10 Movies, TV Shows With 'Groundhog Day'-Like Time Loops

5:00 AM 10/13/2017

by Katherine Schaffstall

The concept of the same day repeating has been featured in films like 'Before I Fall' and 'Happy Death Day' and TV shows including 'The Mindy Project' and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'

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The concept of the same day repeating has become familiar in Hollywood, with Groundhog Day just one of the many films and TV shows that have made use of this time-loop technique.

As characters in these projects relive one specific day over and over again, they usually learn something about themselves through the repetition. 

Films like Edge of Tomorrow and Before I Fall and TV shows like The Mindy Project and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have all used the time-loop format as a storytelling device.

In honor of Happy Death Day, the latest film to use the time-loop setup, The Hollywood Reporter takes a look back at 10 memorable movies and TV shows that have put characters in the situation of having to relive the same day multiple times.  

  • 'Groundhog Day' (1993)

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    The 1993 comedy film Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a TV weatherman who's sent to a small town in Pennsylvania to cover the town’s Groundhog Day festivities. Phil makes it clear to every crew member on the trip, including producer Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell), that he does not want to be there. After covering the events and then trying to leave early, Phil is stopped by a snowstorm that strands him in the town. The next day he wakes up and realizes that it’s still Groundhog Day. Stuck in a time loop, Phil relives the same day over and over again until he realizes what it is that he truly wants in life. 

  • 'Charmed' (1999)

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    The season 1 episode "Déjà vu All Over Again" finds Inspector Rodriguez (Carlos Gómez) planning to kill the Charmed Ones. The inspector is paid a visit by demon Tempus (David Carradine), who agrees to turn back time until Rodriguez successfully kills the Halliwell sisters. While Rodriguez is under the assumption that he is the only person that will remember the failed murder attempts, Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) experiences déjà vu throughout each of the inspector’s attempts to kill her and her sisters.  

  • 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (2001)

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    The season 6 episode of the supernatural drama "Life Serial" finds Buffy (Sarah Michelle Geller) working at The Magic Box. Right around the same time, Jonathon (Danny Strong) begins a spell that creates a time loop. When fetching a live mummy’s hand for a customer, the hand attacks her. Buffy is forced to kill the hand, which results in the death of the sale. As the specific events of her day begin to repeat themselves, Buffy puts the spell to an end when she informs the customer that she will order the mummy hand to be delivered instead of retrieving it herself. 

  • 'Supernatural' (2008)

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    The season 3 episode "Mystery Spot" of the long running CW series is another show to feature a time-loop storyline. When Dean (Jensen Ackles)  is shot and killed, Sam (Jared Padalecki) is surprised to wake up the next morning to find his brother alive. As events from the previous day repeat themselves, such as a waitress dropping a bottle of hot sauce and the brothers crossing paths with a golden retriever, Sam makes it his mission to prevent Dean’s impending death. Unsurprisingly, the episode ends with Dean escaping a deadly outcome.

  • 'Edge of Tomorrow' (2014)

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    Tom Cruise plays Major William "Bill" Cage, a public affairs officer with no combat experience. When aliens called Mimics invade Earth, Cage heads into battle. After being killed within minutes, Cage finds himself thrown into a time loop in which he fights the aliens up to his untimely death on repeat. As he enters each battle, Cage uses new skills that he acquired from the times before, all with the help of Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). 

  • 'The Vampire Diaries' (2016)

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    In the seventh-season episode, “Hell Is Other People," Damon (Ian Somerhalder) wakes up in 1863, back when he was only a soldier in the Civil War and not a vampire. While Damon should be skeptical about what’s going on based on the fact that Lily (Annie Wersching) is alive, he initially acts as if it’s any other day. But he learns that he is stuck inside the Phoenix stone, which forces him to relive a traumatic experience from the war while also being tormented by the ghost of his mother.  

  • 'The Mindy Project' (2017)

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    In the season 5 episode “Hot Mess Time Machine,” Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) is recently dumped by Ben (Bryan Greenberg). After waking up, she drops her phone in a cup of soda, realizes she’s on her period and runs into Ben at work. The next morning, Mindy wakes up and has the same experiences. In true Mindy fashion, she begins to make the most of her repeated days by visiting every McDonald’s in Manhattan, bidding $1 million to have lunch with Oscar Isaac and even making a trek to Brooklyn. When the titular character realizes that the day is not coming to an end any time soon, she comes to the conclusion that she must make things right with Ben.

  • 'Before I Fall' (2017)

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    Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) wakes up on Cupid’s Day thinking it’s a normal day. After attending a party, Sam gets into a car accident that presumably kills her and her friends. She wakes up on Cupid’s Day the next morning, convinced that the car crash was just a nightmare. When Sam realizes that many events in the new day parallel the day she thought was a dream, she convinces her friends to skip the party. While the friend group survives the night, an outsider named Juliet (Elena Kamporis) commits suicide. Sam is shocked when she wakes up the next day and it’s still Cupid’s Day. As Sam relives the same day on repeat, she must discover the mystery behind her death.

  • 'Naked' (2017)

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    The Netflix original comedy follows Rob Anderson (Marlon Wayans), a substitute teacher who is scared of commitment. When Rob learns that his fiancée’s (Regina Hall) ex-boyfriend is invited to their wedding, he goes out drinking. The next morning, Rob wakes up naked in a hotel elevator only hours before the nuptials. After being arrested for streaking right before the ceremony begins, Rob wakes up naked in the elevator once again. The character must relive the hours that lead up to his wedding until he realizes what he wants for his future. 

  • 'Happy Death Day' (2017)

    The horror film stars Jessica Rothe as college student Tree Gelbman. Tree relives the day she is murdered over and over again, which also happens to be her birthday. Each retelling of the day reveals specific and terrifying details that will help her discover the identity of her killer. It is not until her killer has been named that the terrible day can come to an end once and for all. 

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