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16 of our favourite movies about time travel

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Does 2020 feel like it’s lasting a decade or have the last six months passed in a blink?

Roslyn Hull explores the concept of time through the lens of her favourite time-travel films for our latest Magazine: Time.

IMDb lists 746 films that involve time travel.

Not all of them are good—the list below will not include The Time Traveler’s Wife because it was so bad compared to the book, but Rachel McAdams films will appear anyway— she seems to be the pin-up girl for these movies.

Encountering Key Figures

BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, 1989, raised fist

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is the hands-down winner of this style of history-hopping romp, with the two boys making their school assignment the best ever and saving the universe at the same er… time.

Midnight in Paris is another enjoyable example as is the offering from the warped and wonderful mind of Terry Gilliam—Time Bandits.

Changing Your Fate

Where to begin? With The Butterfly Effect—a film that is fascinating, disturbing and at times horrific—the moral being that not everyone gets out alive and not everyone can be the hero. This is the heartbreak of Twelve Monkeys as well.

However, the first—and still the greatest—is The Time Machine. This is H.G. Wells’ warning to mankind to change their behaviour or face a violent future. The 1960 version also has the most resilient shop mannequin ever.

Time With Your Family

Meet the Robinsons takes a boy into his own future to show him he should not give up. Frequency allows a son to contact his father in the past to solve a crime.

About Time, often thought of as a romantic comedy, is about accepting the good and the bad in your life. It is also about having more time with a parent, something everyone who has lost one would wish for.

Another Chance to Win

The best example of this in recent years is the Tom Cruise action epic Edge of Tomorrow. He keeps reliving his day over and over until he can convince Emily Blunt of this, get her heroic assistance and beat the invading aliens. My favourite Cruise effort in years. A similar device is used in Groundhog Day, which is a lot funnier.

Meeting Your Crush

Somewhere in Time is the movie that proved there was more to the great Christopher Reeves than Superman (which also uses time travel). He falls for a beautiful woman in a photo and travels through time to meet her. The romance and tragedy that ensues is beloved by many, even now.

Creating a Franchise

Terminator anyone? Star Trek? Or one of many superhero movies—even Endgame? However, the one that everyone loves, the one everyone refers to, is Back to the Future!

Marty McFly and Doc Brown are part of our DNA. We may still be waiting for our hoverboards, but Spielberg was close to accurate with the first pennant for the Chicago Cubs—just one year out.

This article originally appeared in Magazine: Time (AW2020), available to read free online.

Read it here.

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