Do you love movies where one or more people live the same day over and over? Well, you’re in the right place! This style of film has been made in various genres – horror, drama, action, romance, comedy, and more. The loopers typically have no control of the looping period, and only they remember the events of previous loops, which gives room for plenty of innovation in execution. Here is the definitive list of the best time loop movies of all time.
For the list of all time travel films go here – Best Time Travel Movies.
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Where To Watch?
To find where to stream any movie or series based on your country, use This Is Barry’s Where To Watch.
Oh, and if this article doesn’t answer all of your questions, drop me a comment or an FB chat message, and I’ll get you the answer. You can find other film explanations using the search option on top of the site.
Before I Fall (2017)
Before I Fall is a teen drama that sees one girl caught endlessly living the same day after getting into a terrible car crash. Nothing she does appears to affect her daily time loop, but each loop gives her a reality check about her life and relationships. The movie is based on a book by the same name, and both are pretty interesting. However, the end could have done more to drive home the film’s core concept.
The Lift | El Ascensor (2021)
The Lift is a Mexican Spanish time loop movie that has a couple entering an elevator while in the midst of an argument. As they descend and get to the lowest level, the trip in the lift repeats itself in what appears to be an endless loop. The film could have been so much better, given the looping is attributed to more than just fate. However, the reveal is not too great, and the film ends with the audience wondering, “umm.. so what?”. The Lift is director Daniel Bernal’s first feature film, hope things get better from here.
Three inmates in a rehabilitation centre begin reliving the same day over. They feel they have been blessed to be able to do whatever they like with no consequence for once. While everything is fine initially, the recklessness of their actions begins pricking at the conscience of two while the third finds himself to be in the state of bliss. The core reason behind their disagreement is not very convincing; as one of the characters mentions, “it’s hypocritical”. But the film is a good one time watch.
Naken(2000) | Naked (2017)
Naked is the Hollywood remake of the Swedish film Naken that has a man waking up butt-naked inside an elevator with no memories of how he got there. No, he’s not trapped in the elevator; in fact, he needs to exit into the lobby of a hotel to begin figuring what might have happened. After just an hour, he resets back to the floor of the elevator, butt-naked again. To top it all, it’s his wedding day! The Hollywood remake has funny man, Marlon Wayans, and there is enough going on to keep you interested. It’s got the classic romantic film trope of a non-committal dude and the supportive fiancée, but well, that is the genre of the film.
The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)
The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things is a romantic film about a guy and a girl stuck in a perpetual daily loop. The opening sequence is fabulous, and the movie is light as air. Fundamentally, the loops play out as a metaphor for being stuck at a certain point in life. The chemistry between Kathryn Newton and Kyle Allen is brilliant, and the movie is executed very well. They try and throw in some scientific elements in the film to explain the looping that I have summarized here – The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things explained.
Mine Games (2012)
Mine Games sees a group of friends heading out to a cabin to spend their weekend and celebrating completion of college. You already know this isn’t going to end well, don’t you? The good thing is, it’s not a plot with a random psycho killer or ghoul that is out to get this group. The gang enters a nearby mine and observes an Ouroboros (a snake eating its own tail) drawn on the mine walls. I think you know what this means; I’ll not say more to avoid spoilers. The concept and the execution are both neat, but the premise makes you feel there could have been more backstory to the key characters.
The movie Haunter follows a girl who has been waking up to the same day repeatedly; the day just before her birthday. The film begins in the middle of one of her endless loops by when she has become tired of reliving the same day. Soon, she finds a secret door in the basement, which she enters, and subsequent loops take a turn for the worse with apparitions of dead girls and a lanky old man haunting her. Despite her fears, she presses on to find the reason why she is trapped. The time loop movie mixes well with the horror genre adding an innovative perspective.
Boss Level (2021)
Boss level is a high-intensity, all-out action time loop movie with Frank Grillo in the lead role and Mel Gibson playing the bad guy. The film opens at a point the lead has died in hundreds of loops because a city full of assassins are hunting him down and tearing him to bits. Then we’re shown earlier cycles to give us a context of what has been going on. The film has multiple laugh-out-loud moments and keeps you engaged all through. The reason behind the looping is disclosed towards the end and is not really the highlight of the film.
12:01 is a movie based on the book by the same name. It is one of the earliest novels that fiddled around with short time loops. While the book sees the protagonist being stuck in a one-hour time window, the movie adaption chose to put him in a day-long loop where he tries to stop the murder of a co-worker he has a crush on. It’s a fun film that discloses the mystery behind the time-trap one loop at a time. The makers threw a plagiarism case on another popular film that released in the same year. Wanna guess which one? Scroll further to know.
Happy Death Day Movies (2017, 2019)
Happy Death Day 1 and 2 are dark-humour crime thrillers time loop movies featuring the amazing Jessica Rothe. The film sees a college girl who finds herself being haunted and killed by a masked murderer. Each time she dies, she wakes up at the start of the day, only to be killed all over again. She befriends a nerdy chap who helps her identify her murderer. Part 2 of the film sees her reliving this same day again, but this time in an alternate universe. The sequel is well made but doesn’t have the novelty of the first part. Read all about it here – Happy Death Day explained loop-wise.
Groundhog Day (1993)
Groundhog Day is a fun film featuring Bill Murray reliving Groundhog Day over and over. It’s a light romantic comedy that showcases the value of time. While the lead initially uses his loop to get close to the woman he loves, he eventually realizes the gift of time and works to make himself a better man. Most people consider Groundhog Day to be the mother of all time loop movies. Here’s a fun fact – it is not. The film had a plagiarism case thrown on it by the makers of 12:01, but the studio was too big and could easily overpower the plaintiff. That said, Groundhog Day was definitely better executed.
Palm Springs (2020)
Palm Springs is a romantic comedy set inside endless time loops. A guy who attends a wedding party decides to wander off to a nearby cave that houses a wormhole that traps him in an infinite time loop. He is later joined by another woman, accidentally, and the two of them try to beat the time-trap together. The cast has Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti and J K Simmons in the central roles. The film expects the viewers to understand this subgenre as it begins at a point when the lead has already been through thousands of loops. Check this out to know more – Palm Springs and The Dinosaurs explained.
Retroactive is a 90s film that does a fine job of executing the concept of the time loop. The story begins with a hostage negotiator crashing into a signboard as she’s distracted by a recent failure. She ends up taking a lift from a couple passing by, and her intervention in the events to follow causes things to spiral out of control. At the same time, a scientist working on a particle accelerator succeeds in sending a mouse back in time by 10 minutes. You see where this is going. Retroactive is a high-speed action film that wraps up things nice and tight.
ARQ is a lesser-known science fiction film that revolves around a group of people looking to take possession of a mysterious device that ends up trapping them in a series of loops. The circumstances for how a person recollects memories of their previous cycles is unique, making ARQ stand out in the pool of time loop movies. While there are only a handful of characters, the film manages to pack in an impressive plot revealed across the many loops. More details here – ARQ explained.
Maanaadu is an Indian Tamil film that follows a man arriving for a wedding with a plan to help his friend elope with the bride. Unfortunately, they have a run-in with a dirty cop and get entangled in the assassination of the Chief Minister. This complex film is wonderfully executed with action and humour thrown into the mix, and it pays homage to many others on this list of time loop movies. It clearly shows that Venkat Prabhu did solid research before directing India’s first Time Loop film. The cast is great, and S. J. Suryah has done a stellar job as the dirty cop and holds this movie together.
A Day | Ha-roo (2017)
A Day (Ha-roo) is a Korean time loop thriller that sees a doctor waking up repeatedly to witness his daughter dying in a car accident. The film switches gears to start revealing the multifaceted nature of the loops. The cast has done a fantastic job of their roles to bring the movie together. The backstory is told beautifully, and the reason behind the seemingly unescapable horror is slowly unveiled through the many cycles. You can find more details here – A Day explained.
Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)
Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt bring the Japanese book All You Need Is Kill to life in this high-speed sci-fi action flick. Earth is under attack by an alien species with a unique ability. The extraterrestrials are interconnected in a network of minds that can send information back through time. The lead accidentally gets added to this alien network and begins repeatedly resetting to the same point in time every time he dies. Honestly, the book gives a little more interesting backstory to the aliens and what they are doing on Earth; even the ending is more brutal. You can find out all the details here – Edge Of Tomorrow movie vs book.
Blood Punch (2014)
Blood Punch is not very popular but is a must-see movie in this sub-genre. The story follows three people who head to an isolated house to cook meth. Hell breaks loose when they try to double-cross each other. The loops work very differently as compared to other time loop movies, especially the aspects of who remembers what in subsequent cycles. Olivia Tennet, Milo Cawthorne and Ari Boyland are three central cast members and play their roles beautifully. Here’s all you need to know – Blood Punch explained.
Source Code (2011)
Source code sees one man’s consciousness relieving a simulation that lasts eight minutes on a train in the hope to locate a bomber. While the train has already been detonated, the team is looking to find the identity of the bomber to stop his next attack. The mission seems straightforward, but Source Code exposes complexities and secrets layer by layer as the loops progress. Jake Gyllenhaal is the one to pick atypical films like this, and he’s done a stellar job with Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga in excellent supporting roles. You can find full details here – Source Code explained.
Triangle is arguably the most complicated of all time loop movies with multiple overlapping cycles. It takes a couple of watches to fully understand the nuances of this brilliant thriller. Melissa George, who you will know from Mulholland Drive, really shines in this film. Triangle’s plot is centred on a group of friends who go on a boat trip and get lost at sea. They get rescued by a liner, but it appears to be unmanned. I can’t say more without revealing spoilers but you must watch this amazing film. Check this article for a loop-wise breakdown – Triangle movie explained.
Wondering why this list is missing your other favourite films?
The big fan favourite, Run Rola Run, is not here because it’s three versions of an incident rather than a person living a loop repeatedly with accumulating memories. Other notable films like The Fare also don’t make the list for similar reasons.
For the definitive list of all time-travel films, go here – Best Time Travel Movies.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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