Top 10 time travel movies

Top 10 Time Travel movies

One of my favourite subjects when it comes to film is time travel. Even though each “normal” movie does transport its viewer to a different time, the number of movies in which the characters do so is more limited. But if you are a fan of the genre there are quite a few choices, with the following ten movie being my favourites.

Recensie The Time Machine

A movie which of course belongs in this list. The story about an inventor who builds a time travel machine and visits the far future is timeless. The story has been brought to the big screen several times, but the 1960 version is my favorite. The movie does feel a bit dated (as a lot of it is filmed on a soundstage, making it feel a bit “Mary Poppins” like), but that adds to its charm.

Recensie About Time

When you think about time travel movies, one of the first things you will think about is machines and the future. About Time shows that all isn’t necessary. The men in Tim’s (Domhnall Gleeson) family can all travel in time by standing in a dark space, closing their eyes and thinking about it. The result is a very enjoyable movie where Tim doesn’t only use his power to save the heart of a woman, but also to help his family and even visit someone who’s no longer there. A movie with a perfect mix of both drama and comedy.

8. Time after time

Time After Time

What would happen if Jack the Ripper would have had a time machine? That’s the question Time after Time tries to answer. Writer H.G.Wells (yes, the one who wrote the book The Time Machine, played here by Malcolm McDowell) creates a time machine, which is then stolen by the notorious murderer. He travels after him in order to catch him. Great movie with a nice historical backstory.

7. The Navigator: A Medieaval Odyssey

Review of time travel movie The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey (1988)

Although this is movie not many people know, it is one worth checking out. The story is about a group of men from the early middle ages who are lead by a boy who can see the future. Because their village is under threat of the plague they have to travel to the city to place an artifcat on the church to prevent it. Their journey takes them to the present where they face unknown technology. The great thing about the movie is that this isn’t used for comedy, which makes it a serious movie that impresses.

6. 12 Monkeys

Twelve Monkeys

Even though it has been way too long since I last seen 12 Monkeys, it is a movie classic. The time travel element might not be huge, but it is important. Both Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt are great in this one, set in a typical Terry Gilliam world. The concept of the movie is borrowed from the short French film La Jetée.

Recensie van de tijdreisfilm Somewhere in Time (1980)

Probably the most romantic movie in the list, in which Christopher Reeves plays a writer who meets and mysterious old woman and eventually is obsessed by her. In a beautiful hotel near the sea he attempt to travel back into time to meet her. Both the story and the look of the film are as sweet as honey, but it all is very compelling.

4. Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

One of the first movies which I kept thinking about even days after I had first seen it. The story about Donnie, a boy who appears to be a bit strange and who sees a man in a twisted rabbit suit, is complex, mysterious and the definitie of a “mindfuck” movie. Jake Gyllenhaal already shows his acting chops at a young age. It’s a movie which you’ll want to see several times just to check if the theory you have about it holds up.


If Donnie Darko is difficult to solve, than Primer is impossible. Director Shane Carruth, who after making this movie also made the mysterious Upstream Color, has admitted that he left out some details on purpose to make sure you’d never understand it. The movie was made on a tiny budget and has a lot of technical dialogue which most people won’t understand, but despite all that it’s worth checking out.


The less you know about the film, the better. It is a tense movie in which a man sees a mysterious figure. He decides to find out what it is and discovers strange things, showing the viewer how specific events are related to each other. It’s very well made and if you like it, Triangle is another movie you should be checking out as it uses the same concept.

1. Back to the Future trilogy

Back to the future

Yeah, I’ve cheated as this is a top 10 with 12 movies, but I simply can’t choose just one Back to the Future movie as I love each one of them. They are the ultimate time travel movies and Marty McFly and Doc have won the hearts of millions of people. With its action, comedy and effects which still look good they are a joy to watch. As we are now living in the year of the second movie I’m hoping to buy my hoverboard later this year. Nike has already announced they will be releasing the self lacing shoes.

What are your favorite time travel movies?

21 thoughts on “Top 10 time travel movies

  1. Good list w/ plenty of films I have not watched. I love that you have “Somewhere in Time”

    My list would have “Time Bandits”, “Looper”, and “Bill & Ted’s Excellant Adventure”

    • Thanks Victor. I have been focussing a lot on time travel movies lately, so I thought it be good to create this list. Of course there are still enough movies about the subject I haven’t seen, but working my way through them.

      Time Bandits I thought was alright, couldn’t really get into that one. My expectation for Looper were high, but somehow it wasn’t able to meet them. Bill & Ted is one I havent watched in ages, so that’s why I left it out as I didn’t know if I’d still enjoy it.

  2. It’s perfectly acceptable to include all three Back to the Future movies in one entry. I probably would do the same. And 12 Monkeys is brilliant. Nice list overall with a few I haven’t heard of. Glad to have new movies brought to my attention. Some others I enjoy:

    Edge of Tomorrow
    Safety Not Guaranteed
    Deja Vu
    The Jacket

    • Nice mentions. Enjoyed Edge of Tomorrow, Safety Not Guaranteed and Timecop (although that’s a bit cheesy). Deja Vu is a cool concept but is one where you could discuss whether it is really time travel. The Jacket I have not seen yet, so that will be added to my “to watch” list. 🙂

  3. Lots of stuff I still need to see here Nostra, esp intrigued by Primer. LOVE that you included Somewhere in Time, that’s so harrowingly romantic and the soundtrack is one of my faves of all time.

    • Well, now is the time to check them out! I thought Looper was alright, there was something about it which didn’t make me love it immediately…

  4. Of the trilogy, I think the first Back to the Future is the best, if simply because it was the first of a kind and it established the franchise and turned it into what it became.
    Also glad to have seen the inclusion of Primer in the list. One of the most puzzling films I have ever seen, yet a fascinating one nonetheless.
    I would have found a place for Looper in my list, but yours I agree with for the most part. Thanks for sharing!

    • I would have a hard time choosing between the first and second one as I love the whole futuristic setting. I know a lot of people mention Looper and can understand their love for it…with me it simply it isn’t that strong.

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