Time travel is a great concept — but how do you show it happening? This weekend’s Looper picks a pretty simple way of showing gangsters jumping through time, but we’ve also seen kids in time-traveling spaceships, portal-jumping bandits, and a hot tub that lets you relive your past.
Here are 12 of the best scenes of actual time travel, ever.
The Time Machine (1960)
Time travel via fast forward. Thank god there’s an ageless mannequin to signify the changing of fashion and times, which Rod Taylor (playing H.G. Wells) develops a pretty unhealthy obsession with. “Good heavens, that’s a dress!”
Doctor Who 1963-2012
The classic time portal cloud space thing. Best part of the Doctor Who introduction: Watching the TARDIS get absolutely whacked about.
Time Bandits (1981)
Who needs a time machine when you have a time map? Truly the height of portal technology — the Time Bandits would open a portal (a black door surrounded by neon light) to be dropped into another time.
The Terminator (1984 - 2009)
Naked travel via lightning bubble! So iconic, it’s hard to believe people could be allowed to time travel wearing clothes. Hell, all of the the time jumping Terminators travel in style so we include them all here.
Back To The Future (1985)
The best part about a time traveling DeLorean are the rules. It’s gotta hit 88 MPH, or no dice. And of course the after effects of two blazing tire tracks aren’t a bad calling card either.
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Little Earthling boy gets zapped into the future via sass-talking space robot alien Max. David tries to make a go of it in the future, but eventually decides to go back to the past with Max where he belongs, risking his own life. Max then pilots the most amazing spaceship ever created on film, ever through an atmosphere of clouds and lighting. But the scariest moment, Max’s “face” changes from a light to a bubbling liquid — we thought Max was dying when we saw this for the first time. Terrifying.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Behold the circuits of history! All of time reached by a touch tone phone.
The Time Machine (2002)
Guy Pearce takes on the classic “fast forward” time approach with even more CG, and a blue haze that means “future!”
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
All Ashton Kutcher has to do to travel back into his own past: Think really hard.
A Sound of Thunder (2005)
Roller coaster or time machine? Perhaps the most elaborate of all the time jumpers. Participants had to be locked in, sanitized and couldn’t leave a single trace of their existence in the past. Which wasn’t a problem as “Tammy” the portal creating time machine provided the travelers with their own floating walkway. Just don’t step on anything.
The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
The most delicate of all time travelers, Eric Bana would simply disintegrate right before your eyes, plopping him in another place and time without any clothes. Sucks when you get dropped in the snow bare ass first.
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
Mix energy drinks, alcohol, old men going through a midlife crises and water into a magical hot tub, and presto you’re dropped back into your teenaged self. Why did any of them leave?
UPDATE, we’re adding more but this isn’t the end all be all, add your submissions below, but please provide VIDEO EVIDENCE that it is a “best.”
Superman : The Movie (1978)
We were so focused on time travelers and time machines we completely blocked out turning back time by BRUTE FORCE. Give it up for the great Christopher Reeve who can turn back time by turning back the world.