The idea of travelling through time has inspired writers and creative artists for centuries. While you might credit H. G. Wells with popularising the concept in his 1895 novel The Time Machine, the earliest time travel story dates back to around 700BC, in the ancient Sanskrit text the Mahabahrata. Since the 1940s there has been a string of films that have used time travel as a plot device, from the frivolous and fanciful to the murky and mysterious.
I previously addressed the popularity of time travel films in a 2012 article for Torn magazine, which you can read here. I argued that they are novel and intriguing ways to examine our society without necessarily having to confront our problems head-on. But today I’m going to take a different approach, offering my pick for the 10 best time travel films. Apologies in advance if I don’t include your favourite pick – there is quite a range of films from which to choose.
The only caveat I am putting in place is that I am generally counting films which involve physical time travel, rather than those involving internalised travel through past or future memories. In other words, as brilliant as it is, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind doesn’t count. Even though its main character does revisit the past, the manner in which he influences the past reflects largely on changes in his life rather than the environment around him.
So, with this in mind, here are my Top 10 Time Travel films. But just to spice is up – I’m going to give you my choices in chronological order and not all of my picks come from the montage image above!
So climb into your Delorean and prepare to lose all your clothes…
We are currently seeking Film contributors on WhatCulture. To find out more about the perks of being a Film contributor, click here.