The 11 best time machines in film history

  • The 11 best time machines in film history

On the big screen, we've seen people careering through time, going back to into the past to interact with their relatives and try and make loads of money for their future selves and going into a inaccurate and usually dystopian future.

But what is the best vessel for a time machine? A DeLoreon? A psychedelic-coloured VW Beetle? A hot tub? Let's find out...

12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - The Time Turner

Time travelled: about five hours ago.

Very labour intensive, one turn of the hourglass on the Time Turner corresponds to one hour travelled back in time.

Also, the longest period that may be relived without the possibility of serious harm to the traveller or to time itself is around five hours.

Still though, it's a pretty awesome piece of bling.

10. Primer - The box

Time travelled: six hours into the past

Two engineers build a box that sends doubles of themselves into the past when they first switched on the box.

It's all very confusing, here's a diagram that makes everything (sort of) clearer.

Obviously it's used to manipulate the stock market, because that's why most people would use a time machine.

9. Time Cop - The rocket sled

Time travelled: From 2004 back to 1929, then forward to 1994 (and 2004).

Jean-Claude Van Damme, a Time Cop (get it?) has to go back into the past to get a former colleague who has gone back into the past to make ill-gotten gains.

Then he gets mixed up with a corrupt senator, who is using his ties to the past to make himself president and shut down all of the time coppery.

The time machine is a rocket sled, that's a sled which is rocket-powered. Jean-Claude, you win.

8. 12 Monkeys - the time machine

Time travelled: To 1990 - 37 years into the past, then to WWI and then 1996.

The (unimaginatively-named) time machine made out of metal and see-through plastic doesn't seem to be very accurate, as their plan to send James Cole back to 1996 accidently sends him to the French WWI trenches.

Eventually he makes it to 1996 to track down Army of the Twelve Monkeys, who release a deadly virus that has wiped out most of humanity by 2027.

7. The Terminator franchise - Time Displacement Equipment

Time travelled: From 2029 to 1984, 1995 and 2004.

Used by Skynet and The Resistance to send living tissue and mimetic polyalloy back in time to terminate and protect Sarah and John Connor.

It can only send people and machines one-way through time, and you have to go naked.

While it's alright for Arnie, we all don't have sculpted weightlifters' bodies, and imagine how embarrassing it'd be to arrive naked in the past.

6. Men in Black III - Time-jump device

Time travelled: Back to 1969.

To avoid an alien criminal killing Agent J's old partner agent K and creating an unnecessary time paradox, J uses the device to travel back to 1969.

The Time-jump device can only send someone through time when they are moving fast enough to break the laser line - which means jumping off the Chrysler Building, which doesn't seem that safe to us.

5. The Time Machine- The time sled

Time travelled: From 1900 to 1917, then 1940, 1966 and finally 802,701, before going home for dinner.

HG Wells' novel turned into a film featured The Time Sled, which sends the (imaginatively-named) character H. George Wells the furthest time of them all, the year 802,701, full of Sphinxes and Morlocks and everything.

It's a big unwieldy time sled, which isn't as good as Time Cop's rocket sled, but still, if it's snowing you could get it up a big hill for some fun.

Perhaps they should have used it to go forward to 2002 to not do a remake starring Guy Pearce and Samantha Mumba.

4. Austin Powers - Cadillac and VW Beetle

Time travelled: 1969 and 1975

In the game of historical cat-and-mouse, in The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr Evil travels back in his time tunnel to 1969 to steal Austin's mojo, and Austin chases him in the groovy New Beetle (warning: German dubbed video).

Then, in Goldmember, Austin travels back to face off against Goldmember himself thanks to the help of a pimped-out time-travelling 1975 Cadillac Eldorado Fleetwood.

A psychedelic painted VW Beetle and a velvet-clad Cadillac? You have to hand it to Austin for having the grooviest time machines in film.

3. Hot Tub Time Machine - the malfunctioning hot tub

Time travelled: Back to 1986

A can of illegal Russian energy drink called "Chernobly" spilled on their hot tub control panel sends the guys back to a time when Michael Jackson was still black, the group go back to the '80s Kodiak Valley Ski Resort and rewrite history.

A time machine where it's not frowned up to be naked? Where you have to get drunk and enjoy the bubbles? Sounds like the ultimate time machine to us.

2. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure - The phone booth

Time travelled: 1805, 1879, 410 B.C., 1901, 1809, 1209, 1429, 1863, sometime in the 15th-century and an unrevealed utopian future.

Bill and Ted solve their history project conundrum by going back in time and find 'personages of historical significance' to do it for them?

Originally, Bill and Ted's time machine was a Chevy Van, but the filmmakers thought that it would rip-off of Back to the Future so they settled on a phone booth (not at all ripping off Doctor Who).

Sure, it may pack in a surprisingly numerous amount of famous historical figures, but it probably does smell of urine.

1. The Back To The Future series - The DeLorean

Time travelled: from 1985 to 1955, then 2015 (that's this year!) and back to 1885.

Marty and Doc Brown play jump-rope with the time-space continuum as they fly forwards, backwards and sideways through time, with a bit of almost-incest thrown in for good measure.

Initially, writer and director Bob Zemeckis envisioned the time machine as a device attached to a refrigerator and taken to an atomic bomb test.

Robert Zemeckis said that the idea was scrapped because he and Steven Spielberg did not want children to start climbing into refrigerators and getting trapped inside.

The DeLoreon is so '80s it hurts, but it does feature those Lamborghini-doors and has a flux capacitor strapped on the back - making it the most iconic time machine in film history.

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