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Time After Time (1979)

H.G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper to the 20th Century when the serial murderer uses the future writer's time machine to escape his time period.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Mitchell
Kent Williams ...
Andonia Katsaros ...
Mrs. Turner
James Garrett ...
Keith McConnell ...
Byron Webster ...
Jenny (as Karin Mary Shea)
Geraldine Baron ...
Laurie Main ...


It's 1893 London. Futurist H.G. Wells believes that the future holds a Utopian society. He also believes in time travel. He has just built a time machine which he is displaying to a group of skeptical friends, including surgeon Dr. John Leslie Stevenson. Unbeknown to Wells or anyone else among that circle, Stevenson is better known to the public as Jack the Ripper. Just as the police are about to capture Stevenson, he uses the time machine to escape, with Wells being the only one who knows what happened to him. Not telling anyone except his trusting housekeeper, Wells follows Stevenson in order to capture and bring him back to face justice. Where Stevenson has gone is 1979 San Francisco. There, Wells is dismayed to find that the future is not Utopia as he had predicted. But Wells is also picked up by a young woman named Amy Robbins. As Wells and Amy search for Stevenson, Stevenson conversely is after Wells to obtain the master key to the time machine. As Stevenson continues his ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


H.G. Wells races through time to catch Jack the Ripper! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flucht in die Zukunft  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The studio had wanted Richard Dreyfuss for the role of H.G. Wells. Director Nicholas Meyer's first choice was Derek Jacobi, but then he decided on Malcolm McDowell, being a big fan of Lindsay Anderson. See more »


Before John Leslie Stevenson (Jack the Ripper) asks H.G. Wells for the return key for the time machine and attacks him, he locks the door to the Hotel room. A maid knocks on the door and then opens it saying, "Room service." The door should have still been locked. See more »


H.G. Wells: The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas.
Amy Robbins: I love you.
See more »


References The Exorcist (1973) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Cracking Sci-fi/thriller.
23 August 2004 | by (London,England.) – See all my reviews

I came across this film as I was browsing through some videos that I hadn't looked at in years. It did stick in my mind as being pretty good and on viewing it this time around I can say that my initial impressions were correct. McDowell is very believable as Wells, as is David Warner in his role. I found Mary Steenburgen slightly weak as Amy Robbins and at times she seems almost disinterested and just going through the motions. I think someone like Brook Adams or Karen Allen would have been much more suited to this role, but the rest of the plot and cast are so good this is incidental.

Someone mentioned this didn't do very well at the box office, which surprises me as science based fiction was all the rage at the time this film was released (1979). I can only imagine it was dwarfed by sci-fi giants such as Star Trek and Star Wars who were releasing films around this time, and it was subsequently overlooked.

The plot is fairly seamless as the brilliant but naive Wells creates his time machine only for it to be misused by the equally brilliant, but evil, Stephenson. Everything about it is well thought out, with the exception that why does he (Wells) get himself into such a panic about Stephenson's presence in late 20th century San Francisco, when Wells has the machine (and the key to it)to go back before Stephenson left and prevent him going in the first place! I don't pretend to be an expert on timelines(and alternative timelines)but if time is fluid (as is thought) and flows backward and forward, then by going back and preventing something from happening will obviously alter or stop it's progression into the future, no! But of course that would have undermined the films whole premise.

It's also quaint and naive to hear Wells speak of a socialist utopia, without realising that the socialist society, as with any other form of Government, can just as easily become corrupted and distorted from it's original ideal so it produces a monster like Stalin. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. In fact, Wells visited Russia after the Bolshevik revolution and met with it's then leaders (Lenin and Trotsky). I'm not sure how he felt about the revolution, but he did die a disillusioned man having lived through the 1st and 2nd World Wars.

All in all though this is a very good sci-fi adventure,and it is thoroughly recommended.

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