The 50 All-Time Best Time-Travel Filmsby rlhron | created - 30 Jun 2017 | updated - 21 Sep 2017 | Public
The ability to travel through time is by far my favorite movie storyline. Who hasn't, at least once in their lifetime, wished they could turn back the hands of time to buy a winning lottery ticket or to set something right that once went wrong?
The movies listed below have a wide range of inventive ways on how the subjects are moved across time. Many of these films use either a mental ability, magical device or a time machine, some seem to have help from a higher power and sometimes the person just wakes up in a different time.
If you love TV shows like Outlander, Timeless, Doctor Who or Quantum Leap, then this list of the best time-traveling films is for you.
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2. Back to the Future (1985)
PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
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 eccentric scientist Doc Brown.
Votes: 969,256 | Gross: $210.61M
Also included are Part II and Part III, all three as one film.
3. The Terminator (1984)
R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi
In 1984, a human soldier is tasked to stop an indestructible cyborg killing machine, both sent from 2029, from executing a young woman, whose unborn son is the key to humanity's future salvation.
Votes: 754,484 | Gross: $38.40M
4. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
R | 137 min | Action, Sci-Fi
A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from a more advanced and powerful cyborg.
Votes: 938,305 | Gross: $204.84M
5. Time After Time (1979)
PG | 112 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
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.
6. Donnie Darko (2001)
R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
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.
Votes: 710,297 | Gross: $1.48M
7. Planet of the Apes (1968)
G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
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.
Votes: 158,433 | Gross: $33.40M
8. Groundhog Day (1993)
PG | 101 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.
Votes: 551,397 | Gross: $70.91M
Living the same day over and over again for maybe a hundred or more years.
10. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
R | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel.
Votes: 113,553 | Gross: $4.01M
11. Doctor Strange (2016)
PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.
Votes: 544,606 | Gross: $232.64M
12. Arrival (II) (2016)
PG-13 | 116 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A linguist works with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world.
Votes: 539,475 | Gross: $100.55M
13. Primer (2004)
PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
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.
Votes: 91,854 | Gross: $0.42M
14. Interstellar (2014)
PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.
Votes: 1,354,712 | Gross: $188.02M
There are all kinds of time-travel in Interstellar.
15. 12 Monkeys (1995)
R | 129 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
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.
Votes: 549,192 | Gross: $57.14M
Brad Pitt is so freaky crazy in this film and I love it!
16. La Jetée (1962)
Not Rated | 28 min | Short, Drama, Romance
The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images.
This short film inspired 12 Monkeys.
17. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
TV-PG | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.
18. Frequency (2000)
PG-13 | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
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.
Votes: 96,382 | Gross: $45.01M
No humans travel in time in Frequency but thanks to a ham radio and a phenomenon that opens up a channel, John is able to communicate with his father, 30 years in the past.
19. Timecrimes (2007)
R | 92 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
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.
Votes: 53,668 | Gross: $0.04M
20. Deja Vu (2006)
PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi
After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.
Votes: 280,896 | Gross: $64.04M
The second film on this list with actor Jim Caviezel, who is also in Frequency.
21. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.
Votes: 633,874 | Gross: $233.92M
22. Pleasantville (1998)
PG-13 | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Two 1990s teenage siblings find themselves in a 1950s sitcom, where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.
Votes: 116,479 | Gross: $40.57M
23. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
PG-13 | 113 min | Action, Sci-Fi
A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.
Votes: 561,797 | Gross: $100.21M
Live. Die. Repeat.
24. The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)
PG | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance
A United States Navy destroyer escort participates in a Navy "invisibility" experiment that inadvertently sends two sailors forty years into the future.
Votes: 13,321 | Gross: $8.10M
25. About Time (I) (2013)
R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.
Votes: 275,254 | Gross: $15.32M
26. The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)
PG-13 | 107 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
A Chicago librarian has a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, creating complications in his marriage.
Votes: 134,949 | Gross: $63.41M
Rachel McAdams must love time-travel because she has been in 4 of them but she is never a time traveler in any of them. She was also in Doctor Strange and Midnight in Paris.
27. Somewhere in Time (1980)
PG | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
A Chicago playwright uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time and meet the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.
Votes: 25,192 | Gross: $9.71M
The most romantic film on the list.
28. Happy Accidents (2000)
R | 110 min | Comedy, Romance
Ruby Weaver, a woman from New York, believes she has found the man of her dreams. And Sam Deed is really such, except for he assures that he came from the future.
Votes: 9,204 | Gross: $0.69M
An underrated film.
29. Time Bandits (1981)
PG | 110 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.
Votes: 54,874 | Gross: $42.37M
30. Lucy (I) (2014)
R | 89 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
Votes: 413,283 | Gross: $126.66M
32. Midnight in Paris (2011)
PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s everyday at midnight.
Votes: 364,390 | Gross: $56.82M
33. Looper (2012)
R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama
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.
Votes: 510,341 | Gross: $66.49M
34. Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
R | 101 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi
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.
Votes: 156,341 | Gross: $50.29M
35. 13 Going on 30 (2004)
PG-13 | 98 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
A girl makes a wish on her thirteenth birthday, and wakes up the next day as a thirty-year-old woman.
Votes: 154,366 | Gross: $57.23M
13 Going on 30 is a fun and funny film.
36. The Time Machine (2002)
PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races.
Votes: 114,568 | Gross: $56.68M
A really good remake of the original 1960 film and the coolest time-machine in any movie.
37. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion. When she wakes up, she finds herself in her own past, just before she finished school.
Votes: 30,902 | Gross: $41.38M
38. Next (2007)
PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A Las Vegas magician who can see into the future is pursued by FBI agents seeking to use his abilities to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack.
Votes: 142,497 | Gross: $18.21M
Nicolas Cage was also in Peggy Sue Got Married.
39. Predestination (I) (2014)
R | 97 min | Action, Drama, Mystery
For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.
Votes: 232,505 | Gross: $0.07M
This movie is trippy, no pun intended. Just when you think you have figured out the twist, the ending blows your mind.
40. The Lake House (2006)
PG | 99 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
A lonely doctor, who once occupied an unusual lakeside house, begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.
Votes: 132,818 | Gross: $52.33M
Keanu has been in 3 time-travel movies.
41. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
PG | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music
Two seemingly dumb teens set off on a quest to prepare the ultimate historical presentation with the help of a time machine.
Votes: 103,295 | Gross: $40.49M
42. Source Code (2011)
PG-13 | 93 min | Action, Drama, Mystery
A soldier wakes up in someone else's body and discovers he's part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train within 8 minutes.
Votes: 461,426 | Gross: $54.71M
Jake Gyllenhaal has been in three time-travel films, including Prince of Persia (not listed).
43. The Jacket (2005)
R | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
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.
Votes: 104,967 | Gross: $6.30M
44. The Final Countdown (1980)
PG | 103 min | Action, Sci-Fi
A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Votes: 19,745 | Gross: $16.65M
45. Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound (1990)
R | 85 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi