‘Time Bandits’ | 1981
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Time travel in the movies

Plot: A boy named Kevin falls in with a thieving bunch of dwarfs who are following a map to riches throughout time while being pursued by a Supreme Being and an incarnation of evil.

Time period traveled to: Ancient Greece (8th to 6th centuries BC), the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and even Mycenaean Greece (1600-1100 BC).

Method of time travel: A time device, and occasionally rifts in time like those that could be behind a boy’s bedroom wall. (Avco Embassy Pictures)
Plot: Darius Britt (Aubrey Plaza), a magazine intern, accepts an assignment to investigate a classified ad seeking “Somebody to go back in time with me.” Darius discovers the ad was placed by grocery clerk Kenneth Calloway (Mark Duplass), and she poses as a candidate to join his mission. As they train and prepare, Darius develops feelings for Kenneth and begins to believe time travel might be possible.

Time period traveled to: The film is set in the present, but Darius and Kenneth both plan to travel to the near-past to prevent the deaths of loved ones.

Method of time travel: A swamp boat, rigged up with time travel gadgets Kenneth built using stolen lab equipment. (FilmDistrict / Big Beach)
Plot: Harry DeTamble (Eric Bana) survives a car crash by unintentionally travelling back in time two weeks. After the incident, DeTamble travels through time with no control over where he goes or when he goes there. His affliction causes complications when he falls in love with a woman named Clare (Rachel McAdams).

Time traveled to: DeTamble gets his ability in the early ‘70s, and his travels range from Clare’s younger years to after she gives birth to their daughter.

Method of time travel: DeTamble simply disappears and reappears elsewhere, naked wherever he ends up. (Alan Markfield / Associated Press)
Plot: Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves) must complete a report on how historical figures might react to modern times in order to pass their history class. Bill and Ted travel through time and collect historical figures such as Napolean Bonaparte, Socrates, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Lincoln, Genghis Khan and Joan of Arc for their assignment.

Time periods traveled to: Various stops from the 1900s to 410 BC.

Method of time travel: A 1960s-style American phone booth that charges with a current, then warps through time. (Fox Broadcasting Co.)
Plot: Evan Treborn (Ashton Krutcher) discovers that he can time-travel, but when he goes back into the past to change the outcomes of his present, he finds himself increasingly unhappy with how his actions have affected the ones he loves.

Time traveled to: Treborn visits various events that occurred during his childhood and adolescence.

Method of time travel: Reading journals from his teen years and recalling old memories, Treborn can travel back to those points in time. His time-jumping explains the frequent blackouts he experienced growing up. (Shane Harvey / New Line Productions)
Plot: At 21, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers the men in his family have powers to travel back in time and change whatever they’d like. Tim thinks if he had a girlfriend, he’d make the world a better place. After many sorry attempts, he wins the girl of his dreams (Rachel McAdams) but later learns time travel can’t solve all of life’s problems.

Time traveled to: Tim first travels back to a New Year’s Eve party, planning to kiss a girl he previously only shook hands with. The time-travel trips increase tenfold after that.

Method of time travel: Tim goes into a dark place, clenches his fists, thinks of the moment he’s going to, and then he’ll find himself there.  (Murray Close / Universal Pictures)
Plot: Though time travel has been outlawed, criminal organizations still use it to send those they want ousted into the past, where they are killed by assassins called “loopers.” The story centers on a looper (Joseph Gordon Levitt) whose latest assignment turns out to be his older self (Bruce Willis).

Time traveled to: The older looper travels 30 years back to 2044, in an attempt to alter the results of his present life in 2074.

Method of time travel: A metal sphere that looks similar to a safe, wired with all sorts of electronic piping. (Alan Markfield / MCT)
Plot: During Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts, convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped prison and is rumored to be looking for Harry. As Black’s true intentions are revealed, Harry attempts to clear the wizard’s name.

Time traveled to: Harry and best friend Hermione transport themselves three hours backward to prevent Sirius Black’s untimely capture.

Method of time travel: Hermione’s time turner, an hourglass necklace that gives wearers the ability to travel short distances into the past. (Murray Close / Warner Bros. Pictures)
Plot: Faced with the danger of an alien probe that strips starships of their powers and wrecks the Earth’s climate, former officers of the USS Enterprise go back in time to Earth in hopes of obtaining the frequencies of humpback whales, the only organisms that can communicate with the disruptive probe.

Time traveled to: The crew travels from 2286 back to 1986 San Francisco.

Method of time travel: The crew uses the orbit of the Sun to slingshot themselves into the past. ()
Plot: After being cryogenically frozen against his will, health-food store owner Miles Monroe (Woody Allen) is revived two centuries later to help rebel scientists infiltrate the dictatorship that has taken root in the country.

Time traveled to: Monroe leaves the 1970s for a dystopic 22nd century America.

Method of time travel: Monroe is cryogenically frozen, allowing his body to be preserved for hundreds of years. (United Artists)
Plot: Agent Jay (Will Smith) must travel back in time to 1969, where he teams up with a younger version of Agent Kay (Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones) to stop an evil alien from destroying the future.

Time period traveled to: 1969

Method of time travel: Time jump gear. A time-travel device that, for some reason, only works well when you jump off a building or other high place to pick up speed. (Imageworks)
Plot: TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is stuck in a time loop that forces him to relive Punxsutawney, Pa.'s annual Groundhog Day festivities on Feb. 2 over and over again. During the repeated day he falls in love with Rita (Andie MacDowell), his news producer.

Time traveled to: Every day resets to 6 a.m. on Feb. 2.

Method of time travel: No matter where Connors ends the previous day, he finds himself in his motel room waking up to his radio alarm playing Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe.” (Louis Goldman / Columbia Pictures)
Plot: In a future world where a viral outbreak renders Earth uninhabitable and time travel exists, a convicted criminal (Bruce Willis) returns to the past to collect information on the virus in exchange for pardon, while struggling with his sanity.

Time traveled to: Willis travels from 2035 to 1996, the epidemic’s start date.

Method of time travel: An unreliable time machine equipped with plastic transporter tube. (Phillip Caruso )
Plot: Teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is accidentally sent back in time, meeting his future high school-age parents. Somehow he attracts his mother’s interest. To deter that, he stops at nothing to reunite the pair in order to save himself.

Time traveled to: McFly travels back from the year 1985 to 1955, thanks to a device made known to him by friend Dr. Emmet “Doc” (Christopher Lloyd) Brown late one night in a deserted shopping mall.

Method of time travel: An altered 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 vehicle, powered by plutonium with the horsepower to drive 88 miles per hour.  (Universal Pictures)
Plot: After Alan Parrish (Robin Williams) gets released from a 26-year imprisonment in a board game, he joins the game’s new players in a race to the finish before the game’s magic destroys their city.

Time traveled to: 1995, nearly 30 years after Parrish is first sucked into the game.

Method of time travel: A cursed board game that brings deadly jungle obstacles to life. (Rob McEwan / ColumbiaTriStar Pictures)
Plot: George, the Victorian Englishman, (Rod Taylor) builds a time travel machine to delve into the future, only to find that humanity has divided into two adverse species.

Time traveled to: George takes a 17-year leap into the future when he travels from the year 1890 to 1917. He meets an old friend (Alan Young) whom he mistakes for his father. His friend tells him his father died in war, and that England has been at war with Germany since 1914.

Method of time travel: A tiny machine that can carry humans into the past or the future. When activated, it dims and dissipates.  (Los Angeles Times)
Plot: Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) reevaluates his life and his relationship with his fiancée while in Paris for their wedding. Remarkably, he’s able to travel back in time each night to the 1920s, interacting with luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and more.

Time period traveled to: 1920s

Method of time travel: A car, a 1920s Peugeot, picks Gil up. There’s no discernible time-travel transition. (Cannes Film Festival / EPA)
Plot: Four engineers run a side business at night, selling error-detecting devices. They use their profits to fund personal projects. A pair of engineers named Abe (David Sullivan) and Aaron (Shane Carruth) create a machine to reduce the weight of an object, only to find out the machine has the abilities to travel back in time.

Time traveled to: Abe travels back to the time before he took his first time travel trip. He aims to prevent his past self from using the machine for time travel.

Method of time travel: Abe creates and uses a “failsafe machine” he built in secret to go back four days in time, but encounters other challenges when he arrives.  (Sundance Film Festival)
Plot: Richard Collier (Christopher Reeves), a young playwright, meets an elderly woman at the opening of his first play. The woman, Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour), gives him an antique watch and tells him to come back to her. Later, the now very successful Richard sees a portrait of her as a young woman hanging in Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel. He falls in love and consults a professor to time-travel to find her again.

Time traveled to: 1912

Method of time travel: Self-hypnosis, but things go terribly awry when he finds a 1979 penny he accidentally took with him. After he can’t get back to 1912, he dies of grief, only to be reunited with his love forever. (Universal Studios Home Video)
Plot: Homocide detective John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) inadvertently establishes a line of communication with his deceased father (Dennis Quaid) a day before the warehouse fire that takes his life. Able to save his father with a warning, Sullivan creates a new timeline and horrible consequences the pair must fix.

Time traveled to: Sullivan’s radio transmissions go 30 years back.

Method of time travel: Sullivan transmits messages to his father through his father’s old ham radio. (Takashi Seida / New Line Cinema)
Plot: Archeology professor Edward Johnston (Billy Connolly) has been sponsored by ITC corporation to excavate the ruins of the village Castlegard, France. When the team, which includes Johnson’s son Chris (Paul Walker) and student Kate Ericson (Frances O’Connor), discovers a 600-year-old plea for help written on parchment by the professor in a sealed chamber within the ruins, they find out ITC has a device that has inadvertently opened a wormhole to 14th century France and they must travel there to save the professor.

Time period traveled to: 14th century France, during the Hundred Years’ War.

Method of time travel: A machine designed to transmit objects through space. (Stephen Vaughan)
Plot: Jack Starks (Adrien Brody), a Gulf War veteran, is sent to a mental institution, where he is administered nightly treatments that involve being injected with experimental drugs, bound in a straitjacket and placed inside a morgue drawer. Stark travels 15 years into the future, encounters Jackie Price, a girl he once helped on the side of the road, and discovers he will die Jan. 1, 1993. During subsequent trips between the two timelines, Stark tries to figure out how to escape the institution and prevent his death.

Time traveled to: 2007

Method of time travel: Mortuary drawer. (Paul Chedlow / Warner Independent Pictures)
Plot: Captain Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) crash-lands onto a planet called Ashlar, where humanoid apes rule and enslave humans. He discovers it is thousands of years in the future when he travels into an electromagnetic storm threatening his space station.

Time period to: 5021

Method of time travel: A space pod traveling through the electromagnetic storm.  (Sam Emerson / 20th Century Fox)
Plot: Soldier Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) finds himself aboard a train in the body of another man when the train car explodes and kills everyone present. As he regains consciousness in another reality, Stevens learns that he’s been assigned to revisit the explosion to discover who planted the bomb.

Time traveled to: Stevens is continuously transported to the eight minutes before the incident.

Method of time travel: “Source Code” is a technology that allows Stevens to embody another person in the last eight minutes of his lifespan. (Jonathan Wenk / Associated Press)
Plot: In Dickens’ classic tale of holiday redemption, a bitter moneylender named Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) is visited by spirits on Christmas Eve who warn him to change his miserly ways.

Time traveled to: The three spirits take him to points in his past, present and future.

Method of time travel: Mysterious Christmas apparitions. (John Bramley / ImageMovers Digital)
Plot: Racecar driver Alex Furlong (Emilio Estevez) is snatched by time travel seconds before a fatal car explosion, landing in the possession of captor (Mick Jagger), who plans to sell his body to the ailing wealthy.

Time traveled to: Furlong is transported from 1991 to 2009.

Method of time travel: Furlong gets to the future via “bonejacker,” a mercenary that brings people to the future right before they die so rich clients can use their healthy bodies to elongate their own lives. (Morgan Creek Productions / ABC)
Plot: 19th century Duke Leopold (Hugh Jackman) finds love in New York when he accidentally transports himself to modern-day New York.

Time traveled to: The 1876 duke finds himself in the 21st century.

Method of time travel: Leopold falls off an unfinished bridge into a time portal. (John Baer / Miramax Films)
Plot: When Special Agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) is sent back in time to prevent a domestic terrorist attack, he falls for a woman who was murdered before the incident.

Time traveled to: Carlin’s mission encapsulates the four days leading up to the attack.

Method of time travel: An experimental technology called “Snow White” enables Carlin to look at past events in detail and send inanimate objects into the past. Carlin eventually persuades operators to send him back through time using the machine. (Buena Vista Pictures)
Plot: An artificially intelligent assassin (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from a post-apocalyptic future is sent back in time programmed to kill a waitress, whose son will end up leading the world into war against machines.

Time traveled to: The assassin travels back from the year 2029 to 1984, hoping to accomplish his mission.

Method of time-travel: The Terminator shoots up in the sky via lightning, lands on the ground naked in his destined place and later finds clothing and weapons to arm himself. (Los Angeles Times)
Plot: Sam Deed (Vincent D’Onofrio) travels from the year 2470 to escape false accusations of murder and to find and save a woman named Ruby Weaver (Marisa Tomei) whose photograph he found in a database of fatal accidents. Sam and Ruby fall in love, and Sam tries to prevent the accident that he knows is coming.

Time period traveled to: Present-day New York City.

Method of time travel: A time machine is mentioned but not shown or described. Sam describes time as something that can bend, allowing the past and future to exist side by side, and says “back-traveling” is like stepping sideways across the fold. As the result of his temporal journey, Sam suffers from Residual Temporal Drag Syndrome, which sometimes creates the illusion that time is running backward. (Jojo Whilden / IFC Films)
Plot: The life of a troubled teen named Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is drastically altered when he starts seeing visions of a man in a rabbit costume who tells him that the world will end in 28 days.

Time traveled to: At the beginning of the film, a spontaneous and unstable parallel universe is created. Darko has 28 days to put the world back in order before the parallel universe collapses and destroys everything.

Method of time travel (spoiler): Near the end of the movie a time-space vortex appears in the sky, bringing Darko back to Oct. 2, 1988, the date of the parallel universe’s creation. (Dale Robinette / New Market Films)
Plot: Dissatisfied with their lives, Adam Yates (John Cusack), Lou Dorchen (Rob Corddry) and Nick Webber (Craig Robinson) visit the Kodiak Valley Ski Resort along with Adam’s nephew Jacob (Clark Duke). The resort, much like the men, has seen better days. After a night of drinking in a hot tub, the friends wake up in 1986 and have to relive past events and decide whether or not to change their lives while attempting to get back to their time.

Time traveled to: 1986

Method of time travel: A hot tub, combined with some “Chernobyl” energy drink spilled on the controls.  (Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)
Plot: A company called Time Safari allows guests to travel back in time on hunting expeditions, but when one man breaks the rules by stepping off the tour path, he drastically changes the course of history.

Time traveled to: Tourists travel back to the Cretaceous period on a prehistoric hunting safari.

Method of time travel: Time travelers are strapped, roller-coaster-style, to a moving walkway filled with lights and sanitizing sprays. (Murray Close / Warner Bros. Pictures)