Top 10 Films About Time Travel



I don’t know if there is a fantasy more universally acknowledged than time-travel. Ask anyone what they’d do if they could time-travel and they’d have a carefully thought out, well planned answer. I don’t even think it matters if it is backwards or forwards. People just seem to generally want to escape from their current time periods. If someone presented me with such a device, I wouldn’t hesitate. I’d be gone in the blink of an eye. Where? I don’t really care and that’s the honest truth. There are two things that appear inevitable when dabbling in the time-traveling racket. First, you’re going to have a totally awesome, kick-ass time. Second, make sure you enjoyed those moments of fun because it’s all about to blow up in your face.

As with every entry, the films listed are my personal favourites not that of the general public. If you feel I’ve overlooked a film or have anything you’d like to add regarding this list, please comment below.

10: The Terminator (1984). Why not start this list off with an absolute classic. Odds are if you don’t like The Terminator, I probably don’t care for you as a person.



9: Planet of the Apes (1968). Another undeniable classic, Planet of the Apes stars Charlton Heston, one of the greatest actors to ever grace this planet. He and his crew travel forwards in time to realize the future isn’t what we have in mind.



8: Midnight in Paris (2011). The only film on this list that doesn’t have severe consequences for the protagonist. This is one of the few romantic-comedies based upon time-travel that doesn’t falter.



7: Source Code (2011). One of the more unique depictions of time travel on this list. Source Code is a complex drama that features an outstanding performance from Jake Gyllenhaal.

© 2010 Vendome Pictures


6: Back to the Future (1985). This film needs absolutely no introduction. If you happen to be unfamiliar with this movie, you should probably drop what you’re doing and go watch it.



5: 12 Monkeys (1995). Easily the most bizarre film on this list. Starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis gone completely insane, 12 Monkeys is quite perplexing.



4: Primer (2004). If you watch this film once and completely understand it, you’re probably God. Honestly though, it’s the most grounded, intricate film on this list. To any of you who’ve seen it, can you please explain it to me?



3: Star Trek (2009). While it may not be as hard to understand as Primer or other films on the list. The time travel in Star Trek creates a truly remarkable story.



2: Looper (2012). When this film finished, I was literally stunned. Such a great time travel film with a terrific cast and astounding story.



1: Donnie Darko (2001). WIthout any doubt my all time favourite film about time travel. It is frightening, intelligent, heartfelt, and grounded.


Seriously though, if any of you can explain Primer to me that would be great. Let me know what you think of the list. Did I miss a film? Do you think a film made it that shouldn’t have? Let me know! Have a great weekend!

About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television.

Posted on May 24, 2013, in Top 10s and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.

  1. The Back to the Future trilogy should have been one, two and three on this list but otherwise good stuff. I’ve never seen Primer but I assume apes are responsible.

  2. So hey – have you seen a movie called TIME CRIMES???

  3. Great post! Very happy about the inclusion of #2, 3, 5, 7 and 8 🙂

  4. Great list man. Happy to see 12 Monkeys make the cut. I must admit that I haven’t seen Primer yet but I’m very intrigued. Keep hearing it get mentioned by folk.

  5. Very very good list. I’ve been wanting to see Primer for a while and I’m a huge fan of Donnie Darko and 12 Monkeys especially. Nice job. Another time travel film worth seeing is the short film La Jetee. It was the inspiration for 12 Monkeys.

    • Glad you liked it! Check out Primer, and then hopefully you can explain it to me haha. Donnie Dark is so underrated, people feel that it isn’t. It is one of the best films I’ve ever seen. I’ll definitely check out the short, thanks for bringing it to my attention :).

  6. 12 Monkeys should be higher! But other than that, good list 😀

    Also Looper is overrated

  7. Brilliant list, you really have picked some fantastic films. Something I noticed is how differently the time travel is used in each film, just showing the depth that can be used in films. Love that you have Midnight in Paris on the list, totally fell for that film the first time I saw it.

    • Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the list. Time travel is such a diverse, theoretical science it can be used to limitless potential. People always seem to forget Midnight in Paris is a time travel film, good thing I didn’t haha.

  8. Awesome post! I love the classics of course and Star Trek is absolutely cool! You even gave mention to Source Code. That movie is so great 🙂

  9. Insightful list, I’d recommend checking out “Somewhere in Time”. You might find it somewhat dated, but I still think the emotional core of the story still resonates very well. Also would you consider “Groundhog Day” a time travel film?

    • Thanks for checking it out! Somewhere in Time really has me on the fence. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. As for Groundhog Day, I do consider it a time travel film but didn’t think it deserved to be on the list. I still love it and think it’s a terrific film. I just enjoy my time travel films to be complex, if you know what I mean.

  10. Nice list and yes I like Terminator thank god otherwise you’d hate me. 🙂 Midnight in Paris is my fave on the list and Back to the Future DUH! Have you seen the 60’s version of The Time Machine? I just saw that the other night if you want to see a corny time contraption watch that lol.

    • Love Midnight in Paris! Being an aspiring writer, it might as well be writer porn lol. Never seen it, maybe I’ll give it a watch :).

      • Seriously that was writer slash artist porn right there. Good point! Oh u have Hemmingway, Dali and Picasso all in one movie, umm yes that is porn for smart people. hahaha

        Yes the movie is super corny and old and I was pretty much laughing the whole time but it is worth watching on a night you have nothing else going on.

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