Best Films About Time Travel (Spoilers!)
Time travel is a common and popular theme in fiction where myths and stories have been told since ancient times. Early time travel stories were of characters skipping forward in time but science fiction stories dating to the early 18th century have also had characters transported to the past through time machines. It is thought that the earliest story about time travel to the past through one such machine was written around 1733. It’s clear therefore that time travel as a concept has been around for a while and it remains a popular theme in fiction today. Here at Boutique Von Burg, we will be dedicating this article to the top 10 films about time travel. Read on to find out more.
Back to the Future (1985)
An absolute 80s classic, this film premiered in 1985 and would become the highest-grossing film of the year. What continues to be a cultural masterpiece sees the protagonist, Marty McFly, travel back in time and accidentally intervene in his parents’ first meeting, thus putting his own existence in danger. Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, and Crispin Glover, the film has won a number of accolades over the years and continues to be a part of film pop culture, with sequels, spin-offs, and even its own theme park ride.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Released in 1989, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is another 80s pop culture teen classic. This film sees Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter as two musically ambitious slacker teens destined to create a future utopia. In order to do this, however, they must first pass their history class so as to not flunk out of school. Needing an ‘A’ for their project they are guided by a mentor from the future (George Carlin) and the film sees them travel through time in a borrowed time machine in a quest to collect notable figures from history and later present them at a show. This film saw moderate box office success and amongst other things is known for bringing attention to Keanu Reeves’ career. The film also has a number of spin-offs, with a third film due to be released in 2020.
Back to the Future 2 (1989)
Also released in 1989, the sequel to Back to the Future sees Marty Mcfly travel forwards in time to prevent another family crisis. Although not as successful as the first film, receiving mixed reviews, the film was a box office success, won several awards, and continues to be a part of the Back to the Future legacy today. The film was famous for a hoax where futuristic technology used on set was passed off as real, namely Marty’s hoverboard, which had not yet been invented.
Groundhog Day (1993)
Released in 1993, Groundhog Day is a hilarious fantasy comedy film starring Bill Murray as a narcissistic weatherman destined to repeat the same day over and over. Whilst a novelty at the start of his experience, this gradually wears on the protagonist, causing him to re-evaluate his priorities in life and change as a person. The film was released to modest success but later attracted critical acclaim, securing a spot in the National Film Registry in 2006.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt this film sees the protagonist (Cruise) embodied with the power to reverse time. Trapping himself in a time loop that resets the day every time he is killed, Cruise’s character (with the aid of Blunt’s), gradually learns the skills and knowhow to fight off an invading alien horde. The film was a box office success and was praised for its premise of the time loop theme, managing to keep the concept fresh in an already popular if not overused cinema trope.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Just recently released in 2019, Avengers: Endgame is the lastest closing film to the Avengers series in the Marvel Comic Universe. The film sees the superheroes use the quantum realm to travel back in time in order to undo or prevent catastrophe set about by the supervillain Thanos. The film caps off probably the best superhero franchise in recent years, breaking several box office records, including the record for the highest-grossing film of all time, and winning several awards. In case you haven’t seen it, the entire franchise is not to be missed.
The Terminator (1984)
Arguably James Cameron’s big break into cinema, the groundbreaking film The Terminator would be the first in a long and profitable franchise starring no other than the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sent back in time to assassinate a future resistance leader’s mother before she can bear him, The Terminator would become an iconic part of movie culture and is known for some classic lines as well as further cementing the careers of both Cameron and Schwarzenegger.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Taking the concept of the first film and turning it on its head, the second installment of the Terminator series sees The Terminator, Arnie, now protecting future resistance leader, John Connor, from a more advanced terminator. Again, sent from the future, these terminators are advanced robots set to duel it out on planet earth. The film was praised for its use of special effects and has some notable scenes – walking through prison bars anyone? Definitely one to check out.
Released in 2012, Looper revolves around the idea of futuristic criminal organisations using outlawed time loops to send victims back through time in order to be untraceably assassinated by hitmen known as ‘loopers’. The film is thought-provoking in its use of time loops as a concept and stars amongst others Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. Like most of the films on this list, it received critical acclaim.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Arguably a very bizarre film featuring a monstrous rabbit, Donnie Darko was released in theatre in 2001 to only small success. Originally destined to be straight to VHS it was fortunately screened at the Sundance Film Festival before a small theatrical release. Following a release on DVD and VHS, it would go on to develop a cult following, receiving critical acclaim as a psychological thriller with themes of time travel and concepts surrounding it included.
That’s it for this list! I for one have seen every movie listed and can tell you they are all worth the watch. We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and stay tuned for more at Boutique Von Burg.