Anyone Can Travel Through Time. These Time Travelers Do it with Style.
Anyone can make a list of the best time travel movies, but it takes a real geek with a lot of free time to make a list of the best movie time travelers. That being said, there’s a big difference between the characters and the movies they might have appeared in. Truthfully, a lot of the movies on this list wouldn’t find themselves anywhere near my personal top time travel movies list. Still, just because a movie isn’t great doesn’t mean that the characters aren’t. That’s why I’ve decided to take on a bigger challenge with this week’s Top 10 list. So get ready, because this list is coming at you… Or maybe it already did. Who knows? Time travel can be confusing.
10. Kevin (Time Bandits)
Let’s kick this list off with one of the lesser-known cinematic time travelers. Kevin was just a regular kid that got caught up in the wrong crowd. I have no idea why there aren’t more PSA’s about Time Bandits influencing our youth with their time crimes and half-baked plans, but they definitely would have helped Kevin avoid a whole mess involving Robin Hood, Napoleon, King Agamemnon, and the Supreme Being. Still, Kevin’s innocence kept his heart pure and managed to keep him from stepping on any butterflies.
9. Bill & Ted (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure)
Let’s face it, these two put together have the mental capacity of one person, so I think it’s fair to include them both on here. While many time travelers worry about paradoxes and butterfly effects and all that stuff. Bill and Ted used the god-like power granted upon them to pass a high school history project. True, it was to save the future as George Carlin knew it, which makes it all forgivable in the end. However, I’m convinced that Alex Winter is trapped somewhere in history, which explains why we’ve never heard from him again.
8. Joe (Looper)
So, remember that butterfly effect that I just mentioned a few minutes ago? Well, that’s kind of what makes Joe so unique. You see, Joe is an assassin that kills people sent back to him from the future, which is a pretty creative way to get away with a crime. The thing is that Joe is given the job to, well, kill himself. Which is raises the question if it’s suicide or homicide? So, Joe has to butt heads with old Joe, while old Joe tries to fix the future and keep young Joe safe because whatever happens to him happens to him. Yeah, it’s confusing. Just trust me on this one.
7. Phil (Groundhog Day)
It would be close to impossible to have a legitimate list with the words “time,” “movie,” and any variation of “travel” without mentioning Phil. Bill Murray finds himself stuck in a time loop, forced to relive the same day over and over again. Which basically means that there are no consequences to his actions. A realization that Phil takes full advantage of, that is until it gets old. So, what’s a time traveler stuck in a loop to do? Well, Phil decides to undertake the tremendous task of self-improvement. Makes me kinda wish I could have that problem.
6. Ash Williams (Army of Darkness)
Time travel is a very scientific process unless it’s a demonic force that flings you into the past. I’m not sure if Army of Darkness takes place in the past or some sort of alternate dimension, but I am sure that Ash Williams is one hell of a time traveler. This guy grabbed history by the balls and told it to turn its head and cough. Faced with evil demons, he used his future know-how and a few toys to save the world from an extinction level event. Not every time traveler has the courage to confidently shout, “Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This… is my BOOMSTICK! “
5. Wolverine (X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Wolverine always says that he’s “the best at what he does” and I guess that time travel is one of those things. Sure there are a lot of time travelers out there, but how many of them have bone claws and berserker rage? More importantly, though he manages to reboot the X-Men franchise and makes it so X-Men: The Last Stand never happened, which makes him a real hero in my book. Besides, his method of time travel is pretty cool, since it’s his mind that travels to the past and not his body. Plus, it’s Wolverine. How could I not include him on this list?
4. Captain Kirk (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
To boldly go where no man has gone before. That’s the motto of the starship enterprise and they follow that directive back to San Francisco in the 1980’s. Sure Captain Kirk is no stranger to time travel, but of all his adventures this is definitely his finest. Kirk travels to the far past to save the future by bringing an extinct animal back with him. I’m sure we can all get behind a good cause like saving the whales. It’s a good thing the Sea Shepherds didn’t show up though because I doubt Kirk would have set his phasers to stun.
3. Major William Cage (Edge of Tomorrow)
I was part of the group that thought a movie called “The Edge of Tomorrow” was probably going to be one of the dumbest things ever made. Well, this is me eating a big slice of humble pie. William Cage is a helpless loser at the beginning of the film, but like Phil he finds himself caught in a time loop where he returns to what is basically a save point every time he dies. So, he decides to take advantage of it by becoming a super warrior and the very scourge of the alien invaders. I have to say, Tom Cruise really restored my faith in him with this one.
2. T-800 (Terminator series)
Come on, you didn’t think I was going to forget about Arnold, did you? Now, it’s not my place to argue which T-800 is the best, but it’s obviously not going to be one that showed up after the year 2000. The T-800 has been both a force of good and evil during its tenure, and despite doing against far superior models, it’s proven that nothing beats good old-fashioned American muscle (well, Austrian muscle). He might not be the most charismatic time traveler on this list, but he’s one of the most iconic and probably the biggest badass of them.
1. Marty McFly (Back to the Future series)
Look, this was inevitable. Marty McFly is the greatest time traveler that cinema has to offer today, period. I doubt there will ever be a finer time traveler to come out of Hollywood. Marty often finds himself in over his head, but he’s a problem solver more than anything, which makes him a perfect match for Doc Brown who is more of a problem creator. Marty has been to the past, present, and future, and nothing has managed to keep him down for long. This is one classic time traveler who deserves to stay in the past. Let’s hope a reboot never happens.
There are plenty of other great time travelers out there, but I feel like these characters really differentiated themselves from the films they made. Sure not all of them were in great time travel movies, but these guys deserved a place on the list. If there’s someone I forgot the mention that you think should be on here, be sure to comment below!