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25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock

Updated March 6, 2020 2.2k votes 188 voters 9.6k views70 items

Tick, tock, tick, tock – just the sound of a ticking clock generates anxiety, but when lives are on the line, it creates great entertainment. The top race against the clock movies put characters' lives on the line with the added pressure of meeting a life-or-death deadline. This is a list of countdown movies featuring everything from Labyrinth to Apollo 13 to Back to the Future.

What movies will you find on this list of the best ticking clock films? If you're a fan of action flicks, you might vote Terminator 2: Judgment Day has to the top. In this captivating sequel, the past, present and future converge as the T-800 Terminator protects John Connor from a future enemy. The Running Man – which also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger – is another good race against the clock movie. Keanu Reeves faced a ticking clock and a racing bus in the 1994 film Speed. Other good movies featured on this top countdown films list include The Ring, Run Lola Run, and The Manchurian Candidate.

Which countdown movie deserves the top spot on this list? Help us decide by giving your favorites a thumbs up and add any great titles that are missing.

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  • 1
    Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    86
    13

    Back to the Future

    Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd

    Released1985

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis. Marty... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Speed is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    67
    14

    Speed

    Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves

    Released1994

    Directed byJan de Bont

    Speed is a 1994 American action film directed by Jan de Bont in his feature film directorial... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    59
    16

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong

    Released1991

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Apollo 13 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    49
    16

    Apollo 13

    Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard

    Released1995

    Directed byRon Howard

    Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Ferris Bueller's Day Off is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    37
    9

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick

    Released1986

    Directed byJohn Hughes

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 American comedy film written, produced and directed by John... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Inception is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    40
    14

    Inception

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2010

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Taken is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    41
    17

    Taken

    Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen

    Released2008

    Directed byPierre Morel

    Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. A former CIA operative... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    The Martian is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    41
    21

    The Martian

    Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain

    Released2015

    Directed byRidley Scott

    The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    The Day After Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    41
    22

    The Day After Tomorrow

    Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal

    Released2004

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

    The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American climate fiction-disaster film co-written, directed,... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Airplane! is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    27
    10

    Airplane!

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Leslie Nielsen

    Released1980

    Directed byJerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker

    Airplane! is a 1980 American satirical disaster comedy film directed and written by David... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventu is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    26
    9

    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

    Keanu Reeves, George Carlin

    Released1989

    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is a 1989 American science fiction comedy buddy film and the... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    48 Hrs. is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    34
    20

    48 Hrs.

    Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy

    Released1982

    Directed byWalter Hill

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  • 13
    Outbreak is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    25
    11

    Outbreak

    Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey

    Released1995

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    Outbreak is a 1995 American medical disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Escape from New York is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    24
    13

    Escape from New York

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell

    Released1981

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    WarGames is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    25
    14

    WarGames

    Matthew Broderick, William H. Macy

    Released1983

    Directed byJohn Badham

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  • 16
    Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    24
    13

    Cinderella

    June Foray, Mike Douglas

    Released1950

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

    Cinderella is a 1950 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    21
    10

    12 Monkeys

    Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis

    Released1995

    Directed byTerry Gilliam

    12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner  is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    27
    17

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe

    Released2004

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    The Quick and the Dead is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    21
    11

    The Quick and the Dead

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone

    Released1995

    Directed bySam Raimi

    This film is a 1995 western film directed by Sam Raimi and starring Sharon Stone, Gene... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    The Ring is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    26
    18

    The Ring

    Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette

    Released2002

    Directed byGore Verbinski

    The Ring is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Lear is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock

    Released1964

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

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  • 22
    Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    30
    24

    Labyrinth

    Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie

    Released1986

    Directed byJim Henson

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  • 23
    Scrooged is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    23
    16

    Scrooged

    Bill Murray, Robert Mitchum

    Released1988

    Directed byRichard Donner

    Scrooged is a 1988 American Christmas comedy film, a modernization of Charles Dickens' A... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Balto is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    19
    12

    Balto

    Kevin Bacon, Phil Collins

    Released1995

    Directed bySimon Wells

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  • 25
    The Running Man is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
    21
    16

    The Running Man

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Brown

    Released1987

    Directed byPaul Michael Glaser

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