H.G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper to the 20th Century when the serial murderer uses the future writer's time machine to escape his time period.


Nicholas Meyer


Karl Alexander (story), Steve Hayes (story) | 1 more credit »
7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Malcolm McDowell ... H.G. Wells
David Warner ... Dr. John Leslie Stevenson aka Jack the Ripper
Mary Steenburgen ... Amy
Charles Cioffi ... Lt. Mitchell
Kent Williams ... Assistant
Andonia Katsaros Andonia Katsaros ... Mrs. Turner
Patti D'Arbanville ... Shirley
James Garrett ... Edwards
Keith McConnell Keith McConnell ... Harding
Leo Lewis ... Richardson
Byron Webster ... McKay
Karin Collison ... Jenny (as Karin Mary Shea)
Geraldine Baron Geraldine Baron ... Carol
Laurie Main ... Inspector Gregson
Joseph Maher ... Adams


It's 1893 London. Futurist H.G. Wells believes that the future holds a Utopian society. He also believes in time travel. He has just built a time machine which he is displaying to a group of skeptical friends, including surgeon Dr. John Leslie Stevenson. Unbeknown to Wells or anyone else among that circle, Stevenson is better known to the public as Jack the Ripper. Just as the police are about to capture Stevenson, he uses the time machine to escape, with Wells being the only one who knows what happened to him. Not telling anyone except his trusting housekeeper, Wells follows Stevenson in order to capture and bring him back to face justice. Where Stevenson has gone is 1979 San Francisco. There, Wells is dismayed to find that the future is not Utopia as he had predicted. But Wells is also picked up by a young woman named Amy Robbins. As Wells and Amy search for Stevenson, Stevenson conversely is after Wells to obtain the master key to the time machine. As Stevenson continues his ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


H.G. Wells races through time to catch Jack the Ripper! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


Amy Robbins was the name of H.G. Wells' second wife in real life. However, despite the romance of the film, the real-life marriage of H.G. Wells and Amy Robbins was anything but blissful. Wells cheated on his wife repeatedly, and was unapologetic about it. In fact, he was so egotistical that he told friends that men ought to be allowed to have as many mistresses as they pleased. Wives, though, Wells said, must be chaste, for appearance's sake. See more »


H.G. Wells shows up at John Leslie Stevenson's hotel room. In California, it is illegal for hotel staff to reveal the room number of a guest so he could not have known which room was his. See more »


Amy Robbins: I like that suit. Is that what they're wearing in London?
H.G. Wells: It was when I left.
See more »


References The Time Machine (1960) See more »

User Reviews

wonderful sci-fi as H.G. Wells travels to 1979
31 May 2015 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Time after Time," from 1980, stars Malcolm McDowell, Mary Steenburgen, and David Warner, and is directed by Nicholas Meyer.

In this story, the author of "The Time Machine," H.G. Wells, lives in England, has invented the time machine, and shows it to guests visiting, among them, Dr. John Stevenson, who has arrived late. Wells then admits that he hasn't gone on a trip to the past or future because he hasn't gotten his nerve up yet.

Moments later, the police arrive, and it's revealed that Dr. Stevenson is really Jack the Ripper and has just killed someone. Searching the house, they can't find him, nor did anyone see him leave. Wells realizes that Stevenson took his time machine. The machine has a key in it that causes it to return to its starting point. Wells can see that he traveled to 1979. So he sets the dial.

He winds up in San Francisco, smack in the middle of an H.G. Wells exhibit, which is modeling his time machine. He sets out to find Stevenson; after changing some money, he realizes the doctor did the same and goes searching for the bank that changed it.

At the bank, he meets Amy Robbins. They fall in love. But Wells is there to do a job.

This is a great story, very tense, suspenseful, and exciting as Wells seeks out Stevenson and tries to keep him from killing again and also to get the key away from him - the key that will return the machine to its starting point.

In one scene, he faces off with the doctor at his hotel, and Wells points out that "neither of us belongs here." Stevenson turns on the TV and starts zapping the remote. There are hostages being killed in Israel, tanks moving through the desert, an assassination of a mayor -- "I'm home," Stevenson announces. He feels he's found a place and time where he fits.

Malcolm McDowell, young and cute here, does an excellent job as the brilliant and earnest Wells, and Steenburgen is lovely as a feminist who falls for him. They have great chemistry; they did fall in love during this film and married. McDowell's career didn't take off as it should have, due to some personal problems, and he wound up playing bad guys in low-budget films and on television. As can be seen here, that's a shame. However, he is in constant demand. Warner makes an attractive villain.

A delightful movie, a charming cast, that will keep you entertained and absorbed. Highly recommended.

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Release Date:

28 September 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Time After Time See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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