The 20 Best Time Travel Movies of All Time

Movies play a prodigal part in our lives. But, apart from educating us for good and the bad, the only thing that remains constant is perception. For some, it’s just an act to let tiredness out of the hectic schedule; for some, that’s the way the world should be; it’s informative, and for some, just a way to kill time. But whatever the reason might be, the movie’s purpose is served when the viewers leave the seat with a smile on their face and thought about ‘what if’ that sets them thinking about the adverse.

Movies help us to understand the culture, history, traditions and so on. We live in a rather small world where we know only what’s shown to us. Everyone describes the world on their terms. But every individual is a story. We know very little. Movies help you to know the unknown. It surprises us, amazes us, nurtures us, and reveals to us the facts that have been discovered.

But there’s a negative side to it too. Some movies impart knowledge that could be harmful. However, the intention would be rather different from what it’s supposed to mean. Some movies have instigated fear, threat, and bad habits too. But what one should remember is that movies are for entertainment, and upbringing matters too.

Nothing can spoil you if you have control over your thoughts and actions. Time travel movies do showcase the adverse side too, but whenever history has been meddled with, its impact has been dangerous throughout. There’s nothing real about it, but just a human wish to make things better in the present. What we have is now.

After a hectic day, movies might cheer you up, not put you in a dilemma that you wake thinking that you’re still in some other world that runs according to your plan. Inventions were great and commendable, but this world would be a different place if we knew what entertainment means and what it means to live in reality.

Time travel movies urge the ‘the what if’ factor in all of us. The basic idea of such movies is to alter things in the past for a desirable present or future. But hey, I hope you know that ‘now’ is what you have and need to make the most of them. To keep the entertainment on, we have the movies to serve the purpose. So, let’s live the ‘what if’ factor too.

1. Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Marty McFly, a simple teenager, wishes not to turn out to be like his parents shortly. His father is a simple man who is easily bullied, and his mother is addicted to alcohol like no other. His only hope is his girlfriend, who knows about his fear of turning into a replica of his parents, regardless of his talents.

He meets his scientist friend, Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown, who reveals his time travel machine, which derives its power from plutonium that the scientist stole from Libyan terrorists. Marty dives back in time using the machine but realizes that there’s no plutonium for him to return to the present. He meets his teenage father, who is still a target of Bluff, who is his boss now but continues to bully him.

Geoge, Marty’s father, comes in front of a car, eyeing his future wife, Lorraine, mother of Marty. Marty saves his dad but ends up being wounded. He’s attended by a nurse who is no other than his mother, Lorraine. She develops a crush on Marty. Finally, he realizes that he needs to get back in time to save everything, but then only one person could help him out now.

To get back, he needs to find the young Doc and convince him that he invents the time machine in the future. But Doc refused to understand his invention. So finally, after seeing Marty engrossed in problems one after another, he realizes that only his help could save him.

2. Somewhere in Time

Somewhere in Time

Richard Collier, a theatre student, meets an old lady while celebrating the debut of his new play. She slips in a pocket watch in his hand and urges him to return to her. Strangely she passed away that same night.

Years later, the successful man, Richard, goes to the Grand Hotel to take a break from work. He then discovers some pictures in the hall of a beautiful actress, Elise. To his surprise, she’s the same woman who gave him the pocket watch. On further research, he finds a time travel book in possession of Elise, written by Richard’s old professor. He wants to take a risk and travel back in time to test his luck over this lady. Richard travels back in time to meet her.

He realizes that he was in love with her… but will this time travel help him unite with his love? Because she did urge him to come back to her… But in which way… How could he hold her back forever? But isn’t it lucky to have seen your love as they age away? And getting the moment to live your love in the past. The movie does set the viewers to believe that little is enough… Richard’s meeting with his lady love was the only thing he asked for. But love is surprisingly addictive… You can’t stop when you’ve had the hold of it. Though his only wish was to meet her, he ended up wishing for her to stay.

3. The Lake House

The Lake House

Sandra Bullock lives in a house situated near a lake. Before leaving the house, she leaves a note in the mailbox for the next tenant. The next tenant does receive the note and replies to it. But nobody lived in that house before him. So, he writes back to know about the mystery. Soon the mystery turns into this undefined romance. From two different time zones. But the movie does let the viewers think for a while about what it would be like for our better halves to know the things that have happened before or are going to happen.

It’s hard to know who came to live in that house first. Whether it was Sandra or the tenant, both of them are perplexed as well… Because according to the tenant… Nobody lived here before him, but Sandra finds it hard to believe because if she didn’t live here in the first place, how could she leave behind the note for him?

But Sandra denies the fact because she did live there. Soon they start talking through those replies. Sandra believes that it’s 2006, but according to him, it’s 2004. So, both of them are in two different timelines… Will they be able to discover the mystery and save their love?

4. Time Traveler’s Wife

Time Traveler's Wife

Henry DeTamble engages in a car accident and loses his mother, but to his surprise, he’s alive, and that too he’s travelling back in time by two weeks. Henry is rendered help by his future self, who has also traveled back in time.

It’s a state of utter chaos for him, but he tries to understand. Then, finally, he meets Clare(his would-be wife) in a library. He does not know her well, nor does he know about those places, but Clare knows them all, and she assures him that even he does. But it’s hard for him to believe. He has traveled back and forth in time so much that it’s confusing for him now. But he has not seen her before, but she remembers that Henry had promised to meet her as a child when they grow up, and now he’s keeping his promise.

Henry suffers from a rare genetic disorder that makes him time travel. He gets married to Clare, but his problems multiply as he finds it difficult to remain in one time and place. Because of his constant time travelling, he’s exposed to the future, and knowledge of the future is dangerous. What if you knew there is trouble, but you cannot rule it out because you were just called to view it and not solve it.

Problems faced by families tend to break the person emotionally. Because you cannot escape from the situation, neither can you alter it. Henry faces the same dilemma, and he wants to save, but how? He has seen others go through it. But pain is felt only when the pinch is real.

5. Interstellar


The Earth is failing to produce fertile crops, resulting in a shortage of food and the only hope is a black hole created by the future and find a new home for the humans. The mission is to use the black hole to search for life on other planets. The first mission saved a lot of resources, but now that scientist is a farmer. He leaves his daughter with a promise to return only after discovering a substitute planet.

But the mission was to find such a planet and live there with no signs of returning… But the scientist had left behind an unsolved formula to save the world from extinction. Will his daughter be able to complete her father’s task?

6. Predestination


In this movie, a man goes to diffuse a bomb but is intervened by the bomber itself. In this meeting, the bomb blast results in spoiling his face forever. He gets back in time to get his treatment done, but his face changes after those surgeries.

He wishes to kill the bomber on recovering, so he goes back in time and keeps his identity hidden. One day a man in the bar tells him a story about a baby left at the doorstep of an orphanage. She was extraordinary.  She wished to be an astronaut, but she fell in love with a man whose identity is unknown and bore a baby, then transformed into a man. Going from Jane to John.

Will John be able to take his revenge?

7. Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Dr. Stephen Strange is an exceptionally talented neurosurgeon, but with great responsibility comes great pride. Things change in his life after a car accident, which makes his magical hands lose control, and he’s unable to use his hands anymore. After All the expensive treatments went to vain, he heard about Jonathan Pangborn from his therapist. He was a man who was healed by almost the same situation in Kamar – Taj.

So, Stephen heads to Nepal to seek help. There he is taught to use his mind to heal himself. Strange soon learns the skills and spells used in mystic arts, but he then learns that even his teacher has kept a secret.

8. Passengers


Dr.Claire, a therapist, is living a simple life ignoring all the risks, but his mentor wishes to pull her out of her comfort zone. So, he sends her on a mission to treat five extremely lucky passengers who survived a horrific plane crash. Unable to communicate well after the trauma, the passengers are sent to Dr. Claire. Amongst them, Eric, one of the passengers, is very secretive.

Soon the passengers go missing one by one. And according to Claire, only Eric knew the unknown and had the answers to the questions that didn’t belong here at this time.

9. About Time

About Time

Tim Lake discovers a time travelling that had been part of his family for a very long time. After a not-so-eventful new year party, his father reveals the time travel incidents that prevailed in his family. It could not change things in the past, but changes regarding his life could be made. So, he decides to get a girlfriend.

He does find his lady love, Mary, due to the time travel. But he needs to make many cunning revisits to ensure his love and the birth of his daughter. He does everything to keep his family protected. But this time travel advantage cannot keep him from facing the joys and sorrows of human life. Like everyone else, he too faces his family problems.

10. Arrival


The movie is about aliens landing on Earth in 12 different locations. A language professor, Lousie, meets the US Army at one of the locations in Montana. Her purpose is to learn the aliens’ language so that she can communicate with them to know their purpose of arrival here. But the major question is… Is the arrival a threat or a sign of friendship?

Other nations perceive this as a threat, creating an unusual race against time to initiate a war with the aliens. And this war could begin any moment.

11. The Terminator 2: Judgement Day

The Terminator 2 Judgement Day

Years had passed when Terminator, a machine, was sent to kill Sarah Connor and the baby within her. The baby was extraordinary as he would have resistance against machines and would be a future leader. But as of now, he was just a normal kid.

A terminator, T-1000, is sent back through time to kill Sarah and her son while he’s still young to prevent any future threats. But there’s another Terminator sent through time, who resembles T-1000. But this Terminator is sent to protect the mother and the child.

12. Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry has a tough time with his relatives and that’s nothing new, but this time he has used magic to inflate his uncle’s sister, who spoke ill about Harry’s parents. Of course, he’s overjoyed to know that this act of his has no consequences, and he won’t be punished too… But what’s the threat here?

Well, he learns about Voldemort and Sirius Black, a criminal who fled to fulfil Voldemort’s wish of killing Harry. He encounters Dementors on the way too. Harry had to turn the embedded hourglass once for each hour, particularly for the hour they wanted to go back to, and he would be transported to that time. Another instance of time travel in this movie could be seen when Hermione Granger uses this appropriate means to attend all those classes which she could not physically attend.

It was smart of her to have used this because her knowledge throughout the movie had been helpful to her and her friends. But little did he know that the past will be filled up now he would be exposed to future events to understand things better.



The most adventurous Star Trek adventure of all time but this time with an important motive. The 23rd century and aliens are here to destroy mankind by evaporating the water bodies, disturbing the atmosphere and screwing up the balance.

To maintain stability and save mankind, Admiral Kirk and his crew dive back in time to find everything that had been destroyed on Earth so that they could save them from extinction and bring back the past to the present to save the Earth.

14. Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

Yet another alien race is imposing a threat to our very own universe. Well, it’s hard to understand why the Earth seems so attractive to them. Here we see that the aliens have discovered the weak points and have come to the Earth prepared so that no military or any other force could stop them.

Major William unceremoniously dropped in a suicidal act. Moments later, he’s killed, but he finds himself in a time loop – forcing him to relive the combat by fighting and dying again and again. But each time he fights back and dies, he discovers the skills and techniques required to stop the aliens. 

15. The Time Machine

The Time Machine

A young physics professor decides to build a time machine after the murder of his fiance to go back in time and save her life. He finds himself in 2037, where he acknowledges that technology has advanced rather very strangely and the moon has been destroyed due to colonization.

He accidentally goes ahead in time to find the Earth in a state of utter disgust. But he makes up his mind to use his time machine to restore the world in shape.

16. Avengers Endgame

Avengers Endgame

After the infinity war, the world is left in ruins when Thanos uses the stones to destroy the Earth, and he destroys the stones too. Thanos was already planning to wipe out half the population, and according to him, it was right. He was ruthless, and he even sacrificed his daughter to get the soul stone. Everybody lost someone close to them and that too, mysteriously. Things aren’t the way they were before, and so with absolutely no hopes of restoring their loved ones, the remaining Avengers sit back in silence.

That silence does not prolong for a long time as they soon get back to work. Well… Avengers assemble to fight back. They need to go back in time and take the risk of restoring the stones and using them against Thanos himself. Thanos does get to know about the plan in the end, but before he could snap his fingers, someone else does… But the cost of that snap could be felt throughout time. Forever. For it was a sacrifice to remember.

17. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

This movie is a Japanese animation movie. Mokoto Konno faces a hard time managing things. Well, the future is unpredictable, and like every other person, she fears it too. Although we don’t know what it holds for us, the pressure to make it happy lies within our reach.

As a student, she faces the pressure of her teachers and the time being wasted by her on her friends and still not knowing what she would like to do shortly. So naturally, she’s scared and frustrated too. But only then does she discover her superpower of leaping through time.

But as they say, every action has a consequence, and facing them is the reality. She’s unknown to them because the superpower amazes her, and she’s using it for her benefit regardless of the consequences.

18. Army of Darkness

Army of Darkness

Ash, a hardware store clerk, is accidentally transported to 1300 A. D. Here, Ash is held as a captive by Lord Arthur and soon is forced to serve him. He’s thrown into a pit, where he fights two dangerous monsters and wins the affection of Arthur. According to the learned men, Ash is the chosen one. Only he could get the Necronomicon, but he’s only interested in returning to his present time and staying home.

He knows that he needs to get the Necronomicon if he needs to go home, so he agrees to go to the unholy land. The learned men ask him to learn a few words so that he could fetch the book. But unfortunately, Ash forgets the last words and ends up resurrecting the dead. They attack Arthur and his men. Will Ash be able to go back in time, or will he be able to save Arthur?

19. The Star Trek: First Contact

The Star Trek First Contact

It’s the 24th century, and the USS Enterprise has been handed over the responsibility of patrolling the Roman neutral zone to avoid interference of Borg (cybernetic lifeforms). But he does interfere with a purpose to conquer all races. So, under their queen’s command, Borg heads towards the Earth with an evil plan involving time travel to change history. Captain Picard and the USS Enterprise follow Borg to battle with their seductive queen to save mankind.

20. Groundhog Day

A weather reporter is doing his duty of covering a story about weather forecasting. Since he’s already covered four stories by now, he’s on the verge of getting extremely frustrated with his work. He thinks it’s a waste of his talent to be here amongst those who refuse to understand his talent.

But he realizes that he’s covering Groundhog Day again and again. So, he spends the night there and wakes up to the same location, time and situation again. He then realizes that he’s caught here in time, and so it’s replaying again. He’s doomed for life, for he’s caught up here and will see the same things again and again, and he’s already frustrated.

We all have our own stories, including traveling back in time to change certain scenes and situations to make our present better. Practically it’s not possible because what we have is now, and that should be sufficient. But is that sufficient? No, we do hope for a handy time machine to change the course of events. We know that sometimes it’s devastating to even think of certain situations that cannot be controlled. And who doesn’t wish to control their actions, if only one could save themselves shortly by altering things in the past… it would be a boon in disguise.

The ‘what if ‘ factor is kept alive in us by just watching these movies that stop us from giving up on our visions and thoughts as we face this rather cruel world without justified thinking of what it should contain to keep us happy.