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Best time travel movies 2

15 Best Time Travel Movies of All Time

Time to take a trip down memory with the best time travel movies from your childhood? Why not? We all dream of being able to travel back in time and luckily there are a plethora of fantastic movies that help make the dream a reality. If you’re looking for movies about time, the best time travel movies are sure to take you on the extraordinary journey of travelling through time. Each of them with a unique twist, and with so many to choose from, we set out on the hard task of narrowing down the best time travel movies of all time.

1. Back to the Future Part I (1985)

It would be a crime to start off with anything else. A classic film with a cult following that has survived over the generations, Back to the Future Part I is a time-travelling extravaganza like no other. Follow the journey of McFly, a 17-year-old high school student who is accidentally sent thirty years into the past. This is a top pick for the best time travel movie if you want something that will not disappoint.

Release date: 15 August 1985 (Australia)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Featured song: The Power of Love
Box office: 388.8 million USD
Available on: Netflix

2. 12 Monkeys (1995)

Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys shines a light on a dystopian future and raises the concept of time travel as a potential solution. Bruce Willis stars as a convict living in a futuristic world that has been devastated by disease. He is sent back in time in an attempt to gather information about the virus that wiped out most of the human race. Eerily poignant of the recent pandemic, this movie isn’t for the faint-hearted!

Initial release: 27 December 1995 (USA)
Directors: Terry Gilliam
Awards: Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Available on: Netflix

3. Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day brings another interesting narrative to the concept of time travel which makes it one of the best time travel movies so far. The film plays on the theme of the repetition and cyclical nature of daily life through the concept of Groundhog Day, meaning the same thing over and over. A weatherman finds himself entrapped in this reality when he continues to wake up to live the same day over and over again.

Release date: 8 April 1993 (Australia)
Director: Harold Ramis
Featured song: I Got You Babe
Awards: BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
Available on: Binge

4. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

While Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance in the original Terminator solidified the film series as a cultural artefact, the second movie really took things to new heights. Once again, we see Arnie’s cyborg assassin return from the future, but this time, instead of being sent back in time to kill the mother of the person responsible for protecting the world against machines, he’s doing the exact opposite. Tasked with protecting future resistance leader John Connor, The Terminator must battle a sophisticated shape-shifting machine known as the T-1000 . The movie raises interesting questions about the trials and tribulations of the relationship between ethics, technology and the state of our future world. While it’s not only one of the best time travel movies of all time, it’s also a top tier action film in its own right. We mean, who could forget the iconic lines. Chill out, dickwad.

Release date: 5 September 1991 (Australia)
Director: James Cameron
Edited by: Conrad Buff; Mark Goldblatt; Richard A. Harris
Box office: $520.9 million
Adapted from: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Available on: Stan

5. The Time Machine (1960)

Based on H.G. Wells’ iconic 1895 novel of the same name, this classic time travel movie created some of the common tropes we’re used to seeing in the genre. Whilst we may see time travel as a new, exciting addition to normal life, this film highlights the dystopian themes arising with this advancement in technology. Innovative for its time, the 1960 film is a faithful recreation of Wells’ original prose, telling the tale of inventor George who develops a machine capable of moving forward in time,  but gets more than he bargained for when he attempts to reconcile the past with his strange new world.

Initial release: 17 August 1960 (USA)
Director: George Pal
Music by: Russell Garcia
Production companies: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Galaxy Films;
Adapted from: The Time Machine

6. About Time (2013)

A romantic comedy that dives into the idea of time travel with a light-hearted, lovey twist – great for those who don’t feel like getting too dystopian on a Friday movie night. On a time-travelling journey, a young man falls in love and is forced to question whether time travel is worth it in light of the beauty we may find in the present. A tear-jerker, despite some more cheesy moments, this is undoubtedly one of the best time travel movies of the 21st century.

Release date: 17 October 2013 (Australia)
Director: Richard Curtis
Screenplay: Richard Curtis
Featured song: About Time Theme
Box office: 88.5 million USD
Available on: Netflix

7. Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko has earned its place as an indisputable cult classic that explores the possibilities of time travel and the end of the world. Go on a bizarre journey with Donnie Darko, as he encounters a large bunny named Frank who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days. What proceeds is essentially a troubled teenager being manipulated by this bunny to partake in crime. You may think bunnies are cute, but we can assure you won’t be having the same opinion after watching this movie.

Initial release: 19 January 2001 (USA)
Director: Richard Kelly
Featured song: Mad World
Film series: Darko collection
Screenplay: Richard Kelly
Available on: Amazon Prime (U.S. only)

8. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Perhaps one of the best time travel movies of all time, Edge of Tomorrow is a gripping movie that thoughtfully mixes time travel and science-fiction. The result- follow the journey as Major William Cage attempts to save the earth and the human race from an alien species again and again, as he has entered a time loop. Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise make up a star-studded cast for this internationally acclaimed film.

Release date: 5 June 2014 (Australia)
Director: Doug Liman
Featured song: Love Me Again
Budget: 178 million USD
Available on: Netflix

9. Back to the Future Part II (1989)

The much-anticipated sequel to the 1985 film of the same name, the second instalment of the Back to the Future franchise doesn’t disappoint. The film follows another journey of Marty McFly who travels back in time, but this time for other reasons. He wants to pose as his own son to prevent his eventual jail sentence. The film speaks to the futility of time travel as in the film the future changes the present, in a confusing play on time.

Release date: 15 August 1985 (Australia)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Featured song: The Power of Love
Box office: 388.8 million USD
Screenplay: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale
Available on: Netflix

10. Looper (2012)

Rian Johnson’s thought-provoking and entertaining film has earned its place as one of the best time travel movies to hit the box office. The science-fiction film crafts time travel as a commodity in the black market and explores themes of violence and unrest that slowly unravel. Brace yourself for plenty of action, shooting and loud noises!

Release date: 27 September 2012 (Australia)
Director: Rian Johnson
Screenplay: Rian Johnson
Box office: 176.5 million USD
Budget: 30 million USD
Available on: Stan

11. Interstellar (2014)

Nolan ensures audiences will lose all sense of reality with this film about the passage of time and the idea of memory. Set in the future, the planet is slowly becoming uninhabitable and Professor Brand is trying to save mankind by sending them to a new place via a wormhole. The experience is disorientating and confusing, so make sure you’re paying attention, or you will surely get left behind.

Release date: 6 November 2014 (Australia)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Featured song: S.T.A.Y.
Box office: 701.8 million USD
Awards: Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
Available on: Amazon Prime

12. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Part of the famed epic X-Men instalment, this film explores the complex entanglement of past and present, making it one of the best time travel movies of all time. This is achieved through the journey of the X-Men as they join their younger selves as a way of changing their past and salvaging their future. Time travel creates a clear image of the X-Men’s growth and development. Lovers of X-Men will hold this close to their heart, it is one of the best films in the franchise.

Release date: 22 May 2014 (Australia)
Director: Bryan Singer
Box office: 746 million USD
Film series: X-Men
Screenplay: Simon Kinberg
Available on: Disney+

13. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

A less serious take on time travel and everything it entails; Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a goofy reprise from life’s seriousness. The film follows the journey of two high school students as they use a time machine to travel back in time and create a history report that will earn them top marks. This may seem absurd and juvenile, but we have no doubt you will love the film.

Release date: 18 January 1990 (Australia)
Director: Stephen Herek
Film series: Bill & Ted
Box office: 40.5 million USD
Budget: 10 million USD
Available on: Amazon Prime (U.S. only)

14. Men in Black 3 (2012)

Another successful addition to the popular Men in Black franchise, the third movie offers a taste of what happens in man’s plight to set things right by going back in time. Teaming up with agent K’s younger self, agent J goes back to 1969 and embarks on a journey like no other to gain redemption after K’s death. If this isn’t enough to keep you entertained Will Smith’s charm certainly will.

Release date: 24 May 2012 (Australia)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Budget: $215–225 million
Box office: 624 million USD
Screenplay: Etan Cohen, David Koepp, Jeff Nathanson, Michael Soccio
Available on: Amazon Prime (U.S. only)

15. Source Code (2011)

Duncan Jones’ Source Code brings together time travel with extreme action and sci-fi adventure. Army pilot Stevens played by the ever-charming Jake Gyllenhaal enters the body of someone new as he attempts to prevent a commuter train mass bombing. It offers thrilling entertainment rather than provoking deep thought, as he relives the incident over and over again, a similar concept to Groundhog Day.

Release date: 5 May 2011 (Australia)
Director: Duncan Jones
Screenplay: Ben Ripley
Box office: 147.3 million USD
Budget: 31.9 million USD, 32 million USD (2011)
Available on: Amazon Prime (U.S. only)

General FAQs

Is Tenet a time travel movie?

Tenet is not a time travel movie, instead exploring the inversion of time.

What year was the original Time Machine movie made?

The original Time Machine movie was made in 1960.

What is the best time travel movie on Netflix?

The best time travel movie that's available on Netflix is back to the Future Part I.

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