Here it is: the internet’s top list of every Groundhog Day Loop film or television episode for you to track down and watch (and we add more all the time)
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 the protagonist 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 and master pianist and ice sculptor, or try every form of suicide.)
Groundhog Day Looping
In Groundhog Day, Phil Connors escapes the time loop only when certain conditions are met. We assume this…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. Star Trek: The Next Generation did it first, as far as we can tell. A Groundhog Day Story a unique subgenre now, with more than 35 shows to check off, and counting. Our running goal is to review them ALL.
That makes it really fun each year. We get to watch something with a distinct “Groundhog Day theme” every year on February 2nd. Now you can too.
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Let’s take a running look at TV shows and movies using the Groundhog Day theme
Links go to RunPee’s own movie/show 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. This is not in any order at this time, but I might reorganize it by year eventually. Feel free to let us know what shows we’ve missed in the comments below. 🙂
- 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.
- Groundhog Day — Feature Film (1993): When I Iived a year in the UK, this first-run movie saved my sanity. Long story.
- Been There, Done That (TV ep, Xena: Warrior Princess) — 1997: This show could do no wrong in my eyes during its 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 (great subtext), a name drop of Hercules (and Sinbad), and an adorable cameo by Karl Urban as Cupid. A top ten Xena ep anyone can enjoy.
- 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.
- 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).
- Monday (TV ep, The X-Files) — 1999: You don’t think there’s a mystery trope left unexamined in the X-Files 9 year run? Plus the two recent ‘revival’ years? Well, look again. Notable: a guest actor is at the center of the time loop plot, with Mulder and Scully mostly in reaction mode…and it STILL works. A standout during a mostly experimental 7th season.
- Life Serial — TV ep, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2001): In Buffy’s sixth season, “real life” was the 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 Life Serial is a highlight.
- Deja vu All Over Again — TV ep, Charmed (2008): This episode is rather dark in tone. I don’t know this show, but while the witches are well-acted, the two evil-doers are way too hammy to take seriously. Also, too much time is wasted on the prophetic witch’s efforts to prove they are re-living the day. By 2008 audiences don’t need hand-holding like this. We get it. The day repeats. I’m sure Charmed has its fan base, but this is too limply awkward and doesn’t add to the GHD genre.
- Mystery Spot (TV ep, Supernatural) — 2008: I really enjoyed this entry to the genre. Mystery Spot features that cool amusing/bemused feel in most GHD loop stories. I didn’t even need to know the characters at all, since it follows the expected tropes so well. What’s new is what exactly happens to reset the loop.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hell is Other People — TV ep, The Vampire Diaries (2016): I just watched this and was extremely unimpressed. The episode doesn’t stand alone and the looping days don’t seem to come to any kind of resolution, meaningful or not. I suspect that if one watches the entire show it will make better sense. This might be the worst GHD show in the oeuvre. Tell me in the comments below if I’m missing something.
- Before I Fall — Feature Film (2017): A mean girl, teen girl movie with Groundhog window dressing. Meh.
- Happy Death Day and the sequel — Feature Film & sequel (2017 & 2019): 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!)
- Hot Mess Time Machine — TV ep, The Mindy Project (2017): A half-hour sit-com type show, as far as I can tell. This episode name-drops Groundhog Day, and one of Mindy’s friends amusingly goes along with the plot with no need for convincing. That’s new. What I liked here was that you don’t need to know anything about this show to follow along and enjoy the premise. Altogether this isn’t a great contribution to the GHD loop genre, it’s a bit of fluffy fun that has a distinctive girl-power tone.
- Naked — Netflix film (2017): Panned on Rotten Tomatoes, but a worthwhile addition to the trope. Naked becomes a frothy fun time once the main character actually finds some clothes.
- 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?
- Russian Doll (2019): An exciting dark comedy Netflix series that’s tonally somewhere in-between Groundhog Day and Happy Death Day.
- Travelers (a good Netflix series) — 2019: A unique take on it and very cool. I love that the character reboots while falling from the sky.
Looper — Feature Film — 2012: I just watched this one, and Looper is not a GHD movie.
- Palm Springs — 2020: Palm Springs is deeply existential, frequently whacked, and somehow sweet. I enjoyed every A + minute. Also, dinosaurs!
- Premature — (2014) 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.
- Triangle — Feature Film (2009): From Rob: A true Groundhog Day time loop film, with a twist in the setup for a worthy addition to the genre. Plus blood, screams, and death. At sea. Update from Jilly: So, I watched Triangle (2009) last night. It’s not really horror — more like a suspense thriller with a mind-bending plot. It has some somewhat gruesome moments, but no jump scares. I have a low tolerance for horror but I found Triangle to be quite excellent. Definitely a GHD film, but extremely interesting in how the loops stack up on top of each other. So many clues start adding up to help you untangle what’s going on. I don’t want to spoil it here, but pay attention to the details, the setting, and the symbolism. I think this must be the most difficult situation a protagonist in a Groundhog Day Loop ever faces. Triangle is a fascinating story and most definitely adds to the GHD genre. I’d give it an A. Also, there are many creepy callbacks to The Shining, which really adds to the fun.Another note: there is an X-Files ep called Triangle that also takes place on an ocean liner and features time travel shenanigans. It’s constructed around very impressive, long panning shots. Recommended, and you don’t need to have prior knowledge of X-Files to enjoy it.
- 12:01 – Feature Film (1993): Taking place almost totally in an office setting, drone worker Barry is forced to watch someone he loves die over and over. He can’t seem to stop it, and she barely even knows he’s alive. A light offering with some humor and good use of the time loop premise. Nothing fresh here, but pleasantly watchable. I keep wanting to make a full review out of 12:01, but it’s too mediocre to bother. Currently, you can watch the entire movie free on YouTube. Notable: this film came out the same year as the original Groundhog Day. Which came first? It doesn’t matter, since Star Trek: The Next Generation beats them both by a year.
- The Last Day of Summer (We can’t find a version of this online to watch…any suggestions?)
- Primer – This is one you have to see more than once to follow the plot…but I’m not sure if this counts as a GHD loop. They loop through time, and repeat the same day ad infinitum, and…well…okay, I suppose it fits. A very thoughtful, slow, intellectual film. Let me know what you think.
- Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – Need to rewatch. But I think I remember it qualifies? What do you think?
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – What makes this case unique is that the loop is on purpose, with full intent, and no one wants to re-enter the normal timestream. A fun frothy Tim Burton semi-creepfest.
- ARQ – Review coming eventually.
- “Window of Opportunity”, Episode 6, Season 4 of Stargate SG1 is a fantastic and funny “one-day time loop” story. I just watched this and now I’m interested in adding Stargate onto my watch list. The characters are a huge hoot. Good stuff.
- Christmas Do-Over — Feature Film (2006): With Jay Mohr: fun family movie. Underwhelming, boring, and gives nothing new to the franchise. I’m very patient with GHD stories, but this is utterly a waste of space unless you’re very into Hallmark Xmas Specials. If so, you’ll find this a family-friendly clone of Bill Murray’s iconic Groundhog Day film. I would not go out of my way for this one unless you want to watch a ‘family’ version that’s a crowd-pleaser for several generations, with nothing to adult-splain.
- Blood Punch — Feature Film (2014): Another film in the Groundhog Day genre. Described on IMDb as a “Horror/Thriller” but it was more of a very dark comedy rom-com!
- The Endless — Feature Film (2017): It only just squeaks in as a Groundhog Day type film. Not because there isn’t a time loop; more likely because there isn’t just the one. There seem to be dozens of them. Some only seem to last seconds, whereas others last longer. There is consistency regarding the loops, but I’m not going to divulge what it is, for obvious reasons.
- The Map of Tiny Little Things — Feature Film (2021): Does it follow the rules? Is it any good? Should you watch it? Yes, yes, yes!
- Boss Level — Feature Film on Hulu (2021): Another perfect, A+ GHD movie. This fantastically fun and funny outing offers a protagonist who dies each day, as in Happy Death Day, but the plot is more like a non-sci-fi Edge of Tomorrow. Boss Level features a lot of cartoonish, video-game type violence — thus, the ‘levels’. These time loops never grow old! Get it? Never get old…? (PS: Thank you to RunPee fan Roger Cline for the head’s up on Boss Level.)
- The Twilight Zone! Why am I not surprised? Alert reader Tim Bracken told us, “There was a recent Twilight Zone episode starring Topher Grace with a time loop.” Awesome. I can’t wait to check it out.
- Retroactive (1997) Kylie Travis & James Belushi. Great film. (Thank you, Djstraycat!)
- Star Trek: Discovery — TV episode — “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”. Season 1, Episode 7 (2017): Well, every Trek series does a GHD episode. This one is adequate. It wasn’t as amusing as it probably should have been, and I’d recommend going back to TNG’s superb “Cause and Effect” to see Trek GHD done right.
- Cougar Town — Season 3, ep 14, “My Life”: Dan Salvino wrote, “It’s not really a loop at all, but people will be interested to know that an episode of Cougar Town had the characters talking about Groundhog Day.” So I just watched this and found it an unusual take on the premise in that there is no actual time loop involved, but the characters “repeat” their day to Courtney Cox’s character to illustrate the meaning in the famous Bill Murray movie. They even rig her alarm clock (the old kind used in the GHD movie) to play “I’ve got you babe” each morning at 6am. I did find this worth watching if only to see the characters mess with the concept. It was cute and stands alone, for the most part.
- There was a GHD episode of Early Edition — Season 4, Episode 10: “Run Gary Run”. This was a cute, albeit low-level GHD version of the genre. Seriously, there was little to no sci-fi or fantasy element here. This adds nothing to the genre, but still has a pleasant vibe to it. (Thanks for the head’s up from RunPee fan Robert Hoch.)
- Loki “The Nexus Event” — Season 1, Episode 4 (2021): OMG I can’t wait to watch this one. But I still haven’t been able to see Falcon and Winter Soldier yet. But I bet our Loki has done us proud. UPDATE: After watching the completed Loki Disney+ season 1, I’ll have to say that the Groundhog Day loop effect is only a minor part of the episode. It’s pretty amusing nonetheless. One thing I got from the GHD loop is how Loki could have had an actual, meaningful relationship with a certain Asgardian…if he wasn’t so childish. What he does here is not how you show you like somebody — unless you’re ten years old and don’t know what else to do. Loki’s juvenile actions towards, well, everyone, is what keeps said everyone at bay. Good stuff.
- Nebulous Dark — Indie Film (2021): I have yet to watch this, but I have the screener link and will get to it soonish. Here’s the label on the tin: A stylized Sci-Fi action-thriller. Stuck in an endless time-loop, Captain Apollo wakes up to discover he is in the post-apocalypse, a pandemic has wiped out most of the population on Earth, and there are new tenants.
- 6:45 — Streaming Film (2021): Coming out soon on HBOmax is 6:45, described on the IMDb thusly: What if one of the best days of your life suddenly turned into your very worst nightmare? And what if you were forced to relive that same day again and again? From the trailer, it seems like a horror-type GHD flick. If there’s any humor, I can’t tell from the trailer. This might be the most horror-based GHD entry than anything else on this list: Happy Death Day, on the other hand, barely counts as horror, being more of a dark comedy. I’ll update this entry once I see 6:45. Of course I’ll see it. This is what I do! It’s all I do! <—- paraphrased from Kyle Reese, in another time travel movie you may have heard of (Terminator).
- Community — TV show — Season 3, Episode 4 “Remedial Chaos Theory” (2011): Thanks to astute reader Nate for the heads up. So, I just watched this one, with no prior show knowledge. I found it amusing and cute. I’m actually placing Community on my watch list because of all the nerd references (see: Indiana Jones scale replica of the rolling boulder scene and Deadpool wearing a mens xmas jumper). A fun side effect of dipping into TV shows I never saw is how I’m discovering good series to take on. So, does this Community episode contribute to the GHD genre? I’d say yes, specifically Abed’s assertions that throwing a die creates six different timelines. It’s new for a non-sci-fi character to steadfastly believe they are messing with a multi-verse. While we see the timelines play out Sliding Doors-style, what strikes me is how some timelines play out as incredibly pedestrian, and others quite disastrous. Definitely watchable.
- “Future Tense” — Star Trek: Enterprise, Season 2, Ep 16 (2002)
- “Time Squared” — Star Trek: TNG, Season 2 Episode 13 (1989)
- “Timescape” — Star Trek: TNG, Season 6 Episode 25 (1993)
- “Visionary” Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Season 3 Episode 17 (1995)
- “Coda” — Star Trek: Voyager, Season 3 Episode 15 (1997)
- When We First Met — Feature Film — “Definitely a rom com. Enough emphasis on the “com” part to work for me, but not as hilarious as something like Groundhog Day.” Thank you to RunPee Fan Nate for the heads up!
- Mine Games — Feature Film — “Horror mystery suspense thriller.” Also brought to our attention by Nate. You are on the ball!
Collecting Groundhog Day Time Loops
We’re always looking to add new shows to celebrate this obscure, yet infinitely geeky holiday. Each new year shows there are still great ideas to be mined from messing with time.
- 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.
- January 2021 YET ANOTHER UPDATE: We’re back on the job and working our way through some of the GHD movies and shows that we’ve missed so far. Lots of you commented with shows for us to check and review: keep them coming!
- June 2021: Still going. Thank you for always letting us know what new GHD loop episodes and movies we missed. I try to get all of your ideas personally reviewed, or at least added to the list.
Non-Groundhog Day movies that seem like one…
We’re going to start a list of movies that aren’t GHD films but come close, like 50 First Dates, Bill & Ted 2, Austin Powers 2, Butterfly Effect, Sliding Doors, Back to the Future 2, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Momento, Tenet, Looper, 12 Monkeys, and About Time. What should we title these kinds of films?
Feel free to opinionate in the comments below. We have 50+ comments on this article — please scroll below! And yes, we read every comment. 🙂
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Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)