Escape to the future

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German title Escape to the future
Original title Time after time
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1979
length 108 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Nicholas Meyer
script Nicholas Meyer
production Herb Jaffe
music Miklós Rózsa
camera Paul Lohmann
cut Donn Cambern

Escape into the future (original title: Time after Time ) is an American science fiction film from 1979. It is based on the novel Escape into Today (OT: Time After Time ) by Karl Alexander, which was published in the same year .


In 1893 the writer and inventor HG Wells presented his amazed friends with his latest invention at an evening meeting in his house: a time machine with which he wanted to travel into the future. Wells' friend and chess partner John Leslie Stevenson is a little late. A little later, police officers arrive to search Wells' house in search of Jack the Ripper ; he is said to have murdered a prostitute nearby on the same evening. In Stevenson's pocket they find bloodied gloves, but he has disappeared without a trace. When the police and the guests leave, Wells notices that the time machine in his basement has also disappeared. Horrified, he concludes that Stevenson had fled with the machine into what he imagined a utopian future and would continue to kill there.

A little later the time machine reappears. Wells sees that Stevenson traveled to 1979. He immediately follows him and appears in a H. G. Wells exhibition in San Francisco in 1979, where the time machine is on display as a supposed handicraft object by Wells. Overwhelmed by the reality of the 20th century, Wells tries first to convert his British cash into dollars. In a bank he meets Amy, who falls in love with him. Unsuspectingly, she helps him track down Stevenson while the relationship between her and Wells deepens. Stevenson continued to kill prostitutes in 1979. The pacifist Wells fails to stop him; he tries desperately to convince Amy and the police of his identity and that of Stevenson. When he leads Amy to the time machine and takes her a few days into the future to prove it, she discovers a newspaper that reports that Stevenson murdered her the previous evening.

Malcolm McDowell plays HG Wells
The real model: HG Wells (1866–1946)
Mary Steenburgen , the leading female actress
David Warner plays Wells' opponent JL Stevenson

Wells sees the only chance to stop Stevenson in thwarting another of his murders, which the newspaper reports from the future, but he fails and also draws the police's attention. While Stevenson is on Amy’s heels, Wells must convince Lieutenant Michell that he is aware of Amy's impending murder. At the last moment he can persuade Michell to send a police car to Amy's house, but Stevenson has already kidnapped her and demands the key to the time machine from Wells. At a nightly meeting, Wells hands it over, but Stevenson breaks his word and wants to take Amy with him into the future. Wells tracks them both to the time machine and begs his ex-boyfriend to spare Amy. Stevenson remains tough, but in a careless moment Amy escapes him. Wells removes part of the activated time machine without Stevenson preventing him, so that Stevenson disappears into eternity with no possibility of return. Wells, who wants to go back to his own time, can persuade Amy to go with him.


The premiere took place on August 31, 1979. In Germany, the film was released on November 9th. On September 11, 2006, Warner Home Video released the film on DVD, but without revised sound and without any equipment.


  • The role of HG Wells is the only leading role of Malcolm McDowell in which he embodies a popular figure. In the same year he played a sadistic Roman emperor in Caligula .
  • Mary Steenburgen also played a time traveler's mistress in Back to the Future III .
  • McDowell and Steenburgen married soon after filming. The marriage ended in divorce in 1990.
  • HG Wells' second wife was really called Amy Robbins.
  • The date of the beginning of the time travel (November 5th) was adopted in the series Back to the Future as the starting point for time travel.


“The story actually sounds pretty unspectacular. But director Nicholas Meyer ( Sommersby , Star Trek - The Undiscovered Land ) turns the worn-out time travel adventure into a demanding thriller with fantastic twists and turns, ideas and directorial gags. Supported by convincing actors - above all Mary Steenburgen (awarded the Saturn Award for best leading actress) shines as HG Wells' friend from the future - the fantasy thriller is a delicious piece of cake from the time travel genre. Even if London's Big Ben rings its bells twelve times ten minutes to noon ... "

“Entertainment of adventurous fantasy; the amusing art of storytelling and the sentences critical of civilization are overlaid by thriller elements. "


The film was nominated for eight Saturn Awards in 1980 and won a prize in the categories “Best Actress”, “Best Music” and “Best Writing”. In addition, the film was also nominated for the Hugo Award .


DVD release

  • Escape to the future . Warner Home Video 2006



  • Karl Alexander : Escape into Today. Science fiction novel (original title: Time After Time ). German by Reinhard Heinz. Heyne, Munich 1983, 268 pages, ISBN 3-453-30871-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Escape to the future. In: Archived from the original on September 2, 2017 ; accessed on August 8, 2018 .
  2. Escape to the future. In: . Retrieved August 8, 2018 .
  3. Escape to the future. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed February 5, 2015 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used