ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Significance of number '88' in the movie Donnie Darko (2001)

Updated on August 17, 2015

Fact: The significance of the number of 88 is prevalent everywhere within the movie Donnie Darko. Its major significance deals with superstring theory E8xE8, which discusses theoretical concepts like multiverses and time travel.

Donnie Darko is a mystery drama that deals with the science fiction. It is about a troubled teenager that is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.

For the most part, the movies message delves into the notion of a good angel and bad angel. The moral of both stories is that life is predetermined. Choosing one’s own path can cause different endings only to lead to the same conclusion. This is the key message Donnie takes away from the book The Philosophy of Time Travel.

Throughout the films storyline the audience is presented with numerous examples of the numerical value 8. More so, the number 88. Some of these examples are hidden and require more in depth analysis of the viewer to conclude its significance. Here we present not only many examples but the brief theoretical significance it holds in physics.

Where The Number 88 Presents Itself

Many physicists that have watched the movie make the link that the numerical value represents time travel and multiverses. There are several instances in which the numerical value 88 presents itself. The movie takes place in 1988, where Donnie is told that the world will end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds (88). Additionally, when Samantha asks when she can have kids, Donnie says the 8th grade. Donnie mentions that his dog dies when he is 8. Donnie jokes about Back to the Future (1985) Delorean which had a speed of 88 mph. The climax of the movie occurs one week before the 1988 US Presidential election, when George Bush won on November 8, 1988 [11/08/88].

What We Did Not Know!

In the Director's Cut, the movie came out with an 'in-universe' fictional book The Philosophy of Time Travel. This book expands on the scientific concepts presented in the movie but is never clearly defined. The book explains that the film takes place within an unstable “Tangent Universe” that is connected to what is called a “Primary Universe” and is a duplicate of it, except for what is called a metal artifact. If the chosen Living Receiver (Donnie) does not bring the artifact into the Primary Universe within 28 days, the Primary Universe will be destroyed upon collapse of the Tangent Universe. And this is what Donnie is caught reading within the movie. The scientific concepts stem from what is called string theory, more so, one of five distinct superstring theories.

The Philosophy of Time Travel
The Philosophy of Time Travel | Source

Superstring Theory

Superstring Theory (String Theory) is an attempt to explain all particles and fundamental forces presented in nature using a single theory by modelling them as vibrations of supersymmetric strings that are one-dimensional (Think of a string in space, one dimension allows you move up or down or side to side on the string; not left or right) in space-time (Greene, Elegant 15).

To help you better understand string theory, think of these strings as music strings. As most musicians and music enthusiasts know, each string usually provides different sound due to the tension that has been applied to it. They call these excitation modes. Like musical strings, string theory states that very small particles and fundamental forces are strings (very small, a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter; Planck's Constant - 10-35). In order to excite each string, strings must be placed under tension. The problem is, instead of strings being tied down to an object, they float in what is called "space-time." But why is it called "supersymmetrical strings." Physicists believe that for every particle that applies a force, there is a corresponding particle that makes up physical matter. So each force is physically represented . E8xE8 = 88 is only one of five distinct (maybe 6) superstring theories, and talks about specific strings and the corresponding particles that arise (Schwarz,

  • Sidenote: The theory is also called a theory of gravity. What does this actually mean? It means that there are strings that give rise to what are called gravitons that comprises the gravitational force (Gravity stems from large objects in space bending the fabric of space time. E.g. Place an object on actual fabric, its mass pulls on the fabric. That is why we rotate aroung the sun. The curve the sun makes in the fabric of space-time keeps us close to it; Schwarz,

So where does string theory deal with time travel? There are said to be left over strings from the big bang. They are topographical defects in the fabric of spacetime. Theorists have suggested that if two cosmic strings came in close proximity to one another (or one string and a black hole singularity; which is one-dimenional), they could create "closed time-like curves". Theorists state that if you fire two strings at high speed closely together and move around them in a figure eight, you could achieve time-travel (Anderson, Anderson Institute).

Superstring Theory
Superstring Theory | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 years ago

      if man is 5, the devil is 6, god is 7 from the song, Monkey gone the heaven by the pixies explains the classes of species in the universe. If so then what is 8? My theory of the whole Donnie Darko movie is there is or was a living person/persons maybe not human but something else that is 8. I think the movie is referring to Donnie Darko as 8 because his abilities seem to be at a higher class than god.. This could all just be a big mind fuck made by directors but there is still a possibility of something much much bigger and all could be connected..


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)