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Nordling's Weekly Top 5! The 5 Best Time Travel Movies!

Nordling here.

I can't wait for LOOPER. I think everyone on the site's seen it but me, and maybe Billy the Kidd, and if I had any hair on my head I would have pulled it out already.  I'm a big fan of Rian Johnson's films thus far, and judging from the two reviews I've read (and I refuse to read any more, I think I may have already figured out some of the twists in the third act, based on the trailers) I'm going to adore this one as well.

I also love time travel movies.  It's an interesting sub-genre of science fiction because realistically, it's not very plausible.  FTL travel, alien lifeforms, the exploration of other worlds - these things may very well happen in our future.  Time travel isn't likely, unfortunately - or fortunately, based on many of the mishaps we've seen in movies thus far.  Yes, I am aware that faster-than-light travel is in theory, a kind of time travel, but the time travel we've seen portrayed in movies so far will probably never happen.

The best time travel movies aren't really about the mechanics of it anyway. Tachyons, causality loops, flux capacitors - it's not about the how, normally, it's about what happens when.  The best time travel movies are, thematically, about regret; regret in a life not lived, regret in a bad past, and most time travel movies are about changing things, fighting inevitability and our fate.  Pretty heady stuff, and when it's executed well, the result can be pretty powerful.  Alternate realities, loops in the space-time continuum, paradoxes - all fun to think about when watching a time travel movie.

So in celebration of LOOPER coming in a couple of weeks, I made a list of what I think are the Top Five time travel movies ever made.  There are, of course, many more that will be left off - some people have asked me why a top five list and not a top ten.  It's because five forces your hand a bit.  With ten you can spread out the joy a little bit, but five forces you to make a choice.  Sometimes you have to take something great off - and with this list in particular I left some really great ones off.  But these are the five that I'm sticking with.


I only just saw this one last week for the first time - and I'm embarrassed to say so, because Nacho Vigalondo isn't only a terrific director, he's also an acquaintance.  But just through lack of time and options this remained unseen by me for some time until recently.  And TIMECRIMES floored me, I must say.  I love how the movie dives into deep concepts of the immutability of fate, destiny, and regret, and it does so on a very small budget.  

I've noticed that in particular about time travel movies - how it's more about ideas than in special effects, and TIMECRIMES is full of them.  As Hector (Karra Elejalde) desperately tries to repair the damage he's done in the timeline, what must pass must pass, and the weight of his struggles becomes more and more difficult.  Like Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, Vigalondo, with this and EXTRATERRESTRIAL, isn't so much interested in the actual event, be it time travel or alien invasion, as he is in the people who are experiencing it.  Vigalondo cares about his characters even as he's putting them through the ringer.  

TIMECRIMES is available on Instant Netflix, so if you haven't seen this terrific little movie, you should seek it out.  and if you have, watch it again - the movie's pretty much flawless when it comes to setting up its scenario.  I couldn't find any holes in it.


If you look back on the esteemed career of Bill Murray, it's full of rich wonderful performances, but I think it was GROUNDHOG DAY that made people really pay attention to him as a great actor.  I don't think you can get a movie like RUSHMORE or LOST IN TRANSLATION without a GROUNDHOG DAY.  Harold Ramis' movie is a masterpiece of comedy precision, restraint, and character building.  

I love the article about how long Phil Connors remains in the time loop, although I don't agree with the conclusion.  I think he's in there for a lot longer than that that article supposes.  It might even be thousands of years, as Phil's omniscience of the townsfolk of Punxatawney seems to extend to every last citizen.  And in my honest opinion, it's one of Bill Murray's greatest roles.  For me, Murray's always been the sad clown of comedy - there's real pathos to his humor and his wit always seems to be a front for a broken man beneath. GROUNDHOG DAY gets to the meat of Phil Connors in such a way that when he finally has his catharsis, what could have been sarcastic and smarmy feels genuine and real.  That's due to Murray and Ramis, and Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis's script, which is smart, funny, and almost devoid of plot holes.

Someday someone's going to have the idea to remake GROUNDHOG DAY - I'm sure someone already has, and I can only hope that that person is stuck in a time loop on the day they saw TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN for thousands of years.  They'd deserve it.


Call LOOPER the third movie in Bruce Willis's Time Travel Trilogy.  THE KID may not exactly be a time travel movie, but it does involve Willis meeting with his past self, so it counts.  My list, my rules.  But the first movie? 12 MONKEYS?  It's amazing, and Willis gives hand's down one of his very best performances in it as Cole, a man so lost in time he can't be sure if he's going insane or not.  

Based on the short film "La Jetée", Terry Gilliam's movie, like so many of his other films, rages against the dying of the light.  Even though Cole fights to his last breath the inevitable tide of time, even though he must lose, he still struggles against it as time washes over him, indifferent to his fate.  Madeleine Stowe gives a terrific performance as the woman who can't help but question Cole's sanity until she sees for herself what Cole is experiencing, and then there is Brad Pitt, all twitches and madness, in one of his singular performances (and nominated for Best Supporting Actor).

David Webb Peoples really is one of the best screenwriters out there for this kind of stuff.  Whether it's a look at the future, or the dying old West, or time travel, he brings a sense of humanity to what in lesser hands would just be another genre movie.  Peoples, along with his wife Janet, have crafted a script that is as tight as a whistle and just as harmonious.  Terry Gilliam has never been a director to take the easy route in making his movies but 12 MONKEYS never goes off the rails.  As Madeleine Stowe's character looks into young Cole's eyes, the circle repeats as it must, and time is the wheel of the mill that grinds us all.

2.  The BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy

There was no way in hell that I could get away with having a list of time travel movies and not include BACK TO THE FUTURE.  And I realize it's a bit of a cheat to put all three in one slot, but my list, my rules.  They're practically one movie anyway, the way they cut into each other.  Ask any person off the street what their favorite time travel movie is, odds are it's one of these.  Strangely enough, my favorite one is the second one - I love 2015 and all the silliness therein, from the 80s Cafe to the hoverboards.  Chicago Cubs fans must anxiously be waiting for that year by now, although Steven Spielberg better get cracking if he's going to catch up to JAWS 19.

The BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy is easy to love, but you can tell that Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale put a ton of thought into each movie, even if they never really planned for sequels.  But there's so much love and friendship in the relstionship between Marty McFly and Doc Brown that you can't help but want to see them together.  They may be light entertainment, but each movie is paced like a Swiss watch - never a dull moment and even the quieter scenes in the movies are full of great little character touches.  Pardon the term, but these movies really are timeless.

When you think of 1980s films, you can't help but think of BACK TO THE FUTURE, and I think movies like them are sorely missed today.  There's a sense of earnestness, of tenderness and honesty in these films that are gone in today's cynical world.  In the BACK TO THE FUTURE movies, everything really is going to be all right, and unlike many other time travel movies, there's an optimism that makes it so easy to put these movies in time and time again.  People will say that there's no such thing as a "perfect" movie, but the BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy may well be the perfect trilogy.  Not a bad movie in the bunch.


I've seen PRIMER only a few times - I think three, by my count.  And it's such a puzzle box of a movie that I feel like I've barely scratched the surface.  Shane Carruth's utterly brilliant, unnerving, complicated movie was made on such a shoestring budget but the ideas that it puts on display are richer than the ancient kings of Egypt.  PRIMER doesn't give a damn, either.  If you can't keep up, than go to hell - PRIMER is unapologetically for the smart set, and those left behind are left to writhe in its wake.  I love how Shane Carruth was a consultant on LOOPER, and if time travel is a possibility, I think Carruth is probably the man to make it happen.

Woe to us if he does, though.  As the movie loops tighter and tighter around itself, daring the audience to follow along, it becomes clear that fucking around with the continuum is a bad, bad thing.  With multiple timelines and characters looping back upon themselves, it's no wonder that this diagram below looks like very complicated stereo installation instructions (click to embiggen, and thanks to UnrealityMag for the chart):

It gives me a headache just looking at it.  I really, really want to sit down one day and devote some serious time to PRIMER and just watch it for twelve hours nonstop just to see if I can crack the fucker.  I just might do that sometime soon, although it looks like the DVD is out of print at this time if Amazon is any indication.  That's too bad.  It is, in my opinion, the best time travel movie ever made, and takes the science seriously and treats its audience like intelligent people, a rarity in today's age.

I've barely scratched the surface with time travel movies, of course - I love Tom Twyker's RUN LOLA RUN, and Nicholas Meyer's fantastic H. G. Wells/Jack the Ripper time travel movie TIME AFTER TIME (that came damn close to making the list).  Duncan Jones's SOURCE CODE, if you want to get into the nitty-gritty, isn't strictly about time travel, but it fits here in my opinion. My list should definitely address George Pal's adaptation of H. G. Wells' THE TIME MACHINE, and yeah, the fact that it's not on it can be a legitimate beef.  Of course there's Terry Gilliam's joyous TIME BANDITS, probably his most fun movie with one of my favorite lines of all time in it - "Nipples for men!".  You could even count a movie like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, with its alternate universe, and then there's James Cameron's TERMINATOR movies.  I'm sure you'll think of more that I haven't mentioned.  Have a good week, everyone - next week I'll be at Fantastic Fest and I'm not sure I'll be able to write a Top 5 column, but I'll give it a good try.  Thanks for reading.

Nordling, out.  Follow me on Twitter!

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 16, 2012, 9:53 p.m. CST

    First, bitches.

    by Fah-Cue

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 9:55 p.m. CST

    Primer is HORRIBLE.

    by Fah-Cue

    Very overrated (like much that's touted on this site). "Time After Time" should be on that list (not number one).

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 9:58 p.m. CST

    third and where is Time after Time?

    by Anthony Torchia


  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:02 p.m. CST

    okay, now that I claimed the third spot

    by Anthony Torchia

    I love Malcolm, I love Mary, I love David "I killed them, I killed them all!" I can still hear it in my head His visit to McDonalds, the fact that McDonalds forced him to pronounce it MacDoogles, it better have been 6th or I won't trust you any more :-)

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:02 p.m. CST

    where in the hell is Time Runner featuring Mark Hamill?

    by Balkin Flabgurter

    His best film by far.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Primer at #1 means this list is credible

    by thefreshestthing

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:03 p.m. CST

    No Terminator?

    by Shaw

    Odd. BTTF should be #1. Also he should have included that one Star Trek where they slingshot around the sun to stop the Borg from killing whales and, thus, destroying Vulcan and preventing Earth from developing warp flight.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:04 p.m. CST


    by guitar_dudester91

    Hate to say it but I kina liked time traveler's wife, a depressing film that no one can undo, although the acting could be better. Let's hope cloud atlas could someday make one of these.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:04 p.m. CST


    by Balkin Flabgurter

    The most valid recounting of events i have ever had the fortune of perusing.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Better Primer time chart

    by thefreshestthing

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:09 p.m. CST

    The end of BTTF 2 is THE BEST!

    by jimbojones123

    They get the Almanac. Destroy it. All is bliss. The storm is brewing though. Doc is struck. All hope is gone. Mystery man pulls right up. 1885! Doc sends Marty back at the end of BTTF 1. All is Bliss for Doc. THEN MARTY IS BACK! GREAT SCOTT!!! To be concluded.... My favorite 5 minutes in cinema history.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:11 p.m. CST

    Attended a Q&A with Harold Ramis

    by polycow

    He said Murray was stuck for about TEN years.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:11 p.m. CST


    by Rob


  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:12 p.m. CST


    by Rob


  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:12 p.m. CST

    Sorry for the double (now triple) post.

    by Rob


  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:15 p.m. CST

    Time-Traveler's Wife is definitely a very interesting premise

    by D.Vader

    I caught a lot of it in a hotel while out of town on a job, but I never finished it. I did think it was a pretty heartbreaking Scifi story and I love the idea of a guy who can't control his time-traveling and meets his wife at different stages of her life, from childhood onward, so he has always been in her mind. Shades of Doctor Who there. Chicken and the egg debates too.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:18 p.m. CST

    BTTF is a fun trilogy...

    by Aquanaut

    but it plays fast and loose with time travel. they went with a model that any changes create parallel timelines, but if this is so, then the picture of his siblings should have remained intact. i guess it would have been a depressing series if marty had gone back only to find out that the past cannot be changed, only fulfilled.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:23 p.m. CST

    List fails without Star Trek First Contact

    by Joe Cranford

    Just kidding. Good flick, but not a top fiver. Glad that was the LAST Trek movie to ever need to use a Time Travel device...

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Frequency' is number two, right behind 'Twelve Monkeys

    by Raptor Jesus

    The most original time travel movie I ever saw. Can't believe you missed it. And where is Rod Taylor's 'The Time Machine'?

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:30 p.m. CST

    Good call with Frequency

    by Shaw

    What a randomly good movie.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:30 p.m. CST


    by Fred

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:30 p.m. CST

    12 monkeys...

    by Aquanaut

    might be the only time travel movie that i've seen that incorporates Novokov's Self-Consistency Principle. Terminator 1 had it, but then that was contradicted by T2. futurama had an amusing take on it...fry was always his own grandfather, fulfilling the timeline, not changing it.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:35 p.m. CST


    by Aquanaut

    i think somewhere in time might have incorporated novikov with the old woman appearing to reeve's character at the beginning, having known him as her lover in the past, causing him to investigate and setting in motion his trip to the past- fulfilling it, not changing it. that movie should be on the list.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:38 p.m. CST

    It's "Novikov."

    by Shaw

    Not Novokov. If you're going to be pretentious on an aicn board, at least get the guy's name right. Anyways, Twelve Monkeys is pissah.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:49 p.m. CST

    Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann!


    C'mon! Fred Ward? On a dirtbike? In the Old West? It just doesn't get any three in the morning on Cinemax.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:56 p.m. CST

    Retroactive starring America's greatest treasure, Jim Fucking Belushi


    Now that's a time travel movie!

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 10:57 p.m. CST

    Final Countdown should get a reboot with a different ending.

    by Cedric Ford

  • I've seen it three times, and a pretty damn smart guy and careful film-watcher, and I always lose the thread halfway through. Plus, the acting is pretty bad.

  • Primer was an interesting take at how insane time travel can get, but it had a god awful story. Would have made for a cool documentary about the pseudo-realities of time travel, because no effort was placed into the narrative itself.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 11:11 p.m. CST

    Terminator is miles ahead of Time! Jeeeshhh!!!

    by future help

    maybe even Timecop is better too

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 11:14 p.m. CST

    @ shaw

    by Aquanaut

    so it's pretentious to bring up a principle regarding time travel in a talkback dealing with the subject? no, what's pretentious is pointing out a spelling error involving one vowel with smug condescension.

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 11:15 p.m. CST

    My List

    by Bigstadder

    5 BTTF 4 T2 3 Groundhog Day 2 12 Monkeys 1 Frequency - its got Jesus and Duke from GIJoe!

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 11:35 p.m. CST

    With all respect to time fravel

    by ciroslive

    I've seen them both and NO WAY IS BTTF IS BETTER THAN PRIMER!!! Marty & Doc are the best ever!!!!

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 11:38 p.m. CST

    Was FIRST! Until fah-cue messed with the timeline!

    by mackmm

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Time Bandits

    by mackmm

    nuff said

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 11:51 p.m. CST

    Glad somebody beat me to Terminator

    by Jimbo Jones

    Holy shit, how can T1 and T2 not be bantered about? Back to the Future is #1 for me, then T2. I do like that Groundhog day made the list. Also agree with the First Contact reference. My favorite Trek movie I think

  • Sept. 16, 2012, 11:58 p.m. CST

    for your consideration...

    by sambafreak13

    Harry Potter #3. Yes, people on this site are gonna kill me for this but the treatment of time-travel in that book/film is excellent. Rarely do you see a story correctly handle the fact that when you travel back in time and change stuff, that stuff would already have to have been changed in the original future. So when rocks start flying through the window and they have no idea why, but then they go back in time and figure out they're the ones throwing the rocks, it actually makes good sense. I give props to J.K Rowling for handling this in a way that, at least to me, is the most sensible.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:07 a.m. CST

    Very funny mackmm...laugh of the day :)

    by foles

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:12 a.m. CST


    by redshirt

    The visitor. not a movie, but one of the most touching time travel stories I have ever seen.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:15 a.m. CST

    Somewhere in Time

    by partyflavor

    Christopher Reeve. Jane Seymour. Enough said.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:15 a.m. CST

    No TIME BANDITS = bullshit list

    by IAmLegolas

    I said what needed to be said.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:19 a.m. CST

    Groundhog Day original script..

    by JustinJump

    From what I've read, in the original script Phil Connors was stuck in Punxatawney for ten THOUSAND years. I like that spin on it a lot.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:24 a.m. CST


    by the Green Gargantua

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:24 a.m. CST

    What about Timecop?

    by Joe


  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:26 a.m. CST

    I agree on Time Bandits.

    by Xenodistortion

    Glad nobody mentioned Freejack. Also, there were like, 5 episodes of Ducktales that dealt with time travel. You put those together that makes a whole movie.

  • Paradox: Back To The Future Part II

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:27 a.m. CST

    Can someone explain to me why PRIMER is good?

    by Red_Cloak

    OK, it's very smart and convoluted, but since when did that make for a good film? Once you strip away all the intricacies it's just a film about a few morose dudes mumbling and bumbling around. Where's the entertainment? What am I supposed to be feeling? It just totally left me cold.

  • I ordered Primer last week, no idea it was out of print; too bad it's not on blu-ray, probably will be since I dropped some cash for the DVD.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:33 a.m. CST

    Tony Scott's Deja Vu is also an excellent time travel movie!

    by gakchat

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:33 a.m. CST

    Time Crimes #1

    by Wyatt Elling

    Time Crimes is the best time travel movie. Primer might have some fancy engineering chart backing it up, but it's incomprehensible as a movie and the plot, what there is of it, is retarded. They're trying to stop . . . some guy getting rowdy at a party?

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:34 a.m. CST

    Cobalt2015, Timecop predicted that corporations are people.

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

    It's in the subtext, but that's why they're stealing gold.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:34 a.m. CST

    Source Code, too.

    by gakchat

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:36 a.m. CST

    Forget it

    by lynchmob17

    No "Time Machine" or "Time After Time" means this list is dead to me.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:54 a.m. CST

    Summer Time Machine Blues

    by red_weed

    A Japanese film from about 2005 I think. Look into it because it's amazing. And though I love Back to the Future, I can't stand the ridiculous paradoxical time travel it relies on so films like 12 Monkeys, Summer Time Machine Blues and Timecrimes have always been my favourite. Also Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban... Actually gets time travel right.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:59 a.m. CST

    Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies.

    by Ryan

    Never get tired of watching it.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:03 a.m. CST

    Why Back to the Future trilogy sucks

    by Ray

    If old biff went back and gave himself the Almanac, there by changing history, how the hell did he get back to the future to the same future he left. Paradox baby and that's my reason why it sucks ass... Think about it, it's a huge flaw in the movie.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:06 a.m. CST

    ST: First Contact is fine, but not a good TIME TRAVEL flick though

    by Bass Ackwards

    It just happens to have time travel, but that element is pretty lazy and not really all that interesting. Likely done for budgetary reasons then creating an interesting plot (cheaper to put the Borg in a post-war America encampment then in future San Francisco).

  • Having said that Primer is not for everyone but it was brave enough to tackle some interesting questions etc and despite it's budget it did all that really my opinion of course. Cheers mate.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:26 a.m. CST

    WHAT?! No Flight of the Navigator??

    by Zeta

    How about Army of Darkness??? Planet of the Apes??? Time Bandits??? This list is very disappointing.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:28 a.m. CST

    Great Scott...I suppose I have to finally see 'Primer' now.

    by Bill C.

    If for no other reason than to verify it's really as damn confusing as just about everybody says it is.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:35 a.m. CST

    12 monkeys is my fav- but haven't seen primer

    by FrodoFraggins

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:59 a.m. CST


    by tristeele

    As said above this is a great little time travel action flick. If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. A very fun b movie.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:07 a.m. CST

    primer...12 monkeys...

    by ponyboy

    always show primer to friends who have not seen it...always instigates conversation, always. having just watched 12 monkeys a couple of weeks ago...I noticed bruce willis' character say in the scene near the river, "I see nothing but dead people"...coincidence? (m.knight?!)...never noticed he said that before...12 monkeys looks great on watching a new movie. & even after listening to the two primer commentaries, I'm still behind/ahead...thought more film geeks would embrace this to hear director was a consultant on looper...rian johnson showing some film geek love...props!

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:15 a.m. CST

    "Time After Time", dammit!

    by Zardoz

    HG Wells chases Jack the Ripper from Victorian England to "modern day" San Francisco, circa 1979. Directed by Nicolas Meyer, "Mr. Star Trek 2", starring Alex the Droog and Mrs. Ted Danson! What's not to love?

  • It would be my sixth as the top five here is just about perfect.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Twilight Zone answered the "killing Hitler" question".

    by veebeeyes

    You can't kill Hitler, because that's not how it happened.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:27 a.m. CST

    Doctor Who as a whole.

    by crimsoncinder

    I believe this should have been a top 10. And I've never thought of Groundhogs Day as a time travel affair. More like a purgatory movie. Its a Wonderful Life Star Trek (reboot) The Time Machine Star Trek IV Time After Time Time Bandits

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:29 a.m. CST

    Another plot hole with BTTF

    by briantag

    In BTTF III, Marty falls down a hill, gets knocked out on a wooden fence and wakes up in bed, hearing what he thinks is his mother's voice. But its his great-great grandmother, Maggie McFly, who looks just like Lorraine Baines McFly from the 1950s. Maggie's husband, Seamus looks just like Marty from the 1980s. But the 1880s McFlys couldn't both look like Marty and Lorraine. If Seamus' bloodline carried the "Marty" genes, that bloodline didn't meet someone who looked like Lorraine until the 1950s! On the other hand, if Maggie's bloodline carried the "Marty" genes, that bloodline didn't meet someone named McFly until the 1950s (George McFly)! So Maggie's husband should have had another last name. Unless there's some multi-generational incest loop we aren't aware of (other than Lorraine's teen crush on time traveling Marty in the 1950s), this was the biggest plot hole in the trilogy. You're welcome.

  • Primer really doesn't do anything that other movies haven't already done, it just keeps doing it over and over and over.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:36 a.m. CST

    Time does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Haven't seen the first film or the last film on this list but find it hard to believe either film is better than TIME BANDITS or THE TERMINATOR???!! Seriously Nordling, some low budget foreign movie that you watched last week is better than TIME BANDITS or THE TERMINATOR? Riiiight. Plus as crimsoncinder correctly says - GROUNDHOG DAY is a different kettle of fish. It is indeed a purgatory movie - why? Because Murray dies, regularly, throughout the movie and then gets rebooted. He's also trapped geographically in the one location (purgatory). He's not time travelling - hes just locked in place until he learns to become a better man.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 3:12 a.m. CST

    T1 should be on the list ... and 12 monkeys is awesome in every way!


  • Sept. 17, 2012, 3:40 a.m. CST

    cedhollywood - Killing Hitler and making it worse has been done...

    by u.k. star

    But not in movies I think. There are a few comics and sci-fi short stories where they either killed or tried to kill Hitler. I read one in the 1980s and they messed up because they went back in time with a laser rifle, but the Army swarmed the assassin and then reverse engineered the laser tech and won WWII. I think they did something similar in misfits too. An old Jewish guy goes back in time to kill Hitler, but he failed (so i know, not what you meant) and left his mobile phone behind. So same thing happens. Nazi's use the tech to win WWII

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 3:41 a.m. CST

    On Terminator 2 contradicting The Terminator...

    by veebeeyes

    The ending of T2 might have been ambiguous, but didn't Cameron actually change the ending at the last minute? I could have sworn that there was an alternate ending in which Judgement Day had been averted. Which...I guess it doesn't matter what ending COULD have happened. The ending that we got is the ending. Still, despite the ambiguity of T2's ending, I still got the feeling that events were supposed to have been's just that the characters weren't certain. But anyway, that's just the vibe I got, and isn't really particularly relevant. Far more troubling for me is the part where Termie and L'il John go to stop Sarah Connor from killing Miles Dyson. And it's like...isn't The Terminator's job to protect John Connor? By bringing John Connor out of hiding in order to save Miles Dyson, that's putting John Connor at a big risk. And yeah...I get it that The Terminator had to follow John's orders. But isn't it a little strange that he didn't say something like, "saving Miles Dyson is pointless. He dies tonight anyway." I seriously seems like The Terminator DIDN'T KNOW that Miles Dyson dies that very same night, which seems like the sort of information that would be included in his "detailed files". And could argue that he didn't have THAT information since it wasn't particularly relevant to the mission. Except that...Miles Dyson's ADDRESS was on file. Obviously it was important that The Terminator have detailed files on Miles Dyson. This leaves three possibilities... 1) The Terminator had detailed files on Miles Dyson, and yet somehow was lacking the file about how Miles Dyson gets blown up that very same night trying to destroy the Cyberdyne facility. I don't buy that. 2) The Terminator did indeed have that information, but just decided not to tell that to John Connor. Yeah, I know he's gotta follow orders, but at least try to convince the kid first. It's already been established that The Terminator's programming DOES allow him to basically say, "I have to do what you say, but this is a really bad idea." In fact, The Terminator does do that in the exact same scene, only he gives a different reason for why they shouldn't go. I don't know...just seems strange that if The Terminator did know that Miles Dyson dies that night, that he wouldn't tell John Connor. 3) The Terminator didn't know because history had been changed. So yeah...the Miles Dyson thing is a bigger deal for me. Either history had been changed, or Cameron just overlooked a few pretty big details.

  • I agree that missing the Terminator films or The Time Machine seems wrong. I'd add that one of the most entertaining films I've sen in recent years that has time travel as a major component has to be the animated The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. I'd have that on my list.

  • And that happened a decade before "Groundhog Day", and it's not a comedy.

  • I have grew weary of the Back To The Future movies, but i'll never get tired of "Time Bandits".

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 4:04 a.m. CST

    Happy Accidents?

    by ChickaCure

    I loved Happy Accidents. I'm very surprised Nordling didn't include it...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Old Biff getting back to the future isn't a plot hole...

    by u.k. star

    There re a few reasons, the weakest is that by movie time travel logic it isn't n issue... What matters is that by the logic set up in the back to the future films, his getting back is perfectly OK and reasonable. Why? Well as shown by the slow disappearance of Marty's family in the first film, time travel cause and effect seems tow work the slowest on the main instigator / time meddler. Therefore Biff had time to travel back before e disappeared. This is further demonstrated by his dying / fading as he returns. The reason it is the same future is explained by both this AND, perhaps more importantly, by the very illustration used in BTTF2. Where Doc draws that timeline and states that if Marty & Doc travel forward from that point they will simply reach that reality's future. When Old Biff goes back to the future, he travels from a point i history where Biff has not yet altered anything. Biff doesn't place a bet for a few years (I think it was years, it may have been months I guess) so nothing had yet changed. At that point the future could either stay exactly as it was, or become the future where Biff would get rich. (As we know, both things happen) so there's every reason for him to simply have returned to his time and await the change - as happened. I'm not saying any of that stands up to theoretical physics on the possibility of Time Travel; but the rules the film sets for itself are followed and standard "movie time travel" logic / paradox is also lived up (or down) to.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 4:34 a.m. CST

    I really liked Triangle.

    by gutshot

    That's one where you go, ok that person was from the second time through, and this person I think was the third.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 5:52 a.m. CST

    'Frequently Asked Questions about Time Travel' was a good one.

    by DarthBlart

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 6:08 a.m. CST

    In that list i'd trade "Groundhog Day" for "Triangle"

    by albert comin

    "Groundhog Day", for all it's fun factor, is truly another moralistic comedy so common in the 80s and 90s, and too easy to guess how it would end. "Triangle" truly kicked my butt, and never once i could guess what would come next, very unpredictable movie, which is nice. Smart little movie, and Melissa George was awesome in it.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 6:10 a.m. CST

    What movie was that where the time machine was a public toilet in a pub?

    by albert comin

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 6:16 a.m. CST

    Butterfly Effect should have topped this list and here's why...

    by iamatroll

    Regardless of your opinion on Ashton Kutcher, and personally, i can do without the guy, Butterfly Effect is the overall best time travel film, exactly for the reasons described in the intro leading up to the list: the notion of time travel as it relates to what has happened in one's past and the choice of changing or not changing what has happened. With Butterfly Effect, (SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT!) Kutcher's character finally comes to realize that no matter how many times he tries to "fix" things, something else adverse happens to someone. And maybe that's the final lesson one should learn from the concept of time travel: just because you have the opportunity to change things, no matter how noble your intentions, in the end you shouldn't. Bad things happen in life to all of us. But playing god and intervening in history is not the way to better one's life. If it were, i personally would have changed so much in my own life, but to what effect? who's to say that doing something to save someone's life or afford them a better opportunity in life isn't altering a lesson that needs to be learned or nullifying a strengthening of one's character that would have happened had no intervention occured? If i could, i would go back in time, and i'd still have my father, and i'd still be married to the woman i love, but then i wouldn't be who i am today, and perhaps things would be worse? Who knows? Who can ever know? Best to leave well enough alone, and try to make TOMORROW better, instead of trying to "fix" yesterday. Just my view from the cheap seats...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 6:33 a.m. CST

    The Final Countdown

    by iceman199

    Who doesn't love that movie. Modern aircraft carrier and jets in WWII??? Come on, should be No. 1!!!

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 6:35 a.m. CST

    The Butterfly Effect

    by I am_NOTREAL

    ...if the list is Best Time Travel Movies with Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, and Eric Stoltz in a bit part as a pedophile.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 6:58 a.m. CST

    Try This On...

    by DrEdwardMorbius

    OK, so these are all good suggestions for goor time travel flicks, but what if you could only pick 5 movies to watch for the rest of your life? Mine are here, feel free to add yours to the comments...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 7:07 a.m. CST

    TIME AFTER TIME should have been on the top 5 list!!!

    by Mark Williams

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 7:12 a.m. CST

    You can have your Final Countdown, but I'll take Time Rider!!

    by Mel Garga

    Motorcross guy randomly travels through time to the old west where he outwits bandits and outlaws with his dirt bike. A must see!!

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 7:12 a.m. CST

    Oh, and don't forget Trancers!!

    by Mel Garga

    Right? Right?

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 7:24 a.m. CST

    let's try something different...

    by paynoattentiontothemanbehindthecurtain

    what ideas do you guys have for time travel movies you'd love to see? i actually think found footage could be used really effectively for a time travel movie...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 7:34 a.m. CST

    Groundhog Day

    by pr0g2west

    Yes! I think on the dvd, in Harold Ramis' commentary, he says something about being trapped for 10,000 years...not 1000.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Time travel ideas, hmm...

    by veebeeyes

    I always thought it'd be cool to do a time travel TV series. Something kind of like sliders, except that it's a rock band that travels through time and solves problems with music. Like, in one episode they could go back to Nazi Germany and play their music so loud that Hitler's head explodes. But I think the concept wouldn't last for very long before getting old. I also had this idea about a dude who travels back to various periods in history to give people future technology. You know, I just think it'd be cool to see cavemen using rayguns, or George Washington walking around carrying a big 80's boombox on his shoulder. But the idea doesn't really work. In order for Future Guy to be giving technology to Past Dudes, the Past Dudes would obviously have to offer something worthwhile. And what else could they offer other than historic artifacts? The thing is, Future Guy doesn't need to trade. He's got a time machine, he should pretty easily be able to just steal the shit. And then that's just Time Bandits, and it completely skips over the best part with the anachronisms and stuff. Anyway, I'm not very good at coming up with ideas.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Great list Nordling...

    by WavingFlagsInSpace

    ...the perfect combination to generate fanboy ire. No Terminator? Check. A Purgatory Flick which doesn't really fit the essence of time travel? Check. Name-check mate's film on AICN to promote it? Check. Hipster-flick as No.1 choice? Check. Make a Top 5 and then claim a trilogy counts as one? Check. It's list making, but by a woman. And where the fuck is Donnie Darko? Why can't that be the token hipster-flick choice over Primer?

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:05 a.m. CST

    What, no Somewhere in Time ?

    by durhay

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:07 a.m. CST


    by Glen Saunders

    Not only a terrific time travel film but a great film to boot.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:12 a.m. CST

    No Millennium??

    by GBH

    not my favorite, just sayin....

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:13 a.m. CST

    No DVD column? Pointless lists instead.

    by Michael Thompson

    AICN star keeps falling and falling.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Nobody has mentioned Donnie Darko?

    by el-guappo

    I can't believe that hasn't been brought up yet! It's not my favorite time travel movie but it has such peculiarity that it almost requires multiple viewings.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Could someone PLEASE tell me where I can find this Primer movie?

    by TheMachinist

    Or as you call it, " OMG HIPSTUR GARBAGE". Looks like the Inception of time travel movies.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Robert Hays!

    by Bill Howard

    There was a great film in 1990 called Running Against Time with Robert Hays, about a man who travels back in time to stop JFKs assassination so that JFK would have pulled troops out of Vietnam and his brother never would have went and died. But he ends up getting mistaken as the assassin instead of Oswald. Great flick!

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" & "The Butterfly Effect

    by HalloweeN Ted

    Where are "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" & "The Butterfly Effect"? B&T is classic. And, "The Butterfly Effect" showed that Ashton Kutcher could step away from the "goofy" persona roles that he has now locked himself into for life. Amazing film. But, if you haven't seen it, don't watch the "Director's Cut" first. Watch the original Theatrical Cut before any other version. Just my opinion, but, the Theatrical version is superior and the ending is done much better.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:37 a.m. CST

    Primer Audio...

    by topaz4206

    is FUCKED UP. I can't hear the actors half the time. Someone should really buy the script and double the budget to $500 so we can hear what they're saying. Oh, and replace all the actors.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Not a movie, but season five of Lost was some great time travel shit

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Time travel is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi concepts, but far too often they don't add up in any logical sense (like in Frequency...Dennis Quaid shoots the bad guy's hand off in 1969, and we see his hand magically melting away in 2000, which makes no sense...if he lost it 30 years earlier, then he shouldn't have had it in 2000). Tony Scott's Deja Vu is a film I really like, but the ending has a fundamental flaw (SPOILERS)...if Denzel went back in time to prevent the death of Paula Patton, and succeeded, then the "loop" can't work, because it's Denzel falling in love with her dead body in the morgue(?!) that inspired him to go back and save her. Also, early in the movie, there's a moment where Denzel hears a cell phone ringing from inside a body bag, with the same ringtone as his phone. Are we to assume that the body inside is himself, from a "failed" attempt at going back? How many times he he go back before he was successful at preventing the bomb from blowing up the ferry?

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:47 a.m. CST


    by paynoattentiontothemanbehindthecurtain

    i think they're both solid, and i'm gonna steal 'em. thanks for playing.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:55 a.m. CST

    @briantag Re: BTTF 3

    by Sequitur

    Actually Zemeckis addressed that when the movie came out. They really wanted Lea Thompson in the movie, but could not find a good role for her. So they cast her in the Mr's McFly role to mirror the scenes from the first films. He knew the consequences, but explained it as "...To me it says the McFly men just look for the same type of woman throughour history" I know it's not a logical reason, but they were aware.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Just to let you guys know: I was first!

    by Fah-Cue


  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:58 a.m. CST

    No Terminator? Fuck mother fuckers! Fuck!! What the fuck!

    by BilboRing

    Fuck! Fuck! Fucker!

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 8:58 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    durhay, SOMEWHERE IN TIME? With Christopher Reeve going back in time and falling in love with Jane Seymour. As a kid I used to have zero interest in love stories or romance movies but that was the first one that I really liked. It may well have aged badly but it'd be interesting to see it again today...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Best time travel movie list without THE TERMINATOR? I think Nordling's a couple cans short of a six pack.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:01 a.m. CST

    weekly column on time

    by Chris Kirby

    does not compute

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Waiving Flags...

    by el-guappo

    And there we have it! Oops.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:08 a.m. CST


    by Dan

    The best time travel movies are never about the gimmick, but some broader, deeper. I'll throw a bone to STAR TREK: IV, again, its not the gimmick that makes the film work, although we never notice the gimmick once its used... THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE- a nice romantic story, nothing huge about it, it's just a nice flick... THE TIME MACHINE- I like the Guy Pierce version... great score...great performances...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Good call on Star Trek 4.

    by bat725

    It's the best reviewed ST movie of all time, if I'm not mistaken. And, yeah, where's BIll & Ted? Haven't seen Primer or Timecrimes, yet, but, I will, according to my future self.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:11 a.m. CST

    I have more questions.

    by UltraTron

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Generic TB post--I do not see my fave film, this list is FAIL!!

    by Robert Evans

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:13 a.m. CST

    that said..where defuck is TIMERIDER!?!?

    by Robert Evans

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:14 a.m. CST


    by Robert Evans

    It works so much better as a film if you look at it as Braddock going back in time, not to save his fellow POWs, but to fuck up Charlie..

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Terminator, Time Bandits, Time After Time . . .

    by Nice Marmot

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:17 a.m. CST

    LOVE Groundhog Day . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . but is it really a time travel flick?

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:22 a.m. CST


    by ReefShark

    Like Primer, requires multiple viewings and side-by-side beats it. Should have made the list...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Somewhere In Time

    by Shannon Nutt

    I understand if people like BTTF more, but my favorite time travel movie is somehwere in time. And what about the great Time After Time with Malcolm McDowell and David Warner? It's also top-five worthy. Also missing from this list: the original Planet of the Apes; Frequency; The Terminator; Time Bandits; and both Star Trek IV and Star Trek: First Contact. Plus, I don't know of anyone who thinks of Groundhog Day as a "time travel" movie...he's not travelling through time - he's stuck in one spot! If Groundhog Day is a time travel film, then so is Field of Dreams - and it should have trumped Groundhog Day.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST


    by Shannon Nutt

    I see he DID mention Time After Time and the Terminator in the final paragraph... :)

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:26 a.m. CST

    TIME BANDITS--->Best time travelling midget movie ever made.

    by Robert Evans

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:33 a.m. CST

    There is a difference between Time Travel and Alternate Realities

    by shutupfanboy

    Its a Wonderful Life is an alternate reality. As for me, I have never seen Primer, but that chart looks both stupid and intriguing. Still, nothing tops Back to the Future. I would also say First Contact was good for the moral of the people we worship are not always good people.

  • I would've Back To The Future trilogy at number 1. I'm sorry I freaking adore those movies I definitely like 2 the best. But still those movies were like you said timeless. And pray no idiot tries to remake them, because they should be left ALONE! I definitely wouldn't have put 12 Monkeys on here I'm sorry it was just ok. Never really considered Ground Hog Day a time travel movie more like a fantasy. But yeah Frequency was an excellent time travel movie.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:43 a.m. CST

    PRIMER is fantastic. fah-cue is a twat.

    by NightArrows

    And Time Bandits is one flick I could never love.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:56 a.m. CST

    The George Pal Time Machine is a perfect jewel box of a movie.

    by blackmantis

    So lovingly crafted, and Rod Taylor's performance is great.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:57 a.m. CST

    4 words. Not a great movie, but fun. Hot. Tub. Time. Machine.

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    When a character actually turns to the camera and says the title...golden cheese.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:06 a.m. CST

    If you can't keep up, than go to hell

    by harrys_site_sucks

    "than" go to hell? "than" It's "then" Jesus fucking chirst. Learn the correct use of the goddamned english language.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:06 a.m. CST

    @Mr bilboring

    by albert comin

    Quoting from "The Innkeepers"?

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    I'd like to see a film version of the novel "Time On My Hands"

    by albert comin

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    army of darkness.

    by THE_CH0PPAH

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Yes, Pal's Time Machine MUST be on any such list...

    by Detached

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Yes, Pal's Time Machine MUST be on any such list...

    by Detached

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:21 a.m. CST

    sorry for the double post

    by Detached

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:23 a.m. CST

    by Glen Saunders

    Yeah that was a good film..............even a bit unconventional in terms of time travel films but it worked.

  • ... not only does it sound very interesting, but i agree that if we could mess with time/history, it would be a very bad idea -although, who would know even if we did it? i might have gone back in time this morning & changed history & no one might know. but maybe primer answers that question... there is a theory in science - i don't think it's been updated - that not only can we not change the past, we can't change the future either. food for thought...

  • When people think of that movie, they tend to think of it as a decent comedy, and not really think about the logic of the time-travel. However, I think the temporal logic in Bill & Ted's is pretty solid. No paradoxes, etc. But that's just me.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:29 a.m. CST

    cedhollywood the Hitler comments aren't some kind of insult...

    by u.k. star

    It's just going on from your statement about time travel where Hitler gets killed and things get worse. Just as people are mentioning Lost, Star Trek: TNG and DS9, as well as other TV shows. It's just expanding on the theme. In my comments I even say that I don't recall a movie that does it.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:31 a.m. CST

    I totally forgot about 'Millennium'...

    by Bill C.'s a pretty solid B-movie where time travel is a fairly integral and consistent part of the narrative (versus merely being primarily a McGuffin, which I suspect kept 'The Time Machine' off Nordling's list--as beautiful and flawless as that movie is). And the cigarette-zapping laser, for some reason, never stops being funny...

  • All that build up to an epic air battle, and then nothing. That movie is a fucking bait and switch.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:35 a.m. CST

    What's better: The Time Tunnel, Voyagers, or Quantum Leap?

    by Royston Lodge


  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Run Lola Run is a time-travel movie?

    by Royston Lodge

    Somehow, I missed that part of the story completely.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:51 a.m. CST


    by crimsoncinder

    I remember that as a kid. The time watch show I used to call it.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 11:02 a.m. CST

    That first season Heroes when they jumped fwd 5 years

    by Cess Pitt

    They should have stayed there instead of the BS direction they went.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 11:03 a.m. CST

    @ch0ppah --- that makes it an alternate universe concept, not time-travel

    by sydbarrettcrazydiamond

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Choppah does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Choppah has time travelled back from the future... TO TAKE FUCKING REVENGE! (starting with you, imposter Ch0ppah!)

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 11:57 a.m. CST

    fag-cue is HORRIBLE!

    by ScriptCunt

    Has retarded opinions *and* is a firstie-shouter...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, noon CST

    I would throw CONTACT on that list somewhere.

    by CountOrlok

    The fact that it recorded static isn't what interests me... what interests me is that it recorded approximately eighteen hours of it.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Time travel isn't likely, unfortunately...

    by Ace of Wands

    Nordling, keep up; the Nazi's did Time Travel way back in the '40's and keep popping in and out of timelines ever since, which is why fucking History changes from day to fucking day. Damn Time Travelling Nazi's.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Nice to see some love for "Somewhere in Time"

    by jim

    by partyflavor: " Christopher Reeve. Jane Seymour. Enough said." One more thing to be said: written by Richard Matheson

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:32 p.m. CST

    George Pal

    by William Schwartz

    I'm glad to see that there are at least a few people here that apppreciate Pal's The Time Machine. The story and effects are both very good. Besides, the design of the machine itself is one classic SF's greatest designs.

  • It's utterly brilliant. I just rewatched it with someone new just last week after not having seen it myself for a few years, and everyone I show it to is blown away. What I love about it is it's hyper-realism, it wasn't even made by filmmakers, it was made by an actual MIT bred engineer who had an idea, and he got all his friends and family to help him execute it. So it's 85% tech jargon, but it's completely believable, and like Nord said, it doesn't give a fuck if you keep up. You're just a fly on the wall watching these very real guys experience what one character appropriately calls "the most important thing anyone on this planet has ever seen". The way the guys react is exactly the way a regular, albeit super smart, person would react. And the cast isn't actors, they're real people who live those kinds of lives. And the plot/ending/guy at party thing is appropriate because its true to reality, real life isn't filled with these grand climaxes. People are complaining about the simple plot, but no ones talking about the complete lack of plot whatsoever from Timecrimes (and again I love that movie). But even with all the realism in Primer, it still somehow manages to be one of the most intense 75 min films I've ever seen. Between the beautiful keyboard score, the editing and voiceover, and overall gravity of the situation, the film builds this rising intensity that always has me on the edge. But most of all it just gives me hope, when a non-filmmaker can just get an idea and $7000 and make THIS!? I think that's pretty awesome. And still most have never heard of it, so bravo Nord for giving it the spotlight despite the "Terminator" calls from the peanut gallery, which I love, but if anyone actually calls it intelligent sci-fi, I will laugh as I punch you.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Anyone remember SLIDERS???

    by Bill

    I know, It's a TV show. And it's a lil corny. But damn was it fun to flesh out all sorts of alternate realities...Including the Infamous "Hitler Problem"!!

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Anyone seen "Repeaters"?

    by jim

    Canadian movie from 2010. Like "Groundhog Day", but with three kids in their 20s, with a day-pass from rehab, repeating the same day over and over. Unlike "Groundhog Day", it's not a comedy. It's much more serious in tone, dealing with the ethics of right and wrong versus the ability to avoid consequences thanks the day resetting.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Fuck Darko up its stupid, pretentious ass. But, vote Yes to Triangle

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    The first third of The Time Machine was excellent, until they got the future. The FX of the passing of time was brilliant in that. Then albino Irons turned up :(

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:39 p.m. CST

    My top five

    by Dasinfogod

    Slaughterhouse Five Safety Not Guaranteed Final Countdown Scrooge (1951) Army of Darkness

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST

    The 'Old Biff using the time machine' is even simpler than that...

    by Darth Macchio exactly did he use it? Were there instructions on the underside of the visors? Also - why didn't Doc notice the time settings as being incorrect after Old Biff returned? Presuming Old Biff figured out how to use the time machine (I can just about buy everything on that except the 88mph - how would he know to go 88mph? just luck? perhaps)..but Doc never notices that the indicators shows that the Delorean just came from 1955? Doc and Marty are in the alternate 1985 having just come back from the future (2015) so the Delorean should have listed the future as the last stop but it wouldn't have if Old Biff took it to 1955 to give young Biff the almanac. Why didn't Doc notice that? They even show the time circuitry messing up earlier in BTTF2 to setup the lightening strike zap off to 1885 at the end (you even see it blink on 1885 a couple times) but they overlooked showing the Doc puzzling why the time machine indicates it just came from 1955 when it should say 2015? Not a massive plot hole per se...but definitely an issue. The time travel aspects are just all over the place - no fun if you look at them logically of course. That's the whole thing really - the BTTF movies are far too much fun and effortlessly "adventurous" to be dragged through a fine-toothed logic comb - that's how you get away with fudging the science, make it so much fun that even if the science is REALLY bad, it's already forgiven. If you watched any of the BTTF flicks with science in mind, I'm going to wager you missed out tremendously. And that would be sad. Save the sci-fi for Asimov and enjoy the show!

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Don't watch this

    by Brigon

    Watching this video has spoilt all my future viewings of Back to the Future III. I can't unsee it now. I really loved that film too.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:15 p.m. CST

    TErminator Mistake?

    by holidill

    If they succeed in stopping the future where the Robots take over. Why would they send Reese back in time? He cant have sex with Sarah and get her pregnant with John when there is no reason to send him back...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:24 p.m. CST

    George Pal's The Time Machine is still a fun easy watch even today.

    by albert comin

    As an adaptation of the original HG Wells story it's a bit simplistic and completly missed the point of the novel, but taken as an adventure movie, it's great. And the hot eloi blonde girl in the movie is the same women that is part of the crew of the Palomino in "The Black Hole". She didn't aged gracefully!

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Terminator mistake....?

    by Dan

    Reese said, once your time was fated, that was it, no meddling in the past would correct why did Part 2 happen? Did I miss something....or was he speaking before Judgement Day occurred?

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Ditto to DS9's "The Visitor," beautiful, touching story!

    by Dan

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 3:01 p.m. CST

    donnie darko would've been on my list

    by TheBaxter

    but you can't dispute primer's spot at #1, really the only movie i've ever seen that's taken the time travel premise 100% seriously and to it's logical conclusion.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    Phil's omniscience of the townsfolk of Punxatawney seems to extend to every last citizen.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST

    No HOT TUB TIME MACHINE? List is dead to me!

    by Lars Espeter

    .... just kidding ...

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Yeah but 10 thousand years? really?

    by Darth Macchio

    Live the same day for over ten thousand years? Be over ten thousand years old??!?!? And be the same guy? Really? Phil wouldn't just know everything about everybody - he'd exist in a state of mind that no one can possibly even imagine or likely even comprehend. Do you really think you'd have similar thought processes after living the same day for a hundred years, much less thousands? Tens of thousands? He can't leave and I doubt the libraries of that town had all the world's knowwledge ( He'd have to be forgetting some things at some point or he'd be so hopelessly insane as to not be able to clothe or feed himself. And if he was forgetting stuff, he'd likely have trouble with everything else that happened in the movie, etc, etc... Personally, I'd go with decades or, perhaps less likely, hundreds of years. A single sentient person having the consciousness of someone who has lived for many thousands of years would very likely be unlike any being that has ever existed in our known experience and history. 99%, if not 100%, of everything socially constructed would seem so pointless and meaningless - I doubt you'd ever come back from something like that to anything remotely resembling "normal". No matter tho - excellent movie (love the driving with the groundhog scenes the best...and the drunk driving on the train tracks scene.."Flapjacks! Get some flapjacks!" "Is it too early for flapjacks?")

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Don't forget honorable mention to Final Countdown...

    by Darth Macchio

    The F-4 meet-up with those Mitsubishi Zeros was quite the scene.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Groundhogs Day is a direct rip-off of...

    by TheManWithTheHat

    ...12:01 PM. Short film with Kurtwood Smith. FANTASTIC "time travel" film with a killer ending!! The makers of GD should have been sued into oblivion!!

  • me some Groundhog Day, but The Terminator is the better time-travel movie, IMHO.


  • Sept. 17, 2012, 6:33 p.m. CST

    Back To The Future Should Be #1.

    by BigTuna

    What a classic. A perfect film that every genration can enjoy. Primer? Seriously? Way too convoluted. And Time After Time is easily top 5.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 6:46 p.m. CST


    by VoiceOfSaruman

    was quite clever in its plotting and its resourcefulness with a low budget, but the actors (or the direction, and let's throw the cinematography in too) were not strong enough to make it a classic film. BTTF may have loopholes etc., but it and its sequels are just far more enjoyable films.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 9:46 p.m. CST

    You want a BTTF plothole?

    by Mondo_dismo

    In BTTF1 Einstein travels 5 mins into the future. The trip is instantaneous to him, but to Marty and Doc he DISAPPEARS for 5 minutes. Note also that when Einstein completes his journey there is still only ONE Einstein - not two versions of him. In BBTF2, Marty, Doc & Jennifer travel 30 years into the future, but rather than disappearing for 30 years, they continue to lead normal lives and grow old. When 1985 M, D & J arrive in the future there are now 2 versions of each character. Still, I love the movies so much I don't mind if they break their own rules.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Lost. Season four. "The Constant"

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    'Nuff said.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Never heard of Primer...

    by BBSloth

    but it sounds awesome

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Primer's plot, when unwound, isn't nearly that complicated.

    by Jollymorphic

    I watched that thing about 12 times (I am not exaggerating) and started taking notes around the 8th time or so. I had it boiled down to either three or four timelines (this was some time ago), with every event clearly accounted for. Shane Carruth is a good writer; he wouldn't have indulged in such Rube Goldberg ostentation.

  • Sept. 17, 2012, 11:58 p.m. CST

    I'm glad someone finally mentioned Trancers

    by TheDiscoPlumber

    You can't really put it in a top 5 list, unless it's "Top 5 Cheesy Fun Time Travel Movies", but I'm glad someone else remembers good ol' Jack Deth. Oh, and Back to the Future 3 is for squids.

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 1:19 a.m. CST

    Same Here

    by JohnIan

    Trancers is one of favorite time travel films along with Time Rider. There should be a special edition DVD, Australia Trancers got a commentary. Well, that and remaster the thing; not the laser disc transfer.

  • The first one ends with the following words: TO BE CONTINUED I think they might have had sequels in mind.

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 2:26 a.m. CST


    by darthvedder81

    Actually the original 1985 release didn't feature the "To Be Continued..." at the end. That was added when the movie went to video and they knew more sequels were coming. The DVD/BluRay releases preserve the original ending (no "To Be Continued...")

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 5:53 a.m. CST


    by Mondo_dismo

    Just to play devil's advocate...

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 7:07 a.m. CST

    Dr Who meets Shaun of the Dead

    by C0CKLES

    And it has Anna Farris looking cute as a fuckable button.

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 7:18 a.m. CST

    And on the subject of Who

    by C0CKLES

    These won't disappoint:- Blink - Obviously! The Big Bang (make sure you watch the previous episode The Pandorica Opens). City of Death (classic Who) - special bonus Julian Glover as the villian!

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Lost credability when claimed BTTF2 better than BTTF

    by filmcoyote

    BTTF is a perfect movie. There's not an ounce of fat on that movie. It's insanely lean and paced to perfection. 2 and 3 are good movies but they don't come close to the flawlessness of part 1. I suspect to think so Nordling must have grown up having them all to see together rather than getting the first and then 4-5 years later the sequels. You see this time and again with franchises that people that only encounter the franchise as a complete set don't see the wood for the trees. BTTF2 & 3 have a lot of baggy moments and pairly forced humour. I love 'em but they are not in the same league as BTTF.

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 9:24 a.m. CST

    PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED from the director of THE GODFATHER

    by gaygoonie

    A very sweet, heartfelt movie with real emotion in it. It's definitely for a more mature crowd - it's relatively low tech but high on emotion.

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Oh and the BTTF trilogy jumped the shark when...

    by gaygoonie

    Fox started playing everyone in his family. Past and future Generations don't look like each other. That's why the first film works best = the realism.

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST


    by lucasdefender

    The lack of Donnie Darko's presence on your top 5 is troubling. However the failure to even mention it's existence to be considered for the list, is an unpardonable sin for this fanboy. Henceforth, an explanation or apology is called for!

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 3:19 p.m. CST

    @ gaygoonie

    by lucasdefender

    Agreed. There seems to be an intentional move away from the feeling of realism that existed in the first film in comparison with the second and third. Zemeckis really is disappointing and I do not get him. In fact, I feel like a good way to describe his career is an intentional move away from realism (Forrest Gump's philosophy, an unending mess-around with motion captured technology etc). He made one of the most special movies with BTTF and it is unfortunate that whatever happened through him with that movie, has never really come close to happening again... Thats is all

  • Sept. 18, 2012, 11:15 p.m. CST

    I Like you Nordling...but no Star Trek Whales, no Terminator?

    by conspiracy

    fuuuuck dude.