An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans

Votes: 147,753 | Gross: $33.40M

20. Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

6.4
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63 Metascore

A malfunctioning time machine at a ski resort takes a man back to 1986 with his two friends and nephew, where they must relive a fateful night and not change anything to make sure the nephew is born.

Director: Steve Pink | Stars: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke

Votes: 146,587 | Gross: $50.29M

21. Run Lola Run (1998)

R | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.7
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77 Metascore

After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.

Director: Tom Tykwer | Stars: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Nina Petri

Votes: 170,632 | Gross: $7.27M

22. Frequency (2000)

PG-13 | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

7.4
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67 Metascore

An accidental cross-time radio link connects father and son across 30 years. The son tries to save his father's life, but then must fix the consequences.

Director: Gregory Hoblit | Stars: Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel, Shawn Doyle, Elizabeth Mitchell

Votes: 88,606 | Gross: $45.01M

23. Looper (2012)

R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

7.4
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84 Metascore

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano

Votes: 466,612 | Gross: $66.49M

24. Freejack (1992)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

5.3
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Bounty hunters from the future transport a doomed race car driver to New York City in 2009, where his mind will be replaced with that of a dead billionaire.

Director: Geoff Murphy | Stars: Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins

Votes: 12,994 | Gross: $17.13M

25. Timequest (2000)

R | 92 min | Sci-Fi

5.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A story about a man who travels back in time to Fort Worth, Texas on November 22, 1963 and prevents the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Director: Robert Dyke | Stars: Victor Slezak, Caprice Benedetti, Vince Grant, Bruce Campbell

Votes: 595

26. Planet of the Apes (1968)

G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
79 Metascore

An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans

Votes: 147,753 | Gross: $33.40M

27. The Time Machine (1960)

Approved | 103 min | Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A man's vision for a utopian society is disillusioned when travelling forward into time reveals a dark and dangerous society.

Director: George Pal | Stars: Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian Cabot

Votes: 30,129

28. Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009)

PG-13 | 83 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

7.1
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While drinking at their local pub, three social outcasts attempt to navigate a time-travel conundrum.

Director: Gareth Carrivick | Stars: Chris O'Dowd, Marc Wootton, Dean Lennox Kelly, Anna Faris

Votes: 28,541