Top Ten Time Travel Movies
Here are our picks for the best time travel films!
10. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
The movie that reminded us to be excellent to each other is one of the most hilarious films of the 1980s. This story follows two stupid-yet-likable high school losers as they travel through time to complete their history report. It's full of fun take on important historical figures as the titular heroes jump from one time era to another with the help of a cool future-man played by funny-guy George Carlin. Here we have a great 80s pop/rock soundtrack, some stellar performances, and a totally original story.
9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The best Harry Potter film is also one of the best time travel stories ever told. Each of the characters come into their own in this film, especially Emma's Watson's Hermione who displays her non-nonsense attitude and serious loyalty to her friends. It's a blast to see the characters interact and their relationships develop. As the twisty story unfolds we learn much about each character and are introduced to some new ones including Gary Oldman's Sirius Black. There's fun action here and some outstanding visual effects too. Thanks to director Alfonso Cuaron's unique aesthetic, this is where the series took a major turn towards some of the darker elements while remaining the lovable family franchise we know it as today.
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Perhaps the best film in the X-Men series, Bryan Singer's Days of Future Past is very different from the comic book storyline on which it's based, but it manages to stay true enough to the spirit of that tale while integrating it perfectly into the X-Men movie mythology. Hugh Jackman does his best work as Wolverine here (that is, until last year's Logan) and plays off of the younger cast so well including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicolas Hoult. The original cast is back too, such as Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, and Ellen Page, and they get to play in some of the most emotional, intense, and devastating scenes. The screenplay is tight and dialogue is wonderful proving that this is Simon Kinberg's best script. The action is astonishing and the visual effects team outdid themselves here, particularly with the unforgettable Quicksilver kitchen sequence with Evan Peters standing out as the speedy mutant.
7. Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise plays a cowardly soldier in this sci-fi war movie from energetic director Doug Liman and brilliant writer Christopher McQuarrie. This one blends comedy, action, and romance flawlessly to bring us one of the most entertaining films of the decade. Emily Blunt stars alongside Cruise as the tough-as-nails warrior who must train him to defeat an invading alien army. A unique story, amazing visual effects, and characters you care about make this movie memorable. It's also got a great performance from the late Bill Paxton as a tough military commander.
Rian Johnson proved he was one of the best up-and-coming writer/directors with this film about a hit man who kills targets sent back in time by the mob. Playing the same man at very different points in his life, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis deliver the best acting of their careers in this film. It's a frantic race against time and a brutal cat and mouse game of epic proportions as their opposing agendas clash sending them on a collision course you'll never forget. Emily Blunt again shows up in this one playing her role of a protective mother to perfection.
5. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
This is one of the best sequels ever made. In James Cameron's follow-up to his sci-fi/horror film, our formerly villainous T-101 goes up against a more advanced T-1000 in a battle for the ages. While Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator must protect a teenage John Conner, his cold, calculating liquid-metal counterpart must kill him and anyone who gets in his way. It's a big, loud action movie with groundbreaking digital visual effects, but it never forgets that the heart of a movie is always it's characters who are three-dimensional complex human beings. Even the machine grows a heart as Arnold shows off major acting chops here, but Linda Hamilton is the stand-out as John's militant mother who will do anything to save her son and the future of humanity.
4. Groundhog Day
A laugh-out-loud funny, but surprisingly philosophically deep and emotional story, Groundhog Day is an interesting movie from the mind of writer/director Harold Raimis and writer Danny Rubin. This is arguably Bill Murray's best film as he gets to explore a selfish, egotistical character and have a nice arc over the course of the movie as he lives the same terrible day over and over again. It's also perhaps Andie MacDowell's greatest performance as the strong-willed, intelligent woman he keeps trying to woo. There are plenty of hilarious gags, one-liners, and situational humor that keeps the movie fresh. It's premise is genius and it remains the most rewatchable movie of all time.
3. Star Trek
J.J. Abrams and his team of writers made a bold move, but one that paid off, when they rebooted the Star Trek franchise with this 2009 film. The movie opens with rogue Romulan Nero using red matter to jump back in time and take vengeance for the destruction of his homeworld Romulus on the United Federation's own Ambassador Spock and his planet of Vulcan. That single event changed the course of the long-running series creating an alternate timeline. That was smart as it doesn't erase everything that came before, yet allows the new filmmakers to have creative freedom. It cannot be overstated how good this new cast is as each of them bring their own flare to these iconic characters. Visual effects and action are out-of-this-world and the story is both emotional and important.
2. Planet of the Apes
At the beginning of this classic science-fiction film, Charlton Heston's astronaut character Taylor sees that his spaceship has crash-landed on an unknown planet some two-thousand years in the future. It's a shock to both him and the audience when we learn that apes are the intelligent rulers of this world and that humans are the dumb animals. The adventure that ensues is an experience unlike any other. The make-up effects and costumes in this film were unmatched for decades and actually still hold up today. A thrilling score, great dialogue, and excellent performances make this movie a must-see.
1. Back to the Future
The best time-travel movie is Back to the Future. Producer Steven Spielberg, director Robert Zemekis, and writer Bob Gale were able to craft an awesome story filled with adventure, romance, drama, comedy, action, and music that everyone can relate to. It's unlike anything that came before and it remains unlike anything that came after. This is a one-of-a-kind movie featuring stellar performances from Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Christopher Lloyd who all make their characters feel real, yet imbue them each with their own defining quirks. The DeLorean time machine is cool and the soundtrack rocks. It remains a classic example of good movie-making and is still a huge part of film history.