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. Whatever the reason behind its use, time traveling tends to create interesting plot twists in movies. Here are five outstanding films about time travel that are guaranteed not to be a waste of your time.
5. Source Code (2011)
Source Code has drawn comparisons to Groundhog Day, since Bill Murray’s character in that comedy is also inadvertently caught in a time loop. The protagonist of Source Code is a military man who is being sent back to the same point in time after repeatedly dying. However, instead of trying to learn how to love like Murray’s character in Groundhog Day, the time traveler in Source Code is trying to learn the identity of a terrorist.
Directed by Duncan Jones, the co-writer and director of 2009’s superb Moon, Source Code was a commercial and critical hit. Source Code currently has a 92 percent “Certified Fresh” rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes.