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- The gigantic guitar amplifier in Doc's workshop, which needs an ignition key to start and blows Marty across the room as soon as he strikes his first chord.
- "The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?"
- "If My Calculations Are Correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit."
- The scene with the Libyans is one of these for Doc. When he realizes that they're coming, his freaked-out reaction perfectly sells how aware he is that these guys are prepared to murder someone. But his response, rather than running away, is to draw their attention, letting them kill him so that his assistant/best friend will have a chance to escape. In one intense scene, it shows the viewers how courageous Doc is.
- Marty tries to outrun the Libyans in the DeLorean (unaware that he has accidentally activated the time circuits), and, in a burst of confidence, declares, "Let's see if you bastards can do 90!"
- The moment when it sinks in for Marty. He's gotten back to town, everything looks different. Then he hears something for the first time in his life, the clock tower ringing (which also perfectly punctuates the music).
- Back in 1955, Goldie Wilson, the African American busboy, tries to encourage George McFly to stand up for himself, using himself as an example. He may be a busboy, but that's not all he'll be. Marty looks at him, and after a moment of being stunned (again) exclaims, "That's right, he's gonna be mayor!" Hilarious and awesome because Goldie really is going to become mayor in 30 years time. And the best part, the movie implies a stable time loop, it was Marty's witnessing this exchange that prompts him to go into politics. He was already on his way to doing something other than working in a cafe; as he tells George, he's "going to night school" and one day he'll "be somebody". Marty simply speeds up the process.
- Marty proving he's from the future by repeating the flux capacitor story to Doc, who up until that point thought he was simply a kid trying to pull his leg. His expression when he realizes Marty's telling the truth says it all.
- There's also his reaction to the flux capacitor itself when he sees the DeLorean for the first time; doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.
- Marty's fight with Biff, and the chase scene afterwards.
- First, one of the finest executions of the Look Behind You gambit in any film. After tripping Biff to prevent him from grabbing George and throwing him out of Lou's Cafe, Marty is grabbed and about to have his lights punched out when he nonchalantly points over Biff's shoulder and says, as cool as a cucumber, "Whoa, whoa, Biff... what's that?" And Biff falls for it. Marty is then able to knock down Biff, who is twice his size, with one punch.
- It ends with Marty avoiding getting crushed between a truck and Biff's '46 Ford by running up the hood, through the car seats, and off the trunk, with Biff and his gang getting buried in manure. And to cap it off, he gets back on his makeshift skateboard just as it comes back out from under the car. AWESOME.
- When all is said and done, Marty keeps his promise of returning the "skateboard" to the kid he borrowed it from. The child in turn is awed by his skills.
- A small moment, but Marvin and the Starlighters sending Biff's gang running is pretty awesome. Match, Skinhead, and 3-D throw Marty in the trunk of Lorenzo's car, and when Lorenzo objects, they dismiss him as a "spook"... which causes all five Starlighters to exit the car, danger in Marvin's voice as he asks, "Who are you calling 'spook', peckerwood?". The bullies panic and flee as Lorenzo snarls, "Go home to your mama, boy!" while taking a swipe at them as three Starlighters run after them.
- George McFly punching Biff after delivering a perfect "Get your damn hands off her!": great. George McFly pushing off the redhaired kid who tried to cut in, thus saving all three of his future children, followed by Marty playing "Johnny B Goode", ending in a heavy metal solo: insanity."Chuck! Chuck! It's Marvin! Your cousin, Marvin Berry! You know that new sound you were looking for? Well, listen to this!"
- When Biff threatens George and tells him to close the car door and walk away, George, in spite of being bullied by Biff the whole movie (and no doubt his whole life), stands his ground and says "No, Biff. You leave her alone." That line wasn't fed to him by Marty. That moment was all George. Hell, the look on George's face right before he throws the punch...his arm is this close to getting broken, but then Biff shoves Lorraine down, and then George balls up his fist and gives Biff one of the most awesome death glares ever..and WHAM![George runs into the school car park and sees what he thinks is Marty taking sexual advantage of Lorraine in Doc's car; he steels himself and walks over to the car, pulling open the driver's side door]
George: [sounding slightly overrehearsed] Hey you... get your damn hands off... [realises it's Biff in the car with Lorraine; his face falls] hohh...
Biff: I think you got the wrong car, McFly.
Lorraine: [gasping, near tears] George - help me! Please!-
Biff: [shoves Lorraine back] Just turn around, McFly, and walk away. [George hesitates, not sure what to do] Are you deaf, McFly, close the door and beat it.
George: [pauses, then reaches a decision] No, Biff. You leave her alone.
Biff: All right, McFly. [shoves Lorraine's legs aside] You're asking for it, and now you're gonna get it.
[George tries to aim his rehearsed punch at Biff's stomach, but Biff grabs his arm and twists it behind his back as George yelps in pain]
Lorraine: Stop it! Biff, you'll break his arm! [...] You're gonna break his arm! [Biff continues to twist George's arm] Biff! Biff, leave him alone! [jumps on Biff and tries to pull him off George] Let him go! Let him-
[Biff shoves his free hand into Lorraine's face and pushes her to the ground. George looks at her in horror, and something fundamental changes in him at that moment; Biff is too busy laughing mockingly to notice George's expression change to white-hot anger and his left hand ball into a fist, only turning back seconds before George punches him in the jaw so hard he spins round, hits the car, and slumps to the ground unconscious]
George: [spends a few moments gasping in disbelief that he finally stood up to Biff, then turns to Lorraine and offers her his hand] Are you okay?...
[Lorraine, looking at George with amazement and more than a little attraction, nods slowly and lets George help her up again]
- Not only does nerdy, 98-pound weakling George knock Biff (who's freaking huge) out with one punch, he does so left-handed. While his right is in a very painful arm-lock. Then bonus points (and adding some Heartwarming), after he stares, awestruck, at his left hand, he offers his right hand to Lorraine as he asks if she's okay.
- The exact moment when Marty's existence is restored as his father kisses his mother and ensures everyone's future, thus causing Marty to instantly return to playing the song "Earth Angel", is easily one of the most triumphant moments in cinema, ever.[Marty is on stage with the Starlighters, playing the riff for their cover of the Penguins' "Earth Angel"; Marvin listens to him for a moment, then makes a "Hm, not bad" face before going to the microphone]
Marvin: This is for all you lovers out there. [begins singing]
Earth angel, earth angel, will you be mine
My darling dear, love you all the time...
[Marty checks the photo; now both Dave and Linda are completely gone. He looks at Lorraine and George on the dance floor]
Lorraine: George, aren't you going to kiss me?
George: I, I don't know...
Mark Dixon: [walks over and pushes George aside] Scram, McFly. I'm cuttin' in. [he dances off with Lorraine, who looks to George to intervene, but George hesitates; meanwhile, Marty begins clumsily hitting wrong notes and losing the beat with the rest of the band]
Marvin: [still singing, but looking unsettled by the sudden decline in Marty's performance] Earth angel, earth angel, the one I adore...
Starlighters pianist: [as Marty collapses] Hey, boy. You all right?
Marty: [dazed, out of breath] I can't play...
Lorraine: [as a cackling Dixon drags her along the dance floor] GEORGE!...
[George glances at them, but walks away; as the film's soundtrack drowns out Marvin's singing, Marty looks at the photo and sees himself starting to fade out of it, then notices his own hand is becoming semi-transparent]
Marty: [weakly] George... [starts to lose consciousness]
George: [suddenly appears next to Dixon and Lorraine] Excuse me! [shoves Dixon in the chest so hard he falls to the floor, then, the film's main theme swelling on the soundtrack, he takes Lorraine's face in his hands and looks into her eyes; Marvin's singing fades back in as George kisses Lorraine deeply]
Marvin: [singing] The vision of your happiness, woah-oah
Earth angel, earth angel, please be mine...
[Marty springs to his feet as though electrocuted and begins strumming the guitar again; he looks at the photo and sees himself, Linda, and Dave re-appear in quick succession. George waves to him in gratitude from the dance floor; Marty returns the gesture, flexing his fingers in relief that his existence has been guaranteed]
Marvin: My darling dear, love you for all time
I'm just a fool, a fool in love... with you.
- Lorraine definitely deserves to be on this page as well. Biff's just tried to sexually assault her and she's terrified of him but when he starts to hurt George, she gets out of the car and starts hitting Biff, demanding that he leave George alone. All her fear has just been told to get lost by the indignant anger she's feeling. When Biff pushes her down, she doesn't look the slightest bit afraid. She just stares at him angrily and it's only when she looks at George that her expression changes. She looks like she's more worried about what Biff might do to him than to her.
- When Biff threatens George and tells him to close the car door and walk away, George, in spite of being bullied by Biff the whole movie (and no doubt his whole life), stands his ground and says "No, Biff. You leave her alone." That line wasn't fed to him by Marty. That moment was all George. Hell, the look on George's face right before he throws the punch...his arm is this close to getting broken, but then Biff shoves Lorraine down, and then George balls up his fist and gives Biff one of the most awesome death glares ever..and WHAM!
- After Doc works so hard to connect the cables on the clock, the bottom cable suddenly pops free — and there's only a minute to go. Doc despairs for a moment, then gets a determined look. He reconnects the bits he has, then loops them around the hands of the clock and slides down, retrieving the other end and connecting it just as the lightning bolt hits. Awesome. Let's face it, there's a reason this scene is in all three films. And the clock tower doesn't just get "hit" by lightning. It practically gets NUKED.
- "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need... roads." The line is awesome enough, but when you consider that the Doc has turned a Time Machine that he invented into a flying car AS WELL? In fact, this line was so cool that Reagan incorporated it into his State of the Union address that year. He was a fan of the movies; when Doc disbelieves that an actor could be President, Reagan had the White House projectionist rewind and play the line again.
- From a storytelling standpoint, the massive amount of Foreshadowing the writers managed to pack into the opening story — without disrupting the flow — is impressive. Lorraine's storytelling, Doc's rambling, the words of the lady from the Hill Valley Preservation Society... all come into play later in the film. Many film schools use the film as a teaching tool to instruct proper storytelling structure and plot devising.
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- Continuum Conundrum
- Jennifer Parker gets her largest role yet in a BTTF story, due to her and Marty being the only residents of 1986 Hill Valley to have traveled through time. She even gets to drive the DeLorean a few times, first to run Needles off the road, and again to pick up Marty from 2035. The latter moment has her plow through a crowd of force field-equipped futuristic civilians in order to hit 88.Marty: Jennifer...Jennifer: What?Marty: Punch it.Jennifer: But—Marty: Trust me.Jennifer: You don't mind me punching it?Jennifer: You're on.
- The same arc also has this line:
- This exchange between Marty and Officer Griff Tannen:Griff: I don't know how there got to be another McFly — but I hope you're ready to go out in a blaze of glory!
- Jennifer Parker gets her largest role yet in a BTTF story, due to her and Marty being the only residents of 1986 Hill Valley to have traveled through time. She even gets to drive the DeLorean a few times, first to run Needles off the road, and again to pick up Marty from 2035. The latter moment has her plow through a crowd of force field-equipped futuristic civilians in order to hit 88.
- In a real-life example, the story of the restoration of a genuine, screen-used DeLorean to its former glory after years of neglect.
- Think it's Harsher in Hindsight that Michael J. Fox can no longer play guitar like he did in Back To The Future? THINK AGAIN! Even better, he'd actually learned to play this for real after miming it in the movie.
- Steven Spielberg initially had reservations about using Alan Silvestri to write the film's score, having only been familiar with Silvestri from his work on Romancing the Stone. Zemeckis advised Silvestri to make his compositions grand and epic, despite the film's small scale, to impress Spielberg. It worked.
- The then-CEO of Universal, Sid Sheinberg, wanted to change the name to "Spaceman from Pluto" due to the comic book that the kids on the farm are reading when Marty first makes it to 1955, thinking that no one would get the title Back to the Future (it doesn't take a genius to figure out the Fridge Logic there). The writers were stuck and really couldn't say anything, but Steven Spielberg on the other hand said this at a meeting: "We got the joke you sent us, it was hilarious." The uproarious laughter pretty much squashed the idea.