Top Time Travel Movies, Part 2

Field of Dreams (1989) / Director: Phil Alden Robinson / Writer: Robinson / Stars: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta, Burt Lancaster

Accompanied by former activist-turned-bitter recluse Terence Mann (Jones), novice farmer Ray Kinsella (Costner) travels to Minnesota in search of a former baseball player, Archibald “Moonlight” Graham (Lancaster, in his final role), who unbeknownst to them, has died 16 years before. But Kinsella somehow travels back in time on a late night walk and encounters the old man, a retired doctor, and tries to persuade him to return with the duo to a baseball field carved out of an Iowa cornfield that magically draws to it the young men from the 1919 Chicago Black Sox team who were banned from the sport for supposedly throwing the World Series. Not typically thought of as a time travel movie, yet Field of Dreams certainly is that.

Galaxy Quest (1999) / Director: Dean Parisot / Stars: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shahloub, Sam Rockwell, Justin Long

In a wickedly funny yet affectionate send-up of space nerds, the reluctant cast of a cult TV show have to play heroes for real when a persecuted alien race call on them for help. The naïve aliens have re-created all the show’s phony props, but in working order, including the “Omega 13” time travel device (which ends up saving the day).

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) / Director: Frank Capra / Writer: Capra / Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

George Bailey (Stewart) regrets his life and wants to dies, only to be taken by an angel named Clarence to parallel universe to witness what his town, charming Bedford Falls, would have been without him (answer: not good). Even his gorgeous wife Mary (Reed) would have become a spinster librarian had George not come along; now that’s a mystery.

Looper (2012) / Director: Rian Johnson / Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano

In the year 2042 hired assassins called “loopers” kill men sent back to them from 30 years in the future (2072, when time travel has been invented but is illegal to use). That’s how the future mob gets rid of its problems. When the syndicate wants to eliminate the assassin himself, they “close the loop” by sending him back to be killed by his own younger self. This is the story of how one looper (young self: Gordon-Levitt, older: Willis) outwits the system and saves the future from a vicious crime lord.

Groundhog Day (1993) / Director: Harold Ramis / Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky

Noxious weatherman Phil Connors (Murray) goes to Punxsutawney, PA, to do a report on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2. When he wakes up the next morning, it’s still Feb. 2. And on and on it goes, a one-day time machine. It’s not clear who or what is behind this phenomenon, but the time wrinkle gives cynical, misanthropic Phil the chance to keep living the day over and over again until he gets it right— using the do-overs to learn new things, treat other people with respect, and find love.