The 1980 film "The Final Countdown", starring Kirk Douglas, is about a "modern day" Aircraft carrier transported 40 years back in time to WW2. A few years later, "The Philadelphia Experiment", somewhat based on the legend of the same name, features a 1940s warship being transported 40 years into the future. The coincidence of the two seems hard to swallow. Was the latter film inspired by the former, or is this just a sign of convergence, two distinct sources coming up with the same idea?

1 Answer 1


There are only 3 points of coincidence and, if you think about it...they're not that hard to swallow.

  • Time Travel
  • Ships travelling in time
  • 40 years

Time Travel

Well this is a given but there are a lot of time travel movies.

Ships travelling in time

In fact, only The Final Countdown has a ship time-travelling for an extended period. In The Philadephia Experiment the ship just disappears for a few minutes at most (it seems to be out of phase rather than out of time) ... David Herdeg (Paré) and Jim Parker (Di Cicco) though appear in the Nevada desert in the year 1984 (so space as well as time).

40 years

See, this is the seductive part. It's tempting to link the two but this is deceptive and it's based around the time period they were made and the time period they were travelling to...both ends of which were fixed.

A 1980 movie about a modern ship "interfering" in Pearl Harbour (39 years)..that's obvious.

But then the Philadelphia Experiment "actually" took place in 1943 and the modern sections of the eponymous movie actually occurred contemporaneously to the movie production i.e. 1984 (41 years).

If David Herdeg and Jim Parker had jumped to 1964, 1974 or 1979 instead would this question have come up?

I can find no source that indicates that the two films shared a source or resource or similar origin. The Final Countdown seems to have been wholly original and The Philadelphia Experiment extends a long-standing, commonly debunked, myth about "invisibility experiments" into a time travel story.

  • You forget the fourth stopping a catastrophe
    – cde
    Dec 16, 2016 at 22:46
  • @cde There are only three reasons to time travel. Cash, tourism, and altering history/future.
    – Erik
    Dec 27, 2016 at 3:01
  • @erik you forget the most common. Accidental time travel.
    – cde
    Dec 27, 2016 at 3:08

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