Back to the Ranking - Best Time Travel Films

Newbie director Rian Johnson flapped his directorial butterfly wings and is showing us his latest vision of time travel with his upcoming film "Looper," flooding over theaters this weekend like a pacific tsunami; it has been certified so fresh that you won't be able to afford Rotten Tomatoes in the grocery store anymore. To celebrate I dug up some tasty time-travel morsels to sprinkle over your salad instead.

The earliest mention of time travel in literature is disputed; the oldest forms of travelling forward in time are usually more about Einstein's special theory of relativity, where the time in one place moves faster than in another (More 'Rip Van Winkle' than 'Can I meet myself in the past'). For example, the Hindu Mahabharata mentions the story of Kakudmi, (700 BC - 300 AD), who goes to heaven and meets Brahma; when he returns, 108 ages of man have passed. In the Japanese Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan), there is the story of Urashima Taro (720 AD) who goes to an undersea palace for three days, and 300 years have passed on the surface.

Traveling backwards in time did not appear until much later in 1733, in Samuel Madden's "Memoirs of the Twentieth Century;" where an angel with a flux capacitor comes back with a bunch of WikiLeaks from 1997 and 1998.

Movies have also had multiple opportunities to bend the fourth dimension. Below are the top 30 movies from a list I compiled of time travel films, sorted according to their score on Rotten Tomatoes. Hope this takes you back... to the time you watched each one of them; or maybe you can go back and watch them for the first time (Please read to the theme song to Quantum Leap).

No. Title Director Year RT%
1 The Terminator James Cameron 1984 100%
2 Terminator 2: Judgment Day James Cameron 1991 98%
3 Back to the Future Robert Zemeckis 1985 97%
4 Time Bandits Terry Gilliam 1981 95%
5 Superman Donner / Barry 1978 95%
6 Star Trek J.J. Abrams 2009 95%
7 Safety Not Guaranteed Colin Trevorrow 2012 93%
8 Midnight in Paris Woody Allen 2011 93%
9 Looper Rian Johnson 2012 92%
10 Harry Potter 3: Prisoner of Azkaban Alfonso Cuaron 2004 91%
11 Planet of the Apes Franklin J. Schaffner 1968 89%
12 Peggy Sue Got Married Francis Ford Coppola 1986 88%
13 12 Monkeys Terry Gilliam 1995 88%
14 Donnie Darko Richard Kelly 2001 85%
15 Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home Director Director 1986 84%
16 Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure Stephen Herek 1989 82%
17 Flight of the Navigator Randal Kleiser 1986 78%
18 Back to the Future 3 Robert Zemeckis 1990 73%
19 Primer Shane Carruth 2003 72%
20 Frequency Toby Emmerich 2000 70%
21 Austin Powers Jay Roach 1997 70%
22 Hot Tub Time Machine Steve Pink 2010 64%
23 Back to the Future 2 Robert Zemeckis 1989 64%
24 Déjà Vu Tony Scott 2006 55%
25 The Philadelphia Experiment Stewart Raffill 1984 50%
26 Kate and Leopold James Mangold 2001 50%
27 Timecop Peter Hyams 1994 44%
28 The Jacket John Maybury 2005 44%
29 The Time Traveler's Wife Robert Schwentke 2009 37%
30 The Butterfly Effect Bress / Gruber 2004 33%


"When you're riding in a time machine way far into the future, don't stick your elbow out the window, or it'll turn into a fossil" Jack Handy


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