6 Best Time Travel Movies of All Time

Friday, 10 March 2017 - 12:32PM
12 Monkeys
Star Trek
Friday, 10 March 2017 - 12:32PM
6 Best Time Travel Movies of All Time
Image credit: Universal Studios, Movieclips
Even before Doctor Who turned time travel into the hottest piece of sci-fi since lightsabers, writers, filmmakers, and TV producers have been playing around with the space-time continuum in fiction. Recently, TV has seen a resurgence of time travel shows, from Time after Time and Making History to the The Flash, proving that violating causality and laws of physics doesn't really matter as long as it's really, really cool.

With that in mind, let's take a look at 6 of the greatest time-travel movies of all time (no pun intended).

6. Twelve Monkeys




Terry Gilliam's sci-fi fever dream of a movie posits that a plague is unleashed on the Earth in 1996, wiping out all but 1% of the population. The cause is unknown, and it is left to the survivors to travel back through time to put the pieces together to prevent the outbreak from happening. The film, which is based on a famous French short film, La Jetee, is the sort of puzzle that is almost impossible to figure out with one viewing. Then, when all the pieces do fall into place, the journey of Bruce Willis' character becomes all the more tragic. As is the case with a good deal of time travel, just because you know the past doesn't mean you won't still repeat it.

5. Looper




The second Bruce Willis film to make this list, this time from upcoming Star Wars Episode VIII director Rian Johnson. Instead of saving the world, time travel in Looper is used by the mob to perform hits on people and avoid any sort of evidence trail or body. This all comes to a head when Bruce Willis and his younger self, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, realize they have to kill each other next. What follows is a twisting tangle of action and sci-fi with an ending that is also very reminiscent of La Jetee, but with a lot more gunfire.

4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home




AKA, the one with the whales. Kirk, Spock and Co.'s adventures take them back to 1986 San Francisco in order to find a pair of humpback whales, which will keep future Earth from being ravaged by an alien probe. While the film is both a mix of ecological parable and science fiction, its real enduring pleasure and legacy is the light and fun attitude it brings to the characters, who had been around for two decades at that point. Everything, from Kirk and Spock arguing over Italian food to Scotty talking to the "computer," showed that Star Trek was at its best when it wasn't taking itself too seriously.

3. Edge Of Tomorrow




Essentially Groundhog Day meets Gears of War, Edge of Tomorrow takes the concept of dying and starting at the last checkpoint and spins it out into a full story, with Tom Cruise playing a soldier forced to repeat the same invasion until he gets it right. His repeated deaths and revivals are played for laughs until, finally, the toll of constantly having to watch everything go to hell starts to take its toll. Despite a premise that seemed based solely on explosions and Tom Cruise's name recognition, Edge of Tomorrow ended up being a surprise hit, both critically and at the box office. 

2. Primer




Primer is about as far away as possible from every other big-budget movie on this list. Made for around $7,000, writer-actor-director Shane Carruth's film views time travel from the very ground floor. Two friends and engineers essentially stumble upon the ability to travel through time while messing around on a side project in one of their garages. The two friends then begin a slow and methodical approach to re-create and then harness the technique, which leads to some unexpected consequences. Carruth's film attempts to actually ground time travel in some scientific facts before allowing the fiction to take over, but once it does, it's a mind-bending journey.

1. Back To The Future




Still one of the smartest, funniest and most entertaining movies ever made, Back To The Future is the GOAT of time travel movies because it combines the real-world consequences of time travel with the sort of comedy that flourished in the 80s. To this day, anyone who sees their speedometer hit 88 miles per hour can only think of one thing. Though there is constant chatter about rebooting this movie, we sincerely hope they don't—it's perfect the way it is.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
12 Monkeys
Star Trek
No