30 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

 

“There is no way that this winter is ever going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don’t see any other way out. He’s got to be stopped. And I have to stop him.”

Groundhog Day is February 2nd in the US, and it’s a truly bizarre national holiday. The premise: a large rodent might see its shadow, predicting when spring will or won’t come. How does one celebrate this, unless they live in Punxsutawney?

How long does it take to start thinking you are a god? To give up on unique ways to solve the day/kill yourself/become a better person? Does he live this day only decades, or a few thousand years? (Pay attention and ask yourself how long it would take to master his many skills, become a doctor, or try every form of suicide.)


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Phil escapes the time loop only when certain conditions are met. We assume this, because it’s never stated why he finally moves on to the next day. However, the repeating day motif is not new to this movie, and in each instance, time resets indefinitely until the protagonist finds a way out. The movie isn’t even the first film or TV show to feature this theme. A Groundhog Day Story a unique subgenre now, with around 30 shows to check off.

That makes it really fun each year. We get to watch of something with a distinct “Groundhog Day theme” every year on Feb the 2nd.  And it all actually started with Star Trek: The Next Generation.


 Let’s take a running look at TV shows and movies using the Groundhog Day theme

Links added go to RunPee’s reviews. We hope to get them all reviewed eventually. One of these Groundhog Days we will! If we haven’t added some kind of commentary, we haven’t seen it. Feel free to let us know what shows we’ve missed in the comments below. 🙂

  1. Cause and Effect (TV ep, Star Trek, the Next Generation) — 1992: Note the air date before Groundhog Day. Was this the first to do it? Here’s how it starts…right before the teaser ends we get this indelible image: Picard yelling for all hands to abandon the Enterprise. Then it explodes. And keeps on exploding. From there, the mystery never lets up on this superb storytelling. I don’t think any TV episode gave me chills like this before in my young life. It still works.
  2. Groundhog Day — Feature Film — 1993 : When I Iived that year in the UK, this first-run movie saved my sanity. For real. Long story.
  3. Been There, Done That (TV ep, Xena: Warrior Princess) — 1997 : This show could do no wrong in my eyes during it’s 7-year run. It’s only natural that Xena’s version is funnier than EVERYTHING else on this list. Plus, we’ve got Romeo and Juliette being dorks,  a laundry list of reasons why Xena didn’t bite Gabrielle (lol), a name drop of Hercules (and Sinbad), and an adorable cameo by Karl Urban as Cupid. A top ten Xena ep anyone can enjoy.
  4. Run, Lola, Run — Feature Film —  1998: Although the movie is a scant eighty minutes, you feel like you’ve been on a journey by the end of it.  Tykwer uses music, sound effects, and editing, to make you feel both the pressure Lola is under, and all the ground she is covering. It’s very effective. 
  5. Back and Back and Back to the Future (TV ep, Farscape) — 1999: set in the mostly benighted season one of an otherwise stellar Sci-Fi show, Back and Back is notable for Crichton’s trying to change the timeline in small ways (breaking Zhan’s sacred mask on purpose, instead of letting time inevitably play out).
  6. Monday (TV ep, The X-Files) — 1999: You don’t think there’s a mystery trope left examined in the X-Files 9 year run? Look again. Notable: a guest actor is at the center of the plot, with Mulder and Scully mostly in reaction mode…and it STILL works. A standout during a mostly experimental season.
  7. Life Serial (TV ep, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) — 2001 : In Buffy’s sixth season, “real life” was the scary big bad. Shudders! This episode was a needed dash of fun. The “Trio” are nerdy doofuses with too much power and no real direction. I love everything in this season, and this is a highlight.
  8. Deja vu All Over Again (TV ep, Charmed) — 2008
  9. Mystery Spot (TV ep, Supernatural) — 2008
  10.  Source Code — Feature Film– 2011: A soldier wakes up in someone else’s body and discovers he’s part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train. A mission he has only 8 minutes to complete. This is pretty gripping stuff.
  11. Edge of Tomorrow (AKA Live. Die. Repeat) –Feature Film —  2014 : Exciting, well-acted, and with a gripping jeopardy premise, Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt take what could have been a two-hour slog of repeating action into a believably exciting fresh take on an alien takeover plot. Highly recommended very rewatchable. Also: the theme song Love Me Again deserves a spot on any movie lover’s playlist: lyrics and movie video here. 
  12. Hell is Other People  (TV ep, The Vampire Diaries) — 2016
  13. Before I Fall  — Feature Film — 2017: A teen girl movie with Groundhog window dressing. Meh.
  14. Happy Death Day  and the sequel — Feature Film (& sequel) — 2017: Imagine relieving your death, over and over? Want to try? Neither do we, but we love this take on it. NEW article: All the clues to the killer in Happy Death Day (Spoilers!)
  15. Hot Mess Time Machine (TV ep, The Mindy Project) — 2017
  16. Naked (Netflix film) — 2017: This film was panned on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s a worthwhile addition to the trope. Naked becomes a frothy fun time once the main character actually finds some clothes.
  17. Dr. Strange  — Feature Film — 2017: I don’t know if this should be included, so I’ll toss it up and let you decide. At the end of the film, Strange wears down his enemy using an infinite time loop of destruction. He could stop it at any point, so it’s not like the other plots. Does this count?
  18. Russian Doll — 2019: A new and exciting dark comedy Netflix series that’s somewhere in between Groundhog Day and Happy Death Day.
  19.  Travelers (a good Netflix series) — 2019: A unique take on it and very cool.
  20. Looper  — Feature Film — 2012:  I just watched this one, and Looper is not a GHD movie. 
  21. Palm Springs — 2020: Palm Springs is deeply existential, frequently whacked, and somehow sweet. I enjoyed every minute. A+. Also, dinosaurs!
  22. Premature — 2014: An 80s teen movie meets Groundhog Day. It’s fun, comically awkward and ultimately a little underwhelming. You’ll laugh a few times, but probably won’t be satisfied with the…er…’climax’. Or maybe I expect more from this genre by now.
  23. Triangle – Review coming soon.
  24. 12:01 – Review coming soon.
  25. The Last Day of Summer – Review coming soon.
  26. Primer – Watching tonight! Review coming soon.
  27. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – Review coming soon.
  28. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Review coming soon.
  29. ARQ – Review coming soon.

Collecting Groundhog Time Loops

We’re always looking to add new shows to celebrate on this obscure, yet infinitely geeky holiday. The recent and finely wrought Edge of Tomorrow indicates there are still great ideas to be mined.

Spring 2020 UPDATE: Go see Palm Springs, the latest in this genre. It’s almost perfect.

Summer 2020 ANOTHER UPDATE: We’re currently getting up to speed on more shows featuring Groundhog loops on a weekly basis, so keep checking in.

Also, we’re going to start a list of movies that aren’t GHD films but come close, like 50 First Dates, Butterfly Effect, Looper, and About Time. Feel free to opinionate in the comments below.

New Movie Review – Palm Springs

Virgin Review – Source Code

In Da Club by 50 Cent – Video & Lyrics from the Happy Death Day 2U Trailer

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18 thoughts on “30 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List”

  1. A fan gave us new info about a movie with a repeating day theme called Blood Punch, with a horror angle about an Indian Burial Ground being violated….we’re sending RunPee Sis to check it out. It’s available on the horror streaming service called Shudder. Have you seen it? Should this make the list?

  2. About the Star Trek the Next Generation episode that came first: You really can’t beat that opening sequence. ALL HANDS ABANDON SHIP! ALL HANDS — BAM! That was an outstanding moment the the first time, and it still leaves an impact now.

  3. Oh man, you guys. Looper isn’t a GHD movie. I am not sure why we thought it was. I’m going to have to remove this one. It’s time travel, and the word “loop” seems to imply a ground hog loop, but I finally saw this myself for the first time (this is Jilly) and it’s more Blade Runner/Terminator. With some Inception. But not a repeating day.

    Oy. People have also mentioned Butterfly Effect, Sliding Doors, 50 First Dates, and a few other films along these lines, but I need to discern a category of their own.

  4. – 12:01 pm (‘1990’)
    This is the first film adaptation of the short story “12:01 PM” by Richard A. Lupoff, which was published in 1973 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It originally aired on cable television as part of the Showtime 30-Minute Movie anthology series. It was nominated for an Academy Award.

    – 12:01 (‘1993’)
    Office worker Barry Thomas is forced to relive the worst day of his life.

    – Triangle (‘2009’)
    A group of friends go on boat trip and become stranded due to a storm. They discover a cruise ship which causes them to experience a series of repeating events.

    – The Endless (‘2017’)
    Two brothers return to a cult they left earlier in life. They learn there is something going on much bigger than your average ‘cult crazies’.

    – Primer (‘2004’)
    Two friends invent a time machine. They end up looping over and over trying to not screw up the time-space paradox.

    [Note: I’m assuming Primer and sober others I added are not included for the same reason ‘Looper/Butterfly Effect/50 First Dates etc aren’t included in the narrow parameters of a ‘GHD’-type movie]. Though time-loop movies, *even* the ones that don’t just follow the GHD formula 100%, still can give people who like this type of story something to enjoy.

  5. Hi Rand! These are great ideas! Thank you for your insights and details.

    I am about to do some traveling, but will respond more on these soon. Have you watched the new Netflix show Russian Doll? Great mashup of GH Day and Happy Death Day, in episode form!

  6. Pingback: Movie Review - Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.) -

  7. Rob Williams Author

    So where does “About Time” fit in? If you like Notting Hill,Four Weddings, etc. then it should ring a bell or two. Imagine a soppy romance with time travel thrown in and that’s pretty much what Richard Curtis wrote! Oh… and Bill Nighy’s in it too!

  8. Rand, I think the X-Files episode Triangle is referencing the movie you named above.

    Rob, I need to see About Time then. It has to be a loop…not just time travel. 🙂

  9. Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson as father and son are a good watch. I did have another quick review of it and it’s totally not like Groundhog Day! The premise of the film is that the men in the family can go back in time and relive an event until they get it right but the big difference is they can choose when they go back to. Oh… not being too spoilery, that’s in the trailer!

  10. Got some more. I added Palm Springs and will do a blurb/review for Premature next (just saw it last night. I’ll save my thoughts for the review and let you know when it’s done. Has anyone seen Premature?

  11. I added Premature as a review. https://runpee.com/movie-review-premature/

    Going to watch About Time, Triangle, Naked, 12:03, ARG, and Before I Fall next, since they are on free online.

    I’ll be looking next for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Last Day of Summer, Prince of Persia, and Primer. And some others. There’s a lot.

    Not sure why this is such a thing…maybe we all long for an infinite do over.

  12. @Rob — I saw About Time and thought it was a pleasant, cute diversion. But it’s not a GHD loop, or sci fi, or anything much outside of conventional storytelling.

    My About Time review is done. I gave it a nice B grade. Thank you for the heads up, Rob! I’ll post the review after the newsletter goes out!

    PS: Rob is the main character in Naked and Palm Springs…is there something you’re not telling me?

    @Everyone:
    I watched Naked this week, which is indeed a GHD. The Review is done and going live tomorrow.

    Next GHD on my list:
    Triangle, 12.01, and Before I Fall. I think Triangle is semi-horror.

    I need a topic category for non-GDH Time Travel films…Anyone?

  13. “PS: Rob is the main character in Naked and Palm Springs…is there something you’re not telling me?”

    You asked me that yesterday… and the day before… and…

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