Favorite Time Travel Movies of Ronald L. Mallett
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Ron Mallett's
Time Travel

The Time Machine (1960): Based on H.G. Wells' book, a Victorian inventor (Rod Taylor) travels into the future to find humanity has divided into two warring races.

"At the beginning of the movie, the time traveler gives an explanation of time as the fourth dimension. I've never seen that explanation in another movie, and it is a key aspect of Wells' book " The Time Machine" as well as Einstein's theory of relativity."


Deja Vu (2007): A federal agent (Denzel Washington) uses a top secret government time shifting device to help prevent a crime.

"This movie effectively uses the concept of a time machine in a dramatic and realistic fashion that deals with the paradoxes of time travel"

Back to the Future (1985): A 1985 teen (Michael J. Fox) travels back in time 30 years in a souped-up DeLorean as a time machine, and jeopardizes his own existence by altering events in his parents' lives.

"Back to the Future is a delighfully entertaining time travel movie. The movie has a personal significance for me because the hero travels back in time to the year 1955 which is the same year my father died."

Time Cop (1994): With time travel comes new opportunities for criminals. A member of a special police force (Jean-Claude Van Damme) tries to stop a corrupt politician from using the device to become president.

"People ask me all the time: 'Wouldn't there be abuses if time travel were possible?' I like this movie because it addresses how time travel would have to be regulated like everything else in our lives."

Planet of the Apes (1968): Astronauts (including Charleton Heston) who land on a planet ruled by intelligent apes learn they've returned home, but far into the future.

"Einstein's theory of special relativity says that if a rocket can go fast enough, you would end up in the future. This movie is an excellent example of that."

Somewhere in Time (1980): A Chicago playwright (Christopher Reeve) uses self-hypnosis to find the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.

"Their handling of time travel is pseudo science, but I like the paradox they set up with the watch. Beautifully done."

Frequency (2000): A son (James Caviezel) tries to saves the life of his late father (Dennis Quaid) after an environmental phenomenon links the two via a ham radio, 30 years apart.

"The notion of a son trying to save his father via this mechanism of radio signals, well, that's my story. Talk about bringing tears to my eyes."

The Butterfly Effect (2004): A young man (Ashton Kutcher) who learns how to travel through time finds that reversing harmful experiences can lead to other tragedies.

"It was a great movie because it talked about what could happen if you change the past, the alternate realties you could create and the consequences."

Other Popular Time Travel Films

  • Time After Time (1979): H.G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper to the 20th century when Jack uses the writer's machine.

  • 2009: Lost Memories (2002): In a world in which Japan had allied with the United States during World War II, a Korean federal agent goes back in time to change the past.

  • The Final Countdown (1980): A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back to 1941, hours before the Pearl Harbor attack.

  • Time Bandits (1981): A boy joins a band of dwarves as they jump between time periods stealing treasures.

  • Terminator (1984):A robot from the future comes to kill the mother of an as-yet-unborn rebel leader.

  • The Philadelphia Experiment (1984): Based on real-life allegations, a WWII Navy ship disappears into the future.

  • Star Trek IV (1986): The crew must fetch an extinct humpback whale from the past to satisfy a dangerous visitor.

  • Flight of the Navigator (1986): A boy's adventure with an alien ship that moved him eight years into the future.

  • Peggy Sue Got Married (1986): Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion, then awakes in her pre-graduation past.

  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989): Two teens use a time machine to help with history homework.

  • Millennium (1989): A 30th-century time machine is invented to steal people from the past before they die.

  • Army of Darkness (1993): A man accidentally transported to 1300 A.D. must battle an army of the dead to return home.

  • 12 Monkeys (1995): A convict is sent back in time to find the means to cure a devastating plague.

  • Donnie Darko (2001): An emotionally disturbed boy doesn't know if he's going mad or time travelling.

  • Kate and Leopold (2001): A time warp near the Brooklyn Bridge brings a man from the 1870s into modern New York.

  • Timeline (2003): Students go back to medieval France to rescue a teacher who got caught in a wormhole.

  • A Sound of Thunder (2005): Based on the classic short story by Ray Bradbury, hunters from the present visit prehistoric times and change their future.

  • The Jacket (2005): An American soldier shot in the head finds he is able to travel through time.

  • Primer (2004):Two engineers accidentally invent a time machine that allows time travel into the past and leads to increasingly complex paradoxes.

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1998-2008 Department of Physics, University of Connecticut
This page was last updated on July 12, 2008
Click on link for: UConn Physics home page of Ronald Mallett