When I came up with this list of the top ten time travel movies I set some parameters. The movie must have time travel central to the plot. And when you think of the movie, the theme of time travel must jump to the forefront. So movies like Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery were dropped from contention, because even though Austin travels back in time, the theme of time travel isn’t prevalent in the movie.
I also decided that characters must move through the time continuum and not simply “sleep” through time such as in Planet of the Apes or live through time as in Highlander. Likewise, “time loop” films were excluded, such as Groundhog Day and Run Lola Run. While all these films were excellent, I wanted to stay true to actual time travel.
If you have any additional time travel movies, please leave a comment. If you wish to create your own top ten list, please submit it to TopTenz.net.
10. Butterfly Effect
“Nothing’s all better, okay? Nothing ever gets better!”
A college student (Ashton Kutcher) discovers a way to travel back in time to his troubled childhood as himself at that age. His goal is to change his life by changing painful events from his childhood. He finds that a very small change from his childhood will dramatically change his life today. He is not pleased with the results of his first trip back, so he makes another trip to change another bad event, hoping for a better life. Unfortunately, he must return to his childhood many times, because his alternate future gets worse with each trip. Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)
9. The Time Machine (1960)
“If that machine can do what you say it can do, destroy it, George! Destroy it before it destroys you!”
From the book by H.G. Wells, a scientist and tinkerer builds a time machine and uses it to explore the distant future where there are two races, a mild gentle race, and a cannibalistic one living underground. His machine is stolen by the underground race and he must risk being captured (and eaten) to return to his own time. Written by John Vogel [email protected]}
8. Time Bandits
“If I were creating the world I wouldn’t mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o’clock, Day One!”
A young boy’s wardrobe contains a time hole. Through this hole an assortment of short people (i.e. dwarfs) come while escaping from their master, the supreme being. They take Kevin with them on their adventures through time from Napoleonic times to the Middle Ages to the early 1900s, to the time of Legends and the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness where they confront Evil. Written by Zaphod [email protected]}
The fate of the world is a matter of time.
After an alien invasion threatens to annihilate the human race, a young Japanese girl, named Milly , travels back in time from 2084 to October 2002, and enlists the reluctant aid of skilled Tokyo gunman to discover and prevent the start of the war. However, trouble ensues when the two protagonists are forced to deal with a Japanese mafia boss who is somehow involved in the start of the war by keeping the first alien spaceship and its alien pilot captive, while our two heroes race against the clock to find a way to stop the oncoming destruction from the vengeance-seeking alien invasion fleet on its way to Earth. Written by Exile-Inc
6. StarTrek – First Contact
“Brave words. I’ve heard them before, from thousands of species across thousands of worlds, since long before you were created. But, now they are all Borg.”
It is the 24th century, and a collective of part humanoid, part machine beings face the Federation in what would be the biggest battle of all time. This collective, called the Borg, lose, and desperately attempt to go back in time to April 4th, 2063, to stop Earth’s First Contact with an alien species (the Vulcans, to be precise). Captain Picard, and the crew of the Enterprise-E (NCC 1701-E) go back in time to make sure that Zefram Cochrane makes his warp flight. The Enterprise runs into unexpected trouble, however, when they start to assimilate the Enterprise. Written by Julian King [email protected]}
5. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
“As you can see, Genghis very much enjoys Twinkies because of the excellent sugar rush.”
Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S. Preston esquire won’t graduate if they don’t do well in their history presentation. This would be both bogus and uncool ! A dude called Rufus comes from the future in a telephone box to help them, as their lives are apparently rather important to the future of mankind ! They travel through time doing some interesting research for their history presentation, and generally being excellent to each other ! Written by Colin Tinto [email protected]}
4. 12 Monkeys
“Look at them. They’re just asking for it. Maybe the human race deserves to be wiped out.”
An unknown and lethal virus has wiped out five billion people in 1996. Only 1% of the population has survived by the year 2035, and is forced to live underground. A convict (James Cole) reluctantly volunteers to be sent back in time to 1996 to gather information about the origin of the epidemic (who he’s told was spread by a mysterious “Army of the Twelve Monkeys”) and locate the virus before it mutates so that scientists can study it. Unfortunately Cole is mistakenly sent to 1990, six years earlier than expected, and is arrested and locked up in a mental institution, where he meets Dr. Kathryn Railly, a psychiatrist, and Jeffrey Goines, the insane son of a famous scientist and virus expert. Written by Giancarlo Cairella [email protected]}
3. Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home
“C’mon Spock, it’s me, McCoy. You really have gone where no man’s gone before. Can’t you tell me what it felt like?”
The most acclaimed Star Trek adventure of all time. It’s the 23rd Century, and a mysterious alien power is threatening Earth by evaporating the oceans and destroying the atmosphere. In their frantic attempt to save mankind, Kirk and his crew must time travel back to 1986 San Francisco where they find a world of punk, pizza, and exact-change buses that are as alien to them as anything they’ve ever encountered in the far reaches of the galaxy. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy return as Kirk and Spock, along with the entire Star Trek crew. Written by Robert Lynch [email protected]}
2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
“Can you learn stuff you haven’t been programmed with so you could be… you know, more human? And not such a dork all the time? “
It has been ten long years since a Terminator failed to kill Sarah Connor and her unborn son, John. Now, Skynet has sent back another Terminator. This one being more advanced than the last one. John Connor, who is now ten years old, is the target. The future John sends back a replica of the Terminator that tried to kill him back in time to 1995. It’s Terminator vs. Terminator. Written by Ricky Steck ([email protected])
1. Back To The Future
“Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”
The year is 1985 and Marty McFly is your everyday teenager, except for one problem. He is stuck in 1955. After his good friend Doc Emmett Brown is gunned down, Marty ends up sending the DeLorean back thirty years into the past. Now, he must find the Doc and convince him that he is from the future, in order for the Doc to send him back to the future, but this is the least of Marty’s problem. After accidentally getting in the way of the important meeting between his future mother and father, Marty must get them back together before he changes time forever, and destroys his own existence. Written by simon