The Pitch

The original story of an inventor and his time machine.

Age Recommendations

Watch With the Kids: 6+

Content Advisories

Rated G. The Morlocks might frighten very small children, but the gory special effects (a Morlock decaying in stop motion, a Morlock set on fire) are more likely to inspire shouts of “cool!” than terror. All the people of the distant future are vacant and childlike, but George’s relationship with the vacant and childlike Weena can make the film feel like a feminist nightmare.

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One cannot choose but wonder

Before Star Trek came along, nothing captured the imagination of science fiction fans quite like George Pal’s 1960 adaptation of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. (The production values, score, and acting at times even make the movie feel like an extended Star Trek episode.) It’s overly talky, and self-serious about its own ideas, but somehow these qualities endure as objects of affection by fans. The novel and film together have inspired countless riffs, references, and sequels (real and imagined) in literature, film, and television. The century-spanning friendship between George (Rod Taylor) and Filby (Alan Young, with a brogue that helped him get the gig as the voice of Scrooge McDuck) is remembered so fondly that the actors and screenwriter reunited in 1993 for a hokey, low-rent mini-sequel. The Oscar-winning time-travel special effects are still pretty nifty (not so all of the film’s effects), and the barber-chair-sled design of the time machine remains a perennial favorite of model makers around the world. Still, this one will probably work best before the kids get too accustomed to the digital effects and spectacle of our modern age. While they remain capable of being thrilled by the sight of a guy in a rubber Morlock costume set on fire. —Chris Ereneta

Edited & designed by Chris Ereneta. Suggestions, feedback, and rants welcome at, @WatchWithKids, or on Facebook. More about this site.