I was recently relistening to an older episode of The Film Cynics radio show that featured my co-host for the MILFcast, the one and only Heather Roddy. On the show, she was asked to give a list of her Top 5 Time Travel movies. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I LOVE Heather’s lists. Next to me, she’s probably the best around! However, while listening, there were some great films for this sub-genre that I noticed failed to be mentioned.

As a result, I feel compelled to throw my 2 cents out there because, honestly, I think Time Travel might be my favorite kind of film. So, I present to you, my fine feathered friends, MY TOP 10 TIME TRAVEL MOVIES. Here they are (in order):


I’ve been pimping this movie on this site for months and no one that has taken me up on my recommendation so far has been disappointed. The only problem is I’m not sure if it’s technically a quote-un-quote “Time Travel” movie. It may in fact ba a parallel dimension movie. For that reason, it merely gets an honorable mention but if I get proof to the contrary it would easily shoot to #5 on my list.

10. THE TIME MACHINE (2002).

This one is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I know most people tend to prefer the original film adaptation of this H.G. Wells classic but I have a soft spot for the Guy Pearce version. As cheesy as the film can be, there are some great images in this film (such as the moon cracking to pieces) and I love where this film takes this Time Travel story after starting as a search for lost love type of film.


WARNING: If you ever do go back in time, don’t step on a Butterfly.
This film is supposedly based on a Ray Bradburry short story. I haven’t read it. I did, however, see this film in theaters and completely love it. Apparently, it was a complete bomb at the box office and, to be quite honest, I was very surprised to hear this film cost about 80 million to make as the effects border on SyFy Channel bad. However, that kind of gives this film a B-movie charm that completely won me over. Speaking of Butterflies…


I don’t know if you know this but Ashton Kutcher actually made a really good movie. Unfortunately for this film, you probably don’t know this because a lot of people panned it mainly because it stars Ashton Kutcher. Don’t let them deter you… The Butterfly Effect is a really good film that a takes a look at the dark side of Time Travel.


I’m probably going to get crap for this as most people would probably put this film at #1 or #2 on their list. I’m in the minority in that I honestly don’t love the Terminator films as much as the common man. However, as far as Time Travel movies go, you have to respect them and one of them had to be on this list. I think most would agree that as good as the first film was, particularly on a much smaller budget, T2 is the greatest film in the franchise.


Why Time Travel isn’t used in comedy more often is beyond me. Thank God that when Hollywood decided to make that move they cast Bill Murray in the lead. I don’t know about you guys but this one might make my all time Top 10 Comedies list as well.

5. 12 MONKEYS.

With the exception of a couple of films, I’m really not a big Terry Gilliam fan. This film is one of the exceptions. Bruce Willis is at the top of his game playing the lovable loser which is the best type of Bruce Willis next to the gun-toting narcissist. Not to mention it features Brad Pitt doing the nut job thing which is when Pitt is at his best in film.


This is a very cerebral film about a couple of guys who stumble into inventing a Time Travelling machine in their garage. What’s most impressive about this film, aside from how smart it is, is that it was made for about 7,000 dollars. An amazing feat though I have heard some people complain that it is a little too smart and they get turned off by that as they think it’s a bit over their heads. I would recommend sticking with it and just ignoring a lot of the scientific jargon that is spoken in this film as it actually can distract you from what the picture is going for.


If there’s one film on this list you have to see it’s this one. That’s all I can really say as I want you to know as little as possible before sitting down to watch it. I will tell you that it’s good enough that Tom Cruise is set to star in a 2012 remake of this amazing little film.


Star Trek is by far the best Blu-Ray investment I have ever made. I can throw that disc in at anytime and enjoy it beginning to end. Except for the young Spock stuff. That’s a bit boring. Still, this film is brilliant in that it used Time Travel to keep the existing Star Trek mythology intact and justify a new cast and series of films taking place in a new Trek timeline!


Really wanted to put a more interesting and less obvious choice at #1 but let’s face it, Back to the Future is a hell of a film that still holds up to this day. With its zany characters, interesting storylines and incestuous relationships, it’ll be hard for another film to come close to this Zemeckis classic!!!

So… what do you think?

33 Responses to “MY TOP 10 TIME TRAVEL MOVIES”

  1. Well: “I don’t know if you know this but Ashton Kutcher actually made a really good movie”. thats crazy talk!

    THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT is bad! It is one of those ‘ridiculous-films-that-demands-to-be-taken-seriously’.

    Who said you can’t make a film raising issues like peodophilia and disability in a ‘wacky’ time-travel movie. I just can’t take it seriously: “Damn! I went back in time and i’m … disabled! this is the shittiest life ever who the fuck would choose this li… ” – oh, wait a second, thats kinda of harsh on EVERYONE WHO IS DISABLED.

    I LOVE time travel movies but, I’m sorry to say, I think – unless its set in a fictional world – you can’t take it seriously. But, then again … I can’t take zombies seriously, zombie and time-travel is all just fun and games to me … so …

  2. Timecrimes is awesome! Glad to see that you mention it 🙂 Reddited my friend!

  3. Great list, the only one I would have included is The Terminator, I still prefer it to T2. Good to see Primer and Timecrimes on the list, they both deserve a larger audience. Like you I have also been championing Triangle, it only missed out to Zombieland on a movie of the month award on my blog last year. By the way I guess you haven’t caught up with Trancers yet.

  4. I can’t agree more, the time travel move, to keep the Star trek universe alive and fresh, and of course to justify the new cast was really cool

    I haven’t seen Triangle, Primer and Timecrimes, in my list now…

  5. nice – always ready for a post that gives a thumbs up to Primer. also nice to see someone that likes The Butterfly Effect (and, to be fair if I went back in time and ended up disabled then I would think it was pretty shitty).

    …but where was 12 Monkeys and my own guilty pleasure Time After Time?

  6. […] my top five 80’s time travel movies. For a list that has more effort put into it check out “The List”, I am particularly happy to see the inclusion of three underappreciated recent movies, […]

  7. Star Trek?! Star Trek’s time travel was what almost ruined it for me – although it was also one of the film’s saving graces too. Have you seen The Jacket? With 12 Monkeys, it helps firmly establish the “Loony Bin Time Travel” sci-fi sub-genre.

    Yeah, you’ve got little choice but to put Back to the Future in there. But no Bill & Teds? Seriously?

    • Not a B&T fan. Sorry, Steve… and I saw The Jacket years ago and just thought it was OK!
      Oh, and Star Trek ruled!

      • The Jacket at least deserves some respect for having a topless Keira Knightley – movies like that come around with the frequency of the shamrock shake.

        No love for Bill & Ted, eh? So the rumors of yet another sequel aren’t exciting you in any way?

        I loved Star Trek to death – but can’t help but throw my hands in the air at how easy it seems to be to travel through time in that freakin’ universe.

  8. Good list, Kai. Kudos for including Timecrimes and Primer. Can’t say I agree with Sound of Thunder or The Butterfly Effect, though. I thought they were both pretty awful. I’d have to replace them with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Time Bandits. 🙂

  9. The ending of the 1978 Superman movie, where he flies around the earth faster than light to go back in time to save Lois Lane, that was pretty cool.

    Did you know Mario Puzo, who wrote the Godfather, also wrote that Superman movie?

  10. I nearly died laughing at the effects in A Sound of Thunder. The reason it cost so much is because the company it was being made under went bankrupt about half way through and they just winged it. It’s my shining example of unreached potential. I’m sure you’re not a fan but I think the anime film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time deserves a mention.

    Also, no Bill and Ted love Kai? I’m ashamed of you. ASHAMED! I disown you.

  11. Groundhog Day is probably my favorite, although Southland Tales is pretty awesome.

    What about Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Not righteous leaving that one off the list.

  12. The mob has spoken, Kai. Time to give Bill & Ted’s its due. Come on, it’s like the anti-primer – and can’t possibly be as stupid as A Sound of Thunder.

  13. I really need to see Timecrimes and this must be the 24th time I’ve heard you bring up Triangle. High time I finally got around to that one, too. Big points to Primer for being the only one on this list that really goes headfirst though.

  14. I was really blown away when I saw The Butterfly Effect in theaters…I can’t say I have liked any other Ashton Kutcher movie or anything he has done since then.

  15. […] Kai lists his top 10 time travel movies (The List) […]

  16. Have only not seen Butterfly and Timecrimes…ok, i’ll get on it.

    I love that you have A Sound of Thunder and The Time Machine on here. They are both turrible movies that I love, too! Don’t know what it is about them – sure, I’m a sucker for time travel flicks, too, but the cheesy acting and effects take those over the edge. Poor Ben Kingsley…though Jeremy Irons was underused.

    I’ve heard talk of a Time Machine sequel, believe it or not…

  17. Retroactive.

    I enjoyed Retroactive over the holidays, and I don’t see it mentioned here. Might be one for you guys to check out. James Belushi is psychotic, and the protagonist is a female psychologist cop who keeps going back in time to correct the outcome of his violent crimes, but instead she keeps making things worse. Good, dumb and tense fun.

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