The concept of time travel has been used in literature centuries. Whether it is used to enhance a plot and gain a glimpse into the past or present, or whether it is the main theme of the story, films have eagerly adopted the concept.
While the theme of time travel appears in films of all genres, it is perhaps most common among science fiction movies. 24/7 Tempo has identified the 23 sci-fi films that explore the fluidity of time travel, based on user and critic ratings from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.
Time travel allows filmmakers to take audiences to worlds both new and old. Moviegoers are drawn to films that explore not only the philosophical implications of time travel — including a number of potentially frightening, unintended consequences — but also the technology that could bring about such a possibility.
Similarly, filmmakers are drawn to the topic for different reasons. James Cameron brought a fairly bleak vision of a future with access to time travel in “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2.” Those living in the future try to change catastrophic events from unfolding via time travel.
Some of these movies will be familiar to almost anyone, while others are more obscure but well worth discovering. The films on the list are also not necessarily among the best productions coming from Hollywood, but they are among the best movies with time travel as a major part of the plot. For the best movies ever made, click here.
To determine the best time travel movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo identified the top rated sci-fi movies in which time travel was a major part of the plot. We ranked the movies based on an index we developed of three measures from the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes: IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score.
All ratings were weighted equally. Only films with at least 25,000 reviews on IMDb, 5,000 audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and 10 Tomatometer critics reviews were considered. Data was collected mid-March 2021. Supplemental data on domestic box office and production budgets by movie came from industry data site the Numbers.