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Time After Time (1979)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Romance  |  31 August 1979 (USA)
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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:
Charles Cioffi ...
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


Imagine! A scientific genius named H.G. Wells stalks a criminal genius named Jack the Ripper across time itself, in the most ingenious thriller of our time... 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?


Production manager Austen Jewell had, 55 years earlier, appeared as a child actor in Greed (1924). Both films are set in, and were predominantly filmed in, San Francisco. See more »


Though it makes good drama, it is unnecessary for H.G. Wells to chase Jack the Ripper into the future at all, since he could simply travel back a day or two and prevent Jack from leaving in the first place. - There is no evidence in the film that changing history is that easy or indeed possible. Everything that transpires happens in a linear framework. HG travels in time but at no time changes it. Any attempt to do so might have proved paradoxical. See more »


[H.G. Wells tracks down Jack the Ripper in the future]
Jack the Ripper: You are, quite literally, the last person on Earth that I expected to see.
See more »


References Things to Come (1936) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A classic Nicholas Meyer battle of wits
10 July 2003 | by (Lowell, MA) – See all my reviews

"Time after Time" is a clever battle of wits between Jack the Ripper, who has used H.G. Wells' time machine to escape to the year 1979, and H.G. Wells, who steps into the machine to get to 1979 too, and chase after the Ripper. (This kind of brain-to-brain combat between two very special people is a theme that Nicholas Meyer will return to in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.")

Particularly interesting is how Jack the Ripper, an evil serial killer, finds himself completely at home in the year 1979, while H.G. Wells, with his idealistic dreams of a perfectible society, is completely out of place in our modern era.

Malcolm McDowell is believable yet comical as the intellectual Wells, almost bird-like in his quick, darting movements. David Warner is adequate as Jack the Ripper, but you don't get enough of a feeling of the Ripper's insanity and evil. Mary Steenburgen, as Wells' newfound love interest in 1979, acts well enough, but she delivers some of her lines unconvincingly.

The lush Miklos Rosza score is a treat.

Worth seeing.

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