42 Best Time Travel Movies

by Margaret_Nieter | created - 01 Sep 2015 | updated - 03 Jan 2016 | Public

I love time travel movies. Of EVERY shape and size. I don't care how silly the premise is or how unbelievable the reasoning, the time travel could be science fiction, or it could be magical, or it could just happen, but I do give an edge to those who give a successful sci-fi logic to the time travel and have closed loop stories (meaning, no grandfather paradoxes for those of you who have enough nerd-street-cred to understand what that means). So here are what I consider the very best of this, my favorite, science fiction genre.

DISCLAIMER: Time travel for this purpose includes machines and/or people with full awareness of the future or past (their own, in many cases) and who interact with the world to influence that future or past because of that knowledge, and who are generally (although not always) able to alter or interact with that future or past.

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1. The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

8.0
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83 Metascore

A seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield

Votes: 665,196 | Gross: $38.40M

2. Donnie Darko (2001)

R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
88 Metascore

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Director: Richard Kelly | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne

Votes: 643,610 | Gross: $0.19M

3. Twelve Monkeys (1995)

R | 129 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
74 Metascore

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Joseph Melito

Votes: 505,715 | Gross: $57.14M

4. About Time (I) (2013)

R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
55 Metascore

At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

Director: Richard Curtis | Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson

Votes: 232,073 | Gross: $15.32M

5. La Jetée (1962)

Not Rated | 28 min | Short, Drama, Romance

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Étienne Becker, Jean Négroni, Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich

Votes: 23,684

6. Run Lola Run (1998)

R | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
77 Metascore

After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.

Director: Tom Tykwer | Stars: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Nina Petri

Votes: 170,662 | Gross: $7.27M

7. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
89 Metascore

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 312,358 | Gross: $7.27M

8. Looper (2012)

R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
84 Metascore

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano

Votes: 466,708 | Gross: $66.49M

9. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

R | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
72 Metascore

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel.

Director: Colin Trevorrow | Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni

Votes: 107,224 | Gross: $4.01M

10. Interstellar (2014)

PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
74 Metascore

A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy

Votes: 1,118,267 | Gross: $188.02M

11. Dead Again (1991)

R | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
66 Metascore

An amnesiac and a private eye find they might have a past life connection.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Andy Garcia, Derek Jacobi

Votes: 22,979 | Gross: $38.02M

12. Terminator 2 (1991)

R | 137 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
75 Metascore

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her ten year old son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

Votes: 823,659 | Gross: $204.84M

13. Planet of the Apes (1968)

G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
79 Metascore

An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans

Votes: 147,776 | Gross: $33.40M

14. My Science Project (1985)

PG | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A high school student and his friend find a strange, orb-like piece of equipment to use as a science project, but must stop it when it begins to threaten mankind.

Director: Jonathan R. Betuel | Stars: John Stockwell, Danielle von Zerneck, Fisher Stevens, Raphael Sbarge

Votes: 4,442 | Gross: $4.12M

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

PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
74 Metascore

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy

Votes: 571,896 | Gross: $233.92M

16. Doctor Who (2005– )
Episode: The Day of the Doctor (2013)

TV-PG | 77 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

9.4
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In 2013, something terrible is awakening in London's National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion.

Director: Nick Hurran | Stars: Matt Smith, David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston, John Hurt

Votes: 15,007

It played in the theaters concurrently with airing on television and so I am counting it as a movie.

17. Waxwork (1988)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Horror

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A wax museum owner uses his horror exhibits to unleash evil on the world.

Director: Anthony Hickox | Stars: Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, Jennifer Bassey, Joe Baker

Votes: 8,818 | Gross: $0.81M

18. Time Bandits (1981)

PG | 110 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
79 Metascore

A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, John Cleese, Katherine Helmond

Votes: 49,499 | Gross: $42.37M

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

PG | 142 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

7.8
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82 Metascore

It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Richard Griffiths

Votes: 433,719 | Gross: $249.36M

20. Sound of My Voice (2011)

R | 85 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
67 Metascore

Two documentary filmmakers attempt to penetrate a cult who worships a woman who claims to be from the future.

Director: Zal Batmanglij | Stars: Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius, Brit Marling, Davenia McFadden

Votes: 18,033 | Gross: $0.41M

21. Army of Darkness (1992)

R | 81 min | Comedy, Horror

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
57 Metascore

A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Ian Abercrombie

Votes: 140,817 | Gross: $11.50M

22. Primer (2004)

PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
68 Metascore

Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.

Director: Shane Carruth | Stars: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya

Votes: 82,616 | Gross: $0.42M

23. Midnight in Paris (2011)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
81 Metascore

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s everyday at midnight.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Kurt Fuller

Votes: 331,632 | Gross: $56.82M

24. The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)

PG | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.0
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Men seeking relief from the Black Death, guided by a boy's vision, dig a tunnel from 14th century England to 20th century New Zealand.

Director: Vincent Ward | Stars: Bruce Lyons, Chris Haywood, Hamish McFarlane, Marshall Napier

Votes: 2,686 | Gross: $1.33M

25. Time Lapse (2014)

Not Rated | 104 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
50 Metascore

Three friends discover a mysterious machine that takes pictures twenty-four hours into the future, and conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop.

Director: Bradley King | Stars: Danielle Panabaker, Matt O'Leary, George Finn, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 33,657

26. Time After Time (1979)

PG | 112 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

H.G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper to the 20th Century when the serial murderer uses the future writer's time machine to escape his time period.

Director: Nicholas Meyer | Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Mary Steenburgen, David Warner, Charles Cioffi

Votes: 12,875

27. Los cronocrímenes (2007)

R | 92 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
68 Metascore

A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo | Stars: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo

Votes: 47,415 | Gross: $0.04M

28. Brigadoon (1954)

Passed | 108 min | Fantasy, Musical, Romance

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two Americans on a hunting trip in Scotland become lost. They encounter a small village, not on the map, called Brigadoon, in which people harbor a mysterious secret, and behave as if they were still living two hundred years in the past.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, Cyd Charisse, Elaine Stewart

Votes: 6,295

29. Predestination (I) (2014)

R | 97 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
69 Metascore

For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.

Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, Madeleine West

Votes: 200,884 | Gross: $0.07M

30. The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

PG-13 | 107 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

7.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
47 Metascore

A Chicago librarian has a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, creating complications in his marriage.

Director: Robert Schwentke | Stars: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Ron Livingston, Michelle Nolden

Votes: 124,078 | Gross: $63.41M

31. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

PG-13 | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
71 Metascore

A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson

Votes: 494,286 | Gross: $100.21M

32. Kate & Leopold (2001)

PG-13 | 118 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

6.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
44 Metascore

An English Duke from 1876 is inadvertedly dragged to modern day New York where he falls for a plucky advertising executive.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Breckin Meyer

Votes: 69,644 | Gross: $47.12M

33. Star Trek (2009)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
82 Metascore

The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father's legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful Romulan from the future creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time.

Director: J.J. Abrams | Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy

Votes: 536,042 | Gross: $257.73M

34. The Time Machine (1960)

Approved | 103 min | Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A man's vision for a utopian society is disillusioned when travelling forward into time reveals a dark and dangerous society.

Director: George Pal | Stars: Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian Cabot

Votes: 30,140

35. Meet the Robinsons (2007)

G | 95 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
61 Metascore

Lewis is a brilliant inventor who meets mysterious stranger named Wilbur Robinson, whisking Lewis away in a time machine and together they team up to track down Bowler Hat Guy in a showdown that ends with an unexpected twist of fate.

Director: Stephen J. Anderson | Stars: Daniel Hansen, Wesley Singerman, Angela Bassett, Jordan Fry

Votes: 74,006 | Gross: $97.82M

36. The Lake House (2006)

PG | 99 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

6.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
52 Metascore

A lonely doctor, who once occupied an unusual lakeside house, begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.

Director: Alejandro Agresti | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Christopher Plummer, Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Votes: 122,217 | Gross: $52.33M

37. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

PG | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
44 Metascore

Two seemingly dumb teens set off on a quest to prepare the ultimate historical presentation with the help of a time machine.

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, Terry Camilleri

Votes: 91,660 | Gross: $40.49M

38. Triangle (2009)

R | 99 min | Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A group of friends suffer a yachting accident and take refuge on a cruise drifting on the open sea, but quickly realize they were better off on the upturned yacht

Director: Christopher Smith | Stars: Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman

Votes: 78,070

39. The Last Mimzy (2007)

PG | 90 min | Drama, Family, Sci-Fi

6.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
59 Metascore

Two siblings begin to develop special talents after they find a mysterious box of toys. Soon the kids, their parents, and even their teacher are drawn into a strange new world and find a task ahead of them that is far more important than any of them could imagine!

Director: Robert Shaye | Stars: Joely Richardson, Rainn Wilson, Timothy Hutton, Chris O'Neil

Votes: 19,610 | Gross: $21.47M

40. Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009)

PG-13 | 83 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

While drinking at their local pub, three social outcasts attempt to navigate a time-travel conundrum.

Director: Gareth Carrivick | Stars: Chris O'Dowd, Marc Wootton, Dean Lennox Kelly, Anna Faris

Votes: 28,547

41. Forever Young (1992)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

During a cryogenics test, a pilot frozen in 1939 awakes in 1992 but time is running out, as his body starts to age rapidly.

Director: Steve Miner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Elijah Wood, Isabel Glasser

Votes: 39,178 | Gross: $55.96M

42. Toki o kakeru shôjo (2010)

122 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A high-school girl acquires the ability to time travel.

Director: Masaaki Taniguchi | Stars: Riisa Naka, Akiyoshi Nakao, Munetaka Aoki, Anna Ishibashi

Votes: 1,347