The idea of time travel has long fascinated philosophers, writers, and scientists alike. However, since the technology — or magic, for that matter — that might enable people to travel backward or forward to different points in time has yet to be invented or discovered, fans of temporal gallivanting will have to satisfy themselves with the many fictionalized depictions of time travel instead. Fortunately for cinephiles, there is a rich history of exploring the concept of time travel in various fascinating ways in movies.
While some films use time travel as a way to set up comedic fish-out-of-water situations, such as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, others use the concept of time travel to set up a plot twist, like the devastating ending of 1968’s Planet of the Apes. Still, other movies, such as The Time Traveler’s Wife or Somewhere in Time, explore the effects that time traveling has on romantic relationships. Not surprisingly, one of the most popular concepts explored in time travel-themed movies is the idea of going back in time to correct a mistake or prevent a disaster. Call it the 20/20 hindsight tendency of time travel movies.
The latest big-budget Tom Cruise vehicle to land in theaters would appear to fit into the traveling-into-the-past-to-fix-the-future niche of time travel movies, albeit with a twist. Edge of Tomorrow tells the story of a military officer who inadvertently gets caught up in a time loop while Earth is fighting off an alien invasion. Variety film critic Justin Chang described Edge of Tomorrow as a combination of Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers, and called it “a cleverly crafted and propulsively executed sci-fi thriller.” However, if watching Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow doesn’t satisfy your time travel itch, here are five outstanding films of the same theme to check out.