This week we had to once again turn our clocks in service of Daylight Saving Time. While we only spring ahead one hour, it is surprisingly disorienting to make the change. Losing that one hour of sleep, especially if you have small children, can turn an entire household on its side. While the result of daylight later in the evening is kind of nice, it can be practically impossible to get everyone out the door in the morning when it’s still dark.
In honor of this annual “time travel” that we do, here is a look at some of the best movies throughout the years that tackle the topic of traveling through time.
6. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Our favorite dudes had to travel through time in a phone booth in order to ace their history project. By visiting such greats as Napoleon, Beethoven, Joan of Arc, and Abraham Lincoln (with a little help from George Carlin), they were able to ace their assignment. For fans of this time-traveling duo, you should be excited to know that a third movie, Bill and Ted Face the Music, is in production as we speak!
A linguist (Amy Adams) is called in to communicate with alien visitors from another planet. She discovers that they have come to offer a “weapon” to Earth, which is later discovered to be a powerful tool: their own language. Mastering their language means having the ability to see the future and the past. Throughout the film, we, along with Adams’s character, experience what seem like flashbacks. But when the real secret to the language is revealed, we realize that we’ve been seeing her future all along.
4. 12 Monkeys
It’s 2035, and prisoner James Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to find the virus that wiped out much of humanity decades before. He is supposed to land in 1996, but mistakenly ends up in 1990. His talk of the future and a deadly virus land him in an insane asylum, and we learn that it is his very discussion of it that sparks the idea for the virus in the first place. His trip to the past didn’t end up stopping the virus, but instead was the reason for it.
3. Planet of the Apes
“Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!” Three astronauts (led by Charlton Heston) land on a faraway planet only to discover that it is inhabited by extremely intelligent orangutans, who are superior to whatever humans actually live there. One of the apes makes reference to an ancient human civilization that was turned from a paradise into a desert. It isn’t until Heston discovers the remnants of the Statue of Liberty that he realizes that he and his crew landed on Earth far into the future, following a nuclear war.
2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
It’s 1995, and John Connor’s mother, who had been attacked by a T-800 terminator in 1984, is preparing her son for the forthcoming “Judgment Day.” Skynet, which is the artificial intelligence that ultimately takes over in the future, sends a T-1000 model terminator back from 2029 to kill John. Unfortunately for this liquid metal antagonist, future John has sent back a reprogrammed T-800 model to 1995 to fight the T-1000. And the fights that ensue are pretty spectacular.
1. Back to the Future
In what is perhaps the most epic of all time-travel movies, we have Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) traveling to 1955 with the help of Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). By meeting his parents when they were teenagers, he throws off the trajectory of their lives. When he returns to 1985, he sees the skewed reality that resulted from his trip to the past. He must return to 1955 to make things right so that his own existence isn’t compromised.