7 best time travel movies that everyone should watch

Time travel movies
7 interesting time travel movies that cinephiles will enjoy (Image via IMDb)

The concept of being able to move forward or back in time gained popularity after H. G. Wells' sci-fi novella, The Time Machine, became popular and has surfaced in many time travel movies over the years. Although it hasn't been proved whether time travel is actually possible, the idea is a fascinating one. And filmmakers have been able to use it to their advantage to build engaging narratives that share their vision of a reality where time travel exists with the audience.

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It is interesting to note that filmmakers tend to have different approaches to time travel. While some tend to focus on the positive aspects that can result from time travel, others showcase the deadly negative ramifications that can arise from tampering with time.

Given the widespread interest in the topic among viewers, many time travel movies have been released to date. However, some rank higher than others in terms of offering a fresh perspective on a familiar concept that has been around for decades.


Groundhog Day, About Time and 5 other time travel movies that will take viewers on a time adventure

1) The Terminator (1984)

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Directed by James Cameron, this time travel movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was so successful that it resulted in a number of sequels.

Schwarzenegger plays a cybernetic assassin who has been sent from the future. His mission is to kill Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton. The reason behind this mission is Sarah's unborn child, who is destined to be humanity's savior against an AI threat in the future. To keep Sarah alive, a soldier named Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) is also sent back in time.

The movie featured impressive special effects for the time. Casting Schwarzenegger as a machine was a stroke of brilliance. Even with minimal dialogue, his stoic face and intimidating physical presence leave a lasting impression on viewers.


2) Groundhog Day (1993)

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This hilarious time travel movie, directed by Harold Ramis, focuses on a cynical weatherman named Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray. He is not particularly enthusiastic about being in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where he is covering the Groundhog Day event. But things get very interesting when he starts reliving the same day over and over again.

The best thing about the movie is the witty writing, which presents viewers with subtle messages about small-town morals and the importance of human connections.


3) Pleasantville (1998)

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This enjoyable movie starring Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon approaches time travel a little differently. Directed by Gary Ross, the story revolves around two high school siblings, David and Jennifer. Their lives change drastically when they are transported to Pleasantville, a black-and-white 1950s sitcom that David likes to watch.

It is a lighthearted time travel movie, and at the same time, it holds up a mirror to the serious problems in society. The experienced cast, namely Joan Allen, William H. Macy and Jeff Daniels, deliver stunning performances that add depth to the narrative.


4) Il Mare (2000)

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Viewers who have watched The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock will find the narrative familiar as it is a remake of this South Korean movie. Directed by Lee Hyun-seung, unlike other narratives of time travel, this movie doesn't showcase humans travelling through time. Instead, two people living two years apart are somehow able to communicate with each other through a mysterious mailbox.

Actors Lee Jung-jae and Jun Ji-hyun do a great job bringing their characters to life, and it is easy for viewers to root for their love even though it seems doomed from the start. Romance movie fans shouldn't miss out on this sentimental time travel movie.


5) Midnight in Paris (2011)

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In this time travel movie, directed by Woody Allen, Owen Wilson takes on the role of Gill, a screenwriter accompanying his fiancee and her family on a trip to Paris. However, when he goes for a late-night stroll, he is transported back in time and meets celebrated artists and thinkers of the past.

Like most Woody Allen films, there is a certain charm about this time travel movie that keeps the viewer hooked. It is also interesting to see beloved personalities like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, and more come to life onscreen.


6) About Time (2013)

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This is another great time travel movie that will appeal to the romantics. Directed by Richard Curtis, it focuses on the life of Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson), who learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that the men in his family have the ability to travel back in time. Tim uses his powers to pursue the love of his life, Mary (Rachel McAdams).

The charming and heartfelt narrative is elevated with endearing performances by the cast. Viewers looking for the perfect date-night movie need not look any further.


7) Cafe Funiculi Funicula (2018)

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Bookworms will particularly enjoy this time travel movie directed by Ayuko Tsukahara. Adapted from Toshikazu Kawaguchi's popular novel, Before the Coffee Gets Cold, it focuses on a cafe wherein there is a particular chair that allows patrons to go back in time. However, there are certain rules to traveling in time, and they must be followed at all costs.

Starring Kasumi Arimura, Kentarō Itō, Haru and more, this quiet yet poignant time travel movie focuses on relationships, friendships and connections. Likeable characters and touching moments make this a must-watch.


These interesting titles are perfect for viewers who enjoy narratives wherein time travel allows characters to re-evaluate their lives and priorities.

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Edited by Yukta Baruah