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25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock

Updated March 6, 2020 2.2k votes 191 voters 9.7k 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
    84
    15

    Back to the Future

    Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd

    Released1985

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

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  • 2
    Speed
    66
    13

    Speed

    Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves

    Released1994

    Directed byJan de Bont

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  • 3
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day
    59
    15

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong

    Released1991

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • 4
    Apollo 13
    48
    16

    Apollo 13

    Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard

    Released1995

    Directed byRon Howard

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  • 5
    Ferris Bueller's Day Off
    37
    9

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick

    Released1986

    Directed byJohn Hughes

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  • 6
    Inception
    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
    40
    17

    Taken

    Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen

    Released2008

    Directed byPierre Morel

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  • 8
    The Martian
    41
    20

    The Martian

    Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain

    Released2015

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • 9
    The Day After Tomorrow
    40
    22

    The Day After Tomorrow

    Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal

    Released2004

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

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  • 10
    Airplane!
    26
    10

    Airplane!

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Leslie Nielsen

    Released1980

    Directed byJerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker

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  • 11
    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
    25
    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.
    34
    20

    48 Hrs.

    Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy

    Released1982

    Directed byWalter Hill

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  • 13
    Outbreak
    25
    11

    Outbreak

    Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey

    Released1995

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

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  • 14
    Escape from New York
    24
    13

    Escape from New York

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell

    Released1981

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 15
    Cinderella
    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
  • 16
    12 Monkeys
    21
    10

    12 Monkeys

    Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis

    Released1995

    Directed byTerry Gilliam

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  • 17
    WarGames
    24
    14

    WarGames

    Matthew Broderick, William H. Macy

    Released1983

    Directed byJohn Badham

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  • 18
    The Quick and the Dead
    21
    11

    The Quick and the Dead

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone

    Released1995

    Directed bySam Raimi

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  • 19
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    26
    17

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe

    Released2004

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

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  • 20
    The Ring
    26
    18

    The Ring

    Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette

    Released2002

    Directed byGore Verbinski

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  • 21
    Stranger than Fiction
    23
    14

    Stranger than Fiction

    Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman

    Released2006

    Directed byMarc Forster

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  • 22
    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    Released1964

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

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  • 23
    Labyrinth
    29
    24

    Labyrinth

    Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie

    Released1986

    Directed byJim Henson

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  • 24
    Scrooged
    22
    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
  • 25
    Balto
    19
    12

    Balto

    Kevin Bacon, Phil Collins

    Released1995

    Directed bySimon Wells

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