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Film / Back to the Future Part II

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All spoilers for Back to the Future are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
Getting back was only the beginning.

Marty McFly: You're not gonna believe this, we gotta go back to 1955!
Doc Brown: I don't believe it!

Back to the Future Part II is a 1989 film directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. It is the second part of the Back to the Future trilogy.

Picking up from the first movie, Doc Brown takes Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer to 2015 in an attempt to save his identical son from trouble. While successful in their plan, a series of complications involving a sports almanac from the future leads to the elderly Biff Tannen stealing their DeLorean and making his young self rich, altering the present (i.e., 1985) into a dystopia where he is an all-powerful billionaire. Now Marty and Doc have to return to the 1955 school dance from the first movie and Set Right What Once Went Wrong, whilst remaining unseen lest he cause a Time Paradox. But fixing the time-stream and getting home won't be easy...

The film was shot back-to-back with its sequel, Back to the Future Part III, which was released the following year.

Back to the Future Part II provides examples of:

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    Tropes A-E 
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Doc sees a taxi cab in his rearview visor. Is the driver Reverend Jim?
    • Not the first time Doc's been committed.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When 2015 Biff goes back to 1955 and witnesses his past self arguing with Terry, the mechanic, about the repairs to his car, Old Biff chuckles to himself, "The manure! I remember that!" with a nostalgic smile.
  • Alien Space Bats: 1985-A. Not only did Biff change the history of Hill Valley for the worse, he also changed world history by helping Richard Nixon remain president for more than a decade, making the The Vietnam War last longer. (An impressive feat given that the presidency was capped at two terms in 1951...)
  • Alliterative List: "The pitfalls, the possibilities, the perils, and the promise..."
  • All Bikers Are Hell's Angels: In 1985-A, there is a biker gang in the square outside the casino.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • When elderly 2015 Biff comes back from 1955, he's shown bending over in pain. The rest of the scene, which was edited out, has him disappearing. Word of God invokedsays that Lorraine shot and killed him in the mid 1990's.
    • The reason our real life 2015 doesn't have Mr. Fusion, Self-Lacing Sneakers and Hoverboards, according to the 30th anniversary boxed set, is that the items would have brought on an apocalypse in 2045, so Doc removed them from the time stream.
    • Skinhead's first name is apprently Joey, as mentioned in the subtitles where 1955 Biff sent him out as a spy to check for "Calvin Klein's" whereabouts.
    • The IDW comic Biff to the Future explains how A-1985 became so chaotic. A day after the school dance, Grandma Tannen forced Biff to drive her to Las Vegas, where he runs afoul of a hustler who tried to rob and kill him, and on his 21st birthday he uses the "Gray's Sports Almanac" to win his first million dollars. He then goes to Hollywood to become a film producer, where his crooked business partner scams him out of a sizable amount of money. After a chance encounter with Ronald Reagan, who decided to go into politics, Biff has his business partner killed and quits show business for good to go into politics himself. Back in Hill Valley, Biff buys his way into the city council and eventually becomes mayor, and has George killed to stop the resistance movement against him. After Biff uses his vast fortune to buy the Washington Post, which owned Hill Valley's local newspaper, Biff accidentally stops the exposé of the Watergate Scandal, which attracts the attention of Richard Nixon. Since no one wanted to take a bet from Biff, or his friends, since the "Gray's Sports Almanac" gave him an edge, Nixon makes Biff an offer: use his vast fortune to help dispose of toxic waste and bribe legislators to repeal the 22nd Amendment, and Nixon will legalize gambling, allowing Biff to keep making winning bets. Doc Brown gets committed to an insane asylum after he and the remnants of the anti-Biff resistance movement get discovered after they keep using the Doc's refrigerator time machine to change the past, which drained the town's power supply.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Played for Laughs: When the two female cops take 1985 Jennifer to her 2015 home, they tell her, "And be careful in the future." What they meant, of course, was "Be careful from now on", but Jennifer took it literally, as in, "Be careful in this future world we live in."
  • And This Is for...: Biff says "And this one's for my car!" when kicking Marty.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Biff-A to Lorraine-A, in 1985-A, threatens to put Dave, Linda, and Marty in jail if she walks away from him, just like jailbird Joey (who apparently is the one person in the timeline that hasn't changed).
  • Apocalypse How: Several potential paradoxes in this film could destroy the entire universe, which would be a Class X-4, worst-scenario. (The effect might actually be localized to their own galaxy, which is a Class X-3.) Then again it could be a Red Herring, as several characters do meet their past/future selves and the worst that happened was that they both passed out from shock. Doc is also unaware that Marty has already seen his past self (albeit only from a week prior) without any damage to the universe, or even the galaxy!
  • The Apunkalypse: Not directly employed, but the inspiration behind Griff's gang in the future.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: In 2015, the McFly home has a window with a view of a pleasant sunny meadow. It turns out that the view is artificial note , and is projected onto a blind which is pulled down over the real glass window in order to hide the view of the urban sprawl.
  • Ascended Extra: Biff's 1955 gang plays a bigger part. In 1985-A, we see they're still with Biff, and in 1955, they chase Marty into the gym while his other self in the original movie is playing. Because they mistake that Marty for this film's Marty, he has to stop them from attacking his earlier self.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: If you look carefully at the USA Today issue, you see a reference to the "Thumb Bandit". Recall that people make transactions with their thumbprints. A criminal who steals people's identity by chopping off their thumbs? Word of God confirms that this is, in fact, the case.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: 2015 Marty works for a "Mr. Fujitsu"; "Fujitsu" is the name of a Japanese company, but it's short for "Fuji Telecommunications Equipment Manufacturing"note , not a surname. Bob Gale remarks on this screw-up in the DVD commentary, and says that it would be like calling somebody "Mr. General Motors."
  • As You Know:
    • Played with cleverly; Griff's gang drops a piece of exposition as something they expected Marty Jr. to know, but young Marty Sr. doesn't.
      Data: Hey McFly, you bojo! Those boards don't work on water!
      Whitey: Unless you got POWAH!
    • Later on in the movie, when Marty discovers that the 1985 timeline has been altered, it's revealed that Biff-A has become insanely rich through the almanac 2015 Biff gave him, and furthermore, he has married Lorraine after murdering George McFly. Marty asks Lorraine-A where George is, and she excuses his behavior by sadly saying, "they must have hit you over the head hard this time", which implies that he should know where George is. She answers anyway that he's dead.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Griff's got "a few short circuits in his bionic implants", which apparently ties in with how, more than any of the Biffs running around, he comes across as downright psycho.
    • Biff in the 1955 segment looks positively gleeful about running "Calvin Klein" over.
  • Awful Wedded Life : Imagine being in Lorraine-A's shoes: your husband is murdered and they never find the killer. Then (possibly against your will) you marry the last person on earth you would ever marry.
  • Back to the Early Installment: After the 2015 Biff Tannen steals the Gray's Sports Almanac and goes back in time, Doc and Marty have to go back in time to get it back and avert the Bad Future it created. They travel to the events of the first movie since that's when Old Biff wanted to give his younger self the almanac, with their secondary concern being avoiding meeting themselves and interfering with the events of the first movie.
  • Bad Liar: After Fujitsu reveals that he was monitoring the illegal transaction, Marty makes the pathetic excuse that he was setting up a sting operation to trap Needles. Fujitsu isn't fooled in the least, firing Marty.
  • Bad Present: 1985-A. Hill Valley was reduced to the armpit of the west coast, and as mentioned above, Biff's political clout kept Richard Nixon in office for at least fifteen years. It's so bad that Doc Brown says that hell couldn't be much worse.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Moments after Doc and the DeLorean have disappeared after being struck by lightning, a car pulls up and a sinister looking man in a black suit gets out, walks towards Marty, demands that he confirm his identity and menacingly reaches into his overcoat to produce... a letter. Turns out the guy works for Western Union, and there's been a package waiting for Marty for quite a while...
  • Balls of Steel: There is a clang when Marty punches Griff in the groin. Subverted in that he feels the blow.
  • Batter Up!:
    • A self-telescoping baseball bat is Griff Tannen's weapon of choice. He even says the trope name before attacking Marty with it.
    • When Marty returns to his house in the 1985-A, he discovers that it is now occupied by a new family. The father of said family is not afraid to use a baseball bat to protect his daughter, who is living in what was once Marty's room.
  • Berserk Button: Marty's aversion to being called "chicken" or otherwise having his bravery challenged starts with this movie. It gets him into trouble and makes his situation worse four times in this movie alone:
    • He initially follows Doc's plan to pretend to be his own son and refuse to join Griff and his gang in the robbery; however, as he starts to walk away, Griff calls him a chicken, and Marty gets into a fight with the gang that results in a chase scene in the town square.note 
    • We learn that this is the reason Marty's life isn't going very well in 2015: at some point in the pastnote , Marty was baited into participating in a drag race with Needles due to the latter calling him chicken. This resulted in Marty crashing his car and breaking his hand, which led to him losing a lot of his self-confidence, giving up a career in music, having to pay damages, and Jennifer only staying with and marrying him out of sympathy.
    • What's more, he apparently never learned from this or overcame this flaw at all, since he lets Needles goad him this way, again, into participating in an illegal deal that he knows is a bad idea and could get him fired. Sure enough, within seconds of hanging up with Needles, Marty's boss Ito T. Fujitsu, who was monitoring the call, contacts him to fire him for his involvement.
    • After Marty has stolen the Almanac back from Biff, the latter catches up with him and challenges him to a fight. Marty starts to just leave, since he's completed the mission he came to 1955 to complete in the first place, but once Biff calls him a chicken, Marty stops in his tracks and prepares to fight him... which causes him to get hit in the face with the door (by his unknowing past self, no less), stunning him long enough for Biff to take back the Almanac and leave, and requiring him and Doc to chase Biff down in his car to retrieve it. It causes further problems since because Doc and Marty are still in 1955 when the storm arrives, the DeLorean gets struck by lightning and Doc ends up getting sent to the Old West, leading to the events of the third movie.
  • Beta Bitch: "Spike" is implied to be Griff Tannen's girlfriend, and seems to be second in command in his Gang of Bullies.
  • Between My Legs: Marty stands over Biff and his mistresses while asking about the almanac.
  • Big Bad: With Doc's improvements making time travel easier, Biff graduates from antagonist into Big Bad with his villainesque alteration of the timeline.
    • One could also make a case for the Gray's Sports Almanac itself being the big bad. After all, it isn't getting the book away from Biff that fixes the future, but burning it.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Marty after finding out that Biff-A married Lorraine-A.
    • And again after finding George's grave; he starts out with a Little "No", before it becomes this.
      Marty: No! Oh, please God, NO!
    • Just like the previous movie, TV edits of this movie have Biff yell one of these instead of "SHIIIT!!" as he's about to crash into the manure truck after his confrontation with Marty in the tunnel.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family:
    • The McFlys again (in this case, Marty's family with Jennifer). Grandma Lorraine and Grandpa George can only shake their heads in bewilderment, inverting the plot of the first movie.
    • The Baines-McFlys-Tannens-A's also count, but counting them as just "screwed-up" is a nice way of looking at their current situation.
  • Big "YES!": Marty when he thinks he got his hands on Gray's Sports Almanac from Mr. Strickland's trash can in 1955, only to find out by opening the contents of the book that it was actually Oh Là Là! with the sports almanac cover over it.
  • Binocular Shot: When Marty uses binoculars to spy on the Tannens' house, at the dance in 1955, and when the DeLorean is flying above Biff's car. Doc uses futuristic ones in 2015.
  • Bitch Slap: In 1985-A, Biff-A slaps Lorraine-A when she tries to mouth off at him, hitting her so hard that she falls to the floor.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: "Shark still looks fake." Also doubles as Self-Deprecation since Steven Spielberg was the executive producer for the series, and his son Max Spielberg directed Jaws 19.
  • Blatant Lies: When Strickland asks Biff if he smells liquor, Biff says he wouldn't know what liquor smells like, "because I'm too young to drink it."
  • Book and Switch: Biff hides a girly magazine inside the dust jacket of the sports almanac, which Marty mistakes for the real thing. An earlier scene in 2015 established the dust jacket for the purpose of this scene.
  • Breast Expansion:
    • Lorraine-A was forced by Biff-A to get breast implants. Even Marty is alarmed.
      Marty: You're so... big!
    • Also, one of the six channels that Marty Jr. is watching in 2015 has a commercial for inflatable breast implants.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Upon returning to 1955, Doc unveils a silver attaché case full of emergency funds. It contains different denominations from various time periods.
  • Broken Bird: Lorraine-A is a shattered woman, trapped in an abusive/loveless marriage to Biff, staying with him only so that her children can live in relative comfort.
  • Call-Back: In the first film, Marty tells 1955 Doc something along the lines about how weathermen can't actually predict the weather. By 2015, Doc remarks that the rainstorm ended right on the tick, and that it's a shame that the post office isn't as efficient as the weather service.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': It takes only a few seconds for Future Marty's boss, Ito T. Fujitsu, to call him and send him the "YOU'RE FIRED!!!" faxes after Marty engages in an illegal business deal with Needles, since Fujitsu was monitoring the call the whole time.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: When going to the future Hilldale, Doc Brown lands the flying DeLorean... on a part of the road with a large "NO LANDING" painted on the ground.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • "All I have to do is bet on the winner, and I'll never lose." Of course, this is completely in character for Biff to say.
    • The "Wallet Guy". Granted, Marty didn't take Biff's wallet (he took the sports almanac), but Biff was definitely re-knocked out and robbed.
  • Cassette Futurism: The 1980s nostalgia store is an in-universe example.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • Cafe '80s in 2015 shows '80s TV shows, including Family Ties (starring Michael J. Fox) and Taxi (starring Christopher Lloyd). A thrift store also has a Roger Rabbit plush in the window as well, also starring Lloyd, while Charles Fleischer, who voiced Roger, appears as Terry the mechanic.
    • A subtle one: when USA Today released a defictionalized front page article that closely resembles the one shown in the movie, there's one story about a movie adaptation of A Match Made in Space, based on George McFly's novel. According to the article, it will be directed by Robert Zemeckis, and Christopher Lloyd is a cast member.
    • Marty sees an advertisement for Jaws 19. Lea Thompson (Lorraine) was in Jaws 3D.
  • Chalk Outline: In 1985-A, Marty comes across the outlines of two drive-by shooting victims—complete with puddles of blood on the ground—shortly after he flees from what was originally his 1985 house in this timeline.
  • Chase Stops at Water: Inverted with the hoverboard chase — Marty is the one unable to cross the water, because his hoverboard stalls out halfway across, while Griff can thanks to his rocket-powered board (though it doesn't end up helping him in the end).
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Mattel Hoverboard Marty takes in 2015 serves its purpose well in its first scene. We think it's done after that, until this set up pays off in the Battle for the Book tunnel chase when Marty rides it again.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In 1985, Biff tries to give Marty a new matchbook for his company before seeing him take off in the DeLorean with Doc. Later, in 1985-A, Marty takes a matchbox from Biff-A's office, and after destroying Gray's Sports Almanac (with a match from said matchbook), he sees its writing change from "Pleasure Paradise" to "Auto Detailing".
    • The billboard ribbon that gets stuck on the DeLorean does come in handy when Doc uses it to save Marty in the tunnel from Biff.
    • During Marty's struggle with Biff in the tunnel to take back the Almanac, he and his hoverboard, floating alongside Biff's car, almost get hit by a truck. This is the same manure truck Biff crashes into (again) a few minutes later. Doubles as Five-Second Foreshadowing.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Buford Tannen, the Big Bad of Part III, is first shown in the Biff Tannen Museum biographical video.
  • *Click* Hello: Mr. Strickland thinks Marty's the son-of-a-bitch who's been stealing his newspapers from his porch.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: A variation with the outfit Marty wears in 1955: a leather jacket, fedora, and Cool Shades.
  • Concealing Canvas: In Biff-A's office.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • First, Doc knocks out Jennifer, after being the one to insist on bringing her along to the future. Then, for some reason, he and Marty put her on the cold, hard ground in an alley instead of just leaving her in the DeLorean. Then it just happens that the knockout device didn't have enough power for Marty Junior because Doc used it on Jennifer. Then Marty's Berserk Button of people calling him a chicken manifests despite not being hinted at in the first movie, and he gets in an altercation with Griff and his gang instead of just walking away. Then Doc parks the DeLorean where Old Biff can see. Then Marty Junior bumps into Old Biff so he can see that there are two Martys. Then he eavesdrops on Marty and Doc, who don't bother to worry about whether someone might be listening while they're discussing time travel, which Doc explicitly wants to keep secret. Then, when Marty grabs the ill-fated sports almanac, it falls out of the bag. Then, thanks to them inexplicably leaving Jennifer in an alley, she gets found and taken home and they have to go get her. Then, despite Doc telling Marty to stay with the car, he wanders off while Biff steals the time machine.
    • Lampshaded by Doc, who ponders why Old Biff chose to travel to November 12, 1955 to give himself the Almanac, the same day and night of the school dance, the huge storm, and Marty's original return to the future. He wonders if there's some cosmic significance to the date, as if it was a junction for the entire space-time continuum—or if was all just one huge coincidence. It's possible that Old Biff chose that particular date because of the football game he shows Young Biff to prove that the Almanac is for real, given that it was a very close call. If Old Biff had called the answers to a game where one side won by a huge margin, Young Biff would say it was just a lucky guess. More likely he views that night — when George stood up to him for the first time and got the girl Biff was obsessed with — as the night his life went wrong.note 
    • 1985 Jennifer just happens to be in the 2015 house at the exact moment Marty gets fired. She also just happens to hear Lorraine tell the story about Marty’s car accident.
  • Cool Car: Several from the first movie re-appear. However, a couple of the 2015 cars also double as a Shout-Out.
    • The Star Car from The Last Starfighter is parked on the street during the hoverboard chase.
    • Two Spinners from Blade Runner can be seen (a black one during the hoverboard chase and one in Hilldale).
    • The majority of the cars seen are either concept/prototypes (Pontiac Banshee IV, Pontiac Fiero, Oldsmobile Aerotech II), specialty/Kit Cars (Gene Winfield's Strip Star, Owosso Pulse), or then-new, available cars (Ford Probe, Ford Mustang) with extensive body modifications.
    • The flying taxicab Biff uses to get to Hilldale is a Citroën DS, a car which was introduced in 1955.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Subverted — Biff comes to just as someone (named "CPR Kid" in the credits) asks, "What's CPR?", and Marty knocks Biff out again. Amusingly, the "Universal Animated Anecdotes" included in the DVD had to clarify that CPR does not mean punching someone in the face.
    From the Actual DVD Commentary: No, kids, that's not CPR.
  • Crapsaccharine World: 2015 Hill Valley. Yes, it is very clean, efficient, people appear happy, and it even has flying cars and hoverboards. But beneath it is the crapsack: you can get sentenced for twenty years for relatively minor crimes; lawyers are abolished (which sounds hilarious until you need one, like Marty's kids after they get caught); Hilldale is flooded with "tranqs, lobos, and zipheads"; thumb bandits are on the loose; and mega-corporations have their employees conspire to get Marty fired. Oh, and it costs fifty dollars for a single Pepsi.
  • Crapsack World: 1985-A. "Hell Valley" indeed. It's been all but destroyed, crime runs rampant, and Biff's political clout prevents anyone from touching him.
  • Cue the Rain: It starts raining soon after lightning strikes the time machine and Marty is left stranded in the past again. Justified, of course, because this is the same storm that played a role in sending Marty back to the future in the first film, and there were all sorts of signs of a storm brewing the whole time anyway.
  • Curse Cut Short: During Marty's confrontation with Biff on the rooftop in 1985-A, Marty says "You son of a...", but is cut off when Biff cocks his gun at him, taunting him into trying to finish that insult and clearly will shoot him if he does.
  • Cyberpunk:
    • Downplayed if not defied. According to the behind-the-scenes featuretteinvoked, Robert Zemeckis intended the future he wrote to be a counterpoint to the darker dystopian visions of cyberpunk, Blade Runner in particular. Hill Valley really is "a nice place to live" in 2015; technology seems to make life better instead of worse, and the police don't seem overly concerned for their own safety even in the rough neighborhood of Hilldale. That said, there are apparently no lawyers in 2015, hoodlums like Griff run rampant with cybernetic enhancements, and there are still areas of poverty.
    • The Hill Valley of 1985-A plays this straighter, albeit without the cool tech: enormous poverty, a broken political system, and a corrupt billionaire having absolute power over society.
  • Dark Action Girl: Leslie "Spike" O'Malley in 2015. She's every bit as tough, vicious and nasty as any male member of any Tannen gang.
  • Darker and Edgier: Considered to be the darkest film in the trilogy, since the bad guy essentially wins at the end of the first act, resulting in a horrifying Crapsack World Bad Present that the protagonists have to spend the rest of the movie trying to fix.
  • Darkest Hour: Often cited as the darkest movie in the trilogy, since Biff "wins" in 1985-A and it's up to Doc and Marty to fix the timeline.
  • Denser and Wackier: Although the Crapsack World of 1985-A takes the film into darker territory than its predecessor, Part II is this for the trilogy. While the first and third movies are relatively straightforward Fish out of Temporal Water stories in existent time periods, Part II ups the adventure quota with multiple Set Right What Once Went Wrong scenarios that require multiple time jumps. The different time periods here all feature more fantastical elements than in the other movies; it starts with the protagonists journeying into the distant future (with a lot of broad comedy aimed at the present-day 80s culture), then to the aforementioned alternate crapsack timeline, followed by a jump back into 1955 that has two temporal-fish Martys existing at the same time. The film also starts the franchise tradition of the actors playing multiple generations of the McFly and Tannen bloodlines, rather than just playing the younger or older versions of themselves.
  • Determinator: Western Union. Upon receiving a letter in 1885 with specific instructions to deliver it to somebody not yet born, at a spot in the middle of nowhere, the company sees to it that a representative is on that spot, with that 70-year-old letter. How much of a delivery fee did Doc pay?! (Justified, however, in that the courier admits the entire branch was betting on whether someone would actually be at that place and time to accept the package.)
    Western Union Man: Looks, like I lost! [laughs]
  • Didn't Think This Through: Much of the plot happens because Doc was careless and didn't mind that an outlandish event such as a flying car dissapearing in the air, in broad light, in the middle of a residential neighbourhood in 1985 could be spotted by someone, trigerring uncontrollable ramifications.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
  • Domestic Abuse: To no one's surprise, Alternate Universe-Biff is a philanderer who's grown bored of Lorraine, keeping her around only as a Trophy Wife and a symbol of his victory over George. Marty goes berserk when Biff-A shoves her to the ground, earning a punch in the gut. That's right, Biff-A even slugs his step-children. Not to mention he threatens to financially cut off her three children and throw them in prison if she tries to leave him.
  • The Door Slams You: Marty does this to himself at the school dance, or rather, his stuck-in-1955 self doing it to his current self.
  • Dope Slap: Old Biff dope-slaps Young Biff for mangling a joke after giving him the Gray's Sports Almanac. And no, they don't explode (specially since Young Biff is too stupid to recognize himself).
    Young Biff: Why don't you make like a tree and get outta here?
    Old Biff: [whap!] It's "LEAVE", you idiot! "Make like a tree and leave". You sound like a damned FOOL when you say it wrong!
    Young Biff: ALRIGHT THEN, LEAVE!!
  • Double Take:
    • Jennifer does one when she lays eyes on the 47-year-old, drastically different Marty from the closet she's hiding in.
    • A double-double take (quadruple take?) when Old and Young Jennifer meet. Each look at the other, go back to entering/leaving the house, then whip around and stare at each other a few moments, before throwing their hands up and screaming "I'm old!/I'm young!" and passing out. In opposite directions, of course.
    • While driving his car, Biff distractedly looks to the side, but doesn't react immediately at the sight of Marty trying to steal the Gray's Sports Almanac.
  • Down to the Last Play: How 2015 Biff shows "Gray's Sports Almanac" is real. With less than a minute on the clock, 2015 Biff tells 1955 Biff that UCLA will win, despite them currently trailing Washington 16-17, and 1955 Biff scoffs at the idea, since even the announcer thinks the game is as good as over. 2015 Biff turns up the radio, and the commentator announces that UCLA made a last-second field goal, winning the game 19-17.
  • Dramatic Irony: In 1985-A, it is established that Lorraine ends up reluctantly marrying the obscenely rich Biff. Earlier in 1955, when Biff torments Lorraine, she responds, "Biff Tannen, I wouldn't be your girl even if... even if you had a million dollars!" Granted, he had to kill George to make that happen.
  • Droste Image: Biff in his office, standing in front of a painting portraying him in a similar pose.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Lorraine-A is a bigger alcoholic than in the original 1985 from the first film. It's understandable, since the Lorraine of the original timeline had a dysfunctional marriage to George, but certainly not an abusive one like Lorraine-A.
    • A deleted scene has 2015 Marty Sr. discovering 2015 Jennifer lying unconscious in their house's doorway (having fainted from the shock of encountering her younger self from 1985), and his reaction is a resigned sigh followed by "She's tranked again", implying that 2015 Jennifer (trapped in an unhappy marriage with Marty) regularly intoxicates herself with chemicals to the point that she would arrive home so drunk that she'll pass out cold as soon as she steps through the door, and Marty is used to this.
  • Drunk with Power: The first film established Biff as a petty schoolyard bully who would continue to be so in his adult life in one timeline, or would become relatively harmless if a little sneaky in a better timeline. This film reveals how Biff would become an absolute monster if he had access to real wealth and power, even happily committing murder and getting away with it.
    • Marty might have turned out worse than he is if he had succeeded in using the sports almanac to get rich by betting on the outcomes of sports games.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, main antagonist of Part III, briefly appears in the informative video playing outside the Biff Tannen Museum.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: The picture of Buford Tannen from the museum video was an early makeup test, which is why he looks different than when we finally see him in Part III (Buford is pictured with a Beard of Evil instead of a moustache). Word of God said that if they had the time, they would have replaced that picture with one featuring his final look.
  • Easily Forgiven: When Doc explains that the whole alternate 1985 issue was caused by the Sports Almanac that Marty bought with plans to profit from it (an idea that Old Biff essentially stole from him), Marty has an "It's All My Fault" crisis. Doc isn't upset with him; he essentially says "what's done is done", and prefers to focus all their attention on fixing things immediately.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Directly quoted when Marty gets knocked out by Biff's gang.
    3-D: [WHACK!] The easy way.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: While Biff has a "white guys only" rule in 1955, as did his great-grandfather Buford in 1885, Griff Tannen's cybernetically-enhanced teenage gang includes at least one Asian and a blonde girl.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: After realizing all he did was find Biff's dirty magazine in Strickland's office (and that Biff still has the Almanac), Marty laments to Doc over the walkie talkie that he has no idea what to do now or how he's going to find Biff... only to hear the sound of a certain struggle going on in the parking lot.
    Marty: OF COURSE! [to Doc] I gotta go, I got one chance, my old man is about to deck Biff!
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: "The justice system works swiftly in the future now that they've abolished all lawyers."
  • Evil Learns of Outside Context: When Biff Tannen learns that Doc Brown and Marty have a Time Machine, he uses it (along with the sports almanac Marty bought but Doc threw away) to go back in time to 1955 and make himself wealthy. By the time Marty and Doc realize what's gone wrong, they wind up in a nightmarish version of 1985 where Biff has almost total control of Hill Valley.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Or, rather, electronic in the case of Griff.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Biff-A converted Hill Valley's historic courthouse into a gaudy testament to his own penis — er, wealth and prestige.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Marty and Doc have the misfortune of being stalked and heard by Biff during their argument about time travel for profit.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • When Doc figures out he and Marty can just pick up Jennifer at her and Marty's future home, Marty is happy at the prospect of meeting his future self, but Doc starts explaining why it mustn't happen until he, by doing so, figures out there's a high probability Jennifer will meet her future self.
    • After Doc reveals to Marty that Old Biff helped Past Biff get rich with the Sports Almanac, leading to the Bad Present, Marty complains how Old Biff stole his idea simply by eavesdropping. Marty then stops and realizes that this all happened because he even considered the idea in the first place.

    Tropes F-N 
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • During the exchange between Griff's gang and both Marty and Marty Jr., after Marty Jr. is thrown over the counter and lands on the floor next to our Marty, Marty tells him to keep quiet rather than say he's in on Griff's opportunity, then puts on Jr.'s hat and stands up. Somehow, Griff must be too thick-headed to notice that Marty visibly has a red t-shirt underneath his jacket, whereas Marty Jr. has a white shirt, or the fact that Marty Jr.'s left sleeve is ill-fitting, unlike Marty's. Not to mention that his eye color changed from brown to blue, and Marty Jr. seemed to be wearing some sort of hair gel while Marty wasn't.
    • The multiple times that people should be seeing two versions of Marty or Doc. Biff's gang in 1955 should see a Marty on stage and in the opposite wings, and Doc literally meets himself. At least Doc's a little absent-minded, plus 1985 Doc makes sure his past self doesn't see his face.
    • Biff repeatedly fails to notice Marty hiding in the back seat of his car, particularly when Marty is loudly talking to Doc on the walkie-talkie while Biff is driving.
    • In 2015, Doc fails to notice that the time circuit readout on the car reads November 12, 1955, indicating that someone (Old Biff) arrived with the DeLorean from 1955.
    • Subverted when Marty Jr. somehow recognizes the 1985 Jennifer when he passes her in the hall.
  • Failed Future Forecast: The brief mention of Queen Diana's visit to Washington D.C. in 2015 may have been intended as a throwaway gag, but it ends up mis-predicting history on several counts. Firstly, Diana divorced Prince Charles two decades before the date of her state visit in the film. Secondly, Diana wasn't even alive in 2015, due to her tragic death in a car crash in 1997. Thirdly, even if Diana had been alive and still married to Charles, she wouldn't have been the queen in 2015, as Elizabeth II was still on the throne by the time 2015 rolled around in real-life (in fact, that year saw her surpass Queen Victoria's record as the longest-reigning British monarch).
  • Faint in Shock:
    • Marty's girlfriend Jennifer is accidentally brought into her future home. As she's about to leave, she comes across the 2015 version of herself:
      Jennifer (seventeen): [gasps] I'M OLD!!
      Jennifer (forty-seven): [gasps] I'M YOUNG!!
      [both faint simultaneously]note 
    • 1955 Doc Brown faints at the end, after Marty (whom he had just sent away in the time machine) reappears behind him.
      Doc: [screams upon seeing Marty]
      Marty: Okay, relax, Doc. It's me, it's me! It's Marty!
      Doc: No! It can't be! I just sent you back to the future!
      Marty: No, I know. You did send me back to the future, but I'm back. I'm back from the future.
      Doc: Great... Scott! [faints dead away]
    • In the original script, Marty was supposed to faint upon learning that Biff married Lorraine in 1985-A. In the final product, this was changed to him screaming and being knocked out by Biff's gang.
  • Fake Shemp: Word of Bob Gale says that Crispin Glover got an ego and started making outlandish demands for his return in the sequels. Gale and Zemeckis decided to forget Glover and get creative by using a double actor and some nifty tricks with stock footage and computer effects. It backfired on the producers and Glover sued. The suit was settled out of court and the Screen Actors Guild revised their rules on stock footage use. It should be noted that Glover is still listed in the film's credits as "George McFly in footage from Back to the Future".
  • Fan Disservice: Lorraine in 1985-A has breast implants and a cleavage-revealing top...because her abusive husband Biff made her get the former and it's quite likely he makes her wear the latter. Her looking guilty when Marty exclaims she's "so... big!" doesn't help.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Marty Jr. has his left sleeve much longer than his right.
  • Financial Abuse: Biff-A indulges in this too, unsurprisingly. When shoving Lorraine around and punching Marty in the Alternate Timeline causes Lorraine to threaten to leave, Biff resorts to this, claiming he will cut Lorraine and all her children off, leaving them with tons of debt and most likely jail time, leaving her no choice but to stay.
  • Five-Token Band: Griff's gang includes a blonde girl and an Asian guy, whereas the other Tannens in the series (Biff and Buford) have gangs composed exclusively of white males. Perhaps the filmmakers assumed there would be more diversity in the future.
  • Flying Car: The DeLorean flies in this movie, plus many other examples in 2015.
  • Forced Perspective: The Lyon Estates site, and the tunnel.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Marty and Dr. Brown return a sleeping Jennifer back on the porch of her home in 1985-A, Marty noticed something a bit off.
      Marty: I don't remember any bars on these windows...
    • For that matter, if you look closely from the moment they enter the alternate 1985, you'll notice that things are slightly off: aside from the bars on the windows, Jennifer's house and yard look slightly run-down, her father's car has been wrecked, and the entrance to Lyon Estates is covered in graffiti and a pack of feral dogs run by after Doc and Marty drive past.
    • When the "DESTINATION TIME" readout on the time circuits flash to "JAN 01 1885 12:00AM" and Doc remarks "Damn, gotta fix this thing." By the end of the film, Doc relates in a letter that he jumped to that time and had already been there for eight months.
    • As Doc is punching in the "Destination Time" of October 26, 1985, 9:00PM to return the group from 2015 to their home time, if you look quickly at the "Time Recently Departed" field, you'll see the date of "November 12, 1955, 6:38PM", hinting at the Time Machine's theft by Old Biff Tannen.
    • Biff-A is watching A Fistful of Dollars, and crows when Clint Eastwood showed he was wearing a stovetop under his poncho, "A bulletproof vest! The guy is brilliant!" Guess how the showdown in Part III is resolved? Also doubles as a Call-Back to how Doc saved himself from the Libyans' attack in the first movie.
    • Doc tells Marty that his visit to the rejuvenation clinic "added a good 30-40 years" to his life; Word of God said this ensured he could start a family with Clara and be around long enough to see their sons grow up in Part III.
    • Doc tells Marty that telling the police they were time travelers in order to save Jennifer would get them committed. Guess what Doc's fate is in 1985-A?
    • It's blurry, but when Strickland is thumbing through what is supposedly Gray's Sports Almanac after taking it from Biff, you can see pictures... of women.
    • Another bit: it's pointed out when Marty is buying the Almanac earlier in the film that it comes with a dust jacket because it's an antiquated concept in the distant, futuristic year of 2015. Sure enough, Biff took the cover off it at some point and put it over a different book, leading to a Book and Switch situation.
    • Spread out over two movies, but near the end, when Marty proposes that Doc lands the DeLorean on top of Biff's car to stop him, Doc comments on how fragile it is compared to Biff's car; "It'd rip through us like tin foil." Part III shows that Doc is not exaggerating; the DeLorean is struck by an oncoming train and is completely obliterated.
    • While the first scene is more or less a direct recreation of the first film's ending, one difference is that Doc slightly hesitates in telling Marty that he and Jennifer are fine in the future, while that dialogue was delivered straight originally. Doc's hesitation hints at the somewhat dodgy situation the young couple find themselves in 2015.
    • Relatedly, Marty (disguised as his son) meets Old Biff, who insults his father "Marty McFly Sr.? The man who took his life and flushed it completely down the toilet." Marty is confused by that statement, and basically forgets about it when Griff shows up. While Marty doesn't, the audience soon finds out how. Though in Part III, Doc accidentally reveals to Marty that his future is a mess, but couldn't say more.
    • When loading an unconscious Jennifer on to the DeLorean, Doc, having decided to destroy the DeLorean, laments that he'll never get to see his favorite time period, the Old West. He then says he'll probably start exploring another of the universe's great mysteries... women. Guess what happens in the third movie.
    • When Marty heads to the Hill Valley Courthouse Square of 1985-A and sees the full extent of Biff's alterations to the timeline, Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" plays as a dark counterpart to the "Mister Sandman" Sequence.
    • When first arriving in 2015, Doc notes that the weather report is accurate to the very second and wishes the postal service could be just the same. Sure enough at the end of the film, Western Union shows up to deliver Marty a message from 1885 right right after Doc disappears as specified in his letter.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Many of the examples listed under "foreshadowing" count, but there's a subtle one in that when Marty wears clothes exactly like his future son, he has a red shirt on under the jacket, but when his son gets to the Cafe 80s, he has a white shirt. None of the characters in-universe seem to notice this discrepancy when they switch. Marty Jr. also has different colored eyes, proving he did get something from his mother.
    • Griff, though he looks exactly like a young Biff, also has blue eyes instead of brown.
    • At the beginning of the film, when Doc backs the DeLorean out of the driveway and stops to shift out of reverse, we see a shot of the license plate which no longer reads "OUTATIME" as it did at the beginning of the first film. In this shot, the plate has changed to a chrome barcode on top of an orange background. Like all barcodes, this one has numbers below the bars which read "1011000." This binary number translated to decimal is "88" (as in "88 miles per hour"). This license plate is also briefly visible at the very end of the first film (but is out of focus) and is is shown spinning on one corner after the DeLorean is destroyed by a train at the end of the third film.
    • Many of the headlines of the 2015 USA Today newspaper count, such as "Queen Diana Visits Washington" and "Thumb Bandits Strike".
  • Future Imperfect: Deliberately invoked with the '80s-themed diner; the aesthetic mashes together major icons of '80s pop culture like Max Headroom and Ronald Reagan.
  • Future Loser: Marty in the version of 2015 seen here (which ultimately doesn't end up happening thanks to events of Part III), due to getting into a car accident with a Rolls-Royce soon after returning home from the events of the first movie (the next day, in fact!). He wound up busting his hand, ending his aspirations of a music career, and was forced to pay for damages. By 2015, Marty is stuck in a dead-end job, unhappily married to Jennifer (who, according to Lorraine, married him out of pity, with their wedding taking place in a cheap chapel), and gets fired when his bosses monitor his calls and learn of his involvement in an illegal transaction. 1985 Marty never finds out the full details about this, only learning from Doc in Part III that he's involved in some kind of accident that messes up his future; it's Jennifer who witnesses this when she's brought to their house after being mistaken for the 2015 one. She's dismayed to see how much her life together with Marty has not gone as she'd hoped it would.
  • Future Slang: It's actually weird how you wouldn't be surprised if actual teens from the 2010s actually used many of the words, with the rise of nonsense words and terms that have come to existence in the decade.
    Spike: What's wrong, McFly? You got no scrote?

    Whitey: Hey McFly, you bojo, those boards don't work on water!

    Officer Foley: Hilldale, nothing but a breeding ground for tranks, lobos, and zipheads.

    Marty Jr.: Don't drive tranq'd, low-res scuzzball!

    [in Craig Shaw Gardner's Novelization]
    Marlene: No, I don't want to, so nump off!
  • Future Spandex: 2015 fashion tends toward the "unbelievably silly" version of this trope. Marty does a Double Take seeing one girl wearing spandex leave the Cafe 80s.
  • Futuristic Superhighway: The movie begins with Doc, Marty, and Jennifer arriving in the year 2015 inadvertently flying against traffic on a highway specifically designed for Flying Cars.
  • Gangland Drive-By: In 1985-A, a truckload of gang members shoot up Strickland's house. Strickland responds with a shotgun.
    Strickland: Eat lead, SLACKERS!
  • Genre Blindness: In retrospect, 1985-A Biff should've pulled out his pistol and shot Marty the minute he mentioned the Almanac instead of going through a Just Between You and Me.
  • Gilligan Cut: Marty needs to get some Fifties clothes:
    Doc: Something inconspicuous!
    [cuts to Marty outside Biff's house, wearing a not-so-inconspicuous leather jacket, hat, and shades, resembling the Blues Brothers]
  • God Test: Biff challenges his future self to prove that the Gray's Sports Almanac has the results of every sporting event in the next 50 years. So old Biff plays a sports broadcast and demonstrates it.
  • Graceful Loser: The Western Union man who delivers Doc’s letter to Marty comments that the Post Office had a bet over whether or not Marty would be there, which he admits that he lost with a laugh.
  • Groin Attack:
    • When the gang is intimidating Marty Jr.
      Spike: What's wrong, McFly? [shoves a long and razor sharp nail between Marty Jr's trousers] Ya got no scrote!?!?
    • Marty tries to pull the "Hey, what's that?!" move on Griff, who intercepts his fist instead. He only gets away by kicking Griff's steel balls.
    • Biff unknowingly throws a couple of oil cans onto Marty's midsection (who is hidden in the back seat of Biff's car).
    • 1985-A Strickland accuses Marty of stealing his newspapers and gives him until the count of three to get off the porch with his nuts intact.
  • Guess Who I'm Marrying?: We don't actually see when Lorraine-A tells her kids who she is going to marry in 1973-A, but the reaction of the Marty from our timeline fits the bill.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Marty Jr. and Marlene, possibly. Some scripts have both children mentioned as being 17, and both were played by Michael J. Fox - so they're commonly believed to be fraternal twins.
  • Hand Wave: To avoid Christopher Lloyd having to put on the "1985 Doc" make-up for the two sequels, an in-universe explanation was provided for a slightly younger-looking Doc: He had extensive plastic surgery and organ replacements in 2015. They also replaced his spleen and colon, and extended his life by "thirty or forty years" - also meaning he can have a long and happy life with Clara after Part III.
  • Help Yourself in the Future: Inverted: Marty has to stop Biff's gang from attacking his first film's counterpart during "Johnny B. Goode".
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Doc at the end, when all of the implications of Marty's return from the future hit him. He faints.
    • Marty also has one when he finds out that his dad was murdered in the alternate timeline — and that it's basically his fault, because Biff stole the almanac that Marty bought in 2015 after finding out about the time machine.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: At the end of the first film, Marty asks Doc if he and Jennifer "become assholes in the future." Doc straightaway says no. When the scene was reshot for the start of the second film, Doc hesitates before answering their question. This was due to there being no plans for a sequel when the first film was shot.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When future Biff gets back to 2015 from the past, he hits himself in the chest with his cane while getting out of the DeLorean, and apparently dies. Word of God is that this was because in the bad future that was created after Biff gave himself the Sports Almanac, he gets shot by Lorraine sometime in the 1990s; Biff's collapse was supposed to be the beginning of the altered past causing him to fade out of existence.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
  • Hologram: Marty is attacked by a holographic shark advertising Jaws 19 playing at a holographic movie house in Hill Valley of 2015.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Back in 1955, Lorraine was a headstrong spitfire who swore she'd never ever marry Biff even if he had a million dollars. In 1985-A, Lorraine has been reduced to a battered, defeated trophy wife forcefully married to Biff, broken to the point where she can only resign to his whims and believe his cruel treatment is her fault.
  • Identical Grandson: Played Straight. Griff looks a lot like how Biff did back in 1955.
  • Ignored Epiphany: In the novelization, there's a scene where Old Biff is sitting in the Cafe 80's and realizes how much of a jerk he was and that he wasted his life thanks to how he acted. Of course that all goes out the window once he gets his hands on the Sports Almanac and the time machine.
  • I Hate Past Me: Old Biff isn't all that thrilled to be giving anything to the idiotic, amoral, young Biff, but is willing to do so because then he'll be rich in the future.
    Young Biff: Now, why don't you make like a tree and get outta here?
    Old Biff: (Dope Slaps his younger self) It's LEAVE, you idiot! Make like a tree and leave! You sound like a damn fool when you say it wrong!
  • I Have to Wash My Hair: Said by Lorraine in 1955 when Biff "invites" her to the dance with him in an attempt to get him to stop harassing her.
  • I Remember Because...: In a Deleted Scene, the historical preservation society member says that he remembers the day lightning struck the clock tower because it was also the same day that Biff Tannen stiffed him out of a repair bill for cleaning a truckload of manure out of Biff's car.
  • Immediate Sequel: Picking up from the last movie's Sequel Hook, the opening scenes of Back to the Future Part II dive right into the new storyline of Doc Brown whisking Marty and Jennifer thirty years into the future to sort out a problem with their kids — unknowingly setting off a line of Disaster Dominoes that will keep causing problems for the trio for the next two movies.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • A convertible full of gangsters emptying their rifles at Strickland's home, reducing it to a two-story block of Swiss cheese, and they manage to completely miss both Strickland and a cowering Marty.
    • Biff-A firing at Marty in his suite has tastes of this as well (he is using a pistol with a barrel shorter than the cylinder, so this may be justified). He was also drinking, so that may have also influenced his aim.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Lorraine communicates her distaste for Biff by clocking him with the box carrying her prom dress before running away with her friend as Biff shouts after her that she'll be his wife one day. That must be some hefty dress.
    • When confronted by Biff in 1985-A, Marty grabs a matchbox tray that conveniently has sharp metal triangles facing outwards along its edge and throws it at Biff like a Frisbee, forcing him to duck as it embeds itself into the back of his chair.
    • The Frisbee attack is later recalled in the third movie, with Marty throwing a pie tin at Biff's ancestor, Buford. (With the words "Frisbee Pies" on it, no less.)
  • Inconsistent Dub: The Latin-American Spanish dub of this film, along with the sequel, was quite infamous in its time not only for replacing the whole cast, but also for ignoring the terminology used from the Mexican-made dub, as the second and third films were dubbed in the States in Los Angeles instead. Just to begin with, the Latin American name of the movie went from Volver al futuro (literal translation) to Regreso al futuro ("Return to the Future"), and the list of terms changed would be too large to mention here.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The only things that have been confirmed not to have been changed in the 1985-A timeline are that Michael Jackson still becomes a famous pop star, A Fistful of Dollars still gets made, the Wounded Knee Occupation still takes place, and Lorraine's brother Joey still turns out to be a jailbird.
  • Insult to Rocks: When talking about 1985-A.
    Marty: It's like we're in hell, or something.
    Doc: No, this is Hill Valley, although I can't imagine hell being much worse!
  • Interquel: Doc and Marty travel to 1955 in the hours leading up to the "Enchantment Under the Sea" Dance and lightning storm in the first film.
  • I Own This Town: A filthy rich Biff has corrupted Hell Valley and is now its overlord.
    Biff-A: Kid, I own the police!
  • I Remember It Like It Was Yesterday: Marty, when he returns to 1955. Doc mentions that he was there yesterday. From the time Marty left 1955 at the climax of Part I (arriving on October 26, 1985, 1:24AM), to when he traveled to 2015 (a little after 10:30AM on October 26, 1985), the time he spent 2015 (October 21, 2015, 4:29PM to 7:28PM), and from when he arrives in 1985-A (October 26, 1985 9:00PM) to the time he returns with Doc to 1955 in the middle of Part II (leaving 1985-A at around October 27, 1985, 2:00AM), is from Marty's perspective about 17 hours. And of course, another Marty had been there yesterday. And about five more days before that.
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    2015 Biff: Just get in the car, butthead.
    1955 Biff: Who're you callin' butthead, butthead?!
  • Irony: While 1985 Doc is warning Marty not to be spotted by his other self, Doc gets spotted by his other self.
  • It's All My Fault: Said by Marty when he realizes Biff stole the almanac.
  • It's Personal: Marty sees an ad with the tagline "This time it's really really personal!"
  • I Want My Jetpack: Hoverboards, holographic movie posters, auto-adjusting clothes, ubiquitous robots, dehydrated pizza, weather reports accurate to the minute, commercially available fusion reactors small enough to power car, flying cars in such numbers to cause traffic jams. October 21, 2015 came and went and none of these things were available.
    • Nike did make a limited line of self-lacing shoes, and all money paid for went to Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's Foundation.
  • Jaded Washout: 2015 Marty Sr. is a sour salaryman who gave up his guitar dreams when he injured his hand and was targeted with a lawsuit after a car accident. Driven home by him busting out his guitar after being fired and strumming a few chords - he's not rock-star level, but he plays decently. It's likely he gave up more out of lack of confidence than the hand being a serious problem.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: 2015 was partly based on the assumption that the Japanese economy would have overtaken the US one by the early 21st Century.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Fujitsu was in the right to fire 2015 Marty - while the latter knew that going into Needles's illegal scam was wrong, he went along with it.
  • Just Between You and Me: Biff-A tells Marty the circumstances of how he received the Almanac, then pulls out a pistol mentioning that his older self told him to kill anyone who ever asked about it.
  • Karma Houdini: It's left ambiguous whether Needles gets reprimanded for deceiving Marty into performing the illegal scan in 2015.
  • Kavorka Man: The hotel's museum includes a slideshow of Biff's past conquests — which include the biggest pin-up gals of the day, each with Biff making sleazy Night at the Roxbury faces to the camera.
  • Kill It with Fire: How the threat of the Gray's Sports Almanac is finally dealt with once and for all.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: In the alternate timeline, the wealthy and corrupt Biff Tannen (who, by the way, forced Lorraine to marry him after he murdered her husband) is seen in his private quarters lounging in a hot tub with his arms wrapped around two ladies, watching a Clint Eastwood film.
  • Large Ham: Griff Tannen. Loud, obnoxious, and rarely calms down. Just like his grandfather and ancestor.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Considering the fact that Griff seems to anticipate Marty's reaction to being called "Chicken" when he thinks he is Marty Jr., it appears that Marty's son has the same issue with the name as he does.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: A lightning strike sends the DeLorean — with Doc inside — back to 1885, by causing the car to spin so fast it hits 88mph. This is why the fire trails are in a circular nine-esque shape rather than the traditional parallel lines.
  • Male Gaze: While trying to keep track of Marty, Jr. through some Star Wars-esque binoculars, Doc Brown's line of vision constantly shifts to the very busty women that passed by him. Although this may just be the auto focus feature of the binoculars, the trope still applies on a meta level.
    • Marty does a double take as a rather attractive woman exits the Cafe 80s as he is entering.
    • He also keeps looking down at his mother's enhanced boobs in 1985-A, although this is more shock and disbelief than titillation.
  • Manly Tears: Marty when he finds his father's grave in 1985-A. Thankfully things turn out differently in the end.
  • Married in the Future: Doc takes Marty and Jennifer into the future where she sees their future home and kids, but everything else sucks. In Part III, however, Marty manages to avert the event that led to that timeline.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Upon learning Old Biff chose November 12, 1955 to return, Doc wonders if that day has some cosmic significance or it's just a coincidence.
  • Mean Boss: Ito T. "Jitz" Fujitsu. In fairness, he had good reason for firing Marty Sr., but he made no indication of coming down as hard on Needles (who briefly smirked before hanging up, indicating he won't be in trouble at all).
  • Meaningful Echo: The confrontation between Marty and Biff in the tunnel, with Marty trying to use his hover-board to outrun Biff's car, then being pulled up by Doc with a kite string just as Biff gets to him, causing Biff to crash into a manure truck, is practically a repeat of the confrontation between Marty and Griff's gang in 2015.
  • Megacorp: Biffco.
  • The Men in Black: Played with. After lightning strikes the DeLorean and traps the Doc in 1885, a car pulls up next to where Marty is standing and a sinister man steps out and addresses him by name. He's actually a courier from Western Union delivering a message from the Doc.
  • Missed Him by That Much: When Marty arrives in 1955 and sneaks into 1955 Biff's car, he doesn't know that 2015 Biff is hiding from behind a tree, and lucky that 2015 Biff turned his head away at the point when he would have seen Marty.
  • Mock Headroom: When Marty visits the Cafe 80s, his server is a roaming TV monitor with an avatar of Ronald Reagan, glitching and speaking in warped tones like Max Headroom. He's joined (and naturally argues with) an avatar of the Ayatollah Khomeni. Another television shows an avatar of Michael Jackson.
  • Money to Burn: Biff's image is depicted on the front of his casino doing this.
  • Mood Whiplash: Going from the bright, lively Hill Valley of 2015 to the dark, terrifying "Hell" Valley of 1985-A.
  • Mordor: 1985-A is a smoggy futuristic Mordor. Marty's neighborhood looks more or less the same (only shabbier, with the Lyon Estates lion statues being defaced with graffiti, and a pack of stray dogs roaming around), but smokestacks are visible everywhere else, including the graveyard.
  • More Dakka: The police in 1985-A keep what tenuous order they can by being armed with automatic rifles and patrolling in an Armored Personnel Carrier.
  • Mundane Utility: The DeLorean is at its most useful for purposes other than time travel in this movie after Doc had a hover conversion job done on it. Its ability to fly comes in most useful in time periods where there are no other flying cars, such as rescuing Marty from nearly meeting his father's fate in 1985-A, or in their effort to swipe the Almanac from Biff in 1955.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Marty after realizing that the entire future has changed for the worse due to his idea of using the Almanac for selfish purposes.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Doc explicitly warns Marty to be careful in following Biff to get the Sports Almanac back that he must not be noticed or interact with his previous self.
  • Newspaper Dating: Marty performs it again when in 1985-A. Lampshaded by Strickland: "So you're the son-of-a-bitch who keeps stealing my newspapers!"
  • The New '10s: The first act of the movie takes place in 2015.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Most everything that happens in this film (and by extension the third film) is Marty's fault. His scheme to use the almanac to make himself rich is what kicks off the main plot.
    • Marty manages to recover the almanac, but when confronted by Biff who taunts him about being chicken, Marty goes into his Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"! mode, which winds up getting him found out he took the almanac, which gets taken away again.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Had it not been for 1985-A Biff's boasting about how and when he acquired the Almanac, neither Marty or Doc would've known at what point in the time line to properly intercept 2015 Biff's efforts to change the past.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Trope Namer.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • 1985-A Lorraine was modeled after various female televangelists of the 80s, particularly Tammy Faye Meissner (aka Tammy Faye Bakker).
    • By that same token, 1985-A Biff's looks were modeled on...Donald Trump, which became a big talking point around the movie after he became president in 2016 and Bob Gale brought it up. Other things 1985-A Biff has and does also make this more obvious, like paintings he has of himself in his hotel and the fact that he's a billionaire business tycoon with his own hotel named after himself.
  • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: Parodied with Doc in 2015. Played straight with Lorraine in 1985-A, who looks radically different from her 1973-A self, when she was shown marrying Biff.
  • No-Paper Future: Averted, at least in the case of "YOU'RE FIRED!!!" faxes and "dust-repellent paper". Cash is also still in use, although most people don't use it and use their thumb to pay.
  • Non Sequitur Causality: The 1985-A newspaper that shows that Doc Brown has been committed also says Richard Nixon is running for a fifth term and The Vietnam War is still ongoing. All because Biff Tannen made a fortune on sports gambling!
  • Notably Quick Deliberation: It's mentioned in passing that Marty's son was tried, convicted and sentenced within a mere two hours of his arrest. Doc Brown explains that the criminal justice system is much more efficient since the abolition of lawyers.
  • Not So Great Escape: Marty finds himself trapped in Strickland's office while trying to retrieve the almanac and has to desperately hide beneath the desk and in other spots to avoid being discovered, including getting his hand crushed by Strickland's chair.
  • Not the First Victim: In 1985-A, while threatening Marty, Biff-A all but reveals that he's the one who killed Marty's father in this timeline.
    Biff: I suppose it's poetic justice. Two McFlys... with the same gun.

    Tropes O-Z 
  • Off to Boarding School: The Marty of 1985-A was sent off by Biff to a boarding school in Switzerland at some unknown point prior to "our" Marty's arrival.
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: In the future, we're never told what Marty does at CusCo, or what "the plant" actually produces. His conspiracy with Needles (embezzlement? insider trading?) is ambiguous and left to the imagination, though the dialogue with Needles saying their plan would, "Solve all of [2015 Marty's] financial problems" implies some sort of money transfer scheme. Fujitzu being able to immediately detect Marty scanning his card for Needles to use for it implies it was at least partially done through their company's network.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • This is Jennifer's reaction to pretty much the whole time she is trapped in her future home, trying not to be seen. Her biggest one comes from coming face-to-face with her 47-year-old self, causing both of them to faint.
    • When Marty learns that "Griff" is actually Griff Tannen, Biff's grandson.
    • Griff, already as imposing as his grandfather was at his age, starts to get bigger as his cybernetics kick in. Marty looks a little worried.
    • Marty's horror-struck reaction when he sees not only what has happened to his home in the alternate timeline, but perhaps even worse when he realizes that Biff has married his mother.
    • Marty, when he realizes Biff-A is going to shoot him for knowing too much. Seconds later, Biff-A has a similar reaction upon seeing Marty standing on the flying DeLorean.
    • Doc, when he warns Marty not to let his other self see him. Lo and behold, the 1955 version of Doc sees him from behind and calls out to him. 1985 Doc quickly takes measures not to show his face to him as he has an awkward conversation with him.
  • Older Is Better: In a bit of Shown Their Work, Marty suggests that Doc ram the DeLorean into Biff's car to disable it. Doc dismisses the idea, as the all steel construction of a 40's car would rip apart a modern fiberglass shell DeLorean.
  • Oppressive States of America: Besides Biff running Hill Valley of 1985-A like his own personal kingdom, there's news of Richard Nixon going on his fifth term as President of the United States (meaning Biff's influence got the 22nd Amendment overturned), and (in the novelization) the Vietnam War still being waged in the 1980s.
  • Outdated Outfit: In 1985-A, Biff and his gang (still together since 1955) seem more in line with The '70s than The '80s. This is partly because they're modeled after Elvis Presley and his "Memphis Mafia" in the last years of his life.
  • Pac Man Fever: Wild Gunman being showcased at the Cafe 80s is perfectly fine, as Nintendo put out an arcade Playchoice-10 version, but the version shown doesn't exist in reality; none of its game modes allow you to face off against four of the game's outlaws simultaneously, and it doesn't have a "Crack Shot!!" bonus.
  • Paid Harem: Biff-A's got buxom blondes in the hot tub in 1985-A.
  • Papa Wolf: When Marty sneaks into what was once his bedroom after returning to 1985-A, he learns the hard way that an African-American family lives there now. Sure enough, when the father catches an understandably shocked Marty in the act, he resorts to using a baseball bat to protect his family, forcing Marty to escape unharmed.
  • Paranormal Gambling Advantage: Biff steals Doc Brown's DeLorean and delivers a sports almanac from the future to his younger self, creating a new timeline where Biff becomes an all-powerful billionaire. Also counts as Time Travel for Fun and Profit. Marty admits he intended to do something similar.
  • Percussive Maintenance: When they are about to go back to 1955, the time display of the DeLorean flashes between 1885 and 1955. Doc punching it twice removes the glitch, but Doc remarks he'll have to fix that thing properly.
  • Pet the Dog: A very minor one, but when Marty does a Verbal Backspace and notes to Biff that November 12, 1955 was when the famous Hill Valley Lightning Storm hit (which was also the day he traveled back to 1985, a fact he almost revealed to Biff), Biff sincerely compliments him for knowing his history, complete with a "very good." For Biff, that's a lot.
  • Pink Is Erotic: In 1985-A, the sleazy and perverted Biff seduces women in a pink, purple, and red home, owns pink towels, and other pink decorations.
  • Plot-Triggering Book: Old-Biff overhears Doc Brown telling Marty to throw away "Gray's Sports Almanac" in 2015 before they return to 1985 since he didn't invent Time Travel so they can gamble. As Marty and Doc Brown rush to get Jennifer out of her and Marty's future home before she sees her future self, old-Biff "borrows" the Delorean-time machine. When the trio gets back to 1985, Hill Valley has been turned into a dystopia where the town is one large slum and Biff is a billionaire casino owner, as Doc Brown and Marty discovered that old-Biff went back to 1955 to give his teen-aged self the book so that he could be rich and powerful in the future.
  • Police Are Useless: In 1985-A; somewhat justified as Biff has used his wealth to take control of Hill Valley, where the police department is corrupt and answers mostly to Biff in a city that under his watch has become an almost literal hellhole. Averted with the 2015 police officers.
  • Power Fist: Old Biff in 2015 has one of these adorning the top of his cane, which he uses to clobber Marty (masquerading as his son) over the head. The top of the cane is left behind in the car when Old Biff returns to 2015 from 1955, and Marty recognizes it when Doc shows it to him in the 1985-A timeline.
  • Present-Day Past: In 1985-A, when Marty finds out that his house is occupied by another family, a poster for Dirty Dancing can be seen on the wall, which wasn't released until 1987.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: Doc and Marty watch the newspaper article about Marty Jr.'s arrest, headlined, "Youth Jailed: Martin McFly Jr. Arrested For Theft" change to the headline, "Gang Jailed: Hoverboard Rampage Destroys Courthouse. Gang Leader: 'I WAS FRAMED'", under a photo of Griff being taken to a police car in handcuffs. Doc looks up and sees Griff being perp-walked down the courthouse steps to a police car in handcuffs as a USA Today camera drone descends from the sky. Griff shouts, "I WAS FRAMED!" at which point the camera snaps his picture.
  • Prince Charming Wannabe: Again, Biff with Lorraine in 1955.
  • Properly Paranoid: When Marty confronts 1985-A Biff about the Sports Almanac and the exact details of how, where and, above all, when he got it, Biff decides to cooperate. He soon reveals the reason why he played along as he pulls out a gun and attempt to kill him.
    1985-A Biff: [The old man] said someday, a "crazy, wild-eyed scientist or a kid" may show up asking about that book. And if that ever happens... Funny... I never thought it would be you.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • "Read. My. Fax!"
    • "Gray's. Sports. Almanac!"
  • Remember the New Guy?: When Needles appears in 2015, the film makes it clear that he's an older version of someone Jennifer knows from 1985, but we've never seen him before. And it's not until the end of the next movie that we get to see the teenage version of Needles that was already known to both Marty and Jennifer.
  • Request for Privacy: In Alternate-1985, Marty confronts Biff about the Gray's Sports Almanac while he's bathing in a hot tub with two bimbos, and he tells them to leave so he can talk to Marty privately about the Time Travel secret behind his wealth.
  • Retcon:
    • A slight one with the scene the first movie left off. In the first film, when Marty asked if he and Jennifer become "assholes or something?", Doc immediately and earnestly says no. In this film, when Marty asked that same question, we get a brief glance of Doc hesitating at first before hurriedly saying no, letting the audience know he's lying.
    • 1955 Lorraine telling Marty that she'd, "Let [her] kids do anything they wanted, anything at all" and Marty saying he'd like to have that in writing wasn't there in the final cut of the first film, though it was part of the script originally, and was reincorporated in this one.
    • Although Biff harassed Lorraine in the first movie, there was no implication that he had any long-term interest in her. In Part II, it's made explicit that Biff's feelings for Lorraine constitute a Villainous Crush.
  • Revealing Reflection: While trying to get the almanac from Biff's car, Marty begins creeping up along the driver's side on his hoverboard, but Biff sees him in the side mirror and is ready when he gets close enough.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Biff's snub revolver. Handy for silencing environmental activists, popular sci-fi authors whose wives you covet, and meddling kids who know too much.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • In the 2015 scene at the Cafe 80s, the noticeable physical differences between Marty and Marty Jr. (eye color, shirt color, their hair, etc) are easy to miss the first time you watch the movie.
    • Rewatching this movie after having watched Part III makes the foreshadowing put into it for the ending and the next film stand out more.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • What sort of illegal activity was Marty talked into by Needles? Embezzlement? Insider trading?
    • According to the time machine readout, Old Biff returns to 2015 at 6:38 p.m. on November 12, leaving all sorts of questions as to why he took so much time between giving the Almanac to his younger self (he arrives in the morning) and returning to 2015, where it would be imperative to return the time machine as soon as possible. These range from nostalgic sightseeing to waiting until dark to avoid being discovered.
    • Since Biff's gang was only prevented from jumping 1955 Marty by 1985 Marty dropping sandbags on their heads in this film, what prevented them from jumping 1955 Marty in the first film?
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: A single-serving bottle of Pepsi costs about $50 in 2015.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: A holographic advertisement for Jaws 19, directed by Max Spielberg, with the tagline: "This time it's really, really personal." All Marty has to say is, "The shark still looks fake." Well, to be fair, the very first thing he has to say is, "AAAAAAAAHHHH!"
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Biff vs. Marty on the top of the casino.
  • Running Gag: Biff has seen the time machine in every single time period they go to:
    • 1985 Biff sees a "flying DeLorean" leave the McFly home and disappear.
    • 2015 Biff sees the DeLorean again and chuckles that he hasn't seen one in 30 years, but is distracted by seeing two "Marty"s.
    • 1985-A Biff doesn't have time to register fully either as he's knocked cold by the gull-wing door.
    • 1955 Biff sees it in flight, but smashes into a manure truck right after.
  • Say My Name:
    • Marty's future boss yells "McFly!!" right after he does the illegal transaction with Needles.
    • At the end of the film, the Western Union courier yells "Mr. McFly!" to get his attention after Doc disappears.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Biff-A, not surprisingly.
    Biff-A: Kid, I own the police!
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Taken to a whole new level by the animated holographic advertisement for Jaws 19 ("This time, it's really really personal!") that Marty encounters, in which a shark eats you.
    Marty: Shark still looks fake.
  • Second Chapter Cliffhanger: It resolves the alternate timeline story but Marty winds up trapped in the past and everything else is saved for a big fat "To Be Concluded".
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Marty suggests going back to 2015 to stop Old Biff from taking the Almanac to the past. Naturally, Doc tells him it doesn't work that way; since they are stuck in 1985-A they'll only be going further into a Bad Future. Instead, they have to intercept Old Biff in the past and prevent Young Biff from getting the book.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The nostalgia curio shop window has a plush Roger Rabbit doll (another Amblin movie directed by Zemeckis and featuring Lloyd).
    • It also features the Jaws NES game and a VHS copy of Jaws 2. (Not to mention the Jaws 19 hologram.)
    • The virtual Michael Jackson, Ronald Reagan and Ayatollah Khomeini are modeled after Max Headroom.
    • The tv screens in the Cafe 80s all display tv shows owned or produced by Universal Television (Miami Vice, Knight Rider, etc. can be seen).
    • Marty Jr. shouts "Hey, I'm walkin' here!" at a taxi.
    • It's a Wonderful Plot: Many references to It's a Wonderful Life during the 1985-A sequence. 1985-A Hill Valley is a not-so-subtle reference to Pottersville, and you just substitute Biff in Potter's place.
    • One of the articles in the paper in 1985-A about Doc Brown being committed reads "Nixon to seek fifth term", a possible shout-out to Watchmen.
    • In 2015, there's a poster which says "Surf Vietnam". This doubles as foreshadowing, as the Vietnam War is still grinding on in a dystopian Biffverse.
    • Biff's line "I own the police" is a reference to a similar line in Chinatown concerning Noah Cross, another morally bankrupt magnate whose power leads to a dystopian reality.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but the StarCar from The Last Starfighter can be seen in 2015. You can catch it just as the Jeep rockets down from the sky in the chase sequence.
  • Shown Their Work: The college football scores Biff hears on his car radio are the actual scores of actual college football games played on Saturday, November 12, 1955 — except, oddly, the Texas A&M-Rice matchup, which the radio announcer says A&M won 20-10 when the actual score was 20-12. Bob Gale said he personally researched the scores of that day to avoid the wrath of sports fans who would call him out if they weren't accurate. The UCLA game the Biffs listen to also correctly notes the Bruins played at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum; although it opened in 1922, the Rose Bowl wouldn't be the home of UCLA football until 1981.
    • It's true that nobody really knew what CPR was until roughly two years later.
    • October 21, 2015 did fall on a Wednesday.
  • Shrine to Self: The Biff Tannen Museum!
    Museum Narrator: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Biff Tannen Museum! Dedicated to Hill Valley's #1 citizen, and America's greatest living folk hero, the one and only Biff Tannen! Of course we've all heard the legend, but who is the man? Inside you will learn how Biff Tannen became one of the richest and most powerful men in America. Learn the amazing history of the Tannen family, starting with his great-grandfather, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, fastest gun in the West. See Biff's humble beginnings and how a trip to the racetrack on his 21st birthday made him a millionaire overnight.note  Share in the excitement of a fabulous winning streak that earned him the nickname "the Luckiest Man on Earth."note  Learn how Biff parlayed that lucky winning streak into the vast empire called BiffCo. Discover how in 1979, Biff successfully lobbied to legalize gambling and turned Hill Valley's dilapidated courthouse into a beautiful casino-hotel! note  Meet the women who shared in his passion as he searched for true love. And relive Biff's happiest moment as in 1973, he realized his life long romantic dream by marrying his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Baines McFly! note 
  • Significant Reference Date: In the 1985-A timeline, George McFly was killed on March 15, 1973. Julius Caesar was killed on March 15 aka the "Ides of March".
  • Signs of Disrepair:
    • In 2015, Hilldale's sign has been vandalized from "The Address of Success" to "The Address of Suckers".
    • In 1985-A, the "Welcome to Hill Valley" sign has an E spray painted over the I, spelling "Hell Valley".
  • Slasher Smile: Griff gets off a good one on Marty's failed Look Behind You.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Terry, the guy in 2015 trying to collect a donation from Marty before commenting on his desire to go back in time to bet the Cubs will win that year's World Series. That comment starts the Almanac plot and is the reason Doc and later Marty go to 1885, resulting in Clara Clayton being saved from falling into a ravine and Jules and Verne Brown existing. If not for this, Doc would have disassembled the Time Machine after he and Marty returned from 2015. We do later see a younger version of Terry in 1955.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • Jennifer Parker. Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale say that if they had intended to do a sequel at the time they made the original film, they would not have put "the girl" in the car at the end. Sure enough, she's sedated less than five minutes into the movie, and while she does get a bit of screentime in the first act (since the audience sees Marty's and Jennifer's 2015 household through 1985 Jennifer's perspective), she faints once she sees her older self and is out of action for the rest of the trilogy, only waking up again in the denouement of Part III. It's especially telling that when Doc explains to Marty the alternate 1985 that they're in, he claims that this alternate timeline is "alternate to you, me, and Einstein, but reality to everyone else", completely neglecting to mention Jennifer who came from the same original 1985 as they did. (Strictly speaking, Jennifer fits neither category, as she spends her entire time while physically in the alternate 1985 in a profound unwoken faint, so her consciousness never really existed in this timeline to even be able to perceive it and to compare it against her original reality.)
    • Griff's gang of four (himself included) in 2015 has one girl, Spike, which is still more women than Biff's or Buford's gangs had.
  • Spear Carrier: The kids unimpressed by Marty's gun skills.
  • Spinning Paper: The video at the Biff Tannen Museum uses this editing trick while showing newspaper headlines documenting the Biff-A's life story, including his winning streak.
  • Starter Villain: Griff Tannen, Biff's grandson in 2015. Marty's task in the first part of the film is to stop Griff from ruining Marty Junior's life. After Griff is jailed for damaging the courthouse in a chase, at least three versions of Biff take over as Big Bad; the elderly Biff from 2015 sets the alternate reality in motion, the 1985 Biff shows the horrible effects of the alterations to the timeline, and the 1955 Biff is the Climax Boss that has to be defeated so Marty can recover the almanac and undo the damage.
  • Stealth Pun: The scene where 1985 Doc meets 1955 Doc is one. At that moment, they are a pair of Docs - a paradox. Fittingly, the soundtrack that plays during the scene is named exactly that: "Pair O'Docs"
  • Stock Footage: The opening "flying through the clouds" shots that play during the opening credits were originally filmed for the movie Firefox.
  • Suicidal "Gotcha!": Marty, on the roof of Biff's Pleasure Paradise. Biff-A gets knocked out by the DeLorean doors as well.
  • Surprise Vehicle: The DeLorean in the above scene.
  • Tae Kwon Door: After rescuing Marty with the DeLorean in 1985-A, Doc knocks out Biff with one of its wing doors.
    Marty: Nice shot, Doc!
  • Take That!: The fake shark from Jaws 19, alluding to the Jaws franchise and its not-so-well-received sequels, especially Jaws: The Revenge, which came out between Part I and Part II and was ripped apart by critics.
  • Tap on the Head: Marty gets knocked out by Biff's thugs outside the Pleasure Palace and wakes up with no injuries. This is a part of a running gag, as Marty gets knocked out and wakes up perfectly fine in all three movies. Then there are Biff's flunkies in 1955, who get sandbagged (literally) by Marty at the school dance.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Marty, asking Lorraine-A about the alternate version of his father.
  • Temporal Duplication: When going back to stop 2015 Biff from giving 1955 Biff the Almanac, Doc and Marty have to work around the fact there's another version of them from the first movie.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In 2015, Needles assures Marty that Fujitsu will not be monitoring their illegal transaction. Naturally, Fujitsu is doing just that and fires Marty.
    • In 1955, the very instant Marty tells Doc to be careful not to get struck by lightning, the DeLorean get fried by a bolt of it.
  • They Don't Make Them Like They Used To: This is absolutely Truth in Television: DeLoreans feature a fiberglass body overlaid with relatively thin sheet metal (which would sometimes crack during manufacturing). Some of the crash tests show an unbelievable amount of crumpling when hitting a solid wall (though of course, this is designed for the passengers' safety, which an old, solid — too solid, very rigid — car like Biff's would score badly on), so Doc is quite accurate with his observation.
    Marty: Let's land on him, we'll cripple his car.
    Doc: Marty, he's in a '46 Ford; we're in a DeLorean. He'd rip through us like we were tinfoil.
  • This Cannot Be!:
    • Heroic version. After being told that his father is in "Oak Park Cemetery" in 1985-A, Marty finds George's grave, and reacts with incredulity.
      Marty: ... No. No! This can't be happening! March 15, 1973?! No! Oh please God, no! No, please God! Please, God, no! This can't be happening! This can't be happening! This can't be...
      Doc: I'm afraid it is happening, Marty! All of it!
    • He does another one earlier when he reads a newspaper; he's in 1985 all right, but some things are drastically different.
  • Threw My Bike on the Roof: There's a scene in 1955 where Biff gets a hold of a ball belonging to a bunch of kids, and while listening to them plead to have it back, he mocks them and then throws it onto a second story balcony. The kids stand there, crestfallen, as Biff walks away while cackling to himself(!).
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: According to Word of God, after giving his younger self the Sports Almanac, Old Biff was erased from existence because Lorraine-A shot Biff-A at some point in the mid-1990s because he was such an awful husband.
  • Timeline-Altering MacGuffin: Gray's Sports Almanac, the former Trope Namer, allows Biff Tannen to become wealthy by placing bets on the outcomes of sporting events when his future self gave it to him in 1955. What makes it work is that the Ripple Effect ensures that the Almanac will recursively update to reflect the changes in outcomes as a result of his prior betting, meaning it'll always be accurate. He then uses the money to become a Corrupt Corporate Executive and ruin the lives of Marty (and everyone else in Hill Valley), forcing Marty and Doc to go back in time and stop it.
  • Time-Traveling Jerkass: 2015 Biff to a T. He takes Grey's Sports Almanac back to the 1950s and gives it to his past self along with the idea to get rich, which results in 1985-A, a dystopia where Biff murdered George and married Lorraine, who can't get away from him thanks to the power he has. When Marty tries to nab the almanac, he discovers that 2015 Biff also warned his past self about that possibility and he barely escapes with his life. Fortunately, Word of God claims he gets shot and killed by Lorraine in the '90s.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble:
    • After Marty realizes that he's responsible for Biff's actions:
      Doc: Well, it's all in the past.
      Marty: You mean the future.
      Doc: Whatever!
    • There's another one, in the middle of the movie:
      Doc: While we were in the future, Biff got the sports book, stole the time machine, went back in time and gave the book to himself at some point in the past.
  • Title Drop: The ending.
    1955 Doc: No! It can't be! I just sent you back to the future!
    Marty: No, I know. You did send me back to the future, but I'm back — I'm back from the future.
    1955 Doc: Great... Scott! [he faints]
  • To Be Continued: Audiences were upset they actually showed scenes from Part III. It was deliberately Invoked by Zemeckis and Universal to assure audiences that the last chapter would be finished in a matter of months, not years.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • 1985-A Strickland. Living in a crapsack world infested with trigger-happy gangs doesn't help.
    • From Griff's perspective, Marty Jr, even though it's actually Marty pretending to be him. He even lampshades that suddenly Marty Jr Grew a Spine (not that it helps Marty).
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The preview for Part III includes a shot showing Marty, in cowboy gear, making out with Jennifer on her porch, spoiling Marty's successful return to 1985 at the end of the film.
  • Trophy Wife: 1985-A Lorraine has been coerced into becoming Biff Tannen's trophy wife, complete with unwanted breast augmentation.
  • Trumplica: Word of God says the 1985-A Biff was inspired by Donald Trump. The portrait from Biff's office is even based on an actual Trump portrait.
  • Trust Password: 2015 Biff gets 1955 Biff to trust him and take the Sports Almanac by demonstrating knowledge only Biff would have, such as how to start his car.
  • Two Decades Behind: Invoked and parodied with Gale/Zemeckis' "user-friendly" 2015 A.D. The fashions of the era reflect the '80s at their pastel, animal print and peroxide worst. Kids still wear acid-washed jeans (albeit with the pockets inside-out) and souped-up versions of Marty's vest and Nikes. The biggest offender might have to be Marlene Mcfly, who would fit right in with Saved by the Bell with no alterations whatsoever.
    Michael K.: I wonder what drugs BTTF P2 predicted we'd be doing in 2015, because Marlene McFly is on some new shit.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting:
    • Invoked: a major hurdle in Doc and Marty's plan to steal the Almanac from Biff in 1955 is that these events take place at the same time as Marty's first trip to 1955. As such, not only do Doc and Marty have to make sure that they don't cross paths with themselves, but also make sure that Part 1!Marty makes it out of the dance in time to get to the Clocktower.
    • This gets exploited at one point: after realizing that Biff still has the Almanac, Marty takes advantage of a brief window of opportunity to nab it from him after George laid him out.
    • It occurs in reverse as well: after Biff provokes Marty after triggering his Berserk Button, Marty proceeds to approach him... only for Part 1-Marty to come barreling out of some doors, knocking him to the ground in the process and causing Biff to steal the Almanac back.
    • And, of course, the most pertinent one: right as Marty and Doc succeed in destroying the Almanac, the lightning storm starts to pick up, and the DeLorean gets struck.
  • Tyrannical Town Tycoon: Biff becomes this in 1985-A thanks to the Gray's Sports Almanac, using his business to rule Hill Valley and shape it into a Vice City.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Michael J. Fox plays all of Marty's future family, including his daughter. Although Marty Jr's resemblance to his father is a plot point.
  • Unexpected Kindness: Reeling from Doc's sudden disappearance in a thunderstorm, Marty is suddenly approached by a large, intimidating man in a black coat who menacingly says he has something for him... a letter. Turns out the man is a courier from Western Union and quite friendly, explaining to Marty that they've been waiting to deliver the letter to him since 1885 (it was written by Doc, now trapped in the past).
  • Unfazed Everyman:
    • Red the bum. 1985-A hasn't changed him, or his lot in life, one bit.
    • Strickland may count (more like Unfazed Nutball), as he is the same hard-ass disciplinarian he ever was.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan: Doc did not intend for Marty to cause Griff and his gang to destroy the entrance to the Courthouse Mall in 2015, but they get arrested for it before they can cause Marty Jr to get in trouble. So, mission accomplished, but not in the way Doc had in mind.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: A weird case; the Cafe 80's scene (remember that this movie was made in 1989), invokes this trope directly. The result was rather bizarre at the time, and still is. This is probably intentional, as Doc referred to it as "one of those nostalgia places that's not done very well."
  • Unreliable Expositor: When 1985-A Biff recounts receiving the Almanac, he describes himself as being cooperative and interested throughout. When the encounter is later shown, 1955 Biff is actually complaining and dismissive of the book until Old Biff demonstrates its worth.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: 1955 Biff does not seem surprised (angry, yes, but not surprised) when "Calvin Klein" tries to steal his sports almanac on a freakin' flying hoverboard!
  • The Un-Reveal: Did Needles set Marty up in 2015? We'll never know. His mischievous smirk before he hangs up implies it, though, as if he's telling the Jits, "You're on."
  • Unstoppable Mailman: The Western Union man at the end manages to arrive at exactly the time he was told to. Justified in that he and other mail carriers were holding bets on whether or not Marty would be there.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In 2015, Terry (the old man collecting money to save the clocktower) makes an offhand comment to Marty about using knowledge from the future to bet on sports games. The end result is the Biff-horrific 1985 that Marty and Doc go to. When Doc and Marty travel to 1955, we see that Terry was actually the mechanic who fixed Biff's car after it got wrecked in the first film, which retroactively make him this trope for that film, too, as Biff's anger about how expensive the repairs were drives him to hunt down Marty and then trying to assault Lorraine.
  • Vice City: 1985-A. Marty's old neighborhood is now a ghetto overrun by wild dog packs(!). Courthouse Square has been replaced with a cluster of strip clubs, casinos, bikers, and roving six-wheeled army vehicles (suggesting a police state which is answerable only to Biffco). These scenes were reportedly the hardest to shoot due to filming near factories (which stank) and motorcycles (which also stank); the whole sequence reminded the filmmakers of Hell.
  • Video Phone: The Future McFly household's video phone is connected to the television set. Personal information about the individual on the other end of the line is scrolled through on screen, including name, age, occupation, home address, spouse, children, and assorted hobbies and preferences. Video calling is also sponsored by AT&T. While such tech does exist today, it's provided courtesy of apps such as Discord.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Biff Tannen in 1985-A, if his museum video is to be believed.
  • Visual Pun: Look at Biff's hand in the Biff Tannen Pleasure Paradise logo. He's got money to burn.
  • Wham Line:
    • Marty, after seeing how Biff-A treats Lorraine-A in 1985-A, asks what happened to George. And, in retrospect, he probably shouldn't have:
      Lorraine-A: Marty! George— your father is in the same place he's been for the past 12 years... Oak Park Cemetery...
    • Gets even worse when Biff-A, while threatening Marty with a gun, has this exchange on the roof:
      Marty: What about the police, Biff? They're going to match up the bullet with that gun.
      Biff-A: Kid, I own the police! Besides, they couldn't match up the bullet that killed your old man.
      Marty: You son of a...
      Biff-A: I suppose it's poetic justice: two McFlys with the same gun.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The film explains what happened to Biff's goons during the first film.
  • Which Me?: A few times, given that Michael J. Fox is playing our Marty, 2015 Marty, Marty Jr., Marlene, and his past 1955 self. Meanwhile, Thomas F. Wilson is playing 2015 Biff, Griff Tannen, 1985 Biff, 1985-A Biff and 1955 Biff.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Biff-A is really abusive, not just to Lorraine, but also to his own stepchildren, Marty among them. Lorraine's line "They must have hit you over the head hard this time..." after Biff's tirade implies that Marty-A gets physically abused often; Biff loves to give Dope Slaps, so it's not out of character for Biff. What's more, he makes it a point to coerce Lorraine to get with the program by threatning to send her children to jail for debt. Not to mention that Biff-A has no qualms about shooting Marty once he reveals he knows about the sports almanac.
  • With Friends Like These...: Needles isn't a bully in the sense that the other McFlys faced, but he does antagonize Marty in his own (ahem) needling way.
  • Women's Mysteries: Doc mentions this while musing that he won't get to visit The Wild West.
    Doc: Better that I devote myself to study the other great mystery of the universe - women...
  • Worst News Judgment Ever:
    • The front page of the USA Today on October 22, 2015 is the news of Marty Jr being arrested for robbing a payroll station.
    • In 1985-A, Doc holds up a newspaper where the front page story is about how he was proclaimed insane and committed in 1983-A. While he is a strange, prominent figure in the town, it doesn't really merit the front page.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Biff-A crows to Marty about murdering his father (with the same gun he currently has trained on Marty, no less) and getting away with it.
  • Write Back to the Future: Doc's letter from 1885 to 1955, informing Marty of his current situation, and the location of the DeLorean.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Biff to Marty, after awakening from being knocked out by George.
    Biff: You!
    [Marty punches Biff again, and takes the Almanac]
    Marty: He's fine!
  • You Just Had to Say It: Just after Marty warns Doc not to get struck by lightning at the end of the movie, he does.
  • You Killed My Father: Biff-A murdered George-A.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Marty finally gets the Gray's Sports Almanac from Strickland which got confiscated from Biff... only to find out that he only has the dust jacket and it contains Biff's sexual magazine Oh Là Là! The actual almanac is still in Biff's grasp.
  • Zeerust: Done on purpose; the filmmakers didn't want to try to accurately predict the future, so they just combined Jetsons-esque devices with some obvious jokes. (The McFlys have a fax machine in every room of their house, which apparently all print the same message at once. note ) It's more notable to list their predictions that actually came pretty close.
    • Things like 16:9 flat-screen TVs with the ability to watch multiple shows at once don't sound too crazy in a world with Google TV. Hell, think about Marty Jr. watching about eight shows at once, then ask yourself: how many tabs do you have open in your browser right now? (Of course, they completely missed the internet, but so did nearly everyone.)
    • The film shows machines that respond to voice commands, not at all implausible now that we have Siri, Alexa, the Google Assistant, and others.
    • And the thing of a video-phone being integrated into those 16:9 flat-panel TVs? Smart TVs as early as 2012 were being touted as supporting Skype video-calls when equipped with an attachable USB camera/mic combo (sold separately, of course)
    • The Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016. The movie was off by a year.
    • The idea of a robot dog-walker (like Marty sees in Hilldale) doesn't seem so farfetched, given the growth of the personal robot market in recent years. The flying thing's unlikely, though.
    • Jennifer enters her future self's home by placing her finger on the fingerprint lock of the entrance door. While this kind of technology is still not usual domestically (due to being expansive, at least compared to traditional locks), fingerprint locks are a reality even before 2015. Many smartphones now have NFC technology that allows one to make credit card payments without a physical card. Fortunately, the MO of the "Thumb Bandits" is impossible; in reality, the thumbs (and other fingers) used must still be attached to living bodies.
    • College Humor did a parody of what Part II's 2015 sequence would be like if 2015 as it's turned out for real was used.
    • The October 21, 2015 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! had Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox playing Doc and Marty arriving in the actual 2015 and being disappointed with it.
    • USA Today published a "Hill Valley Edition" on October 22, 2015, reporting on the arrest of Marty McFly Jr. The last story on the front page bears the headline, "Public More Gullible Than Ever", and uses Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics to detail an experiment from the Sam Houston Institute of Technology apparently revealing how easily readers might mistake the paper's stories for actual events.

1955 Doc Brown: Great... Scott! (faints)
Marty: Doc! Doc. Doc. Oh, fantastic...


Video Example(s):


Griff Goe's to Jail

Doc did not intend for Marty to cause Griff and his gang to destroy the entrance to the Courthouse Mall in 2015, but they get arrested for it before they can cause Marty Jr to get in trouble. So, mission accomplished, but not in the way Doc had in mind.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnintentionalBackupPlan

Media sources: