Time Travel and 5 Great Movies about It

Living and really putting yourself out there in life (as opposed to, you know, just quitting and living like a hermit) means risking, all the time. Sure, there’s always the occasional win, but life means dealing with a lot of loss as well. I don’t mean to come off as pessimistic or depressive – the point isn’t that life is emptiness, on the contrary, because life is so full, living it and allowing yourself to care means that you’re also setting yourself up for loss. Ok, so maybe I’m a bit influenced by the recently released “The Fault in Our Stars”, but there’s no denying that if we care about people (and inevitably, if you live life, you do), there will be sorrow and loss at some point. And this is exactly why the topic of time travel is so popular in movies and books and so on. It’s the ultimate fantasy, especially if you experienced a loss you’d like to magically alter as if it never happened.

Even if the main drive propelling the time travel fantasy isn’t the sorrow of loss, but simply desire to give yourself a better start (like that unpleasant Biff character from the Back to the Future series), it still remains a popular topic. The popularity of this time travel hypothesis extends beyond movies and books, but it’s something scientists have tackled as well, even if just on a hypothetical level. Because it seems to be an important component of our general human imaginary, let’s talk about five examples of movies that are built around the time travel idea. Rest assured that they must have been pretty impressive to have made it into a presentation tailored to accommodate only five choices. So, without further ado, here are, in my opinion, 5 great movies about time travel that you should see (if you haven’t already).

1. The “Back to the Future” Trilogy

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The three movies in this trilogy are perhaps the best known cinematic takes on the time travel idea. Sure, they’re a bit mainstream=kitschy, but each one is a cult movie of the 80s and 90s and can propel any of us 80s and 90s kids into a roller-coaster of memories and references to the pop culture of those days. Come on, who doesn’t feel at least a bit touched by Marty’s signature leather jacket or his rock and roll guitar solo?

2. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

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Ah, the butterfly effect! The enormous consequences that can occur from something as seemingly simple and inconsequential as a butterfly’s flap of wings! This is definitely another favorite of pop culture, and the 2004 movie that explores the idea is basically the sad realization that time travel is not so desirable. Multiple tries and fails lead the main character to the conclusion that the past is better left unchallenged.

3. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

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To bring things back on to a lighter tone, let’s take a moment to remember this movie, which could be rightly described as a comic relief from the beginning to the end. Two moronic teenagers who can barely spell are about the change the history of the world. What more there is to say? Cheers to reckless time travel.

4. Timecrimes (Los cronocrimenes) (2007)

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For the sake of including a non-English movie to this short list to keep things more varied, make time (pun not intended) to watch this too. It’s a great movie about a man going back in time for one hour, accidently. When he finds his old self, a series of catastrophes are unleashed. If you’re into a darker touch in movies, this one’s for you.

5. Somewhere in time (1980)

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Last, but not least, a romantic entry for all of us who enjoy a tear-jerker about time travel. A young writer receives a call from beyond time, from a lover he doesn’t know yet, so he finds a way to travel through time, meet her and fall in love, only to lose her for good to the peculiarities of the same time travel mechanism that brought him there. P.S: Jane Seymour!

Sure, many more movies could be mentioned, but perhaps in part two. Have fun with these time travel classics in the meantime.

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