Best Foreign Language Time Travel Movies

Best Foreign Language Time Travel Movies

In this list, the term foreign refers only to those films not made in the English language. Therefore such great time travel movies as the Australian made Predestination (2014), or the British made Triangle (2009 ), for instance, are not included. I also have not mentioned any animated movies, such as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006).

So without further ado, here are some of the best non-English language time travel movies ever made, listed in chronological order.


La JetéeLa Jetée (1962)
Director: Chris Marker
Writer: Chris Marker
IMDB Rating: 8.4

In a Post-WWIII devastated world, a few surviving scientists send test subjects back in time looking for a solution to their dire situation, and “to call past and future to the rescue of the present”. This French science fiction short inspired the film 12 Monkeys (1995), which won the 22nd Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film.

Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973)Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973)
Director: Leonid Gayday
Writers: Mikhail A. Bulgakov, Vladlen Bakhnov
IMDB Rating: 8.4

In 1973 Moscow, Engineer Aleksandr Timofeev constructs a time machine in his apartment, but accidentally sends the building’s superintendent and a petty burglar back to the the time of Ivan IV. Simultaneously, the real Ivan “The Terrible” arrives in modern-day Moscow, and Aleksandr then attempts to fix his time machine so that all parties can be restored to their correct places in time.

Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea

Zítra vstanu a oparím se cajem (1977)
“Tomorrow I’ll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea”
Director: Jindrich Polák
Writers: Josef Nesvadba, Milos Macourek
IMDB Rating: 7.3

Set in the future, this Czech movie tells the story of unprincipled time machine pilot Karel, and a group of aging Nazis who plan to change the outcome of World War II by traveling back in time and giving Adolf Hitler a hydrogen bomb.

Les Visiteurs (1993)Les Visiteurs (1993)
Director: Jean-Marie Poiré
Writers: Christian Clavier, Jean-Marie Poiré
IMDB Rating: 7

In the year 1123, a French knight and his squire run afoul of a sorcerer and are transported to the 20th century, where they then solicit the help of a descendant to try and find a way back to their own time. Les visiteurs is currently number 5 on France’s all-time highest-grossing domestic films.

Run Lola Run (1998)

Run Lola Run (1998)
Director: Tom Tykwer
Writer: Tom Tykwer
IMDB Rating: 7.8

German small-time criminal, Manni, loses 100,000 Deutsche Mark of his boss’s money, and faces a violent death within twenty minutes if it is not replaced. His girlfriend, Lola, desperately tries to help, but each time she fails the 20-minute time loop begins all over again.

Returner (2002)

Returner (2002)
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Writers: Richard Epcar, Kenya Hirata
IMDB Rating: 6.5

In 2084, mankind is about to be wiped out by an alien race known as the “Daggra”, and so hardened young soldier, Milly, travels via a time portal to 2002 Tokyo in order to stop the first alien who crashed on earth from contacting his invasion fleet.

Los Cronocrímenes (2007)

Los Cronocrímenes (2007)
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Writer: Nacho Vigalondo
IMDB Rating: 7.2

In the movie Time Crimes, a Spanish family man, Héctor, is relaxing in his garden when he spots a woman undressing in the forest and goes to investigate. After getting chased by a masked attacker, he then accidentally stumbles upon a scientific laboratory and travels back one hour in time, triggering a series of puzzling events.

Secret (2007)

Secret (2007)
Director: Jay Chou
Writers: Jay Chou, Chi-long To
IMDB Rating: 7.6

On his first day studying at a prestigious Taiwanese music academy, talented pianist Ye Xianglun meets pretty girl Lu Xiaoyu playing an enchanting piece of music. After the two develop a close relationship, the girl suddenly disappears, and Xianglun later discovers a 1979 photo showing that she actually graduated 20 years earlier.

Woochi (2009)

Woochi (2009)
Director: Dong-hoon Choi
Writer: Dong-hoon Choi
IMDB Rating: 6.8

In 1509, undisciplined Korean magician, Jeon Woo Chi, is framed for a murder he did not commit and is imprisoned inside an ancient scroll. In 2009, Seoul is then threatened by goblins, and so Woo Chi is revived and offered his freedom in return for capturing these creatures. Only problem is that he seems more interested in womanizing and sight-seeing than the task at hand.

O Homem do Futuro (2011)

O Homem do Futuro (2011)
“The Man from the Future”
Director: Cláudio Torres
Writer: Cláudio Torres
IMDB Rating: 7.1

Living in Rio de Janeiro, João “Zero” Henrique is a brilliant physicist whose life was deeply affected by an incident that occurred 20 years earlier when his girlfriend publicly humiliated and broke up with him at a college party. Now part of a sustainable energy scientific project in Brazil, Zero accidentally travels back to the time of the incident and alters the story, but on returning to his present does not like his new alternative reality.

Indru Netru Naalai (2015)

Indru Netru Naalai (2015)
“Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow”
Director: R. Ravikumar
Writer: R. Ravikumar
IMDB Rating: 8.1

In 2065, an Indian scientist invents a time machine, but when he tests it by sending it back to 2015, the device falls into the hands of down-on-his luck Elango and his pretend astrologer friend Pulivetti Arumugam. While exploiting the machine for personal gain, however, their messing with time causes unintended consequences, and so the two friends must travel back in time to correct their mistakes.

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1 Comment

  1. “Man from the Future” (“O Homem do Futuro”) is in a class of its own and is worth watching not only for the time travel aspect, but for combining superb activing, smart comedy, romance, music and excellent camera and sound work.

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