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The best time-loop movies and TV episodes

Movies and TV shows have taken the concept of déjà vu or having a weird feeling of a repeated experience to varying levels through some of the most notable projects of the last few decades. So much so, in fact, that the time loop has become a sub-genre of its own, largely made popular by the most famous time-loop movie of all, 1993’s Groundhog Day, and present in many TV shows over the years, either in episodic form like in Star Trek, or full shows like Netflix’s brilliant Russian Doll.

It’s no wonder since we are curious beings who want to know more about love, life, and existence. In some cases, these stories look at whether or not it’s possible to change the course of history or if things are the way they are meant to be. In others, characters are stuck in loops designed to teach them more about themselves or the people around them.

Sometimes ominous, and sometimes downright hilarious, the time-loop genre is thoroughly entertaining, so if you’re looking for an interesting take on the theme, here are some great TV episodes and movies you can stream right now.

Not what you’re looking for? Check out some of our other streaming guides, including the best post-apocalyptic TV shows, the best horror movies on Netflix, the best sci-fi movies on Amazon Prime, and the best sci-fi movies on Netflix.

Russian Doll (2019) new

Russian Doll
84 %
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Charlie Barnett
Created by Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, Leslye Headland
Created by Amy Poehler, Leslye Headland, and star Natasha Lyonne, this series focuses on software engineer Nadya (Lyonne) who keeps dying on her own birthday, then waking up to relive the day and its terrible circumstances over and over. Receiving high praise, the second season of the series sees Nadya and her new friend Alan looping back and forth within various timelines, and bodies, adding even more intrigue to the concept.
Russian Doll: Season 1 | Official Trailer | Netflix

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (2019) new

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson
58 %
r 104m
Genre Drama, Thriller
Stars Steven Silver, Spencer Neville, Nicola Peltz
Directed by Ali LeRoi
In this 2019 film, Tunde Johnson is a gay Black teenager in a secret relationship with the school’s lacrosse champion, a white young man named Soren. Complicating the situation further is that Soren is in the closet and dating a girl. On the day both decide they will come out to their respective parents, Tunde is tragically shot and killed by a police officer. But he finds himself reawakening after the incident, time and time again, on the very same morning prior. As Tunde tries desperately to change his fate, he keeps getting murdered over and over again. But he also finds that he’s forced to confront truths about both his life and himself each time he comes back to life.
The Obituary Of Tunde Johnson

The Fare (2018) new

The Fare
r 82m
Genre Thriller, Romance, Mystery, Horror
Stars Gino Anthony Pesi, Brinna Kelly, Jason Stuart
Directed by D.C. Hamilton
Harris, a cab driver, picks up a young woman named Penny for a ride while listening to a radio show about aliens who travel through time to alter reality. When Penny mysteriously disappears from the back seat in the middle of ride, Harris calls dispatch in a panic only to be told to simply reset the meter and go back to the city. Harris does as he is told, but finds himself once again face-to-face with Penny, who enters the car, over and over again, with a different outcome each time. The two grow closer as they enjoy the repeated journeys, until Harris decides to try and change fate. With a rare 100% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, The Fare is a must-watch movie in the time loop genre.
The Fare (2019) Official Trailer

Palm Springs (2020)

Palm Springs
83 %
r 90m
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Peter Gallagher, J.K. Simmons, Camila Mendes
Directed by Max Barbakow
A surprise hit for Hulu, Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Cristin Milioti (Made for Love) star as strangers who meet at a wedding on a resort in Palm Springs. While Nyles has been — spoiler alert — stuck in a seemingly endless time loop, circumstance leads to Sarah getting stuck with him. The pair then hilariously go on to relive the same day again and again. They get closer and closer as time goes on, seeing things from different perspectives, and learning more and more about themselves and each other as they live life with reckless abandon.
Palm Springs - Trailer (Official) • A Hulu Original Film

Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day
72 %
pg 101m
Genre Romance, Fantasy, Drama, Comedy
Stars Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott
Directed by Harold Ramis
In this classic from the late Harold Ramis that helped spawn the time-loop phenomenon, TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) keeps reliving the same mundane day, February 2, when he’s tasked with repeatedly reporting on the annual Groundhog Day event in the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He spirals, believing that since the day will start again anyway, he might as well binge-drink, live dangerously, and have a series of one-night stands. He knows he’ll get a do-over anyway, right? He eventually resorts to desperate measures to end the curse, until finally realizing how to take his repetitious lemons and make lemonade.
Groundhog Day (1993) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Before I Fall (2017)

Before I Fall
58 %
pg-13 98m
Genre Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy
Stars Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Elena Kampouris, Diego Boneta, Jennifer Beals
Directed by Ry Russo-Young
When Samantha wakes up on “Cupid’s Day” with big plans to finally lose her virginity to her boyfriend, the day ends in tragedy as she and her friends get into a car accident and are presumably killed. Or so she thinks, as she seemingly wakes up the next day on Cupid’s Day once again. Believing it was all just a nightmare, she goes about her day, but the same events repeat, ending with the crash a second time. As she tries to make different decisions each time, hoping to change the outcome, tragedy continues to strike in different ways as Sam explores truths she was neglecting to see. The film takes a familiar premise but tweaks it for the teen crowd.
Before I Fall Official Trailer 1 (2017) - Zoey Deutch Movie

The Endless (2018)

The Endless
80 %
Genre Science Fiction, Horror, Thriller
Stars Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson, Callie Hernandez
Directed by Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson
Looking for some blood and gore? This sci-fi horror film follows the story of brothers who go back to visit the camp/cult they escaped from as kids, only to realize that it’s stuck in a time loop where no one has aged since the now-grown men left. While Justin remembers the camp as a harmless commune, Aaron’s memories are much more sinister, believing that it was a UFO death cult. While the film itself isn’t entirely about a single day being relived, there are themes and instances of time loops throughout, such as when Justin discovers that several people are stuck reliving their gruesome deaths over and over again for the amusement of a supposed invisible entity. It’s a spectacularly creepy film that will satisfy your craving for edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting frights.
The Endless Trailer #2 (2018) | Movieclips Indie

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
61 %
Genre Science Fiction, Mystery, Drama, Thriller, TV Movie
Cast Fionn Whitehead, Will Poulter, Craig Parkinson, Alice Lowe, Asim Chaudhry
In this thrilling and unique interactive film set in the 1980s, the audience controls the time loop through a choose-your-own-adventure-style series of choices. In true meta form, young programmer Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) is trying to get his choose-your-own-adventure video game off the ground, but with every decision he (or rather, you) makes, the path to success or failure changes dramatically. Make the wrong choice and the game is a roaring failure, and Stefan must begin his journey again, either from the beginning or from a pivotal point in the story. The time loop commences as many times as necessary until you get to some kind of ending.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch | Featurette: Consumer [HD] | Netflix

Charmed (season 1, episode 22, Déjà vu All Over Again) (1999)

Charmed (season 1, episode 22, Déjà vu All Over Again)
tv-14 8 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano
Created by Constance M. Burge
In this aptly named episode, the Charmed Ones must fight an inspector who has summoned the demon Tempus (David Carradine) to turn back time so he can try (and keep trying) to kill them until he succeeds. As they dodge murder multiple times over, the sisters can’t shake this strange feeling that this has all happened before.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 6, episode 5, Life Serial) (2001)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 6, episode 5, Life Serial)
tv-14 7 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Comedy, Drama, Action & Adventure
Cast Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, and others
Created by Joss Whedon
More humorous than ominous, this episode finds Buffy (Sarah Michelle Geller) stuck in a time loop that causes a mummy hand she’s retrieving for a customer at The Magic Box store to attack her over and over, forcing her to kill it.  When she finally finds the solution, all is right again in the world (or as right as it ever gets in Sunnydale).

The X-Files (season 6, episode 14, Monday) (1999)

The X-Files (season 6, episode 14, Monday)
tv-ma 11 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Mystery, Crime
Cast David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick, Annabeth Gish, Mitch Pileggi
Created by Chris Carter
Mondays, am I right? This is no ordinary Monday, though, due to a bank robbery and bomb explosion. Written by Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul), this excellent X-Files episode sees this fateful day repeating over and over, each time with slight changes to the way things go down. Only one woman, Pam (Carrie Hamilton), realizes what’s happening. As with all other supernatural happenings in the series, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) find themselves caught up in the situation.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 5, episode 18, Cause and Effect) (1992)

Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 5, episode 18, Cause and Effect)
tv-pg 7 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery
Cast Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner
Created by Gene Roddenberry
Not even the future is immune to the loop. The Enterprise gets caught in a time loop that sees the ship destroyed over and over upon colliding with the USS Bozeman. Those aboard eventually start experiencing déjà vu, catching on to what’s happening. It’s going to take more than a “make it so” from Captain Jean-Luc Picard to enable them to escape the loop and boldly go, well … anywhere.

Supernatural (season 3, episode 11, Mystery Spot) (2008)

Supernatural (season 3, episode 11, Mystery Spot)
tv-14 15 Seasons
Genre Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Alexander Calvert, Misha Collins, Jared Padalecki
Created by Eric Kripke
Imagine having to relive your brother’s death repeatedly, trying, and failing, to prevent it each time. Despite the dark subject matter, this Supernatural episode manages to weave in some comedic elements, namely the increasingly absurd ways that Sam’s brother, Dean (Jensen Ackles), dies, from getting shot to being hit by a car, choking on a sausage, and even getting electrocuted by his razor.

ARQ (2016)

Genre Science Fiction, Thriller
Cast Robbie Amell, Rachael Taylor, Shaun Benson, Gray Powell, Jacob Neayem, Adam Butcher
In this Netflix original sci-fi film, engineer Renton (Upload’s Robbie Amell) creates ARQ, a perpetual motion machine that loops time. He does so in the hopes of saving his former lover Hannah (Rachael Taylor) from being killed during a home invasion. But in the process, he discovers a mysterious group called the Bloc. He must figure out what they’re after and why, and how his love for Hannah might be involved with them. Despite its low critic ratings, the film has drawn comparisons to both Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow.
ARQ | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

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Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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