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10 Movies Like Predestination With Mind-Bending Time-Travel Elements

movies like predestination

Created by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig, Predestination is a terrific sci-fi movie. If you’re chasing movies like Predestination that will blow your mind then our list of movies should surely be of help. In this film, the talented Ethan Hawke plays a time-travelling agent – assigned his final assignment before retirement. His job is to go back and prevent a bomb attack in New York in 1975. Sarah Snook plays the role of an unmarried mother in this movie. The movie’s bizarre and intertwined nature of story-telling develops a unique experience for the viewers. The film masters the espionage and the circular narrative of man’s inevitable fate.

List of Movies Like Predestination

  1. 12 Monkeys
  2. La Jetée 
  3. Arrival
  4. Looper
  5. Deja Vu
  6. Tenet
  7. Source Code
  8. The Butterfly Effect
  9. Donnie Darko
  10. Transcendence 

1. 12 Monkeys (1995)

Starring Bruce Willis, 12 Monkeys is a sci-fi/thriller directed by Terry Gillian. The movie follows a very similar predestination paradox – the journey of James Cole (Bruce Willis), a prisoner in the 2030s, who is recruited as a time traveller to go back to the 1990s on a mission to get information about a plague that is about to wipe out the majority of life on earth. 

When he arrives at the wrong moment in the past, Cole is arrested and incarcerated at a mental hospital where he meets Jeffery Goines (played by Brad Pitt), a mental patient. Determined to save the world from its fate, Cole finds himself travelling back and forth in time, discovering unfathomable secrets. If you have not seen 12 Monkeys yet, it’s one the best movies like Predestination that you can watch. 

2. La Jetée (1962)

La Jetée is quite truly the blueprint of such circular narrative, time travel stories of an individual’s destiny intertwined with the rest of the world. Constructed almost entirely from still photos in black and white, the film tells the story of a post-nuclear war experiment involving the time travel of a man. 

Watch the film here:

La Jetée is considered one of the greatest experimental films of all time. Cultural theorists, artists and film-goers alike have praised this short film. And while I can go on and on about its brilliant elements of filmmaking that have quite literally inspired all-time-travel films that followed -in some way or the other. I will highly request to watch this masterpiece if you are a fan of cinema and love watching films like Predestination.

3. Arrival (2016)

Arrival is a creation of the brilliant director Denis Villeneuve and is considered one of the best science-fiction movies of all time. Arrival perfects everything any Sci-fi movie hopes to deliver. The movie is based on a short story called ‘Story of Your Life’ by Ted Chiang, which primarily deals with searching for the reason the alien crafts have arrived and what they want from Earth. 

Arrival incorporates skilful non-linear elements of story-telling with a soundtrack and visuals that speak a deeper truth of human communication and how bound by time our memories tend to be. Amy Adams’ performance is quite stunning here. If you’re searching for movies like Predestination, I’m sure you’ll love Arrival. Check out more movies like Arrival.

4. Looper (2012)

Looper sets itself in the near future with a fresh take on the assassin action genre where time travel exists but is available only to those who are able to buy it on the black market. The mob eliminates people by sending their targets in the past, where a hitman ‘looper’ waits to eliminate the person. Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is one such great hitman. One day, his bosses decide to eliminate him by sending his future self (Bruce Willis) back in time to kill him. (Sounds very familiar, doesn’t it?)

The movie explores a number of the same hypothetical concepts as Predestination and chiefly shares its fixation on paradoxes. For many, it was Emily Blunt’s noteworthy performance that gave the film an emotional impact. Looper is the kind of movie where one watch won’t be enough, surely, watch it if you are in search of films like Predestination. 

5. Deja Vu (2006)

Denzel Washington takes on the role of an ATF agent Doug Carlin who is assigned by his top-secret team to capture a wanted man – a terrorist who is responsible for a ferry bombing that killed 100s of people. With the help of advanced technology, Doug is able to fold time four days backwards and track the footsteps of the wanted man —just as he plans to kill a woman. 

This is a great movie with a thrilling storyline. Deja Vu is a must-watch, especially if you are a person who enjoys looking into convoluted conspiracies tied in together with time travel theories. Though the film only narrowly touches on the time travel concepts, mixed with drama, crime and theoretical sci-fi problems, make it a great choice for time travel movies like Predestination

6. Tenet (2020)

Who isn’t a fan of a talented director like Christopher Nolan? However, while his 2020 project Tenet was highly anticipated by fans, it went underappreciated upon its release. Tenet is a science fiction spy movie that centres around an unnamed protagonist. He is a CIA operative recruited by a secret organisation called Tenet. Nolan introduces the concept of time travel through the eyes of the protagonist when he is briefed about specific bullets that move backwards in time. 

The protagonist understands the manipulation of the flow of time so he can prevent an attack from the future, which threatens to annihilate the present. The plot of Tenet is more complex and complicated in comparison to other films in this genre; after all, it’s been said that it took 5 years for Nolan to write the screenplay! Tenet is an excellent option for movies similar to Predestination.

7. Source Code (2011)

This nail-biting sci-fi thriller called Source Code looks at a Helicopter Pilot, Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he experiences the last few minutes in the life of Sean Fentress, a man who died in a commuter train explosion. Now it’s Colter’s mission to learn more about the situation and the bomber to prevent the catastrophe. 

Source Code is a well-written and well-executed gripping film. And without spoiling the movie, you will be pretty shocked by what uncovers. The movie’s sound effects and cinematography are quite stunning. Suppose you just watched sci-fi movies like Predestination, then you’ll be quite pleased with this one. 

8. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

The Butterfly Effect movie is based on the idea that even the smallest changes have unusual effects on complex systems like life. Ashton Kutcher plays the main character Ewan Trebon. A college student, Trebon experiences incredibly painful headaches all throughout his life which often lead to blackouts. Ewan discovers that while he is unconscious he can travel in time and change the reality for people close to him who have gone through traumatic events. 

However, it is discovered that the changes he makes to previous events drastically turn the present into chaos, leading him to experience terrifying alternate realities. The time-warping illusions of this sci-fi movie are executed well. If you want to watch movies similar to Predestination, The Butterfly Effect is worth a watch.

9. Donnie Darko (2001)

The film follows the titular teenage character Donnie Darko (played by young Jake Gyllenhaal), as he encounters a Rabbit-headed figure called Frank, who informs him that the world will end in 28 days. Donnie Darko has become a cult classic. Drawn from Director Kelly’s own experiences of anxieties as a teenager. 

Frank proceeds to encourage Donnie to commit crimes by convincing him that there will be no repercussions for his actions. Donnie, not often the most relatable character, proves to be an iconic, fearless, badass martyr. The distinctive fantasy and nightmare of the uncertain experiences in an apocalyptic world set this movie apart from its counterparts. The second Jake film in this list and another great choice for movies like Predestination.  

10. Transcendence (2014)

Transcendence follows a scientist whose obsession with AI takes on a dangerous turn when his consciousness gets uploaded onto the program. The main character’s obsession becomes a threat to the rest of humanity when he reveals his darker motives. 

This film definitely thought-provoking about what the future of AI has in store for us. Transcendence is an ambitious blend of fact and fiction; the dystopian-edged take will make for a great watch if you are interested in thrilling sci-fi cautionary films like Predestination

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few time-travel movies like Predestination that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Lucy
  2. Ad Astra
  3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons
  4. Men In Black
  5. Extinction

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.

Lost

The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake


The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan


The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward