Time travel is the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space, either sending objects (or in some cases just information) backwards in time to some moment before the present, or sending objects forward from the present to the future without the need to experience the intervening period (at least not at the normal rate). Although time travel has been a common plot device in fiction since the 19th century, and one-way travel into the future is arguably possible given the phenomenon of time dilation based on velocity in the theory of special relativity (exemplified by the twin paradox), as well as gravitational time dilation in the theory of general relativity, it is currently unknown whether the laws of physics would allow backwards time travel. Any technological device, whether fictional or hypothetical, that is used to achieve time travel is commonly known as a time machine.
Metromix Chicago recently presented their list of The best adventures through past, present and future. We think they missed a few: Here is their list and our additions. All summaries are provided by IMDb.
Additional time travel movies that Metromix overlooked:
Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009) – Follows three social outcasts — two geeks and a cynic — as they attempt to navigate a time-travel conundrum in the middle of a British pub. Cassie is a girl from the future who sets the adventure in motion.
Groundhog Day (1993) – A weather man is reluctantly sent to cover a story about a weather forecasting “rat” (as he calls it). This is his fourth year on the story, and he makes no effort to hide his frustration. On awaking the ‘following’ day he discovers that it’s Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. First he uses this to his advantage, then comes the realisation that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing EVERY day. Caveat: Some might argue that Groundhog Day is a time loop, not time travel.
Donnie Darko (2001) – Troubled adolescent, Donnie Darko, receives a disturbing vision that the world will end in 28 days. With the help of various characters, including a 6 foot rabbit called Frank, he slowly discovers the mysterious physical and metaphysical laws that govern his life and that will lead up to the destruction of the universe.
The Time Machine (1960) – From the book by H.G. Wells, a scientist and tinkerer builds a time machine and uses it to explore the distant future where there are two races, a mild gentle race, and a cannibalistic one living underground. His machine is stolen by the underground race and he must risk being captured (and eaten) to return to his own time.
Black Knight (2001) – Jamal, a low-level worker at a shabby amusement park with a medieval theme, finds himself sent back to the year 1328 after he falls in the moat. Before he realizes what has happened, he finds himself mistaken for a messenger from Normandy, enlisted in a plot to kill the tyrant king, and preparing to open a chain of fast-food restaurants, not to mention falling in love with the leader of the assassination plan. “A minnow flapping about in a dirty puddle would make a better fish-out-of-water comedy than this. Lawrence is embarrassingly heavy-handed, shoving the word ‘ass’ into every second sentence then expecting us to collapse in hysterics.”
Millennium (1989) – An investigator seeking the cause of an airline disaster discovers the involvement of an organization of time travelers from a future Earth irreparably polluted who seek to rejuvenate the human race from those about to die in the past.
Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) – When Henry DeTamble meets Clare Abshire in a Chicago library they both understand that he is a time traveller, but she she knows much more than this about him as he has not yet been to the times and places where they have met before. He falls in love with her, as she has already with him, but his continuing unavoidable absences time travelling – and then returning with increasing knowledge of their future – makes things ever more difficult for Clare.
Time After Time (1979) – H.G. Wells has just invented a time machine but hasn’t tried it out yet. When he discovers that one of his friends is actually Jack the Ripper, Jack makes his escape using the time machine. Herbert follows Jack into the late 1970′s where he meets Amy, a bank clerk, who teaches Herbert about life in 70′s while they pursue Jack, who is enjoying the more violent society in which he continues his murderous activities.
Somewhere in Time (1980) – Young writer Richard Collier is met on the opening night of his first play by an old lady who begs him to “Come back to me”. Mystified, he tries to find out about her, and learns that she is a famous stage actress from the early 1900s, Elise McKenna. Becoming more and more obsessed with her, he manages, by self hypnosis, to travel back in time where he meets her. They fall in love, a matching that is not appreciated by her manager. Can their love outlast the immense problems caused by their “time” difference? And can Richard remain in a time that is not his?
Slaughterhouse Five (1972) – “Listen: Billie Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.” The opening words of the famous novel are the quickest summary of this haunting, funny film. Director Hill faithfully renders for the screen Vonnegut’s obsessive story of Pilgrim, who survives the 1945 firebombing of Dresden, then lives simultaneously in his past as a young American POW, in the future as a well-cared-for resident of a zoo on the planet Tralfamadore, and in the present as a middle-aged optometrist in Ilium, N.Y.
Biggles (1986) – One minute the New Yorker advertising expert Jim Ferguson is at a business party — the next he finds himself way back in 1917 in a plane fight during World War I. Mr. Raymond explains to him that he has a time-twin, to whom he’s relocated in space and time whenever one of them is in trouble. So he has to help his twin, biplane pilot Biggles, in his attempt to destroy a German super weapon, that could win their war. Of course it’s hard for Jim to explain his sudden disappearances to his fiance, Debbie.
Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982) – Lyle, a motorcycle champion is traveling the Mexican desert, when he find himself in the action radius of a time machine. So he find himself one century back in the past between rapists, thiefs and murderers.
Army of Darkness (1992) – In this sequel to the Evil Dead films, a discount-store employee (“Name’s Ash. Housewares.”) is time-warped to a medieval castle beset by monstrous forces. Initially mistaken for an enemy, he is soon revealed as the prophecised savior who can quest for the Necronomicon, a book which can dispel the evil. Unfortunately, he screws up the magic words while collecting the tome, and releases an army of skeletons, led by his own Deadite counterpart. What follows is a thrilling, yet tongue-in-cheek battle between Ash’s 20th Century tactics and the minions of darkness.
Timeline (2003) – A group of archaeologists and combat experts led by Paul Walker and Frances O’Connor use a “3-D fax machine” to time-travel back to France in 1357, in hopes of retrieving Walker’s father and returning safely to the present. Fending for themselves against marauding hordes of medieval French warriors at war with the invading British, these semi-intrepid travelers find their body count rising, and the deadline for their return home is rapidly approaching.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time/Toki o Kakeru Shōjo (2006) – A teenage girl finds that she has the ability to leap through time. With her newfound power, she tries to use it to her advantage, but soon finds that tampering with time can lead to some rather discomforting results.
Summer Time Machine Blues/Samâ taimu mashin burûsu (2005) – 5 college boys, Takuma, Masaru, Shunsuke, Atsushi and Daigo all belong to sci-fi club, but they are not interested in science at all. They usually just hang around, play baseball or card, or take bath at the public bath. One day, they accidentally spill Coke on the remote controller of the air-conditioner. In the sweating bath-like clubroom, suddenly a time machine appears. Eventually, they decide to go back to “yesterday” to bring the remote-controller. The mission ought to be quite easy, however, gradually they come to be worried.
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) – Four guy friends, all of them bored with their adult lives, travel back to their respective 80s heydays thanks to a time-bending hot tub.