Comic Book Curious

Top 5 Time Travel Movies

July 15, 2021

Time travel is one of the most popular and oft used science fiction tropes. It can be used well or it can be used very poorly, but sometimes it turns into legitimate cinema classics and with that thought in mind here are the top five time travel movies:

Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt point futuristic guns off screen

Credit: Tristar Pictures

Looper(2012)

Director: Rian Johnson

The concept of looped time is the key component in many time travel stories, this movie takes it to a much darker level as it asks professional hitmen to murder people sent back in time from the future. The job eventually asks you to kill your own future self, thereby closing said “loop.” This intense and violent movie forces you to pay attention to the myriad of twists and turns in the plot as past and future clash with one another,

Bill & Ted sit atop a magic phone booth stuffed full of historical figures.

Credit: MGM Studios

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure(1989)

Director: Stephen Herek

One of the most joyous and hilarious time travel stories finds the titular rocker dudes hopping on board a time travelling phone booth and bouncing all around the past to bring great figures of history to present day in order to make the greatest history class presentation San Dimas High School has ever seen. This film is an absolute blast and has what many scientists have dubbed the most scientifically accurate depiction of time travel in film. Not bad for a couple of kids who never studied.

A figure in a bubble HAZMAT suit walks through an apocalyptic city

Credit: Universal Pictures

12 Monkeys(1995)

Director: Terry Gilliam

After a deadly virus wipes out the majority of the human race, a man is sent back in time to help develop a cure but is pretty quickly locked in a mental asylum. This is a real head trip of a movie, not unlike Gilliam’s other work. Also starring Bruce Willis from Looper (the man must be really into time travel), the movie takes on a whole new level of prescience in a post COVID world. It was also turned into a similarly trippy series on the SyFy channel.

The Terminator in sunglasses holds a machine gun and a pistol

Credit: StudioCanal

The Terminator(1984)

Director: James Cameron

This is obviously one of the most iconic action films ever made, with many classic lines (“come with me if you want to live”, “I’ll be back”) but it also has some of the craziest time travel story structure. If you look past the gun toting robot, this is a movie about a man sending his friend in the future back to the past so he can father the man who sent him. That’s one crazy family!

Michael J Fox stares at his watch as the Delorean speeds in the movie logo.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Back To The Future(1985)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Okay, this is the most obvious number one choice, but seriously give me a better time travel movie… take your time… exactly! This is a masterpiece with a near perfect screenplay that sends lovable 80’s teen Marty McFly back to the 1950s to meet his teenage parents. The movie is filled with hilarious jokes, great action scenes, and the most delightful near incest ever put to screen. It’s a timeless classic that spawned two sequels, an animated series, a comic book, a theme park ride, and so much more. It’s just as beloved today as it was when it was released.

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