Would you be able to imagine what it would be like to travel through time? They are the best time travel movies ever made

Would you be able to imagine what it would be like to travel through time? They are the best time travel movies ever made

Updated on September 02, 2022 19:55 PM by Emily Hazel

Despite the popularity of time travel movies, a strange koan holds in popular media today. Rust Cohle said in a movie about the fourth dimension, "Time is a flat circle." People are destined to repeat their mistakes over and over, regardless of how far our society has progressed and how far our technology has advanced.

We may be able to travel back in time and correct the wrongs we have done—but will we make more mistakes by messing with something we weren't supposed to? This year marks the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest time travel movies of all time, Time Bandits. As a result, the genre's formative films are now being considered.

A fascinating aspect of being human drives us to believe in the impossible, whether characters spend the entire film traveling to it multiple times or simply talking about it. Time travel's nature means there will be so many spoilers ahead.

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Back to the Future

I knew this. In addition to providing the crucible through which every comedy adventure since has passed, the epic journey of Marty McFly and his insane mentor Doc Brown proves that one insignificant kid's actions can have a major impact. These films are often discussed popularly, but there is little else to add besides pointing out their diminishing returns with each subsequent film, which doesn't diminish Zemeckis's brilliance.

Even though these films are regarded as a cherished achievement in American cinema, there is no plot point wasted nor any shot that lacks humor or emotional breadth. Changing history also makes history; in that regard, it's hard to see how anyone would feel the need to improve upon this trilogy.

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The Terminator and Terminator 2

The two films introduced us to pop culture's most iconic and longest-lasting time travel plot, despite their obvious coordinates. Even at the beginning of his career, James Cameron's ideas always grew larger than life, despite not always being able to afford to make Titanic or Avatar.

Although Cameron takes what made Terminator 1 a hit and enhances everything that made Terminator 2 a hit, it remains to be seen if Terminator 2 is one of those rare cases where a sequel is better than its predecessor. The story is complex, its effects and action are sophisticated, its characters are compelling, and the narrative is layered.

As long as there are arguments about how Terminator 2 is the perfect action movie ever made, doctoral theses will be written about how The Terminator has shaped our modern imagination. Cameron's films have profoundly impacted modern science-fiction filmmaking. They seem to defy space-time, reaching deep into the past and far into our future to redefine every aspect of it.

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La Jetée

It consists of only 28 minutes but is both a film and an art piece. Black and white photos combined with an omniscient narrator explain the situation quickly and announce the film's symbolic meaning: a man whose story we're told as clearly as possible, and one that we are now a part of can travel through time relatively painlessly due to a few stark images he's carried with him ever since.

Most Parisians have been reduced to guinea pig status since World War III decimated the city, leading scientists to devise time travel experiments to bring the past and future into the present. As a result of their inability to mentally "hold" themselves to a time their minds are not conditioned to endure, the helpless jerks launch through time and often go mad.

However, the man is more powerful than them: he is glued to a memory of his past, so how could a filmmaker believably recreate a memory if he obsesses over its stillness? We rarely concentrate on one detail, one image that is etched into our minds, a pier, a dying man, and a woman. His is the pier, a dying man, and a woman.

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Twelve Monkeys

In this list, Terry Gilliam's brilliant mind emerges again, taking Chris Marker's La Jetée and enhancing its grimness. A virus contaminates Earth's surface, forcing survivors underground in 2035 in Twelve Monkeys, which begins in post-apocalyptic Philadelphia in 2035. To gather information about this deadly virus, Cole travels back to the '90s. Of course, things don't go as planned, though.

It is not only Cole's responsibility to escape the mental institution in which he has been placed, but he must also race against fate to reverse his ultimate undoing while he questions his sanity. Twelve Monkeys offers a compelling argument for the inevitable doom of humanity with its plot twists, excellent performances, and environmentalist message.

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Groundhog Day

As well as Bill Murray's character Phil Connors, a rude, unhappy man who covers Punxsutawney's groundhog celebration for the day, Groundhog Day evokes the rich veins of Edge of Tomorrow and Source Code.

The explanation for why this happens is unclear, but Groundhog Day celebrates the hilariously mundane by stripping away all the mystery and pretension of time travel. Furthermore, the film features Bill Murray at his very best, America's Greatest-of-All-Time Comedy Sweetheart.


With its tiny budget, Shane Carruth's tightly woven narrative focuses on appearance more than most of the films on this list. Instead of fantasy, Primer takes on time travel science directly. The film follows the work of two engineers who discover an unexpected side effect when trying to reduce the weight of objects: they can travel through time when they reduce the weight of objects.

Their invention is used to make some fast money at first, but greed and confusion soon take over, and the film unravels into a tangled tangle of double-crosses and alternate timelines. Considering the mumbly nature of much of the dialogue, it would not be a bad idea to have closed captioning on the Primer of all the films on this list. Primer takes the fun out of time traveling with its moral lesson wrapped in a sci-fi tragedy.

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A young version of Bruce Willis, Joseph-Gordon Levitt nails his ubiquitous action presence as a badass. In Rian Johnson's film, time travel is treated as a given, while he focuses instead on the dramatic scenarios human activity will create if it is outlawed.

The author/director makes the strongest case on film for time travel "If it is outlawed, only outlaws will have it!". In the process, the film describes the possibility of human change and ably merges its paradoxes with a story about the possibilities of time travel.

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Source Code

Source Code's hero is forced to live the same day repeatedly, but on a much smaller scale than Edge of Tomorrow did. During a few minutes of his life, Captain Colter Stevens will be able to live through the eyes of someone else lost to time.

By reconfiguring his memories, Stevens is transported to a Chicago commuter train just before a bombing kill everyone on board, and he is charged with figuring out what happened. Even though Stevens does not travel through time, it doesn't matter: The movie explores consciousness and the power of perspective, suggesting that time is merely a mental construct.

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Edge of Tomorrow

There is no time machine in Tom Cruise latest sci-fi thriller. Lt. Col. Bill Cage plays a soldier caught in the middle of an alien invasion that threatens Earth. When the alien's blood is exposed to him, he gets trapped in a time loop, repeating the same day repeatedly, becoming an increasingly ruthless killer.

Cruise interacts with the other soldiers, a warrior who takes no prisoners, and a swarm of alien life forms that he must overcome every day to defeat them to both comedic and thrilling effect. Doug Liman handled such a fiasco with aplomb, which is, therefore, just fucking awesome. Whatever comparisons we draw to Groundhog Day, they don't do it justice.

Time Bandits

Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits is the first installment of his "Trilogy of Imagination." It is filled with a sense of unfettered cinematic magic. In the film, Kevin, an 11-year-old neglected by his parents, recounts a literal battle between Good and Evil — though God and the Devil are never referred to explicitly.

In this ode to imagination, Gilliam brings Kevin in touch with Robin Hood, Napoleon, and an irrepressibly charming King Agamemnon, where a kid's bedroom musings become world-shaking war drama. Time Bandits employs nostalgia and pseudohistory in equal measure, like a weirder step-cousin to Bill & Ted, to tell us what it was like to be 11 again with the boundless invention.

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