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The 10 Best Movies Based on Time Travel


While Unreality‘s list of the Best Movies Based on Time Travel is indeed awesome, I’m disappointed they didn’t include my favorite time-traveling movie, Time Bandits. Little people and time travel are a sure-fire way into my heart.

For a lot of moviegoers, the idea of time travel can be confusing and overwhelming, and some are turned off simply by associating time travel with movies in the science fiction genre.  But not me.  I love time travel and all the possibilities that spawn from it: the possibility of changing the future, confronting yourself from another period of time, and inescapable time loops.  A substantial amount of movies have featured the concept of traveling through time, and the results often vary quite a bit.  Here are, in my opinion and in no particular order, the ten best movies that involve time travel as a central plot device:

1. The Terminator (1984)


I’ve made my thoughts on The Terminator pretty clear in the past – I think it’s one of, if not the, greatest science fiction stories ever told.  Time travel is everything in The Terminator, as Kyle Reese is sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor from a killer robot (that was also sent back in time) so that Sarah can give birth to John, the leader of humanity in the future.  The allusions to Christ are apparent, what with John being a savior (with the initials J.C., no less) and being born as the result of a quasi-immaculate conception.  The Terminator presents time travel on a scale that’s about as epic as you can get.

2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)


T2 is one of those rare examples of a sequel that’s as good as (if not better) than the original.  Another terminator – this time an advanced model - is sent back through time, but to kill a 10-year-old John Connor.  With the help of his own Terminator that John himself sent back, he frees Sarah from a mental institution and does his best to stop Skynet from becoming a reality.  We know now, though, that Judgment Day can’t be stopped; it can only be delayed.  T2 is all about using time travel to change the future, peppering the viewer with themes of free will and determinism.  And don’t sweat it, T3 is NOT on this list.

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


In Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione comes in possession of a time turner, a magical device that allows the user to travel through time.  She and Harry travel back in time three hours and, in an effort to save Buckbeak, cause disruptions to change the course of action taken by their “past” selves.  Harry also sees that it was he that defeated the Dementors, enabling him to do it again…infinity times. Prisoner of Azkaban, along with its breathtaking cinematography, executes the concept of a time loop just about flawlessly.  The third Harry Potter movie marked the transition of the films as tailored for children to tailored for adults.  It’s also the movie where you found Hermione kind of attractive, but kept it to yourself so the authorities wouldn’t come a knockin’.

Come on – I know I’m not the only one.

Check out the rest of the list at Unreality.