Ever wish you could go back in time and handle a situation differently — or live through a historic event before your time? You’re not the only one. Time travel has captured the imagination of countless creatives over the years, giving us some fascinating, morally challenging and even hilarious movies. We may not be able to talk a walk into the past — but as some of these films prove, that may be a good thing.
Whether you’re in the mood for an adorable romantic comedy, a nail-biting action movie, or a haunting sci-fi movie, these time-traveling movies cross every genre. So once you exhaust everything on your Netflix list, these are the best time travel movies to watch. Don’t forget the popcorn (ahem, we recommend these popcorn makers).
Based on Robert Heinlein’s short story All You Zombies, this Ethan Hawke movie will leave you guessing (and second-guessing) the whole time. Without spoiling the ending, it’s definitely worth watching again.
The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
Of the three movies where Rachel McAdams dates a time traveling man (girlfriend’s got a type), the drama is definitely the most serious. Based on Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 novel of the same name, Clare tries to build a life with the man she loves — while dealing with the fact he has no control over where and when he will travel through time.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Excellent! You’re going to want to revisit this goofy, fun time travel flick before Keanu Reeves returns for the upcoming sequel.
Groundhog Day (1993)
Does living the same day over-and-over again count as time travel? This Bill Murray film about a weather man trapped in the worst day of his life is a classic, so we’re going to count it.
Back to the Future (1985)
If you’re looking for some good, old-fashioned nostalgia, this 80s classic holds up! Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly, a teen who accidentally who accidentally gets stuck in the 1950s thanks to his mad scientist friend — and must make sure his parents fall in love with each other so he can still exist!
Trippy, mind-bending, and everything you want out of a time-travel movie, Christopher Nolan’s time-traveling space epic will stay with you long after you finish watching,
Donnie Darko (2001)
Though it initially flopped at the box office, this film gathered a cult-following when it was released on DVD, thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal’s intense performance and the surrealist images and themes just waiting to be dissected and discussed. See if you can untangle this famously dense plot for yourself.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
One of the best Harry Potter films happens to also be a time-traveling tale. Hermione uses a “Time Turner” to take more classes at Hogwarts, but that’s not all Harry and his friends use the device for.
Time Bandits (1981)
Terry Gilliam’s endlessly imaginative film follows an 11-year-old boy who teams up with 6 dwarves for an adventure through time.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
A classified ad from a mysterious man looking for a time-traveling companion intrigues three cynical Seattle journalists. An unexpected connection forms between the would-be scientist and one of the reporters in this low-key indie.
Two engineers create an invention that can alter time — and butt heads over how to handle the magnitude of their creation.
Time After Time (1971)
H.G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper in 1970’s San Fransisco — as outlandish as the premise is, it’s a fascinating movie once you get on board with it.
The Terminator (1984)
Two time travelers from the future, an evil cyborg and a resistance fighter, fight over the life of modern woman Sarah Connor, after it’s revealed her fate can save humanity.
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