I am attempting to find the title of a live action (not animated) movie I once watched on a VHS tape years ago, sometime around 2000-ish, although I believe that the movie had existed long before I watched it. I believe that it was in color (it was not black and white); however, I am not 100% sure this is true. The main plot followed a young boy in America who was transported years into the future by a friendly alien spaceship. I can remember that this boy doesn't remember that he traveled through time, and he attempts to go back home, where he finds that his house has a different family living in it (because he was in the future). The boy eventually finds his family, but they are years older and have been looking for the him since the night he was taken through time.

I can also remember that the U.S. government eventually got involved and kept the boy in confinement to try and discover why he didn't age, but that's about all I can remember. In the end, the boy does end up getting transported back to his own time; however, I do not recall how this happened.

I hope that this is not too vague - if anyone has any ideas as to what this film is called I would be very appreciative to hear them.

  • 1
    Hi, welcomed to SF&F! This is a nicely detailed question! Still, just in case you might recall anything else, check out the suggestions. Do you remember at all what the box art looked like? Even just the colour might help.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 18:07
  • 2
    Unfortunately, it looks like this is getting a remake...
    – JPhi1618
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


This is Disney's 1986 film, The Flight of the Navigator

On the night of July 4, 1978, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 12-year-old David Freeman walks through the woods to pick up his 8-year-old younger brother, Jeff, from a friend's house when he accidentally falls into a ravine and is knocked unconscious. When he comes to, he discovers that eight years have passed and it is now 1986. Police are shocked to see David fits exactly the same photo on a missing child poster, not having aged at all. David is reunited with his aged parents and Jeff is now 16. Meanwhile, an alien spaceship crashes through power lines and is promptly captured by NASA. David is taken to the hospital for tests where his brainwaves reveal images of the spaceship. Dr. Louis Faraday, who has been studying it since its arrival, persuades David to come to a NASA research facility for just 48 hours for extra tests, promising him that they can help him learn the truth about what happened to him. There, Dr. Faraday discovers that David's mind is filled with alien technical manuals and star charts covering expanses of the galaxy far exceeding NASA's research. It tells the scientists that he was taken to a planet called Phaelon, 560 light years away, in just over 2.2 hours. They realize that he has experienced severe time dilation as a result of having traveled faster than the speed of light, explaining why eight years have passed on Earth, but not for him. He is unable to comprehend what Dr. Faraday tells him and flees the room, leaving Dr. Faraday muttering that 48 hours will be insufficient to finish his investigation.

The next morning, following a telepathic communication from the spaceship, David secretly boards it and meets its robotic commander, "Trimaxion Drone Ship" (or "Max" for short), which refers to David as the "Navigator". After they escape from the facility, Max tells David that his mission was to travel across the galaxy, collect biological specimens, take them to Phaelon for analysis, and then return them to their homes. Phaelon's scientists discovered humans only use 10% of their brain and, as an experiment, filled the remainder of David's with miscellaneous information. This includes all of the star charts discovered by Phaelon's astronomers, some of which were shown to the NASA scientists during David's interrogation. Max then returned him to Earth, but did not take him back to his own time, having determined that a human would be unlikely to survive a trip back in time. Before leaving Earth, Max accidentally crashed the spaceship, erasing all the computer's star charts and data. Therefore, he needs the information in David's brain to return home....


  • 3
    Sarah Jessica Parker... in her young days.... Commented May 30, 2019 at 20:10
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    Just as a warning for anyone that wants to reminisce with their young kids - a PG rating in the 80's was not what it is today.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 3:08
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    Description makes a big deal of all the alien tech, but I wanna know about the human tech to convert brain waves to images. Sounds just as advanced as everything the aliens have. lol
    – jpmc26
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 5:34
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    – Ilessa
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 9:34
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    @jpmc26, the device they used to draw the image of the spacecraft was just an EEG. The main character's brain was (unconsciously) controlling the graph in an unnatural way, indicating that there was something very unusual about the main character beyond just being unaged. Flashes of star charts on a computer later were also baffling to the scientists.
    – Ghedipunk
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 18:27

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