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Back to the Future

November 14, 2010

727. Back to the Future
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
USA, 1985
IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Ally
Umpteenth viewing


1980s teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) accidentally travels back to 1955 in a time machine built by his friend Doctor Emmett “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Stranded in the past, Marty tracks down the younger Doc to help him get — drumroll please — back to the future.

Marty also meets his young parents; cowardly nerd George (Crispin Glover) and surprisingly mischievous Lorraine (Lea Thompson). He unwittingly interferes with their first meeting, preventing them from falling in love and thus endangering his very existence.

Essential Scene:

Marty has manufactured a scenario for George to play the hero and win Lorraine’s heart: On the night of the school dance, Marty will make a pass at Lorraine so that George can “save” her.

Unbeknown to George, Marty has already been ousted by school bully Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) and locked in a car boot. Biff and Lorraine are struggling in a car when George opens the door.

George: Hey, you! Get your damn hands off — oh…

Biff: I think you got the wrong car, McFly.

Lorraine: George! Help me, please!

Biff tells George to leave. George tentatively stands his ground and tells Biff to leave Lorraine alone. Biff steps out of the car.

Biff: You’re asking for it, and now you’re gonna get it.

George takes a swing at Biff, who effortlessly catches his hand and twists his arm behind his back. George is bent over helplessly. Lorraine pleads for Biff to let him go. She jumps out of the car and beats Biff weakly. Biff pushes her to the ground and begins to laugh like the massive jerk he is.

George and Lorraine’s eyes connect. George’s free hand clenches into a fist. He takes another swing at Biff and sends him spinning to the floor. His inner hero is finally released. Marty arrives just in time to see this momentous occasion.


It would be impossible for me to approach Back to the Future objectively, since the three films of the trilogy were my childhood favourites. I still remember vividly the day I went to school with a cardboard hoverboard, as made for me by my older brother. These films made me inordinately happy as a child, and I’m glad to report that Back to the Future still does it for me all these years later. (The sequels, not so much.)

However, I have a rather bleak theory about the plot. If the very act of traveling into the past creates a divergent timeline, as explained in Back to the Future Part II, the present to which Marty returns at the end of the movie does not replace the one he left. Instead, the two realities are parallel, both existing at once. It would be impossible for him to return to that original reality, where his parents are still downtrodden and Doc is still murdered by terrorists. In that reality, Marty must also now be missing, presumed dead.

But at least he ends up with a nice new car.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jess Q. permalink
    February 22, 2011 8:58 pm

    I’m going through all your reviews, so sorry if you get a lot of comments. But I just had to link to this Cracked video, because they seemed to have the same idea you did about Back to the Future being kind of bleak.

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