Wednesday, 21 October 2015


The basic story is simple enough; a high school kid is friends with an eccentric old kook, a scientist who likes to tinker, but hasn't had any success. The kid has a girl, his family are losers and he has a dream of being a rock star. Then... it all changes. There's been plenty of time travel stories, but Back to the Future was the biggest grossing movie of 1985, continuing the smash comedy boom of Ghostbusters the year before. Both had sequels – so far one for the latter and, of course two for Back to the Future. Never intended for continuation, the plot goes like this; Marty McFly agrees to meet Doc Brown for a late night experiment, involving a time-machine built into a DeLorean sports car. Marty's Mum is a drunk, his siblings wasters and his Dad a likeable enough weakling constantly bullied by the overbearing Biff Tannen. Marty ends up travelling back to 1955 and can't get back to 1985. Enlisting the younger Doc Brown, he finds a way, but ends up interfering with the space-time continuum (You know; go back, shoot your grandmother and you never exist, causing the mind-rending quandary of how you got to go anywhere as you didn't exist) endangering his own existence. The bulk of the film deals with Marty's efforts to get his parents together to create him, his Mum falling for him and the ever-menacing Tannen. It all wraps with the Bully tamed, Marty's family are successful and happy and he gets the girl. That would have been that, save for a jokey ending that has Doc suddenly appear from the future in a flying DeLorean desperate to save Marty and his girl from some future disaster.
Below: a Timeline explaining BTTF. Hopefully.

As BTTF raked in $383.87 million, a sequel was inevitable; a trilogy was planned, but the second and third parts were shot back to back. Many of the original crew were hired, partly to help recreate certain scenes from a different perspective as Marty goes back again so that there are two of him in 1955. During the sequels there are plenty of hints and reminders, usually from Doc Brown to jog our memories and help keep the viewer 'up to speed' with events. The plots aren't that complex, but writing a timeline quickly becomes frustrating, like knitting spaghetti. Here's my take on the first film.

Looking Back To The Future

Doc Brown's Garage/Lab. Any number of clocks are ticking, tocking away. Does this reveal an obsession?. The Doc clearly sees automation as a boon, though there's no jug on the coffee maker the tv flicks on without viewers and the canned dog food that is plopped from the robot arm just hits a festering pile of same. No-one is home; not man nor beast. The news – conveniently – is about a theft of Plutonium. High School kid Marty McFly breezes in, kicking his skateboard under the single cot bed, where it comes to rest against a case marked 'PLUTONIUM HANDLE WITH CARE'. What are the odds, eh?.

With lots of switches and dials to be flipped and twiddled, the kid fires up a BIG amplifier; this thing is the size of a garage door and hums like the Death Star warming up. This doesn't bother Marty, who plugs in a mini-electric guitar and stands, plectrum in hand, poised to hit the first note... which hits him... blowing him off his feet and into the shelves behind him. 

The amp's wrecked, but he's impressed. The phone; a call from Doc, asking him if he can meet up at Twin Pines Mall at 1:15 in the morning. It's important. Just then, every alarm clock in the garage goes off showing 8 o'clock – Doc's experiment worked!, they're all slow and Marty's late for school...

Marty travels by board, riding the backs of cars around the town centre of Hill Valley, California. He's met at the school steps by Jennifer, his girl. Dean Strickland's on the warpath, looking to hand out tardy slips, so they go in the back way, where (of course) Strickland is hovering and he hands out the slips, along with a dig at Marty's Dad.
Above: Michael J.Fox with Huey Lewis
The Auditions for the Battle of the Bands next and Marty's band takes the stage. They play a rock version of the 'Power of Love' and are turned down for being too loud (In a neat touch, by Huey Lewis himself). Disheartened, Marty wonders if the music business is for him and talk turns to tomorrow night when he plans to take Jennifer to the lake for a romantic excursion. 

 Above: Claudia Wells plays Jennifer Parker, Marty's girlfriend
A seemingly inconsequential intrusion from a fund-raiser hoping to save the clock tower. Hit by lightning thirty years ago, the clock hasn't run since. Marty gives a quarter and takes a flyer before boarding home to the slightly rundown Lyon Estates. Disaster!; his dad's car is totalled... no lake for Marty. George McFly is being berated in his own home by Biff Tannen, a swaggering bully who crashed his car while drinking. 

 Above: Crispin Glover plays George Mcfly, Marty's Dad.
George is a bookish wimp and easily cowed. Tannen even gets him to do his own work reports. Basically an Asshole, Tannen is loud, brash and in your face unpleasant. We meet Marty's brother Dave, a fast-food employee, his sister Linda and his sozzled mother, Lorraine. Uncle Joey didn't make parole, so they'll be eating the welcome-home cake she baked. The gist is, the family are all likeable, but failures. Lorraine tells the story of how she met George, Grandpa ran him over, brought him in and Lorraine agreed to go to the Enchantment under the Sea dance, which is when they first kissed.

Its gone midnight. Doc wakes Marty with a call to ask him to bring his video camera to the mall. Once there, he sees Doc's step van and Einstein, Doc's dog faithfully waiting. The ramp to the van comes down with a throaty roar and a cloud of vapour as Doc backs a vehicle down to the asphalt. But what a vehicle!; a DeLorean sports car, all brushed stainless panels and low, seventies-forward styling. The car is covered with strange accessories; vents, wires, piping and cables run riot across the rear of the vehicle, a strange assembly of parts... but to what purpose?. We soon find out, as we meet Doc; a crazy wild-haired mad scientist exactly as you'd hope for in a fun science movie.
With Marty filming for posterity, Doc puts Einstein into the DeLorean and explains that the watch around the dog's neck is synchronised with his own control watch. Doc's hooked the car up to a remote control which he uses to send Einstein skidding around the carpark, holding the brakes on to set the drive wheels squealing and smoking. 

If Doc's worked this out, when the DeLorean hits 88 mph – it'll all happen. Releasing the brakes, Doc sends the sports car screaming forward across the parking lot, straight at scientist and cameraman!. Sure enough, as the car approaches 88, there's a full-on ILM son et lumiere show going on, sparking and flashing into... thin air!; the car has vanished, leaving only twin firetrails from the tyres and a spinning number plate.
At first, Marty thinks the Doc has disintegrated Einstein, but he's become the first time traveller!. (Mankind does seem to rely on animals to make our bold leaps for us...) Einstein has gone a minute into the future, which means Marty and Doc will catch up with him in sixty seconds. Or they'll be run over as, with flashes and bangs, the DeLorean, still going 88 crashes back into existence, Doc barely pushing Marty clear in time.
 Above, Below: Michael J.Fox with Christopher Lloyd

The DeLorean is intact, but frozen, as if dipped in liquid nitrogen. Einstein is a dog-sicle, frozen solid. Just kidding; he's fine, as if nothing dramatic had happened at all. Helpfully, Doc explains how the machine works; time circuits on, how to input the destination date and time etc. as example, he taps in Novmber 5th, 1955; the very day he invented time travel. He was hanging a clock above his toilet, slipped, banged his head and had a vision of the Flux capacitor; the Y-shaped gizmet that makes it all possible. The machine works on plutonium, a nuclear reaction needed to generate the 1.21 Gigawatts of juice that each trip requires (This scene has caused confusion, as the car runs on gasoline, it's just the time-machine element that is nuclear). Doc ripped off some Libyan Nationalists that wanted him to make them a nuke. Might have been an idea to call that one in...
You built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?
Clad in radiation suits, Doc loads the reactor with plutonium as Marty continues filming. The Doc intends to travel 25 years into the future to see the progress of mankind (Basically, everyone walks around staring at their hands and the music stinks). Doc makes a speech, then remembers he's forgotten to load the case of plutonium for the return trip. Just then, the Libyans rock up, in a VW camper with sunroof, optional AK-47's and Rocket Propelled Grenades, shooting up the place. Doc makes a gallant stand with a western-style revolver, but it doesn't fire and he tosses it, hands up. He's gunned down in a hail of bullets and Marty screams out in helpless rage, drawing their fire. Luckily, the AK jams and Marty dives into the DeLorean, gunning it across the parking lot to try to escape the chasing van. He accidentally knocks the time-circuits on. Fishtailing around the rain-slick lot, its all he can do to get away, but stamping on it on the straight, he's ahead. The terrorist in the sunroof has got hold of an RPG and even a schoolkid knows those make a dent in a car. Slamming the car into top gear, Marty takes her up into the eighties, but he's running out of space, heading straight for a kiosk... and flash/whoom! He's bouncing over a ploughed field through a scarecrow and into a barn!...
The lights go on in the Peabody house. Old Man Peabody and his family venture out to the barn to see what made all that noise. Inside, a strange, shiny machine is steaming weirdly, blinking orange lights at each corner. What could it be?. As luck would have it, Peabody's son has stopped to pick up a comic book, Tales from Space, with a front cover featuring a gull-wing space-ship and a creature in a yellow suit. Just as a creature in a yellow suit gets out of the eerie conveyance. Screams all round; exit Peabody to grab his trusty shotgun to blast away before Marty can explain. Driving away in a hail of badly-aimed buckshot, Marty knocks down one of the two pine saplings that Peabody seems so fond of cultivating and the DeLorean screeches out of Twin Pines Ranch. Hmmm...

The sun is coming up as Marty tries to convince himself he's in an intense dream. It gets intenser; he slams the brakes on to see the stone gateway to the Lyon Estates, brand new, free of graffiti, the yet-to-be developed site an empty field in the middle of nowhere. What better time for the car to refuse to start?. Marty – somehow – pushes the DeLorean behind a billboard and takes a long walk into town. 
Hill Valley 1955. The town square looks as if it was built yesterday; no graffiti, trash or porno theatres. The cinema is showing a Ronald Reagan flick, the shops are wholesome as are the people and the cars are all curves and chrome. A campaign car urges people to re-elect Mayor Red Thomas. Most shocking of all, the clock strikes the half hour, a sound Marty has never heard in his own town. 

 Above: Marty finds himself in 1955.
Going into the diner to find a phone, he's taken for a sailor because of his 80's body warmer. The phone's in the back and he finds the listing for 'Brown Emmet L Scientist and an address, but there's no answer. Marty tries to order a Tab, but back then that was the bill and a Pepsi Free?; if he wants a Pepsi he's got to pay... (All the Pepsi references don't bother me as much as some; Fox was sponsored by Pepsi in the eighties) Then, we get the first of the 'Biff tells McFly not to come into 'his' joint' scenes. The young Biff Tannen is here, with a gang (Look for Billy Zane's screen debut) and suddenly we realise the kid next to Marty is actually George McFly. Same shit, different year; Biff wants George to do his homework and bring it over. After Biff and co leave, Marty can't help, but stare at his young future-father. The black guy working at the diner turns out to be called Goldie and Marty, realising this is the same Mayor Goldie Wilson from 1985, inadvertently puts the idea into his head to run for Mayor. While Marty is distracted, George has ridden off on his bike.
Above: Thomas.F.Wilson is Biff, the McFly nemesis.
Marty catches up with George's bike, left against a tree in a leafy road. Where's George?, well, 'Dad' is up the tree perving on a woman with binoculars. Not a woman with binoculars!; oh, do keep up!. Just then, George slips and falls from the tree, just as a car approaches. In the very nick, Marty pushes him clear, but is knocked down and out.
Mom?, is that you?; this scene will become very familiar, as Marty comes round to find his mother anxiously watching over him. She's 17, rather breathless and not yet his mother, but these are details!. Seeing he wears Calvins, she thinks his name must be Calvin Klein.  

 Above: Lea Thompson is Marty's Mom, Lorraine. Here, he wakes in her room to find she's 17!.
Time for dinner with the family; Marty meets his Grandparents and future family, including baby Joey, who hates being out of his playpen. This being Uncle Joey, the joke is he's only happy behind bars. Grandpa wheels over the tv so they can watch Jackie Gleason while they eat. Confusion as Marty recognises the old show, which he's seen in re-runs; the show's brand new. He gets directions to Doc's place and leaves, partly because Lorraine squeezes his knee. She does seem keen on this strange young lad...
The Brown residence. Marty recognises the garage from 1985 and approaches the Mansion. Sure enough, a younger version of Doc opens the door, a fresh dressing and a weird gadget perched on his head. Without allowing his visitor to speak, Doc hustles him in and slaps a suction probe onto his head before attempting to read his thoughts with the odd headpiece. The Doc doesn't believe Marty is from the future; laughing at his driving licence and family photo. Marty is stuck, until he remembers how Doc got the bump to the head and recounts the story he was/will be told in 1985. In Doc's Packard they drive out to the Lyon Estates site where Marty hid the DeLorean. When Doc fell from his toilet, he drew a rough diagram, which he shows Marty; the Flux Capacitor. When Marty shows Doc his completed work he's ecstatic, finally he invents something which works!. Back at the garage-lab, Marty plugs in the videocamera and plays back Doc's briefing from the mall.  

When he hears himself mention the 1.21 Gigawatts he reacts badly, how can he generate such an amount?, plutonium is even harder to get hold of than in '85, only a bolt of lightning can do it and you never know when... wait!, Marty's leaflet! - the clock tower!. Now they know when and where lightning will strike; 10:04 pm next Saturday night. Between then and now, Doc has to figure out how to channel a lightning strike into the Flux Capacitor. Doc cautions Marty against interacting with anybody; he tells Doc he already ran into his Dad. Checking Marty's family photo, his brother's head has vanished. As if he's being erased from history!.

The next day at Hill Valley High, Doc and Marty discuss the problem. As Marty's interfered with his parents' meeting, he's accidentally prevented the birth of their children!. They spot George, being bullied with the old 'Kick Me' gag. Marty tries introducing Lorraine to George, but she's more interested in him!. Doc notices a poster for the 'Enchantment under the Sea' dance and Marty remembers this is where they will have their first kiss. Catching up with George at lunch, Marty is surprised to find his prospective father writes science-fiction stories. He tries to persuade him to ask Lorraine out, but George is his son's father (?), as afraid of rejection as Marty is over his music. Lorraine is being pawed by Biff, who leers and mauls her. Marty fronts him out, but the guy's twice his size and only the arrival of Strickland prevents bloodshed. Following George home, Marty pleads with him, but he'll miss his favourite show Science Fiction Theater if he goes to the dance and refuses. A glance at the family photo – older brother is now just a pair of legs – convinces Marty to up his game.

The middle of night, and the space creature places some sort of device over the ears of the sleeping George McFly. Loading a machine with a cassette marked 'Edward Van Halen', the beast presses a button. Instantaneously, George is blasted into consciousness by the unearthly din of the Walkman. Disguised in his rad-suit, Marty claims to be Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan...

The next day George oversleeps, but catches up with Marty in the town square outside the Diner. He has to ask Lorraine out, but needs help; Darth told him he'd melt his brain if he didn't come through. Marty gives him a few lines from the eighties about destiny and George goes to work, with a chocolate milk for courage. After telling the poor girl he's her density, he gets it right and she smiles, but the arrival of Biff and stooges ruins the moment. He goes to shake George down for money and Marty trips him. Biff looms over Marty, but the kid tricks him with the old 'what's that?' gag and smacks him one before legging it outside. Lorraine is even more smitten with Marty, who grabs a soapbox scooter off a kid and breaks the box off, creating a basic skateboard.  

He manages to leave the pursuing gang behind by hitching onto a pickup, but they jump into Biff's car and give chase, ramming the pickup; an opened car door leaves Marty with no choice, but to take to the pavement, knocking a few stunt-performers down in the age-old standard spray of papers (You look at the papers being thrown up rather than closely at the fall, which conceals the artifice). Fairly psychotically, Biff decides to murder Marty by ramming him into a manure truck, but the kid lets the skateboard go and runs over Biff's car back onto the board to skid to a stop. Biff skids to a stop, hitting the truck and getting a ton of manure all over the gang. Marty hands the board back to the kid and by now the whole town's watching. Lorraine is looking at her future son like a wolf eyeing up a bowl of mince.
Back at the lab, Marty finds Doc watching the end of the videotape where the Libyans turned up. Marty tries to warn his friend, but the Doc is having none of it; if he knows too much about his destiny, he might endanger his future too. With the aid of a model of the town square, Doc explains the plan; by running high voltage cable down from the clock-tower flagpole across the street, the DeLorean has been rigged with a hook and cable into the Flux Capacitor. If cable meets hook at the right moment, if the car is doing 88, it should work. Sounds like a stretch even without the toy car Doc uses for the demo catching fire. Doc asks Marty how it went with George, he finds out as Lorraine shows up having followed Marty. All coquettish and breathless, Lorraine asks Marty to ask her out to the dance. What about George?; she finds him cute, but a man should be strong, able to protect the woman he loves... over to Plan B.

At the McFly house, Marty tries to sell George on the new plan. At 8:55 George will be at the dance, Marty will be in the car with Lorraine and pretend to take advantage. The fiend!; enter her George in shining hair-creme to tell the cad to unhand her, thump Marty in the guts and live happy ever after.

Saturday evening. Doc works on his end, a high-voltage cable dangling from the clock tower. Doc looks forward to the future, which saddens Marty enough to write a letter warning him of his death in 1985 and slip it into Doc's pocket while he's distracted by a cop on the make. The dance, meanwhile is underway, with Marvin Berry and the Starlighters playing to a packed gym hall. Marty pulls up with Lorraine in Doc's car and tries to seem sleazy in an attempt to offend her morals, by asking if she wants to 'park'. She's fine with it and he's shocked, especially as 1980's-Mom always seems so prudish!. When she takes a pull from a liquor flask he tries to warn her of the evils of drink and then she lights a cigarette. In a neat gag she accuses him of sounding just like her mother!. By now, wallflower George has realised he'll be late for Plan B and heads out to the parking lot. Lorraine makes a pass at Marty, who whimpers like a pup. Luckily, something feels wrong to her – when she kisses him, it feels like she's kissing her brother. Close family?.

Right on time, Marty is hauled out of the car... by Biff, furious at being covered in road apples. Throwing Marty to his thugs, Biff then gets rapey with Lorraine. His followers toss marty in the trunk of the band's car, but five black guys are more than enough to frighten the bullies. The keys were in the trunk and Marty is stuck as George strides up to Doc's car preparing for his action scene, totally unaware its now for real. Biff tells him where to go, but summoning up all his courage, George makes a stand, but is put into an armlock in next to no time. Meantime, the guitar player frees Marty, gashing his hand in the process. Marty races back to the lot, as Biff pushes Lorraine over. The sight of this asshole laughing at the girl he likes enrages George, who balls a fist and knocks Biff clean out with a sizzling left. Gallantly, George asks if Lorraine is ok and she takes his hand, enamoured of him at last. Marty checks the photo, but his sister is half gone!. It's not fixed yet!. Frantic, Marty runs up to ask the band to play, but Marvin's hand means there'll be no more dance – unless, that is, Marty knows anyone who can play...

Sure enough, Marty takes the stage with the Starlighters as they play 'Earth Angel', George and Lorraine take their first dance together. With the photo on the neck of the guitar, Marty can see Linda has totally vanished, leaving him alone in the picture. Lorraine asks George if he'll kiss her, but bashful George is cut out by another student and Marty's playing goes to pieces as his conception now seems impossible. The photo of Marty is fading, vanishing as his whole existence begins to disappear. Seriously unwell, Marty holds his hand up in front of his face, only to see it become transparent!. He collapses. At the last possible moment, however, George plucks up the nerve to cut back in and takes charge of his destiny, kissing Lorraine. At once, Marty's back up playing, watching in relief as he, then his sister and brother reappear on the photo. The job done, Marty makes to go, but Marvin insists he stay for another song. Spotting his chance to finally play on the school stage, Marty gives them 'Johnny B.Goode', giving the band their cues and launching into the Chuck Berry tune. No-one's ever heard this and it's like nothing they have heard. The kids love it and go wild, Marvin gets on the phone backstage and calls his cousin Chuck, getting him to listen to this wild new sound. 

Marty invents Rock n'Roll?. (This caused controversy, especially among black musicians who felt their achievements in moving music from the stone ages had been cheapened by what can only be seen as a jokey scene in a film.) Predictably, it goes to the kid's head and Marty starts doing a Berry Duck Walk, a Pete Townshend (arm windmill and all) before giving it the Hendrix, playing behind his head, finally losing it totally with an Angus Young 'spasm' on his back onstage. By this time the whole hall is silent, not knowing what's going on. Embarrassed, Marty tells the crowd their kids will love it and leaves the stage.

Back of house, Marty runs into George and Lorraine, definitely now an item. He's pleased for them (for obvious reasons) and they exchange farewells, but not before he tells them that, should they have kids and one of them, when he's eight accidentally sets fire to the living room rug?... go easy on him. Lorraine remarks that Marty is a nice name...

It's almost nine and Doc is fretting!; where is that kid?. Marty finally gets there, having changed into 1985 clothes, telling Doc what happened; George had never stood up to Biff before, which Doc notes with a frown, but time is short, so there's no chance to air any doubts. Doc sets the time circuits for the same time as Marty left, he's painted a white line along the street which is the start line and places an alarm clock on the dash; when it goes off, Marty hits the gas and everything should be fine. Marty hugs Doc, slipping the warning note into his coat pocket, but the Doc discovers it and rips it up, the consequences of knowing the future could be disastrous. Marty goes to tell him as the storm hits and the cable connector joining the wire to the clocktower fails. 

With lightning flashing all around the sky above, Doc goes into the courthouse building to get to the tower, emerging from an access hatch to drop rope down to Marty to haul the cable back up. Marty tries calling up to warn Doc of his grim fate, but no no avail. The Bell ringing nine deafens Doc further and Marty has no choice, but to jump in the DeLorean and head for his mark, extending the pole ready for his run. Gingerly, Doc clambers across a gargoyle to try to reach the connector hanging tantalisingly out of reach from the pole above.

Despairingly, Marty wishes he had more time to warn the Doc, then spots the obvious; by going back ten minutes early, he'll have that time. He punches in the time on the keypad. Alls set, but suddenly, the engine dies and won't start. As if that's not enough, the ledge gives way under Doc and he's left clinging onto the clock hands Harold Lloyd style, the connector snagged on his trouser leg. The alarm clock rings! exasperated, Marty head-butts the steering wheel and the DeLorean roars into life, towards the town square.

Doc has recovered the dangling connector and goes to plug it into its mate, but a falling tree has dropped over the wire to the street lamps and yanking the cable unplugs another connector down below.

The DeLorean hits 61, accelerating hard.

The clouds above Doc coalesce with energy as the storm prepares to release a massive bolt of lightning.

Looping the cable around the minute hand, Doc uses it as a zip-line down to the street.
88! Marty spots Doc on the ground struggling with the cables. He shuts his eyes as the DeLorean screams towards the movie theater.

The minute hand reaches four past. The lightning bolt hits the clock tower pole and electricity explodes down the cables blowing Doc backwards as he finally completes the connection. The DeLorean hits the cable and zaps out of 1955, leaving only the twin fire trails as evidence of it's passing. Doc gradually realises that he's succeeded in sending Marty Back to the Future and does a victory jig.

1985. The present. Red Thomas, now a homeless bum, wakes up from his bench in the trash-strewn town square to see a DeLorean backing out of the smashed hoardings in front of the old theater. Delighted, Marty takes a look around, it's 1:24 so he still has time to get to the Doc. Of course, the DeLorean dies again and won't start, just as the VW Camper with the Libyans races past. On foot, Marty has no chance of beating them and it's 1:33 when he makes it, exhausted, to Lone Pine Mall. (Wasn't it Twin Pines before?). Too late, he sees Doc gunned down and then, to his shock himself diving into the DeLorean!. As the Marty of a week ago races off with the terrorists in pursuit, Marty tumbles down the slope to see the time machine make it's fateful exit for 1955 and the Libyans wipe out into a photo kiosk. Anguished, Marty throws himself over Doc's prostrate body. But he's alive!. Doc sits up, revealing a bullet-proof vest under his boiler suit. How could he have known?; he produces the letter Marty wrote, taped back together, faded and dog eared with age. What about the space-time continuum? - Doc figured 'what the hell...'

The DeLorean drops Marty off at his house and Doc leaves for the future. He's going 30 years ahead and promises to look up the 47 year old Marty when he gets there. As the DeLorean makes the jump, Marty goes to bed.

Late next morning and a sleepy Marty wakes, heading for the kitchen. Suddenly, he does a double-take; the lounge is completely different!. Gone are the worn family fitments, replaced by brand new luxury sofas, works of art on the walls and expensive lighting. Whats more, Linda now apparently works at a boutique and is popular with boys, where Dave is a Forbes-reading executive in a suit. When George and Lorraine arrive, expensively and fashionably dressed, from a tennis match, Marty nearly faints. Marty's Mom asks him about the date at the lake and when he protests the car's wrecked, they bustle outside to where none other than Biff is busy waxing the undamaged BMW, a battered truck behind him pronouncing itself to be 'Biff's automotive detailing'. Further, he's all wimpy, with no trace of the swaggering bully of old. Next, feeble-Biff brings in a newly-arrived parcel; it's a copy of George's new book 'A Match made in Space', his first novel!. Even better, Biff hands Marty some keys. Keys?; a brand-new Toyota Truck pickup is sitting in the garage.

Jennifer arrives and doesn't know why Marty is so glad to see her. Everything's great and they go to kiss... Flash-Crash-Bang! The DeLorean appears and a manic Doc, clad in weird futuristic clothes with metallic wrap-around shades gets out. He wants Marty to come back to the future, rummaging through the garbage to load some of it into a device that looks like a coffee grinder mounted on the back of the time machine. The label 'Mr.Fusion Home Energy Reactor' giving the only hint at it's purpose; Doc needs fuel!. Something has got to be done about Jennifer and Marty's kids!. With all three crammed in, the DeLorean backs up. Marty points out they don't have enough road to hit 88, but where they're going, they don't need roads!. The DeLorean's wheels rotate, the car hovers and takes off, spinning around and zooming at the screen to disappear into the Space-Time continuum...

 DREW STRUZAN Concepts for posters; Struzan created the final posters for the trilogy, though his unused works are fantastic in themselves.

 The Plutonium refuelling cyclinder
 Jennifer's note to Marty on the Clock Tower flyer

3-D Glasses worn by Casey Seimaszko
 Phone Directory page for Doc Brown, 1955
 George McFly novel dustsheet
 The Comic Sherman Peabody carries in 1955
 Doc's Model car, singed from screen use
Below: Letterheaded paper from the Production office

                                         Above: Mad magazine couldn't resist a parody...
                                   Below: Various ways to embarrass yourself were available

 Above, below: John Delorean with the prototype of his revolutionary sports car
and a production model
Above: The DeLorean factory in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1981
Above: Concept art for the car. What better car for a scientist to make into a Time Machine?
Above: Blueprints for a time machine
Above: Concept art for the time machine by Ron Cobb (Top Left/Bottom Right) and Andrew Probert
Below: The finished thing (Some of these are replica cars, I have no clue which)
 Below, above: The Gamble House was used for Doc Brown's 1955 residence

Why does the Brown Mansion still burn down?. It must be clear to Marty that the Brown Mansion is destroyed, so why doesn't he mention this to 1955 Doc so he can take precautions?.

At the Mall, Doc drives the DeLorean from his van. As it's a gull-wing design, the only way he could have one it is drive into the van, raise then lower the ramp and reverse back out. It's a great reveal, but a lot of work just to impress a kid and a dog.

Possible goof; Plutonium isn't red; its silver in colour, while the vial doc drops into the reactor is red, perhaps that's a stabilising medium or somesuch and the actual pellet of plutonium isn't easily visible. (My money?; its a goof-ette)

When Einstein trots into the Van, he's naked; just fur. When he barks to warn Doc of the Libyans, he's in a cute doggy rad-suit. This might be a goof or simply that Doc put him in the suit off-camera.

Doc loads the DeLorean's reactor with plutonium, removes his headgear explaining everything's safe; it's lead-lined. Then he kicks open the case of plutonium to replace the empty container, presumably irradiating himself. (This one might be erroneous; radiation suits offer no barrier to radiation, just a physical barrier to contaminants that can be washed off and therefore prevent long-term exposure to fallout etc)

In some shots you can clearly see the DeLorean being driven by a stunt driver in a dog suit. (Think of the fun you could have at the drive-thru.)

Marty goes through time into Old Man Peabody's farm; first he hits the same scarecrow twice, then crashes into the barn. When Peabody and his son Sherman (In itself a joke about the time-travelling cartoon Peabody & Sherman) arrive at the barn, the Delorean is facing outwards.

Watch closely when Biff tries to blame George for the car crash; are there 2 or 3 pens in that pocket?.

When Marty dresses up as 'Darth Vader' to scare George, a hairdryer in his belt disappears and reappears between shots. This is due to editing as the scene was originally longer.

When Doc remotely-controls the DeLorean, the power gauge on the remote is in the red; no power.

Marty goes through time, helps subdue Biff from a bully to a wimp, inspires his Dad to become a successful author and returns to an altered timeline; how come it's taken George McFly so long to get his first book published? - Lorraine McFly doesn't drink, presumably the catalyst for her sobriety being her husband's success. Also, is it remotely likely Marty's brother Dave would still live at home considering he's become a yuppie?.


When Griff's gang crashes into the courthouse on their hoverboards, you can clearly see the wire rig reflected in the glass between the columns. Also, stuntwoman Cheryl Wheeler was badly injured filming this scene, when her harness release was initiated too soon, sending her crashing down onto solid concrete rather than through the glass to the airbag as intended.

In 1955, Marty sneaks into Strickland's office. The miniature flags on his desk jump from being together to wide apart.

As Marty, on the hoverboard, goes from the hovering DeLorean to Biff's car, look carefully for the small trolley-style wheels the 'hovering' DeLorean actually rolls on.

In 1885, the DeLorean is out of gas due to a ruptured fuel line. Doc points out there's no gas stations in the area until the next century. He ends up blowing the manifold by using some alcohol. Why doesn't he just buy some kerosene and refine it?. Or leave another note with Western Union for Marty, you know; bring some extra fuel and some parts?.

As Marty runs away from Buford Tannen and his cronies, keep a sharp lookout to the left of the frame; there's a crew member in white t-shirt and blue shorts running along pushing another camera.

When Buford is calling Marty out, Marty says “What?, what if I don't go out there?” Clearly visible by the window to the left is a movie light on a stand.

Look for the flag during the shootout scene; that's the modern California state flag – it hadn't been invented in 1885.

At approximately 1:31 on the DVD, as Doc reaches for the train, a white Off-road vehicle is briefly visible on the top-left of the frame.

As Doc and Marty run along the top of the train, look carefully at the carriages below them; they appear to be no more than a few feet high, probably to reduce the risk to the actors.

As Doc and Clara perch perilously on the side of the Locomotive, Clara hangs by her dress. If you look carefully, the cable holding the stunt-woman is clearly visible.

Although Michael J.Fox was the first choice to play Marty, his commitment to the tv show Family Ties meant he was originally unavailable. Eric Stoltz was brought in and filmed several scenes before, by mutual agreement he was replaced... by Fox, who shot his scenes in between work on the tv show. Stoltz's performance was deemed too dramatic for the role, whereas Marty's carefree, fun-loving character fitted that of Fox's real-life persona.
In BTTF II, the blonde Policewoman who takes Jennifer to her future home is Mary Ellen Trainor, the then-wife of Robert Zemeckis.

Its a bit convoluted, but in BTTF III Doc meets a salesman peddling barbed wire. At the time this was highly controversial and it was yet to come into widespread usage. The salesman character is believed to represent John Warne Gates, a businessman who became President of the Texas Company, later known as Texaco. Texaco is featured in the first two films. So what?, well, Christopher Lloyd's Maternal Grandfather was one of the founders of Texaco. Told you it was involved...

In BTTF II, Marty goes into the Cafe '80s, he spots two kids trying to work out how to play Wild Gunman. One of these is the young Elijah Wood.
The character Needles is played by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.
Cameo; The judge who turns Marty down in Back to the Future is Huey Lewis, who provided 'The Power of Love' and 'Back in Time' for the soundtrack.
Originally, the time machine was built into a fridge, with the power provided by a nuclear explosion. Obviously, the producers were worried kids would try to copy this and risk suffocation. Steven Spielberg eventually used the idea in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

In BTTF III, the photographer taking Doc and Marty's Pictures is Dean Cundy, Director of Photography.
Johnny Depp auctioned for the role of Marty.

In BTTF, watch closely as Marty fires up the massive amp Doc made for him; a label reads 'CRM 114', which is a tribute to Stanley Kubrick; CRM-114 was a radio device in Doctor Strangelove,
"Serum 114" was given to Alex in A Clockwork Orange, a pod in 2001: A Space Odyssey is also named CRM 114 and the mortuary in Eyes Wide Shut is on Level C, Room 114.
8 minutes 45 seconds into BTTF, Marty and Jennifer walk past some cars, including one with 'For Mary', this is Mary Radford, personal assistant to second unit director Frank Marshall.

In the first film, a sign commends Ron Woodward for Class President; Ronald Woodward was the Key Grip for the film.
Want to dress like Marty?; me neither. However, here's his outfit in full for the cosplayers out there...
ZEISS Silver Aviator Sunglasses with sweatguard, Dark red Short-sleeved T-Shirt, Shah Safari Button down Checked Shirt, Black Straight-Clip Suspenders, Guess Marciano two-tone blue jean jacket with paisley lining in the sleeves, 1.25" Pin Button that says "Art in Revolution", Fender Precision P Bass Guitar Pin, An Earring that was converted into what many fans call "Marty's Boomerang Pin", Class 5 Down Vest in Burnt Orange, Casio CA-50 Calculator Watch, Purple Clavin Klein Brief Underwear, Stonewash Skinny Jeans, Grey Crew Socks, and 1984 Nike Bruins in White and Dark Red. Aiwa MK-PO2 MKII personal stereo. 

Finally, you can take the Back to the Future Quiz here:

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