August 18, 2022

If only time travel was possible! But since it’s not, we have no other choice but to live vicariously through fictional characters who can travel through time, space, and dimensions and have the adventure of a lifetime. Many time travel movies have come and gone, each experimenting with plot, background, characters, and most importantly the science of time travel. But the ones who stay in our memories and go down in history as the most iconic, are the ones that have perfectly used all the elements that it takes to make an incredible story.

Shawn Levy’s The Adam Project is one of the latest films in this genre. The plot follows Adam Reed (Ryan Reynolds), a fighter pilot from the future, who travels back decades and teams up with his 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell) to find his father and save the Earth from a dangerous weapon of mass destruction. The movie also features Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldaña, Catherine Keener, and Alex Mallari Jr. in major roles.

The Adam Project, like any other good time-travel movie, has all the right ingredients. There’s sci-fi, family adventure, a coming-of-age angle, childhood imagination, romance, a father-son relationship, all rolled into a fun and exciting package. The last we saw something like this was in Back to the Future, which remains not just an all-time fan favorite but also a time-travel classic. That being said, in the years between Back to the Future and The Adam Project, filmmakers have dished out a whole bunch of inventive, touching, and unforgettable time travel stories.

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Here are our favorite picks that we are sure you’ll also enjoy. So, get ready for a trip across time, space, and things that we miss in reality.

Related:The 15 Best Time Travel Movies Ever Made, Ranked

Midnight in Paris


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Image via Sony Pictures Classics 

If you love art, literature, and sci-fi, not necessarily in the same breath, then this is a movie for you. Midnight in Paris is an offbeat story about time travel but designed artfully, showcasing the highlights of the Jazz Age. The plot follows a screenwriter Gil (Owen Wilson) who is working on his debut novel and travels to Paris with his fiancée. Trying to escape the conflicts of his life, Gil finds himself in an alternate reality, where his love for the city and his admiration for literary geniuses comes alive through new experiences every night.

This comedy-drama movie finds similarities with The Adam Project in the idea of self-discovery through different timelines. Directed by Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris features an ensemble cast with Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, and Tom Hiddleston, among others.

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Looper


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Image via TriStar Pictures

Moving away from Midnight in Paris to the other extreme of storytelling, is Looper, a dark and twisted time-travel movie. The story is set in the distant future, where time travel is considered illegal. Joe, a hired gun works for the mob. Joe’s job is to “get rid of” the mob’s enemies in the past, so they are no more a threat in the future. During one of his assignments, Joe finds out that his future self is also a target for the mob.

This is one of those sci-fi movies that deal with moral dilemmas and does that through grungy action sequences and a neo-noir-like premise. Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the younger Joe and Bruce Willis as the older Joe.

12 Monkeys


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Image via Universal Pictures

Terry Gilliam has a great portfolio of time travel movies, but 12 Monkeys stands out among all. The movie is inspired by the French featurette La Jetée by Chris Marker.

The gritty and dark storytelling, coupled with Brad Pitt’s remarkable performance, makes 12 Monkeys one of the most memorable films of 1995. The plot follows James Cole (Bruce Willis) a prisoner in the future who is sent back in time, so he can find out the origin of a lethal virus that caused a holocaust. Pitt stars as a mentally challenged patient in an institution where James is mistakenly admitted.

The movie is not like your average time travel and gives you a very odd feeling as you wade through the warped narrative. But you can’t ignore how wonderfully it’s made. 12 Monkeys shares very little similarity with the works of The Adam Project, except for the fact that someone from the future goes back to the past to save the world.

Related:7 Must-Watch Time-Travel TV Shows


Synchronic


Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie in Synchronic
Image via Well Go USA

One of the more recent movies on time travel, Synchronic deals with not the science of time travel per se, but uses the theory to uncover horrifying secrets. The plot follows two paramedics and best friends, Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) who investigate a series of gruesome and bizarre accidents. Their investigation leads them to a new psychedelic drug which they connect to the deaths. However, when Dennis’s daughter goes missing, they discover a horrifying truth about the drug which changes everything they know about reality, time, space, and their lives.

Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, Synchronic explores the concept of time travel in a never-seen-before package. The movie earned a lot of praise and was highly acclaimed by fans and critics.


Groundhog Day


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Image via Columbia Pictures

Now, this is a time travel story that is fun, exciting, and very Bill Murray. Groundhog Day makes you look at life differently, we promise. The plot follows Phil Connors (Murray), a weatherman who is covering the Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. While on his assignment, Phil gets stuck in a time loop, making him live the day over and over.

The movie is driven by the impeccable comedic moments by Murray, making it a hilarious movie experience. However, at the same time, there’s some understated philosophy of life that also makes the story a little melancholic. Overall, it’s just perfect and remains a classic in the comedy sci-fi space. Directed by Harold Ramis, Groundhog Day features Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott in leading roles.

Hot Tub Time Machine


John Cusack, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, and Collette Wolfe in Hot Tub Time Machine
Image via MGM

There are high-school comedies, and then there are high-school time-travel comedies. Hot Tub Time Machine often gets buried under its competition of uncountable high-school comedies and dramas from the 2000s. But if we could be honest, this time-travel comedy is indeed a funny movie even if its plot primarily deals with the classic “what if” situation.

Estranged friends, Adam, Nick, and Lou are frustrated with life’s problems and constant failure in their attempts to make it better. When one of them tries to kill themselves, they end up reconnecting and decide to take a break from everything. They head to their high-school days’ favorite retreat. While reliving teenage memories, the three of them get transported to 1986.

The movie stars John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke in main roles. Hot Tub Time Machine was followed by a sequel, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, released in 2015 and featuring the same main cast except for John Cusack.


Back to the Future


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Image via Universal Pictures

Without getting into why Back to the Future is a great movie, let’s just say it is “THE” movie that inspires this list. It’s a cult classic, and if there are arguments on that, well, we’ll ignore it and move on. Back to the Future is one of the greatest time travel movies ever made. So much so, it became a pop culture landmark, not just in the United States but around the world, and fans still swear by this 1980s legend of a film.

The plot is not really out of the world if you look closely. Every child/teenager across time and history has imagined what it would be like to see their parents when they were younger. Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis took that simple idea and made it into an iconic movie that also led to two more sequels. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), and their supercool DeLorean is a classic trio that seemed ambitious for its time but remains memorable even decades later.

Back to the Future is nothing like the current generation of time travel movies. It’s adventurous and inventive, dramatic yet easy, and an example of the halcyon days of the 80s.


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