15 Must-See Time Travel Movies

back-to-the-future

Great Scott! On one hand, Back to the Future is quintessentially 1980s — you’ve got Huey Lewis on the soundtrack, Michael J. Fox in the lead, and a DeLorean for a time machine — but on the other, it’s a charmingly old-fashioned comedy that sends its hero back in time as much to save his own father from growing up to be a schmuck as it does to laugh along with the audience at the many ways in which American pop culture changed between 1955 and 1985. The sequels had their moments, but it’s the original that still really hits the spot; as Adam Smith wrote for Empire Magazine, “To put it bluntly: if you don’t like Back to the Future, it’s difficult to believe that you like films at all.”

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Two teenage idiots, George Carlin, and a magic phone booth. They don’t sound like the most likely ingredients for cinematic glory, but then there’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, starring Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves as our two non-intrepid heroes, a pair of high school buddies destined for greatness — but only if they can pass an upcoming history test. They get a little extra help courtesy of Rufus (Carlin), a citizen of the future utopian society inspired by the music Bill & Ted go on to record, who travels back in time to help them study by giving them some most excellent face time with historical figures like Napoleon, Socrates, Billy the Kid, and Abraham Lincoln. Not the most serious fare ever spun from the time-travel premise, but it works; as Larry Carroll wrote for Counting Down, “This is the rare kind of movie that you could watch along with your kids and actually feel like you’re teaching them something.”

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