What are the best time travel movies? First, a little history. The interest (or obsession?) Of the human to imagine times different from his own dates from, at least, the year 1733, when Samuel Madden published Memories of the 20th Century, a book in which an angel travels from 1997 and 1998 to the 18th century.
Films about time travel would not take long to arrive and in 1921 it was released A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, adapted from Mark Twain’s book. Since then and to this day, almost countless stories have been filmed of people visiting a different time, who can move freely in their own history, or who are trapped in the same day that they must relive over and over again.
How do we put together this list?
With the latter in mind, to put together this list of films about time travel, it was important to set some rules to define which films were eligible and which were not. The first, and most important of these rules, is that time travel has to be literal and explained in some way. They don’t tell fantasies (like Midnight in Paris); “magical” and external changes to the character (such as Time spell), or transported to a television show that takes place in the past (such as Pleasantville: Love in Colors).
The second rule that we set ourselves to select the best films about time travel, is that the travel has to be carried out by the main character or characters. That is, nothing to detonate history with an artifact that may or may not have traveled in time (as in Donnie Darko) or narrative deceptions such as the outcome of a certain movie that we will not mention in case someone has not seen it (click here if you want to know which one we are talking about).
You might also be interested in: The best movies about space.
Back to the Future Trilogy (Back to the Future 1985, 1989 and 1990 Dir. Robert Zemeckis)
Let’s be honest, no one expected to see another tape in this position. We decided to include all three because, although in general almost everyone favors the first part, in reality the three form a saga worthy of being valued in its entirety.
Terminator 1 and 2 (Dir. James Cameron, 1984 and 1991)
Is there a lot to explain about what makes the first two of the Terminator saga great? The memorable lines, groundbreaking action sequences (for the time) and the charming eighties style of their entire soundtrack and score… For the youngest, see what was done before, at a time when when explosions were needed they did things explode and before the CGI reached James Cameron’s imagination.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Dir. Stephen Herek, 1989)
If you’ve never seen this eighties comedy where Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter travel through time in a phone booth accompanied by George Carlin… consider immediately putting it on your priority list. The 1991 sequel failed to live up to its predecessor, but considering that a few months ago Reeves confirmed that the script for a third was completed, it would not hurt to give it a review.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter and the Prisioner of Azkaban, Dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 2004)
Although the premise of this installment of Harry, the teenage wizard, is not strictly about time travel, it is quite ingenious how this resource is used throughout the plot. I do not want to spoil much, in case someone lives under some type of stone that does not allow them to be part of the popular culture of this planet and they have not seen it, but it will be enough to say that, if we had a way of traveling around here Time, going back to take more classes at school wouldn’t be a priority, Hermione.
Primer (Dir. Shane Carruth, 2004)
Made by a mathematician who wrote, photographed, edited and starred in it, Primer is a good example of the triumph of independent cinema and that heavy and complex concepts can make for entertaining stories. It is relatively difficult to find, but there is a national edition on DVD, so it is not impossible either.
The planet of the simios (Planet of the Apes, Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968)
If you haven’t seen the original 1968 tape, it’s very possible we’ve already ruined the ending for you. But seriously, it’s 44 years old, what were you waiting to see? In this one, Charlton Heston’s journey through time is a little different from the others on the list (he does it in real time, but without getting old or noticing), but it still qualifies and is well worth mentioning.
12 monos, (12 monkeys, Dir. Terry Gilliam, 1995)
Two from Terry Gilliam? Yes. And this, although Brad Pitt is very funny, is not a comedy and Bruce Willis washes him with brooms. The film is a reinterpretation of Chris Marker’s short, La Jetée, and includes one of the most memorable soundtracks in science fiction. If you haven’t seen it, run.
Timecop: Police of the future (Timecop, Dir. Peter Hyams, 1994)
Van Damme is almost a joke today. But at some point in his career, he was the quintessential action star, and Timecop … where he plays (what do you think?) A time-traveling cop is just one more example of when creativity and pure entertainment are found, there may be fantastic results. The film, by the way, is based on a comic which inevitably leads to the question… a good candidate for a remake? We say yes.
Escape al futuro, (Time After Time, Dir. Nicholas Meyer, 1979)
In simple terms, this film follows HG Wells (author of The Time Machine) himself on a chase into the future as Jack the Ripper travels back to 1979 aboard the writer’s invention. Sounds interesting, crazy, fun and exciting? If you haven’t seen it, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
Special mentions to those who were left out (by little):
The Butterfly Effect, 2004 (Dir. Erin Bress and J. Mackye Gruber)
Ask the Time to Come Back, 1980 (Dir. Jeannot Szwarc)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, 2006 (Dir. Mamoru Hosoda)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1986 (Leonard Nimoy)
Staff Cinema PREMIERE This text was devised, created and developed at the same time by a team of experts working in harmony. All together. One letter each.