Time has been one of the most fascinating aspects of film, something many directors have chosen to play around with. And that’s only elevated their story-telling and given rise to a new brand of movies about time travel. The idea of being able to travel through different time periods, before coming back to present day has been exploited in many ways including futuristic action-adventures, or even to tell the story between a father and a son.

Here are the 20 greatest movies on time travel that you need to watch:

1. Back To The Future series

Robert Zemeckis’s trilogy sees a young boy go back in time when his parents were his age, and to ‘fix’ their love story, so as to make them happier in their future. The movie has cult following of its own, even as it made Michael J Fox an overnight teen heartthrob.


2. Groundhog Day

Bill Murray’s fantastic movie used festivities as a tool to reform a cynical, grumpy man into an optimistic, helpful man by trapping him in the loop of a single day where the same routine repeats itself day after day after day.


3. Terminator series

James Cameron’s futuristic movies about machines taking over the planet and enslaving humans, was absolutely state-of-the-art in the first two. Where a machine is sent back in time to ‘terminate’ the one man responsible for the victory of the human race.


4. 12 Monkeys

Terry Gilliam’s masterful Sci-Fi starring Bruce Willis turned out to be the one breakthrough performance Brad Pitt needed. It revolves around a convict being sent back in time to stop the ‘army of the 12 monkeys’ from coming to power.


5. Donnie Darko

Jake Gyllenhaal’s cult hit sees him play an eccentric teenager who meets a ‘rabbit’ and get warned about the end of the world in about a month. The film asks cosmic questions about similar events panning out differently in parallel universes.


6. Primer

The mother of all non-linear narratives, the movie centres around a bunch of young men who invent a device resembling a microwave to go forward and backward in time. And what follows can confuse even the most keen viewers of film. In fact, I think I still haven’t understood it fully.


7. Looper

Rian Johnson’s superb follow-up to his debut in Brick, sees Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis take centre stage as two ages of the same character, both trying to survive the present and the future because of the world’s murky rules, which allows only one of them to be alive.


8. Deja Vu

Tony Scott’s stylish action-thriller starring Denzel Washington sees an FBI agent trying to recreate a crime-scene using a device which allows him to see 48 hours prior to an explosion.


9. The Butterfly Effect

Based on the chaos theory, this movie starring Ashton Kutcher deals with many alternative narratives of the main character, and how a single act has multiple consequences into how things pan out.


10. Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen’s fantasy, nostalgic story about a writer sees Owen Wilson go back to the 20s in a ‘carriage’ where he meets his inspirations including F.Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and realises the deception of being fascinated with the past.


11. Source Code

Jake Gyllenhaal’s action-thriller sees him play the role of a US Marine reliving the final 10 minutes of a train ride, before a terrorist attack blows the train up. It is the man’s job to keep going back till he finds out a way to stop the attack.


12. Predestination

One of Ethan Hawke’s bravest films even by his own high standards, this movie spoke about time travel and the futility to change the future or the past, since everything is ‘predestined’.


13. Edge of Tomorrow

One of Tom Cruise’s best films in recent memory, the film fused blockbuster action with a narrative which was as lean as its superstar’s midriff. The film turned out to be a massive entertainer, and won back some fans of Cruise.


14. Time Traveller’s Wife

Starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, the movie based on the bestselling book of the same name, wasn’t really great. But it boasted of a sensitive performance from both its leads.


15. X Men: Days of the Future Past

Bring in the entire cast from James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender and Sir Ian Mckellen under one roof, the film by Bryan Singer nicely weaved in elements of time travel to bring in the past, present and the future of the mutants.


16. Interstellar

One of Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious efforts even by the director’s high standards, the film dealing with space, humans and their place in the cosmos included themes of time travel which lets a father help his daughter save the entire human species.


17. Hot Tub Time Machine

Starring John Cusack among others, the film follows a bunch of friends who after a night of heavy drinking find out they have been transported back to the 1980s. And all because of spilling a liquid in their hot tub.


18. The Lake House

Starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, the film traces the journey of two loners communicating through the mailbox of a house they have both lived in 2 years apart.


19. About Time

Richard Curtis’s charming little film uses the elements of time travel to address larger issues about family, love and mortality. Domnhall Gleeson is born in a family where the men are told on their 18th birthday to pause, rewind time.


20. The Time Machine

Based on the bestseller novel by H.G.Wells, the movie was one of the earliest movies to depict time travel in film. It follows the traveler who advances several millennia into the future to find humans enslaved by subterranean beings.


Go on that time warp, and get lost!