Total Nerd

The Best Fictional Time Machines (As Opposed To Real Ones)  

Ranker Entertainment
232 votes 31 voters 23 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite time machines that have appeared on the big or small screen.

Here are the best time machines in entertainment. Time travel is one of the basic plot devices of numerous science fiction movies and TV series, and because it's used so often, there are tons of devices, mechanisms, techniques, and tricks characters use to jump around in time and space. Some of these machines have incredibly inventive names like the TARDIS (Time AN Relative Dimension In Space) while others are simply called what it is, a time machine. But with so many options, it's hard to determine which time machine from across all of screen fiction is the best of them all, but this list attempts to do exactly that with help from your votes, of course.

These are the greatest time machines across all films and TV shows, ranked by you! Scroll through the list and vote up your favorite time travel devices, concepts, ideas, or vehicles. The best part is you don't have to pick just one and the best time machine is sure to rise to the top of the list!

Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Fictional Time Machines (As Opposed To Real Ones)
Photo:  BBC

Throughout all of science fiction, there is probably no time machine as well-known or as recognizable as the TARDIS, which stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. The TARDIS is more than a time machine; it's also capable of traveling through space and can move to any point in time and/or space almost instantly. This also makes it the fastest spacecraft in fiction, but when it comes to the TARDIS, it's mostly about time travel.

The TARDIS most people are familiar with was stolen by the Doctor, a Gallifreyan who left his home with his granddaughter, Susan in the "borrowed" Type 40 TT Device (TARDIS). The TARDIS is sentient and much bigger on the inside. It also has a chameleon circuit, which keeps it from standing out in whichever era it finds itself, but the one the Doctor travels in has a busted circuit. Because of this, it's been locked in the shape of a blue police box since it appeared in the first episode of Doctor Who in 1963.

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Bill & Ted is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Fictional Time Machines (As Opposed To Real Ones)
Photo:  MGM

Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan were given access to a time machine by Rufus in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. The time machine was constructed in the future and made to look like a late-20th-century phone booth so it would appear familiar to the high school students.

In the movie, the time machine is shown to be able to travel to any place and time on Earth so long as the destination is keyed into the phone in the same manner you would dial a phone. It came with a Yellow Pages directory with all the necessary information, and it only appeared different from a phone booth thanks to the inclusion of an antennae at the top of the device.

As the phone booth traveled through space and time, it followed conduits of energy, which snaked through some sort of interdimensional void. When the booth entered a new time, it would fall from the sky, and when it would leave, it would be surrounded with energy and disappear into the ground.

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Back to the Future Franchise is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Fictional Time Machines (As Opposed To Real Ones)
Photo:  Universal

As the great Doctor Emmett Brown once said, "The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?" He had a point, and despite being a failure in the retail market, the DeLorean DMC-12 became a hit thanks to the success and popularity of the Back to the Future trilogy.

Doc Brown engineered his time machine out of the car for one reason: he had to get his device up to 88 miles per hour in order to get it to function. The device in question was the Flux Capacitor, Doc's invention that made time travel possible.

Add to that 1.21 Gigawatts of power supplied by Plutonium, a bolt of lightning, or a Mr. Fusion device, and the DeLorean will take you to any point in time (but not space) you want!

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The Time Machine is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Fictional Time Machines (As Opposed To Real Ones)
Photo:  Warner Bros.

One of the earliest examples of a time machine in fiction came in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, which was made into a film in 1960. A remake was released in 2002, but both machines were pretty much the same in function, so this entry will focus on the original film.

In the movie, there were actually two separate time machines. The first was a model used to show that time travel was possible, and the second was a full-size device capable of traveling forward or backward in time, but not space. It featured a seat with a console controlled by a lever with dials indicating the date and time. The rear of the device featured an ornate disk. Essentially, it was what a steampunk designer would have created were they told to make a time machine, but had never seen or heard of the movie or book.

The time machine created an impenetrable sphere of energy around it, which protected it and whoever was inside from anything outside. In the movie, this was shown as lava flowed and encased the device for thousands of years before the rock eroded to reveal a new world.

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