23

I have a dim memory of a movie (it might have been a TV movie) made in the 70s or 80s about an android who time travels from the future and washes up on a beach in the 20th Century, possibly a Greek island. He doesn't remember who he is and he befriends a boy and his mother. He becomes interested in the story of Jesus and the family teach him about morality. At the end of the film he travels back in time again, and it's implied he went to Jerusalem and became Jesus himself.

Does anyone know the name of it?

1
  • What film didn't in the 80s!?!?! Trope alert! Feb 23 at 16:08

1 Answer 1

22

This is The Next One (1984), also known as The Time Traveller.

The Next One is a film in which the recent widow of an American astronaut finds Glen - a man with uncanny powers and lost in space and time - on the beach of her retreat on a Greek Island.

After a strange electrical storm in the 1980s, an American widow named Andrea Johnson and her young son, Tim, find a disoriented, naked man washed ashore on the small Greek island they live on. He has the number 01313-1 printed on his back.

They have him examined by a doctor, who's alarmed when he detects two hearts beating within the man's chest. When asked what his name is, the man says he doesn't know and seems unfamiliar with the term. They assume he has amnesia.

Soon after, Andrea and the man go for a walk and enter a church. He sees a depiction of Christ on the cross and asks who that is, with Andrea stating that Christ was someone who loved people and wanted to help them change their lives, but died for it.

They later discuss choosing a name for the man. He asks if he could be called 'Jesus,' but Andrea doesn't think that's a good idea, as the island's inhabitants are very religious and might view that as blasphemy. She proposes the name 'Glenn' instead.

When Glenn sees the doctor again, he asks him to tell him more about Christ and why he died. The doctor says Christ was a good man, but a romantic fool who tried to make people love each other and couldn't win against greedy and mean human beings.

After smoking a joint with Andrea, Glenn says he now realises that he's from another time when all people are created equal, and are all alike, except for identification numbers. Andrea says he's stoned and that he must've read a lot of Asimov and Orwell.

Glenn exhibits inhuman powers. He's able to sense things occurring beyond the normal range of human senses, and when Tim is killed by a fall, Glenn states that death can be cured, and somehow revives Tim while cradling him in his arms.

After seeing that, the doctor says that if Glenn is who he thinks he is, he's in the wrong place and time, and that he could remove all hatred, misery and destruction from the world by giving control to animals and children, but Glenn says he can't hurt anyone.

Near the end of the film, Glenn tells Tim that he travelled through time looking for his younger brother, another time traveller, but when Glenn arrived, he learned he was 2000 years too late, and that his brother had been crucified by the people.

Glenn also says that his kind must self-destruct if they're trapped in another time, because human progress is based on imperfection, and if someone like him or his brother were to change that, the evolution that made them would never have existed.

Tim starts crying and says that he doesn't want him to go. Glenn tells Tim not to cry and that another like him will come; he'll even look like him. He says goodbye and asks Tim to say goodbye to Andrea for him, then walks off into the sea and explodes.

Some time later, Tim is walking with his dog when he finds another naked man washed ashore. The man looks and sounds just like Glenn, except he doesn't know Tim and the number on his back is 01313-2. Tim says he'll take him to meet a very nice lady.

5
  • 6
    Interesting idea that he must “self-destruct so that he doesn't alter the course of history” while his younger brother spawned an entire world religion that still persists 2000 years later.
    – Holger
    Feb 23 at 8:45
  • 2
    Yes! This is it! Thanks! Now I just need to find somewhere to watch it. Feb 23 at 13:03
  • 3
    @Arthur P. Dent - If you live in the US, Canada, Mexico, or Australia (or have a VPN), you can watch it for free (with ads) on Tubi. It's listed there under its alternate title of The Time Traveler. It's also on Amazon Prime under that title. Feb 23 at 13:16
  • 2
    @Holger - I added a bit more to the answer to possibly clarify Glenn's reasoning a little. I gather that from his POV, the main thing that must not be changed/removed is human imperfection, which was a key component of the history that led to the future he's from. And while Glenn's brother may have spawned a worldwide religion, he didn't remove human imperfection, as evidenced by his crucifixion. It wasn't stated, but I guess we're also meant to conclude that Glenn's brother self-destructed after resurrecting, rather than ascending to Heaven. Feb 23 at 14:13
  • Also, it's not clear that Glenn and his brother came from a future where Christ never existed. That could be true, but it could also be that Glenn and his brother's actions in the past were part of history all along. While telling Andrea where he came from, Glenn says they're fascinated from childhood with history, but history is banned. That would explain him and his brother not knowing about Christ, even if they came from a future where Christianity had once existed. The film seems open to interpretation in that regard. Feb 23 at 15:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.