Marty McFly, Mr. Spock, and Austin Powers are some of the big screen's most popular time travelers ever. The time travel movie is a genre full of hits ("Looper"), misfires "Timecop"), and a few entries that should have been bigger deals, like "About Time," which celebrates its 5th anniversary this year. Revisit that hidden gem see how it ranks on our list of the greatest time travel movies ever.
37. 'Meet the Robinsons' (2007)
It took Disney a while to reclaim its spot as king of the animation hill in the 21st Century, but "Meet the Robinsons" was an important step towards reclaiming that old magic. What it lacks in story it makes up for in imagination and visuals.
36. 'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me' (1999)
The second entry in the Austin Powers movie flips the script, dragging Mike Myers' randy secret agent back to the '60s in order to save the world. But if anything, this sequel is really Dr. Evil's show, with the eccentric supervillain and his diminutive sidekick Mini-Me delivering some of the movie's biggest laughs.
35. 'Idiocracy' (2006)
When an army librarian is frozen in suspended animation for 500 years, he learns that the society of the future is a wasteland of idiocy and celebrity worship. While barely noticed upon its original release, "Idiocracy" has developed a sizable cult following over the years. That's because it has turned out to be a far more prescient film than anyone could have anticipated.
34. 'Interstellar' (2014)
More flawed than some of Christopher Nolan's other epic blockbusters, "Interstellar" is certainly a compelling glimpse of humanity's possible future. The painstaking attention paid to the nature of black holes and the effects of relativistic time travel show that the thrill of exploring space comes with a heavy price.
33. 'Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery' (1997)
Austin Powers cam along at just the right time. The James Bond franchise was currently suffering through one of its lowest points ever, making the prospect of a hilarious Bond spoof all the more appealing. The added time travel element only makes this comedy that much more entertaining, as Mike Myers' goofball secret agent finds himself coming to terms with modern society.
32. 'Hot Tub Time Machine' (2010)
"Hot Tub Time Machine" is further proof that time travel and comedy go hand-in-hand. This film follows a group of depressed, 40-something men who accidentally turn a hotel hot tub into a vehicle to travel back to their high school days. Naturally, it isn't long before the realize that there's no recapturing the past.
31. 'Timecop' (1994)
This modest 1994 hit is either JCD's best or worst movie, depending on which fan you ask. The inspired concept, based on a Dark Horse comic, deserves better big-screen adaptation. But damn it if the Muscles From Brussels doesn't deliver some surprising emotional resonance when he's not doing splits in kitchens.
30. 'Predestination' (2014)
Ethan Hawke has always shown uncommonly good judgment when it comes to starring in genre movies, and that holds true for this 2014 entry. "Predestination" crams in all the twists and turns time travel fans could ever hope for (and then some), but it's really the film's combination of intelligence and finely honed characters that helps it stand out.
29. 'The Time Machine' (1960)
The original (and, so far, best) adaptation of H.G. Wells' classic novel inspired so many of the genre's finest. Its story of an inventor from Victorian England, flung into the distant future and caught in the middle of the Morlocks' efforts to enslave and feed on the Eloi, is rife with thematic issues still relevant today.
28. 'Flight of the Navigator' (1986)
Back in the days when Disney still made live-action movies that weren't remakes or sequels, "Flight of the Navigator" offered a family-friendly take on the time travel movie. Joey Cramer delivers a winning performance here as a 12-year-old boy accidentally dragged eight years into the future by an alien spaceship.
27. 'Back to the Future Part II' (1989)
The middle act of the "Back to the Future" trilogy is -- from a story standpoint -- its weakest link. Don't get us wrong - the early portions of the movie where Marty McFly encounters life at what was then the distant future of 2015 are a real hoot. But the movie never quite lives up to that standard once the main plot kicks in.
26. 'Time After Time' (1979)
From the writer and director of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," this adaptation pits "Time Machine" author H.G. Wells against Jack the Ripper, as the latter escapes to the future (of the now-dated 1979) to continue his murder spree. Yes, the cheesy effects are super date, but the comical "out of time" tone and performances make this one a winner.
25. 'The Girl Who Leapt Through Time' (2006)
Who says time travel movies have to be limited to the Western film world? This 2006 Japanese animated movie works wonders with the concept. It's a charming coming-of-age story about a girl who discovers her time travel abilities and sets about trying to improve her life, with unintended consequences.
24. 'Donnie Darko' (2001)
This cult fave is full of time-bending, reality-shaking ideas that will leave you with a headache and loving it.
23. 'Time Bandits' (1981)
Terry Gilliam's directorial career has seen plenty of ups and downs, but this 1981 fantasy film is easily one of his most satisfying post-Monty Python projects. It follows an ordinary boy unexpectedly dragged through time by a ragtag band of dwarves. The humor and imagination on display here make for a very satisfying, family-friendly romp.
22. 'Star Trek' (2009)
J.J. Abrams' most entertaining, and complete, blockbuster finds a rebooted crew of the Enterprise dealing with time travel and alternate reality as Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) crosses paths with this untested, younger version of the crew he made history with.
21. 'Timecrimes' (2007)
One of the great things about time travel movies is that they can be done on a shoestring budget if the director is clever enough. That's definitely the case with this 2007 Spanish film. Its low budget trappings do nothing to limit its appeal, with the film focusing on a man stuck in a time loop who must wipe his alternate selves out of existence.
20. 'Back to the Future Part III' (1990)
Universal made fans wait a whole year to see how the story of Marty McFly and Doc Brown would resolve itself, and the conclusion to the trilogy didn't disappoint. "Part III" finds amusing new spins on the series' tropes by flashing back to the Wild West days and finally bringing the whole story full circle.
19. 'Army of Darkness' (1992)
The "Evil Dead" franchise veered in a wildly different direction for Part 3, sending Ash Williams back to medieval times to rally peasants against a Deadite invasion. It's a much sillier film than its predecessors, but one full of neat stop-motion animation, great one-liners and a generally kooky atmosphere.
18. 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' (2014)
Hot off the crossover success of "The Avengers," the X-Men finally saw one of their most popular comics stories adapted to the big screen. With Wolverine forced to reach back to the past to save his fellow X-Men from a very Sentinel-infested future, "Future Past" is a fun epic (that falls short in the scale of its third act) that bridges the "First Class" cast with their original counterparts. And that final scene is just *chef's kiss.
17. 'Source Code' (2011)
Director Doug Jones cemented himself as one of the best new voices in sci-fi thanks to this high-concept thriller. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a man plugged into a device that allows him to relive the last eight minutes of another person's life. The purpose being to prevent a catastrophic terror attack, lending an extra touch of urgency to the plot.
16. 'About Time' (2013)
Who says you can't use time travel as fodder for a romantic comedy. "About Time" proves it's a great way to shape up a normally formulaic genre, with Domhnall Gleason starring as a man who discovers having the power to rewrite his own history isn't all it's cracked up to be.
15. 'Star Trek: First Contact' (1996)
"First Contact" is a sequel to both "The Next Generation's" first movie ("Generations") and their finest hour ("Best of Both Worlds"), as Captain Picard must go full Ahab on a vengeful quest to stop the Borg, a race of cybernetic beings that once tried to assimilate Picard. He and his crew must travel to the past, on the eve of the titular event that spawns the Federation, in order to stop the Borg from destroying "Star Trek" itself. The entertaining hit is one of the franchise's most accessible features, thanks to Jonathan Frakes' feature directorial debut and a fast-paced script from veteran Trek writers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore.
14. 'Run Lola Run' (1998)
"Run Lola Run" is a stylish and very efficient thriller about a girl who has only 20 minutes to steal 100,000 Deutsche Marks and save her boyfriend's life. The twist being that death is only an opportunity to relive those 20 minutes all over again.
13. 'Primer' (2004)
Time travel can be confusing if you stop to think about the rules and ramifications for very long. Most movies simply ignore that, but "Primer" is all about treating time travel as a logical, complex science. It may take a few viewings to really get a grasp on the story being told here, but it's a film that rewards perseverance.
12. 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' (2004)
Time travel doesn't have to be limited to the sci-fi realm. This "Harry Potter" sequel proves it works just as well in the context of pure fantasy. The entire climax of "Prisoner of Azkaban" revolves around a magical device that allows Harry and Hermione the chance to rewrite wrongs at Hogwarts and spare an innocent man's life.
11. 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure' (1989)
This 1989 comedy introduced us to one of the all-time great Dynamic Duos of film. "Bill and Ted" is time travel at its most fun, with our two bumbling heroes traveling throughout history to gather famous figures who can help them pass their history project. And in the process, they might just make the world a more excellent place.
10. 'Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home' (1984)
Yup, the one with the Whales. Trek's biggest theatrical hit until 2009's J.J. Abrams movie. And you can see why, thanks this charming and hilarious race-against-the-clock to save the 23rd century from a probe seeking the song of a mammal long extinct. So Kirk and Spock slingshot around the sun (naturally) to go back in time to 1986 San Francisco. There, they must find two humpback whales, bring them back to the future in their stolen Klingon ship, and make plenty of LOL moments ("double-dumbass on you!") along the way. It's a perfect movie, no matter the genre.
9. 'Looper' (2012)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's make-up is more distracting than convincing in his portrayal of an assassin whose targets come to him via time travel -- an assassin who grows up to look like Bruce Willis. But the film's heady ideas and grounded take on breaking the laws of physics have earned it a popular spot among fans. (Despite the forced-in-there side plot involving a telekenetic kid destined to become super evil in the future.)
8. '12 Monkeys' (1995)
Terry Gillium's "warts-and-all" approach to time travel is unlike anything we have ever seen before in the genre. Which, in 1995, was an inviting and inspired take as time traveler Cole (Bruce Willis) chases down the Army of the 12 Monkeys in the past before they unleash a hell plague on Earth that infects the future. The film scored Brad Pitt a much-deserved Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor.
7. 'Edge of Tomorrow' (2014)
Tom Cruise's funniest performance since "Jerry Maguire" is also one of his best, as he finds himself as a selfish Army PR guy who becomes a selfless super soldier in a war between an alien species that requires him to live and die the same day over and over again. The effortless chemistry between him and costar Emily Blunt, coupled with an inventive script rewritten by Christopher McQuarrie, make this underrated blockbuster a must-see.
6. 'Groundhog Day' (1993)
"Don't drive angry!" is just one of the many quotable lines in this Bill Murray classic, which popularized the sub-genre of time travel where people get caught in a repeating loop of time.
5. 'The Terminator' (1984)
Rarely has a sci-fi movie used the concept time travel to such strong effect. "The Terminator" introduced us to Sarah Connor, a woman key to saving the world from a futuristic machine uprising, but only if she can survive the relentless onslaught of a time-traveling android who favors phased plasma rifles in the 40-watt range.
4. 'Arrival' (2016)
Amy Adams will break your heart with her fierce and emotional portrayal of an expert linguist charged with discovering a way to communicate with an alien species whose non-linear means of communication literally cause our hero to fold space-time. The film's strong themes hinged on memory and loss and how the two can become one's present -- no matter how long ago we grieved -- make "Arrival" much deserving of its several Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.
3. 'Planet of the Apes' (1968)
As one of the greatest science fiction movie of all time, "Planet of the Apes" also features one of the best time travel-related twists in pop culture history. Viewers are led to believe that Charlton Heston's heroic astronaut has traveled to a distant world where sentient apes rule over humankind. But by the end, he realizes he traveled a long way just to make it back to a post-apocalyptic Earth.
2. 'T2' (1991)
James Cameron pretty much remakes his first film, with a bigger budget, and a deeper exploration of humanity in the eyes of a time-traveling murderbot. The end result is a blockbuster that revolutionized the industry, special effects, and blockbuster filmmaking for decades to come.
1. 'Back to the Future' (1985)
In the end, there's really no topping the original "Back to the Future" series for sheer fun and entertainment value. This is one of the defining films of the '80s, with Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly embarking on a thoroughly satisfying trip back to 1955, saving his family and inventing a whole musical genre. We just don't see anyone topping this trilogy, even if they have all the time machines in the world.