Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi  |  11 December 1982 (USA)
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Lyle, a motorcycle champion is traveling the Mexican desert, when he find himself in the action radius of a time machine. So he find himself one century back in the past between rapists, ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lyle Swann
Claire Cygne
Porter Reese
Claude Dorsett
Carl Dorsett
Ben Potter
Dr. Sam
Jonathan Bahnks ...
Susan Dear ...
2nd Technician
Bruce Gordon ...
Jack Peoples
3rd Technician


Lyle, a motorcycle champion is traveling the Mexican desert, when he find himself in the action radius of a time machine. So he find himself one century back in the past between rapists, thiefs and murderers.... Written by Tognacci Sebastiano <seblog@maya.dei.unipd.it>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Lyle Swann is a champion off-road racer. But to the people of 1877, he's something very, very different...


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 December 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Timerider  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first scene of Swann in the Old West shows him riding as a brilliant sun oranges up the sky. Symbolically this welcomes the audience back to 1877(19th century) just like the orange or yellowish tint found in Old West and Victorian photos, daguerreotypes and still portraiture. See more »


During the gunfight at the end of the movie, Claire runs out of bullets and throws the gun belt away. Then in the next shot, she stands up to shoot and suddenly she is wearing the gun belt again and it has several more bullets available. In the next shot, she turns around and kneels down and she is not wearing the gun belt again. See more »


Porter Reese: You shot it. What a bunch of dumb sons of bitches, you *shot* it! A *machine* - you butt-heads!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Renaissance Man - Zorba See more »


Featured in 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

A wonderful adventure back to the Old West through time travel
19 August 2014 | by (East Coast, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

One of my favorite time travel movies. This is a film that's taut and well-made and probably a tad too adult for the Saturday morning kiddie type crowd. It really should appeal to the viewer who has his thinking cap on and can appreciate attention to historical detail. In late 1982 the hero, an off road motorbike racer, named Lyle Swann, unwittingly gets caught in the middle of a time-travel experiment and is transported to the Old West of 1877. In the strata of science-fiction and time travel, this is believable since he's alone in the middle of the desert and cannot ascertain that he's been transported through a time warp. As the film progresses Swann meets several people in 1877: outlaws, an attractive woman named Clare Cygne from Louisiana, a priest Quinn heading a small town and two US Marshalls. The outlaws led by Porter Reese appear to be Civil War veterans from the Confederate side when Reese makes a crack about 'General Lee would have won the war if he had Swann's motorcycle'. The filmmakers add a nice touch and nod to Mark Twain. When Clare pulls out a copy of Twain's "Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", written in 1865, viewers paying attention to the scene will recall that Twain is the author of one of the most famous time travel stories "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" written in 1889 and which probably inspires this film. Clare asks Swann if he can read and if he's read any Mark Twain and Swann responds telling Clare he has and that "Tom Sawyer" is Twain's most famous book. Since the old-west part of this film takes place in 1877, it wouldn't have been unusual that Clare would not have heard of "Tom Sawyer" as it had only been published in 1876. Other nice touches of realism are the showcasing of a community of outlaws living in a outlaw camp. The viewer may ask what are those outlaws doing for food, for clothes, bathing, laundry altogether basic survival. When one outlaw is shot early in the film his cohorts pick his body of clothing & belongings before the vultures get to him. The priest and Clare work together bartering with Mexican locals, trinkets, guns, and food stuffs.

The film showcases several adult themes ie: profanity, gunshots, mild sex scene. It's amazing the film was released with a PG rating but remember this was 1982, two years before the Motion Picture ratings system was upgraded to include PG-13 and NC-17. The director keeps the film accurate to its 1877 time frame and shows elements in a western that are realistic such as the profanity and the renegade woman Clare who is a gunslinger, ?prostitute and adventuress. This film gets away with telling mature elements in Western that were not up to that time seen in conventional westerns especially going back to b/w films in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Had Timerider been made in the early 70s it might have been better received. If it had come out in the 40s or 50s as a film noir western it would certainly be a classic but with a compromise. There would not have been no cursing, no scrib gunshot wounds, the sex scene would not be explicit, though for 1982 the scene given is mild. More explicit sex scenes can be viewed in daytime soaps.

GRANDFATHER PARADOX An interesting aspect of this film is the application by some of the 'so-called' Grandfather Paradox. Hmmm! This supposedly applies when Clare and Lyle have sex and she questions him about the pendant around his neck. He tells her that his great great grandmother took it from his great great grandfather after an incredible night and the great great grandfather was never seen again. At the end of the film Swann is rescued by helicopter by the scientists responsible for transporting him to 1877. The head scientists tells Lyle that Clare cannot come back with them to 1982 by which time Clare snatches Lyle's pendant from his neck. When Clare takes the pendant this essentially repeats the story of Lyle's great great grandmother: END OF STORY!.....No mysterious paradox, Clare merely snatches the pendant. At this point many viewers who have seen the film think that Clare's actions reveal her to be Lyle's great great grandmother. I thought this too at one time but this is IMPOSSIBLE. Even if time-travel was real, Lyle Swann could not be his own great great grandfather or father his own great grandmother who would be the child Clare would conceive after the night of sex with Lyle. IMPOSSIBLE, even if time-travel were real a person could not literally go back in time and father his own ancestor. A person has to come from somewhere, he has to have a history. Swann could sleep with his great great grandmother, impregnate her and it would be a completely different individual. (Remember when the two of them were going over the Mark Twain books she tells Swann her real name, Clare Cygne, which if she was his great great grandmother, he should have known her name. Or it should have sounded familiar. A flag should have gone up in Swann's head as to her identity.)This puts an end to the Grandfather Paradox. ...The pendant, a seemingly valuable trinket as Lyle had been handed down to by his mother, is probably something from the 19th century and now it's returning to it's original time when Clare snatches it. If Clare is pregnant by Lyle she'll merely hand it down to her offspring and he/she will hand it down and so forth but there is no reason Lyle will ever see it again as it will be a totally different set of people and circumstances who will receive the pendant.

The film gets 3 1/2 stars out of 4.

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