Best Time Travel Movies of All Time

Time traveling has never been this fun.

by Janzel Sandejas
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Image: Universal Studios

The storyline of time travel has always been a worldwide fan favorite because, at some point in our life, all of us have wished to turn back the clock and change a wrong decision, save someone, and even bet on a winning ticket. As a result, many of us have been asked or asked the question, “Where would you go if you could travel through time? What would you do?

The question never gets old and is fascinating to people of all ages. That is why Hollywood recognized that stories with a time travel element are worth investing in production resources. Many movies with this plot have graced the silver screen over the years, but today we have compiled the best time travel movies of all time.

Edge of Tomorrow

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Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

This film explores what happens if you find yourself dying and reviving over and over again. The world’s military power was overwhelmed when technologically advanced and powerful extraterrestrial enemies attacked Earth. Maj. William Cage, played by Tom Cruise, is an officer who has never participated in the battle and is thrust into the frontlines on a seeming suicide mission.

Unfortunately, Cage was killed moments after arriving on the battlefield and awoke to find himself in a time loop, repeatedly reliving the same bloody fight and his death. However, this did not break his spirit; as he faced death, he also learned from his mistakes, bringing him closer to defeating the invaders.

Back to the Future

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Image: Universal Studios

Back to the Future is arguably the most famous time travel film of all time. It is a timeless classic that has been viewed numerous times since its initial release. The plot revolved around Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, and his pal Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox. Doc creates a time machine in the form of a DeLorean, but Marty accidentally travels 30 years back in time and must convince the younger version of Doc to assist him in returning to his proper timeline.

But his folly didn’t stop there; his inadvertent interference in his parents’ relationship threatened to entirely phase Marty out of existence. This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and enjoyable films of all time.

Happy Death Day

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Image: Universal Studios

This film is both a time travel film and a horror story. Tree Gelbman, played by Jessica Rothe, is a self-centered college student who wakes up in the bed of another young man named Carter on her birthday. As the morning progresses, Tree has the unsettling and creepy sensation that she is having a deja vu and reliving the previous day’s events.

Things get even scarier when a masked killer brutally murders her in a violent assault, but instead of dying, Tree wakes up in Carter’s college dorm completely unscathed. She must now relive the same day over and over until she discovers who murdered her. This film is exciting and entertaining, and you’ll find yourself rooting for her to break free from the time loop and bring her murderer to justice.

The Terminator

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Image: Orion Pictures

Another all-time classic that used the premise of time travel and action is The Terminator. A cyborg assassin Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, disguised as a human, travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton. The unborn son of the latter is integral to humanity’s future salvation.

Kyle Reese, played by Michael Biehn, is sent to protect Sarah and reveals the arrival of Skynet, an artificial intelligence system that will cause a nuclear holocaust. Sarah is targeted because Skynet believes her unborn son will lead the revolt against them. In the movie, Sarah and Kyle attempt to flee with the Terminator, an indestructible cyborg killing machine.

Groundhog Day

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Image: Columbia Pictures

Phil Connors, an unempathetic TV weatherman, played by Bill Murray, is irritated when he is assigned to cover the annual Groundhog Day celebrations in the small town of Punxsutawney. The only positive aspect of this assignment is his good-looking and friendly producer. The absolute nightmare begins when Phil is forced to relive Groundhog Day repeatedly.

Phil struggles to find a way out of town after being unable to leave due to a severe blizzard. However, he eventually accepts that he will relive the same day over and over again, and he uses the opportunity to learn new skills, rising to prominence in Punxsutawney.

Time Traveler’s Wife

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Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Henry De Tamble, played by Eric Bana, is a Chicago librarian who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes him to jump wildly back and forth in time. The opening sequence of The Time Traveler’s Wife introduces the main characters, Henry and Clare, and the nature of their relationship as a time traveler and a time traveler’s wife.

The interchanging first-person points of view set the tone for the rest of the story, which mostly follows Clare’s life timeline but also includes some of Henry’s time-traveling excursions. However, the difficulties and complexities of any relationship are exacerbated by Henry’s incapability to stay in one time and place, causing him and his wife to be constantly out of sync.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

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Image: Orion Pictures

Bill, played by Alex Winter, and Ted, played by Keanu Reeves, are two best friends from the Valley who would rather rock out than study. Despite being only mediocre musicians, their life revolves around their band, “Wyld Stallyns.” As senior year comes to a close, the two are on track to fail history class and, directly, flunk out of high school.

Because failing out of school means Ted will be sent to military school, they seek assistance from Rufus, played by George Carlin, a traveler from a future in which their band serves as the foundation for a perfect society. Bill and Ted use Rufus’ time machine to travel to various periods of history, going back with important figures to help them finish their final history presentation.

The Butterfly Effect

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Image: New Line Cinema

While The Butterfly Effect was not well received upon its initial release, this travel film has since received a modern reevaluation, surfacing as one of the more fascinating sci-fi horror movies. Evan, played by Ashton Kutcher, is a young fellow who struggles to recall his past due to a history of horrifying abuse.

Evan discovers, by chance, that having read from his old journals enables him to return to his younger self, fixing his trauma by making different choices. Unfortunately, as the film’s title suggests, no matter how insignificant, Evan’s meddling in the past has fatal consequences for not only his own life but the lives of the people around him.

Déjà Vu

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Image: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Déjà Vu is both a time-traveling romance and a straightforward crime thriller. Doug Carlin, portrayed by Denzel Washington, is a federal investigator who is tasked with investigating a catastrophic bombing on the Mississippi River. An experimental FBI team invites Doug to engage in a new, top-secret investigation once he demonstrates himself to be a reliable ally.

Using a device nicknamed “Snow White,” this technology enables fleeting glimpses into the past. As the investigation develops, Doug becomes less concerned with apprehending the culprit in the present and more concerned about altering history to prevent the accident from ever occurring.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

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Image: Kadokawa Pictures

Mamoru Hosoda’s animated film follows Makoto, a high school girl voiced by Riisa Naka, who gains the power to jump into the past after discovering a mystical device in the science lab. Makoto, as a teen, makes trivial, selfish changes like acing pop quizzes and easily avoiding awkward moments. However, when Makoto realizes that her changes have implications for others, she only uses her powers for good. In the process, she begins to solve the mystery behind these mysterious abilities.

- This article was updated on January 5th, 2023

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