If you have ever wondered what it would be like to turn back time or experience the future, these amazing time travel movies will transport you to that exact scenario. Whether from the comedy, action, or science fiction genres, these stories look at the possibility of time travel and how it could impact our lives as humans.
Take a look at our list of movies where the past and the future seem so easy to travel, where danger and comedy are around each corner — and where time has no boundaries.
15. Time After Time (1979) – Prime Video
Malcolm McDowell plays the iconic H.G. Wells in our next pick for best time travel movies where he builds a time machine to travel to a paradise of the future. Unfortunately, Jack the Ripper (David Warner), has other plans for the machine as he uses it to travel to the late 1970s to escape capture from the police. And so Wells follows and asks the help of a banker to stop Jack from bringing terror to a new era.
This film is a lesser-known, but still brilliantly clever, picture about saving the future.
14. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) – Apple TV
Many teenage girls probably wish they could turn back the clock to a particular moment where they could do something better. Maybe it’s because of a test or talking to a crush, but we’ve all been there.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a Japanese animated film about a girl who has such powers and is able to redo the day over and over until she gets it just right. However, as she starts experiencing more tragic events, she learns that time travel can have its drawbacks.
13. Twelve Monkeys (1995) – Hulu
Twelve Monkeys is psychological and mind-melting. Don’t confuse the 2015 TV show 12 Monkeys with this Terry Gilliam directed sci-fi flick. Granted, they are based on the same short movie made in the 60s. Which means they share the same setting, mission, and time travel theme. Yet, the rest is different. Especially because the movie stars Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeline Stowe, and Christopher Plummer.
The best thing about Twelve Monkeys is that Gilliam’s bizarre film style comes across clearly. It is very unique as it digs into the psychological aspects of time travel that most movies do not. Definitely give this movie a try on Hulu.
12. Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home (1986) – Paramount Plus
To save the universe, Captain Kirk and his crew of the Starship Enterprise must travel back in time to the 1980s and bring back a whale they can use to speak with an unknown life form that will destroy everything if it can’t speak with someone who knows whale-speak.
This movie offers a strange premise, but you can’t help enjoy watching this starship crew become accustomed to 1980s California where they discover everything from the use of currency to computers. This is easily one of the most charming and hilarious entries of the original Star Trek crew.
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11. Meet the Robinsons (2007) – Disney Plus
Meet the Robinsons is definitely one of the zippiest Disney animated features. Lewis is a boy genius who may be smart enough to develop amazing inventions but he’s not quite ready for his family of the future when he travels forward in time to meet all of them.
Not only are his future relatives a chaotic assortment of odd and quirky individuals but Lewis will also have to contend with dinosaurs, an evil man in a bowler hat who wants to steal his inventions, and even a frightening future where hats control the world.
10. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) – Prime Video
California teenage slackers Bill and Ted are more interested in their band of Wild Stallions than their overdue history report. But then a time-traveler by the name of Rufus, traveling through time in a phone booth, gives this inept duo a chance to experience history more personally.
Bill and Ted will traverse time and meet famous figures to deliver what will be both an enlightening report and an amazing rock performance. This is such a fun and entertaining time travel movie that you should add to your Prime watchlist.
9. The Butterfly Effect (2004) – Prime Video
In The Butterfly Effect, Evan (played by Ashton Kutcher) suffers from memory loss where he blacks out and can’t remember certain points in time. It turns out that he must travel back to fill in those gaps and try to fix his past mistakes. But, like many of the best time travel movies, going back can cause other problems with the present day and he can’t risk making anything worse. Especially because the love of his life, Kayleigh, needs saving.
8. Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) – Netflix
Hot Tub Time Machine had to make it on our list of amazing time travel movies because of its hilarious premise and stacked cast. Four young guys including three friends and one nephew travel to a winter resort to escape, relax, and help Lou address his struggles with suicidal thoughts and alcohol head on. But when they jump in the hot tub, it takes them back to one night in 1986 that happened to be a pivotal moment for everyone involved. Except for their friend’s nephew who hasn’t been born yet. They can’t do too many things differently, even if they want to, or they risk him never being born.
Check out this hilarious movie starring John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke that led to a huge following and even a sequel.
7. Tenet (2020) – Prime Video
Tenet was a big sci-fi film in 2020 and truly bends the concept of time in a way that has not been seen in other movies on this list. John David Washington plays “The Protagonist,” which is the only name he knows as a CIA operative ready to stop World War III. Tenet is the mysterious international organization that hires him to seek out dangers to the human race, but time is ticking and he must use time travel to his advantage.
6. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) – Prime Video
In this story, time travel becomes involuntary causing more problems than good, especially when it comes to love and relationships. The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts Henry (played by Eric Bana) who has a condition in which he travels back and forth through time, but never knows when these moments will happen. This leads him to seemingly disappear and he also forgets some of his past memories. As a result, his wife, Clare (Rachel McAdams), struggles to feel secure in their relationship and keep their lives on the same path.
5. About Time (2013) – Prime Video
Interestingly, our next movie recommendation about time travel features actress Rachel McAdams yet again. This romantic comedy came about by the same creators as Love Actually, so that should set the tone for the funny moments and heart wrenching stories to come.
Tim is an awkward man who struggles to find love when on his 21st birthday, he is told by his father that the men in their family can travel through time. He uses it to his advantage to make things go right with his crush, Mary. However, he soon learns that while he can always go backwards, he has to wait to see how the future plays out just like everyone else.
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) – Max
The Harry Potter stories often play around with many different forms of fantasy and magic, from levitation to defense against the dark arts. So, it is only natural that one of them made it on our top time travel movies list.
The Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book and film in the series, features the third act surprise of tinkering with time to change events and reshape the magical world, as well as furthering Harry’s growth as a wise and powerful wizard in the making.
3. Flight of the Navigator (1986) – Disney Plus
David is a 12-year-old boy in 1978, but he awakens to discover he has been sent into the 1980s where his parents are more wrinkly, his little brother is bigger, and the government doesn’t know how to explain such an event. How could David turn up after all these years not looking a day over twelve? Seeking answers, David discovers a mysterious alien spaceship with a quirky robot computer that may be able to help him get back to his own time.
Featuring plenty of astounding special effects and great amazement for both the sci-fi ship and the 1980s, Flight of the Navigator has a gentle and hilarious approach to one kid’s wild adventure.
2. Groundhog Day (1990) – Netflix
Bill Murray plays a reporter that finds himself repeating the same day over and over and over again. No matter where he goes or what he does, every day ends with him waking up the next to the same tune on the radio and the same people doing the same things.
There’s a reason why this film’s format of being trapped in time has become a common reference for more modern films. It’s just that good and became an instant classic. Most of it comes down to a stellar direction by Harold Ramis, who also directed Ghostbusters, and the incredible performance by Bill Murray.
1. Back to the Future (1985) – Peacock
If looking for the best time travel movies, you can, of course, stop at Back to the Future. This is a timeless classic that seems to get better with age. Teenager Marty McFly finds himself sent back to the 50s and must find his way back to his own time. But, he also realizes that he must ensure the teenage versions of his mother and father still hook up or else, he won’t exist or return to his former life.
Aside from being a stellar time-travel trilogy, the first film is a supremely iconic adventure and an empathetic story where a teen begins to relate to their parents’ struggles.
Time travel can be depicted in many ways on screen. Some of the movies on our list show it in a funny and romantic way whereas others demonstrate the consequences that can come from going back in time and making changes.
Usually, the plot surrounds a person or multiple people who travel back in time to a pivotal moment and attempt to change the past without ruining their present future.
What movie repeats over and over?
There are a couple of films that show certain moments in time or days repeating over and over again. However, the most famous example of a day that repeats itself is Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.
What is the 80 time travel movie?
The most well-known and beloved 80s time travel movie is Back to the Future, which happens to be the top movie on our ranking list. The movie represents the 80s as present day and also goes back in time to the 50s.
Has anyone ever experienced a time loop?
It is said that in real life, people have experienced time loops or déjà vu. This can be caused by the mind due to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other reasons. However, these time travel movies do not tend to address mental health, but rather the consequences of our desire to go back in time.
When it comes to time travel, the closest we’ll get is by watching people experiencing the phenomenon through film. Whether it’s a comedic story like Hot Tub Time Machine and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure or a highly intense opportunity to save the world like in Tenet, these movies teach us a lot about moving forward with what we’re given. They are undoubtedly entertaining with various messages, so it’s definitely worth checking out this topic on screen.