Time travel is a very interesting concept that many people like speculating and hypothesizing about. In today’s age, we still only have a theoretical understanding of this phenomenon and it’s nowhere near possible by today’s technological and scientific standards. Scientists and science enthusiasts alike talk about how this could be possible, and more importantly; what impact would time travel have on the world and history as we know it.
Of course, we are not delving into time travel as a concept, but we are rather showcasing some of the best time travel movies you need to watch! All of the entries on our list have some sort of a connection to travelling through time. We are ranking the movies according to our personal opinion. Because of this, your toplist of the best time travel movies might look different. Be sure to leave a comment and tell us your top6 list! We will also add the trailer to each of the movies, as well as a link where you can purchase or rent said film.
If you’re interested in other Science-Fiction articles that we’ve published, be sure to read some of the posts you can find here.
So, without further ado, let’s jump back in time and take a look at our toplist of movies about time travel you have to see now!
6 – Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Genre: Action / Science Fiction
IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
Director: Doug Liman
Edge of Tomorrow features Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in an action packed movie from 2014. This movie’s time travel concept is very similar to Groundhog Days’ (we will talk about this film later in the list). Tom Cruise wakes up the same morning each time he dies while fighting against an alien race invading Earth.
The story follows William Cage (Tom Cruise) who after being demoted for not following his commander’s orders gets sorted into a suicide squad that needs to defend the first line against the alien attack. The defense falls and William dies after successfully blowing up an alien (Mimic). He wakes up the same morning he arrived at the military base, but he remembers everything that happened. Of course, nobody believes him and he has to die defending again. Each time he dies, he wakes up the same morning with the experience that he gathered in his “previous life”. In one of the time loops, William fails to save the famous Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) and watches her die. The next time he wakes up, he locates her and tells her everything he knows.
It is later explained that Rita also had the ability of resetting the day after she dies and that this comes from exposure to the aliens’ blood. She trains William in combat and tasks him with defeating the alien invasion by killing the queen that is controlling all of the other aliens.
Edge of Tomorrow is an action-packed movie with smart time travel elements. It is unique and there are no other action movies that are similar to it. Tom Cruise has had a lengthy acting career, but he’s still able to do an entertaining performance in this 2014 action flick.
Take a look at Tom Cruise’s IMDb page to see all of the movies that he starred in.
Check out the trailer and decide if this is something that interests you. If you like what you see, you can easily purchase or rent Edge of Tomorrow by clicking here.
5 – Looper (2012)
Genre: Action / Science Fiction
IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
Director: Rian Johnson
Looper is an action movie set in a future society where time travel is possible but prohibited. It is only used by the mafia when they want to make someone disappear. They send the target back in time and a looper executes him in the past.
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper and he is very good at it. He does every assignment he gets and takes care of business without leaving any traces. This all changes when the mafia wants to “end the loop” and sends Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) back in time to be killed. He hesitates to kill his future self and the future Joe inevitably escapes. Of course, the mafia knows about this and tries to stop them by sending other loopers after them. This turns into a manhunt with the two Joes trying to figure out a way to end all of this without having to kill each other.
If you want a more in-depth plot summary, head on over to Looper’s Wikipedia page.
This is not your typical action movie where you can anticipate everything that’s going to happen. You will have to pay close attention to everything that’s happening in order to figure out the next step. And even if you do not take your eyes off the screen, you are still going to be surprised by the ending.
If you haven’t seen Looper, you really must watch the trailer, as this is a unique film that might just be what you are looking for. The stellar cast, the sophisticated storyline and the amazing visuals ensure that it’s worth spending two hours watching this time travel movie. Check out the trailer for Looper and if you like what you see, check out the page where you can order the film right now!
4 – Midnight in Paris (2011)
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
Director: Woody Allen
Rather than an action packed movie, this film depicts the artsier side of time travel. Woody Allen flawlessly integrated his idea of time travel into a romantic movie about a guy who walks the streets of Paris and inevitably travels through time without knowing what’s happening. Owen Wilson plays this role fittingly, as an out of place American writer in the 1920’s.
Owen Wilson has a plethora of movies under his belt. See all of the movies that Owen Wilson has performed in by checking his IMDb.
Gil Pender (played by Owen Wilson) travels to Paris for a vacation with his fiancé (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. Gil gets a bit drunk and decides to walk to the hotel alone rather than go dancing with his fiancé. At midnight, an old fashioned car pulls up next to Gil and people dressed in 1920’s clothes invite him to a party. He goes with them and when he arrives, he slowly realizes that he is in fact in the 20’s. He meets Zelda (Alison Pill) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), two influential American novelists. They get bored with the party and take Gil to meet one of their close friends, Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll).
Gil is a screenwriter, but his true passion lies in writing novels. The 1920’s setting and the characters he meets give him inspiration and change his personality along the way. This turns into a fun time travel related romantic comedy that you should watch if you haven’t already. Check out the trailer or order the film from here.
3 – Source Code (2011)
Genre: Thriller / Drama
IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
Director: Duncan Jones
Source Code is not as light-hearted as our previous entry. This is yet another one of those “time-loop” time travel movies, but instead of uncontrollably repeating the same day, Jake Gyllenhaal in inside the Source Code that allows him to do this.
If you’re interested in seeing the top time-loop time travel movies, go ahead and read this user submitted IMDb top list.
The premise of the movies is that Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is part of a top-secret government project in which he can experience the last 8 minutes of a person’s life. He is tasked with finding out who was behind a recent train bombing. He is put into the body of Sean Fentress, a victim that was on the train that exploded. If he can figure out who the bomber is, the second bombing might be prevented. Each time he dies, he is sent back to relive the victim’s last 8 minutes again until he finds the person that planted the bomb.
Sean’s wife, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) is also on the train and Colter starts feeling something for the girl after the first few loops. He develops an emotion attachment to Christina while investigating the bombing. Finally, Colter Stevens’ mission isn’t only to find the bomber, but to also save Christina in the process.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan play their roles perfectly and they deliver believable and engaging performances. They are not the only stars of the movie, as Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright and Michael Arden all do some great acting. If you want to see the movie, be sure to click on the following link and purchase or rent Source Code.
2 – Groundhog Day (1993)
Genre: Fantasy / Drama
IMDb Rating: 8/10
Director: Harold Ramis
Here’s the film that basically introduced time loop style time travel movies to the masses. It features the hilarious Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Even the director of the movie Harold Ramis gets to play a role. This film has gathered a cult following and it is enjoyed by hardcore fans to this day.
To see all of Bill Murray’s work, be sure to visit his IMDb page’s filmography section. Here’s a shortcut.
The plot of Groundhog Day is that Phil (Bill Murray’s character) relives Groundhog Day each time he wakes up. He is awoken at 6AM and he repeats the same day over and over again. At first, he tries to understand the situation that he’s in. When he realizes that he can do whatever he wants, he takes advantage of the situation. However, this doesn’t satisfy him for long either, so he becomes suicidal. This doesn’t end the loop either, so he tries the last thing on his mind; being nice to others. Ultimately, love is what motivates him to do the right things. Throughout his journey, Phil becomes a different person and this changes his life once and for all.
Groundhog Day is a classic time travel movie that you should watch if you haven’t already. You can see Bill Murray in his prime and his comedic timing is spot on. Andie MacDowell also plays the support love interest role rather well. If you haven’t heard about 1993’s Groundhog Day until now, you must watch this movie! Check out the trailer or order the film online now!
1 – Back to the Future Trilogy (1985, 1989, 1990)
Genre: Adventure / Fiction
IMDb Rating: 8.5/10, 7.8/10, 7.4/10
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Our number one spot on the top6 time travel movies list goes to the most quintessential time travel movies; the Back to the Future franchise. These films set the stage for every time travel movie that followed and this trilogy has a serious fan base behind it to this day. I mean, who wouldn’t want a DeLorean, am I right?
The whole trilogy is amazing, but the first Back to the Future movie is the one everybody remembers. It follows a teenager named Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) who unwantedly travels back to the 1950’s. He does this using Doctor Emmett Brown’s (Christopher Lloyd) time traveling DeLorean car. The car is equipped with a flux capacitor and it can travel to a predestined point in time. In order to achieve this, the car needs to speed up to exactly 88 miles per hour.
There’s actually a scientific page about the time travelling DeLorean! Visit the DeLorean time machine Wikipedia page to learn more.
Marty arrives on November 5, 1955, with the DeLorean out of fuel (plutonium) to return to 1985. Marty meets his parents’ younger selves and unenviably makes his mother Lorraine (Lea Thompson) fall in love with him. He also meets Doc Brown’s younger self and explains the situation to him. He’s skeptical at first, but he inevitably helps Marty. Marty needs to make his parents fall in love or else he is never going to be born in the first place. This is a great family friendly time travel movie that you can enjoy multiple times.
The second movie features the beloved time traveling team going to the future; October 21, 2015 to be exact. The setting depicted in the movie might look a bit dated and exaggerated, but it’s got its charm. We might not have hover boards, but Nike has made a model of the self-lacing shoes.
Check out this video showcasing the Nike Mag Self-Lacing high-tech shoes. These are the closest you’ll get to shoes seen in Back to the Future 2! Click here for the video.
The third movie in the trilogy follows out heroes back to the Wild West. Since industrial gasoline is not invented yet, the DeLorean can’t reach 88 miles per hour on its own. They have to solve this problem in order to return to 1985 while being bullied by bandits. Like it or not, this movie even has a Doc Brown love story in it.
I think that’s enough about the Back to the Future franchise. You either both know and love it or you haven’t seen it yet. Either way, this is one of those movies that you can always re-watch; back-to-back. Thankfully, you can find great deals online and get the whole trilogy set for a nice price. Check out this offer for example.
Since there are so many great time travel movies out there, we had to add an honorable mentions section to our list. The following movies are also great and they are worth a watch. Additionally, there are many other movies that didn’t make the list. Movies, such as Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 12 Monkeys and many others.
Lastly, let’s briefly look at a few honorable mentions that we’ve decided to showcase:
IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
Directors: Peter Spierig, Michael Spierig
Ethan Hawke plays a temporal agent who’s tasked with stopping the infamous Fizzle Bomber in 1970’s New York City. He disguises himself as a bartender and he begins talking with a women customer. She is a true confession article writer who writes under the “The Unmarried Mother” name. The Unmarried Mother is flawlessly portrayed by Sarah Snook. Ethan Hawke decides to show the woman his true job and asks her if she wants to become a temporal agent. She begins training, with the hopes of stopping the Fizzle Bomber before he kills millions of innocent people. The time travel device in this movie is a briefcase that every temporal agent has. The story is somewhat complicated to understand (what would you expect from a time travel movie?), but it’s not the most complicated.
Check out the trailer and if you like what you see, or go ahead and order or rent the movie online by clicking here.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
IMDb Rating: 8/10
Directors: Bryan Singer
Of course we’ve had to slip a superhero movie in the list somehow. *wink* But in all seriousness, X-Men: Days of Future Past is one of the best (if not the best) X-Men movies out there. And it’s a cool time travel movie too.
The plot of the movie revolves around Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) sending Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Bolivar Trask (played by Peter Dinklage). Killing Tyrion Lannister would set off a chain of events that would ultimately lead to Mutants being hunted like animal. In the movie, we get to see a future version of Wolverine running around in 1973, recruiting some familiar faces. Heck, we even see the younger and older version of Professor Charles Xavier communicate through space and time in Wolverine’s head. Weird, am I right?
Jokes aside, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a great movie to watch, even if you’re not a superhero movie lover. Check out the trailer and decide for yourself. Click here if you want to check out the online offers for this time travel movie.
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
Directors: Shane Carruth
Primer is probably the most complicated time travel movie that was ever filmed. It is a low budget indie science fiction film that shows the most technologically plausible way we could travel through time. Aaron (Shane Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan) are two engineer friends who unwantedly make a “box” that allows them to travel through time. The friends use the boxes to make money on the stock market, but as with most time travel related endeavors; if you mess with time, time will mess with you.
If you’ve already seen Primer or you don’t mind spoilers, this YouTube video by LondonCityGirl explains the complicated plot of Primer in the simplest way possible. Go ahead and check it out if you’re interested!
Disclaimer: don’t expect to understand the movie fully after one viewing. You’re not going to understand it at first, as there are many subtle hints that you only discover after multiple viewings. This is what the director intended; for the viewers to find the hints and connect the dots.