If you have ever wondered what it would be like to turn back time or experience the future, these time travel movies have got you covered.
Take a gander at our list of movies where the past and the future seem so easy to travel, where danger and comedy is around each corner — and where time has no boundaries.
Back to the Future (1985) – Netflix, Fubo TV, Sling TV, and USA Network
If looking for the best time travel movies on Netflix, stop. Back to the Future is it. A timeless classic that seems to get better with age.
This classic comedy shifts between the 1980s and 1950s. With teenager, Marty McFly finding himself sent back to the 50s on a mission to not only find a way back to his own time but ensure the teenage versions of his mother and father still hook up. If he fails, he won’t exist.
Aside from being a stellar time-travel trilogy, the first film works best as not only a supremely iconic adventure but also an empathetic story where teens learn that their parents faced the same struggles of school, relationships, and bullies.
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Groundhog Day (1990) – IMDb TV
Bill Murray plays a reporter that finds himself repeating the same day over and over and over again. No matter where he goes or what he does, every day ends with him waking up the next to the same tune on the radio and the same people doing the same things.
There’s a reason why this film’s format of being trapped in time has become a common reference for more modern films (Edge of Tomorrow, Happy Death Day). Most of it comes down to a stellar direction by Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters) and the uproarious performance by Bill Murray.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) – Peacock TV, Sling TV, and USA Network
The Harry Potter stories often play around with many different forms of magic, from levitation to defense against the dark arts. So it was only natural that one of the films would involve time-turning at some point.
The Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book and film in the series, features the third act surprise of tinkering with time to change events and reshape the magical world, as well as furthering Harry’s growth as a wise and powerful wizard in the making.
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Twelve Monkeys (1995) – HBO Max
Psychological. Check. Mind-melting. Check.
Don’t confuse SyFy’s 2015 TV show ’12 Monkeys’ with this Terry Gilliam directed sci-fi flick.
Granted, they are based on the same short movie made in the 60s. Which means they share the same setting, mission, and time travel theme. Yet the rest is different. Especially in the fact, the movie stars Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeline Stowe, and Christopher Plummer.
The best thing about Twelve Monkeys is that it is classic Gilliam in its looks and bizarreness. Plus it’s unique in that it digs into the psychological aspects of time travel most movies don’t go anywhere near. touch upon.
Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home (1986) – Amazon Prime, CBS All Access, Roku TV, Tubi, And More
To save the universe, Captain Kirk and his crew of the Starship Enterprise must travel back in time to the 1980s and bring back a whale they can use to speak with an unknown lifeform that will destroy everything if it can’t speak with someone who knows whale-speak.
It’s a strange premise but one suitable enough for the fun that is watching this starship crew become accustomed to 1980s California, discovering everything from the use of currency to the quainter computers of the era. Easily one of the most charming and hilarious entries of the original Star Trek crew.
Meet the Robinsons (2007) – Disney Plus
Lewis is a boy genius who may be smart enough to develop amazing inventions but he’s not quite ready for his family of the future when he travels forward in time to meet all of them.
Not only are his future relatives a chaotic assortment of odd and quirky individuals but Lewis will also have to contend with dinosaurs, an evil man in a bowler hat who wants to steal his inventions, and even a frightening future where hats control the world.
Certainly one of the zippiest and most frenetic of Disney’s computer-animated features.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) – Amazon, Apple, Google Play $2.99
Many teenage girls probably wish they could turn back the clock just a bit to do something over and do it better. Maybe it’s a test and maybe it’s talking to a boy.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a Japanese animated film about a girl who has such powers, able to redo the day over and over until she gets it just right. However, as she starts experiencing more tragic events, she learns that time travel can have its drawbacks.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) – YouTube Free and Sling TV
California teenage slackers Bill and Ted are more interested in their band of Wild Stallions than their history report they need to complete in our next pick for best movies about time travel. But then a time-traveler by the name of Rufus, traveling through time in a phone booth, gives this inept duo a chance to experience history more personally.
Bill and Ted will traverse time and meet famous figures to deliver what will be both an enlightening report and an amazing rock performance.
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Flight of the Navigator (1986) – Disney Plus
David is a 12-year-old boy of 1978 but awakens to discover he has been sent into the 1980s where his parents are more wrinkly, his little brother is bigger, and the government doesn’t know how to explain such an event, that David would turn up after all these years not looking a day over twelve. Seeking answers, David discovers a mysterious alien spaceship with a quirky robot computer that may be able to help him get back to his own time.
Featuring plenty of astounding special effects and great amazement for both the sci-fi ship and the 1980s, Flight of the Navigator has a gentle and hilarious approach to one kid’s wild adventure.
Time Bandits (1981) – HBO Max
Perhaps one of Terry Gilliam’s most coherent and family-friendly films, Time Bandits finds the boy Kevin being so infatuated with history that he ends up traveling through it with a collective of dwarf burglars. The dwarfs have found holes in time and plan to exploit them for treasure, with Kevin following right behind them.
Filled with hilarious depictions of historic figures, the film boasts an astounding cast that includes the likes of John Cleese, Ian Holm, and Sean Connery.
Time After Time (1979) – Amazon, Apple, Google Play $2.99
Malcolm McDowell plays the iconic H.G. Wells in our next pick for best movies about time travel.
Having built a time machine to travel to a paradise of the future. Unfortunately, Jack the Ripper (David Warner), has other plans for the machine as he uses it to travel to the late 1970s to escape capture from the police. And so Wells follows and asks the help of a banker to stop Jack from bringing terror to a new era.
A lesser known but still brilliantly clever picture about saving the future.