10 Best Time Travel Movies: Interstellar Back to the Future and more

Time travel is arguably one of the most difficult movie genres to master. It cannot be an easy task for filmmakers to research the science behind the workings of time and come up with a viable fictional version that is convincing for viewers. And yet, there are countless movies that have pushed the envelope to give audiences some great time travel movies over the years. While some go in wild directions, others have stood the test of, well, time.

From the oft-cited classics to the lesser-known gems, here’s looking back at some movies that use time travel as a device to reflect on human experiences.

Back to the Future
Any list that involves time travel movies is incomplete without the mention of the classic Back to the Future and its sequels. The 1984 film is the best out of a trilogy that follows the adventures of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) who travels back to the ‘50s in a car when his experiment with scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) goes wrong. Here, he must make sure that his parents meet and fall in love or else he won’t exist in the future. The film series has its faults, but it broke down time travel for a whole generation of movie-goers in a popcorn sci-fi flick and that’s saying something.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is a staggering achievement. The film starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and others revolves around astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new habitable planet. While the film’s scale and sci-fi concept are commendable, its central messaging about the power of love and human bonds shines through and makes for a wholesome watch. And it has some quotable lines that are nearly impossible to forget.

This list expectedly has more than one Christopher Nolan movie. Tenet starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and others is the director’s most ambitious work ahead of Oppenheimer. The film isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but its sheer scope needs to be applauded. It follows two operatives, the protagonist (played by Washington) and Neil (played by Robert Pattinson) as they fight to protect the world from mass destruction.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, the cult classic Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure sees two high school best friends embark on a time travel journey across history to enlist historical figures to help them complete their history presentation. If they fail, they risk Ted being sent to military school. It’s as fun as it sounds.


In Rian Johnson’s Looper, starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and others, time travel has become a luxury for those who can manage to pay for it illegally. People known as loopers are hired as hitmen to eliminate people by travelling into the past. The film follows a man whose employers call a hit on him and send his future self to be killed in the past.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Director James Cameron’s Terminator 2 isn’t just one of the greatest action films of all time, it’s also a great time travel movie. After the first instalment opens up questions about time travel, the second film digs into it. The film sees Terminator T-800 tasked with protecting John Connor from T-1000 who is sent to kill him from the future. With its groundbreaking concept and its wildly entertaining action, the film which is the best of the franchise makes for an essential watch for sci-fi lovers.

About Time
The only emotional drama on the list, About Time is a time travel story from the director of Love Actually. Starring Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy, the film tells the story of a time-travelling father and son duo. Tim Lake discovers he can time travel just like his father. He wins over a girl using his time-travel abilities. However, as most films warn, one of the pitfalls of time travel is that it rarely makes your problems go away. While the romance in the film is emotional, the father and son bits will leave you reaching out for tissues.

Predestination starring Ethan Hawke and Succession star Sarah Snook is one of the most mind-boggling films on the list. It sees an agent who after failing to stop a bombing in New York City in the ‘70s, uses time travel to stop the bomber. While the plot is rather complicated, chances are you won’t see the ending coming as long as it hasn’t been spoiled already. It’s a plot twist worth sticking around for.

Donnie Darko
It can be said that the genre-bending Donnie Darko isn’t an out-and-out time-travel movie. But it has one of the most fascinating time travel arcs. The ’80s-set classic starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal revolves around a teenager who sleepwalks, escaping an accident. He gets home to find a jet engine crashed in his bedroom. The trippy film explores time travel theories, parallel universes and wormholes as Donnie’s grip on reality seemingly loosens. With a memorable performance by Gyllenhaal and a haunting cover of Mad World, the film is one of the best science fiction thrillers.

Edge of Tomorrow
Watching Tom Cruise in action is endlessly satisfying, a fact that the actor has proved time and again through his many roles including his recent Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning. In Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are soldiers who are up against a deadly time loop. Cruise plays a civilian who is thrown into a war against aliens invading Earth in the near future. He soon finds himself living the same day and the same fight over and over again. With a little help from Blunt’s character, he gets better at being a soldier and the culmination of the action is pretty good if you stick around till the ending.