With this article, I try to answer the following questions:
- What are the best time travel movies?
- What are the must-watch TV series about time loops?
- What are the newest and coolest sci-fi movies and TV series to watch that involves time machines and teleportation?
Ready? Check it out.
Time travel is the concept of movement between certain points in time, analogous to movement between different points in space by an object or a person, typically using a hypothetical device known as a time machine, in the form of a vehicle or of a portal connecting distant points in spacetime, either to an earlier time or to a later time, without the need for the time-traveling body to experience the intervening period in the usual sense. [Wikipedia]
On top of being passionate about eCommerce and new technologies (see my other “serious” previous posts here), I am also a big fan of sci-fi, teleportation, time loops and the idea of traveling back and forth in time to change the course of events. I guess the reason why I am a big fan of this genre is because it stimulates my creativity (very important for my job and my well being). As my head is often in the clouds, I like to think about the consequences of each “what if” scenario.
Although time travel is not yet available for common folks, this does not stop many fanatics and crazy folks to claim that actually traveling in time is indeed possible. You can see one example here below, and many more are available on YouTube for your pleasure and «despair».
There is also one guy claiming to be a time traveler from an alien planet in the year 6491. This fellow, James Oliver, said that he is an archaeologist of the future, stuck on Earth after the Super Blue Blood Moon interrupted a transmission on his ship that he used to travel faster than the speed of light. You can find more details and a short clip here.
Time travel-related keyword searches on Google have been quite flat worldwide over the past five years, except for two huge spikes on the “time machine” keyword, happened on Feb. 2nd 2014 (100% likely because of a Super Bowl Ad, see more below) and on Mid Feb. 2015 (cause unknown). It is worth noticing that Canada, South Africa, US, UK, Australia and the Nordics are interested about time travel, whilst Kenya and Tunisia are more into the teleportation topic. Europe, Russia and LATAM are all over time machines, whereas Asian don’t really give a sxxt about all this cxxp… :D
Also, it seems that for “teleportation”, there is a lot of interest around how to get teleportation powers and the deadpool teleportation power. Good to know that many people are trying to crack the formula. Please let me know when ready.
It is also interesting to notice that some big brands tried to leverage this concept to make more money and increase brand awareness. A clear example comes from Doritos, with its Doritos Time Machine Ad shown during the 2014 US Super Bowl. Here you have it:
Finally, since I am going to talk about movies, here’s the latest disruptive news: apparently, JJ Abrams is ready to introduce time travels in his new Star Wars saga. The possibilities are endless, and also a bit scary for Star Wars hard core fans. Find all the details here.
Now, after this long dissertation and without further ado, please find below, in completely random order, my personal selection* of great time travel, time loop movies and TV series. I am quite confident you (reader) won’t know them all.
*Please note that I am listing here only movies and TV series that I know and consider worth of your time (so excluding things like the apparently “fairly decent” TV series 12 Monkeys and Continuum, which I have started to watch and then have stopped after seeing a bunch of episodes, due to extreme boredom).
Movies and TV Series List
Flight of the Navigator (Movie, 1986). In 1978, a boy travels 8 years into the future and has an adventure with an intelligent, wisecracking alien ship.
IMDB Score: 6.9/10 _ Genres: Adventure | Family | Sci-Fi
I have very good memories about this movie. It is old but, as I watched it when I was very young, I remember it really impressed me: all the creatures and the spaceship were simply awesome.
Max: See ya later, Navigator!
The Lost Room (TV Mini Series, 2006). A detective investigates a mysterious motel room, which acts as a portal to an alternate universe.
IMDB Score: 8.1/10 _ Genres: Action | Fantasy | Mystery | Sci-Fi
This is one of my favorites. I think I watched it at least three times and every time it’s a surprise. Do not miss it.
Wally: I don’t believe in ghosts, all right?
Joe: Yeah, me neither. I mean, magic bus ticket, sure. But ghosts, no.
The Butterfly Effect (Movie, 2004). Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal.
IMDB Score: 7.7/10 _ Genres: Sci-Fi | Thriller
Critics did not like it, but it became a must see for all youngsters like me born in the ‘80s or ’90s :). Ladies will appreciate Ashton Kutcher as main character.
Title Card: It has been said something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world. — Chaos Theory
Run Lola Run (Movie, 1998). After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.
IMDB Score: 7.7/10 _ Genres: Crime | Drama | Thriller
Another «old skool» movie, packed with action, action and more action. Delightful, even if a bit dated. This movie won plenty of awards, by the way.
Lola: Who’s that slut?
Doctor Strange (Marvel Movie, 2016). While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.
IMDB Score: 7.5/10 _ Genres: Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
Excellent! One of the best Marvel movies. If you like wizards, arrogant super heroes and journeys from 0 to savvy mother-fuxxer time traveler, do not miss this one.
Wong: How’s your Sanskrit?
Dr. Stephen Strange: I’m fluent in Google Translate.
Predestination. (Movie, 2014). For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.
IMDB Score: 7.5/10 _ Genres: Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Top pick!!! This is a great movie with a great actor (Ethan Hawke, in case you were wondering) that will let you think quite a lot, especially at the end. A must watch for time travel aficionados. Do not watch the trailer below! There are some spoilers…
The Bartender: What if I could put him in front of you? The man that ruined your life. If I could guarantee that you’d get away with it, would you kill him?
Frequency (Movie, 2000). An accidental cross-time radio link connects father and son across 30 years. The son tries to save his father’s life, but then must fix the consequences.
IMDB Score: 7.4/10 _ Genres: Crime | Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
If you love or you think about your dad, this might make you cry a little. Very enjoyable and watchable movie. Released when Dennis Quaid was still on top of the game. Apparently Netflix released some sort of TV series remake, but I did not watch yet. Not planning to actually.
Frank: I’m still here, Chief.
Looper (Movie, 2012). In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits — someone like Joe — who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.
IMDB Score: 7.4/10 _ Genres: Action | Crime | Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Joe: [to Old Joe] Your face looks backwards.
Back To The Future I, II, III (Movies, 1985/1989/1990). BTTF I plot: Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.
IMDB Score: 8.5/10 _ Genres: Adventure | Comedy | Sci-Fi
BTTF II plot: after visiting 2015, Marty McFly must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985…without interfering with his first trip.
IMDB Score: 7.8/10 _ Genres: Adventure | Comedy | Sci-Fi
BTTF III plot: enjoying a peaceable existence in 1885, Doctor Emmet Brown is about to be killed by Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen. Marty McFly travels back in time to save his friend.
IMDB Score: 7.4/10 _ Genres: Adventure | Comedy | Sci-Fi
What can I say? This is a masterpiece, a classic, a cult movie. Especially the first. A must see for all generations (side note: we are still waiting for the hoverboard…)
Dr. Emmett Brown: If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Oh, my God. They found me. I don’t know how, but they found me. Run for it, Marty!
Marty McFly: Who? Who?
Dr. Emmett Brown: Who do you think? THE LIBYANS!
Marty McFly: HOLY SHIT!
Curvature (Netflix, Movie, 2017). CURVATURE is a time travel sci-fi drama about an engineer who travels back in time to stop herself from committing a murder.
IMDB Score: 4.3/10 _ Genres: Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Despite the low rating on IMDB this movie did not disappoint me. Certainly not the best movie out there, but still interesting the way it unravels. Okay performance by the main character Lyndsy Fonseca, much less by the supporting actors. Totally disappointing the super short appearance of Linda Hamilton, main female character of The Terminator here listed!!!
ARQ (Netflix, Movie, 2016). Trapped in a lab and stuck in a time loop, a disoriented couple fends off masked raiders while harboring a new energy source that could save humanity.
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 _ Genres: Sci-Fi | Thriller
Nice! Do not miss this one as it has a great time loop concept.
Project Almanac (Movie, 2015). A group of teens discover secret plans of a time machine, and construct one. However, things start to get out of control.
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 _ Genres: Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
A good teen movie with time travel at its core. It is pretty enjoyable so you might want to check this one out too.
David Raskin: We didn’t invent time travel. We just put it together with the instructions.
Quinn Goldberg: You make it sound like we got it at Ikea.
Primer (Movie, 2004). Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there’s something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they’ve built, wrestle over their new invention.
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10 _ Genres: Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
I lied. Forgive me, mother! I don't know about this movie. Actually a nice discovery. Based on the rating on IMDB, I am giving it trust so will add to my playlist. Here the link to the trailer.
Lucy (Movie, 2014). A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 _ Genres: Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Ok. Fair enough. It’s not like this movie is about time travel, but the theme is in the air. It’s a pretty sci-fi movie and legit so I think it is okay to accept it here.
Lucy: Ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge.
Deja Vu (Movie, 2006). After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.
IMDB Rating: 7.0/10 _ Genres: Action | Crime | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Apart from the fact that Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors, this is a decent movie. When there’s Denzel, you are always safe.
Doug Carlin: I’ll speak slow, so those of you with Ph.D.’s in the room can understand.
Edge Of Tomorrow (Movie, 2014). A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.
IMDB Rating: 7.9/10 _ Genres: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt together for an action packed super cool movie about time loops. Unmissable.
Lt. Col. Bill Cage: What day is it?
Master Sergeant Farell: For you? Judgement day.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past (Movie, 2014). The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.
IMDB Rating: 8.0/10 _ Genres: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller
One of the best X-Men movies out there. Every fan and non-fan should watch it. Characters are amazing, special fx super cool, actors top quality. This is a really cool movie.
Logan: [to Hank McCoy] Look kid, you and I are gonna be good friends [punches Hank in the face]
Logan: You just don’t know it yet.
Dark (Netflix, TV Series). A family saga with a supernatural twist, set in a German town, where the disappearance of two young children exposes the relationships among four families.
IMDB Score: 8.7/10 _ Genres: Crime | Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Brand new German TV series made by Netflix. Season One just finished. It is very intriguing and I highly, highly recommended it.
Sliding Doors (Movie, 1998). A London woman’s love life and career both hinge, unknown to her, on whether or not she catches a train. We see it both ways, in parallel.
IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 _ Genres: Comedy | Drama | Fantasy | Romance
“What if?” Have you ever wondered what would have happened if you just chose to do something or not do something that time? This movie will let you think about the choices you make in life.
James: What are you doing two weeks on Saturday?
Helen: Probably killing myself.
James: Excellent. What time does that finish? Do you like boats?
Family Man (Movie, 2000). A fast-lane investment broker, offered the opportunity to see how the other half lives, wakes up to find that his sports car and girlfriend have become a mini-van and wife.
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 _ Genres: Comedy | Drama | Fantasy | Romance
A Christmas classic with Nicolas Cage. Another “What if?” movie. Have you ever wondered what would have happened if you just chose to follow your heart rather than money, that time? This is another movie that will let you think about the choices you make in life. Téa Leoni is beautiful in this movie.
Arnie: [quoting Jack] Don’t screw up the best thing in your life just because you’re a little unsure about who you are.
11.22.63 (TV Mini Series, 2016). A high school teacher travels back in time to prevent John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
IMDB Rating: 8.2/10 _ Genres: Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
This TV Mini series is inspired by the homonym book by Stephen King. It is really, really good. I also highly recommend to read the book which is short and super awesome.
Day Break (TV Mini Series, 2006–2007). Today Detective Brett Hopper will be accused of shooting state attorney Alberto Garza. He will offer his rock solid alibi. He will realize he’s been framed. And he will run. Then he will wake up and start the day over again.
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10 _ Genres: Action | Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Exceptional and super intruguing TV series about time loops. An absolute must-watch. Follow the “adventures” of the Detective Brett Hopper.
Detective Brett Hopper: [on the phone] Damien, I need to speak to Baxter
Damien Ortiz: Baxter? Well, if I see that fed I’ll pass the word along
Detective Brett Hopper: Well, that should be easy ‘cos I know he’s stuffed in the back of your truck
Journey Man (TV Series, 2007). A man travels back in time to help people in trouble.
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10 _ Genres: Fantasy | Romance | Sci-Fi
Following the engaging Day Break, another little gem, lasted only one season. Probably difficult to find these days. But if you do, please watch it without hesitating.
Lost (TV Series, 2004). The survivors of a plane crash are forced to work together in order to survive on a seemingly deserted tropical island.
IMDB Rating: 8.4/10 _ Genres: Adventure | Drama | Fantasy | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Forget the disappointing ending. LOST is an incredible journey with great characters. My favorite? Desmond.
This is a masterpiece, a cult TV series. Do not miss it. You’ll be scared, you’ll cry, you will experience tons of different emotions. This show is gonna stick with forever.
Charlie: Not’s Penny’s Boat
Desmond: See you in another life, brotha!
The Terminator (Movie, 1984) and Terminator II: Judgment Day (Movie, 1991). The Terminator plot: a seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.
IMDB Score: 8.0/10 _ Genres: Action | Sci-Fi
Terminator II plot: a cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her ten year old son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg.
IMDB Score: 8.5/10 _ Genres: Action | Sci-Fi
Simply two of the best movies of all time. If you did not watch them, you know nothing about life and you deserve to be hunted by SkyNet itself (cit.).
The Terminator: Hasta la vista, baby!
Source Code (Movie, 2011). A soldier wakes up in someone else’s body and discovers he’s part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train. A mission he has only 8 minutes to complete.
IMDB Score: 7.5/10 _ Genres: Mystery | Romance | Sci-Fi | Thriller
This movie is decent, and watchable. Not the best of the best, but still okay for time travel lovers. Jake Gyllenhaal is solid and a believable character.
Colter Stevens: Tell me everything gonna be okay.
Christina Warren: Everything’s gonna be okay. [train explodes]
Donnie Darko (Movie, 2001). A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.
IMDB Score: 8.1/10 _ Genres: Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Since I just wrote about Jake Gyllenhaal, I cannot miss to mention this trippy and super weird movie. Something you might want to watch a couple of times to make sure you really grasp what’s going on. On top of being a good time movie about time travel, this is considered as a cult movie. If you never seen it before, please watch it asap. But before, just prepare yourself for a fuxxed up mind trip.
Donnie: Why are you wearing that stupid bunny suit?
Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
Interstellar (Movie, 2014). A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival.
IMDB Score: 8.6/10 _ Genres: Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
I very much like movies of Director Christopher Nolan and in general I also like Matthew McConaughey. The movie is a bit slow pace and boring at times, but the truth behind the interstellar trip is fascinating.
Cooper: Once you’re a parent, you’re the ghost of your children’s future.
That’s all folks! Are you passionate about time travel, time loops, portals, time machines? Do you eat TV series and movies for breakfast? Do you have any cool movies to recommend?