Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / Back to the Future

Go To

Works in this franchise with their own pages:


    open/close all folders 

    Series-Wide 
  • The Alleged Car: Given the real Delorean's anemic engine and heavy weight, owners of the car have half-jokingly suggested the most unbelievable thing in the series is that a Delorean could attain 88 miles an hour.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: From the last comics. Every outgoing U.S. president has fans who wish that pesky 22nd Amendment didn't stop him from running after only two terms, up to and including members of Congress sincerely suggesting that maybe that term limit rule is unnecessary. It might be prudent to pass a rule that anyone considering repealing the 22nd Amendment should read Biff to the Future...
  • Anvilicious: The "Don't let your pride get the best of you" aesop is drilled into your head in Parts II and III through the character's dialogue.
  • Better on DVD: Parts II and III make greater sense when watched back-to-back, as you'll see signs of Foreshadowing and other details between the two parts. For instance, as Doc and Marty discuss their plan at the train station, you'll see that Clara Clayton was standing in the background waiting for someone to pick her up.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Goldie Wilson —Only appearing in the first film— is a fan favorite for encouraging young George to stand up to Biff and his gang and being the first black mayor of Hill Valley.
    • "CPR Guy" aka "Wallet Guy" from Part II. And for a short time in the fandom, the scarecrow that Marty runs over in Part I.
    • Red the bum, who calls Marty a "crazy drunk driver" upon his return to 1985 in Part I, and a "crazy drunk pedestrian" in 1985-A in Part II.
    • Strickland only appears in a handful of scenes in the first two movies, but he proves to be one of the more memorable characters.
  • First Installment Wins: The first is iconic. The second and third are good, but definitely not remembered like number one.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg's first concept for the time machine was not a DeLorean. Originally, the idea was that it would be a highly-scientific laser array that sent Marty back to the past. To get him back to the future, Doc Brown originally was going to put him in a refrigerator during an A-Bomb test. Spielberg vetoed the concept back then out of fear that kids would climb into abandoned refrigerators and become trapped, not to mention it was incredibly expensive. A couple of decades later, however...
    • Also, Marty helps his parents realize their love for each other and get together while they were still teenagers, while they have no idea who he is, which leads to them naming him after himself. This wouldn't be the last time this happened. Timey-Wimey Ball indeed.
  • Love to Hate: Biff Tannen is a massive bully and complete jerk, but he's so hilariously dumb that he ends up extremely entertaining because of it.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The little "twinkle" musical cue that plays at various points throughout the trilogy, most notably at the very beginning of parts 2 and 3.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Flea as Needles in the sequels.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • The infamously awful games released for the NES and Genesis. The first one, which has its own page, was a tedious Point A to Point B walking game minus four levels that involved goals, the last of which only gave you one chance to beat it. The second one that combined Part II and III, released the next year, quickly became one of the most infamous pieces of programming on the NES, with an incredibly confusing platforming mechanic which involved retrieving items; the fastest speed-run of this game still took at least an hour, and there's no save feature. The Genesis game was done by Acclaim, and only had four levels, but this led to the programming choice of making it Nintendo Hard to an insane degree. All three games were ripped apart by The Angry Video Game Nerd in 2010.
    • The LEGO Dimensions Back to the Future Level Pack's Story Mode has received complaints of It's Short, So It Sucks!, consisting only of four areasnote  that take 30 minutes to run through. Mitigated by the automatic addition of Marty McFly (who can use his guitar to break open certain boxes and doors with SONAR waves), the DeLorean, and the Hoverboard to the player's party, and the ability to freely explore Hill Valley's town square in 1985, 2015, and 1885.note 
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • The 1985 scenes, by being so current at the time of filming, fall headlong into this. Justified, in that the differences in eras wouldn't be nearly as significant if they'd been downplayed.
    • The DeLorean itself wound up being a huge flop (the DeLorean Motor Company went bankrupt three years before the first film was released), and is now remembered solely because of this franchise. note 
  • Vindicated by History: The sheer number of jokes about the approach and arrival of the year 2015 (and subsequently, the realization that the entire franchise is now set in the past) has definitely increased the notability of Part II. This leaves Part III as the only one that isn't really iconic.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
    • Remember the joy of watching these films when you were a kid? Remember the scene where the second lead is gunned down by Libyan terrorists? They sure don't make 'em like they used to. On the other hand, when Marty found himself in 1955, he made it a point to try and save Doc from his future fate... and succeeds; it was more of an extremely delayed Disney Death. There's also Marty's plan to get George and Lorraine together at the dance involving him faking a rape attempt on his own mother, which was then broken up by a real rape attempt from Biff. And the fact that George was peeping at Lorraine with a set of binoculars when her father ran over him with his car. Don't even get us started on the Parental Incest Lorraine gives to her future son Marty. It is generally believed that the movie most definitely would've received a PG-13 rating had it been released today, much like another Zemeckis film that came out later in the decade.
      "If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you're gonna see some serious shit!"
    • The first sequel isn't much better, starting with a Groin Attack on Marty Junior. Of course, the cherry on top is the alternate 1985 where Biff is a Corrupt Corporate Executive who murdered George in cold blood, forced Lorraine into marriage and breast implants, sits in a jacuzzi with naked women, and has turned Hill Valley into a hellhole.
    • Part III has Buford hanging Marty, threatening Clara with rape, and attempting a slow death by bullet on Doc. Plus there's Doc's (implied) one night stand with Clara.
    • Amusingly, this trope was why Disney turned down the first film, as they thought it was too raunchy (primarily the subplot with Lorraine being infatuated with Marty), whereas many other studios thought it wasn't raunchy enough (this was the era of teen sex comedies like Porky's and Revenge of the Nerds).
  • The Woobie:
    • George McFly, before he Took a Level in Badass. The poor guy has been getting pushed around by Biff his whole life. He's always unsure of himself and ready to give up his ambitions because he can't stand even the thought of rejection.
    • In the comics, Marty, due to a serious dose of Surprisingly Realistic Outcome after the films. He sinks into a depression when his time-traveling days appear to be over, and his unfamiliarity with his life in the current timeline due to Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory eventually results in a full-blown existential crisis. He's verging on Death Seeker territory before he snaps out of it.
    • Clara Clayton, perhaps more so in the original timeline. In her backstory from the comics, Clara is raised in New Jersey with a passion for the sciences, thanks to her entomologist father and the works of Jules Verne. But her interests are shunned by the social norms of the time, and she even notes how domestic life has negatively affected her once-spitfire mother. Both of her parents have passed away by 1885, so with no other ties keeping her in New Jersey, she heads west to Hill Valley in search of a better life through educating children — only to die in a freak buckboard accident and spend a century as a punchline amongst Hill Valley's schoolchildren.
      • It's also terrible for Clara in the timeline with Doc (but no Marty) present. Clara meets and falls in love with a man who shares her interests and doesn't judge her for hers, only to watch him get shot and die a prolonged, agonizing death at the hands of a cruel, boorish outlaw. It's very telling how her fate in this timeline is left as an intentional Shrug of God.
Advertisement:

    Part I 
  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: The Libyans. (With a bit of Ripped from the Headlines - Gaddafi was trying to acquire a nuclear weapon at the time.) Notably, the Libyans are not mentioned in the sequels (which were made a few years later) and the musical adaptation omits them entirely, forcing a re-write of the jeopardy that sends Marty back to 1955.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: How genuine was Biff's nicer personality after Marty meddled with the past? Did he really become a better person after George stood up to him, or was he merely sucking up to George out of fear and respect? While he seemed truly excited when George's book got published and made sure that Marty's truck was ready for him to take Jennifer to the lake, a few scenes from the sequels suggest that he never fully outgrew his old ways.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail:
    • The film was passed on by practically all the major studios for not having raunchy enough humor note , while Disney passed it on for being too raunchy by their standards note . It was only after the box office success of Romancing the Stone that Amblin Entertainment started expressing hope in Robert Zemeckis' and Bob Gale's science fiction comedy...which would later become the highest-grossing movie of its year.
    • One executive, in particular, was quoted by the film's producers as saying "Time travel movies don't work. They just don't work."
  • Angst? What Angst?: Marty's mother pretty much shrugs off her Attempted Rape, and the fact that the man who attempted to rape her is working for the family thirty years later doesn't seem to cause her any noticeable distress. It is also true however that Lorraine's adult self gets barely a few minutes of screen time and, as noted, thirty years have passed. Plenty of time for a reconciliation (which there are many cases of in real life), especially with this far more timid version of Biff.
  • Award Snub:
    • One of the most critically acclaimed films of 1985 (according to Rotten Tomatoes, has a bigger average rating and percentage than any of the Best Picture Academy Award nominees of that year), and while it did get a Best Original Screenplay nom, it didn't get a Best Picture nom.
    • While "The Power of Love" was nominated for Best Song, Alan Silvestri's iconic score wasn't nominated for Best Original Score.
  • Covered Up: Many younger people are first exposed to "Johnny B. Goode" and "Earth Angel" through this movie, unaware of the originals.
  • Ending Fatigue: While not wearing out its welcome, the film looks like it's going to end about twice before it actually does. Doc drops Marty off at his house before heading off to the future. Is it the end? Cut to Marty waking up the next morning. Marty is reunited with Jennifer. Is it the end? Doc suddenly returns to bring Marty along on another adventure with Jennifer accompanying them. It is there that the film finally ends.
  • Fan-Preferred Cut Content: It's a small moment overall, but most fans find the extended version of the scene where a cop inquires if Doc has a permit for his "weather experiment" to be hysterical and wish it hadn't been trimmed down.
  • Fourth Wall Myopia: Various internet lists detail "plot holes" such as George McFly not getting suspicious of his son Marty looking just like the Marty he met back in 1955 and/or recognizing the names of the planet "Vulcan" or "Darth Vader" from Star Trek and Star Wars that came out years later.
    • For the resemblance to Marty from 1955, people should keep in mind that his son ends up looking like 1955 Marty exactly 30 years later, long after he would have remembered the exact facial details of someone he had met for a few hours over the course of a week when he was in high school. While the audience is exposed to only the characters shown on screen in the film, it's quite likely that George has met and/or seen thousands and thousands of people since he was in high school. Finally, while Michael J. Fox and Crispin Glover look nothing alike (because ACTORS), presumably there are some shared facial features visible to the characters that leaves little doubt that Marty looks like his father. In addition, the third film shows that shows that George's great-grandfather and grandfather also looked like Marty, and given that he probably would have seen pictures of them, plus his grandfather would likely have still been alive into George's adulthood, he would more likely notice Marty resembling them than he would "Calvin Klein".
    • For the science fiction references, fans tend to forget that while they clearly hear names they are already familiar with, George has just been woken up from a deep sleep (doesn't wake up from a guy putting head phones on him) with screamingly loud music being blasted into his ear drums, and in his state of being partially awake and filled with terror hears an "alien" mention a couple of names he's never heard before. It's not like Marty repeated himself or allowed him to take notes, so, while he is shown remembering the names the following day, likely because it's fresh on his mind, he would be unlikely to recognize those names a week later, much less one or two decades later.
  • Genius Bonus: Biff's goons are very intimidated by the Starlighters, saying "We don't want to mess with no reefer addicts." To many viewers, knowing that marijuana does not cause violent behavior, this may make them seem like cowards. Those familiar with the time period, though, will know that it was the era of Reefer Madness and the goons had just bought into the propaganda. May double as a Parental Bonus.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • At the start of the movie, a newspaper clipping is visible indicating that Doc Brown's mansion from the 50s burned down and he wound up selling the land to developers. In 2008, Christopher Lloyd's home in California, which he was selling at the time, burned down in the Tea Fire.
    • Huey Lewis' cameo as the band judge, complaining about Marty's band being "just too loud" can be a tad winceworthy now as Huey Lewis announced he has developed hearing loss.
    • Before he was going to travel 25 years into the future by himself, Doc mentions that he'd get to find out who'd win the next 25 World Series. Then in Part II, we see the horrific results of someone using future sports knowledge, as Biff becomes a Corrupt Corporate Executive who turns Hill Valley into a nightmarish Dystopia. Plus, going ahead 25 years would put him smack in the middle of the US recession...which was preceded by another...and will be followed by another one and a pandemic. Not exactly a time to visit to give you optimism for the future.
    • The use of Middle Eastern terrorists as non-serious, throwaway villains in a family movie. Doesn't seem so innocent now, does it?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Who's on First? scene in the café. Given that Pepsi Free was rebranded "Caffeine-Free Pepsi" just two years after the film came out, and Tab dwindled in popularity before being discontinued in 2020, it's entirely possible for modern viewers to not realise those were actual drinks in 1985 and end up just as confused as the vendor!
    • Biff, frequently calling Marty "Butthead", as Jason Hervey is in the movie playing one of Lorraine's younger brothers, and will later use that nickname pretty frequently himself.
    • In the "Making Of" documentary, Michael J. Fox expresses interest in travelling back in time to become a cowboy. Then, in Part III, he really does. He even lampshades this in the behind-the-scenes special for Part III.
    • Doc says his DeLorean is electrically powered (albeit referring to the the time circuits; the car itself runs on gasoline). Fast forward to October 2011 when the DeLorean Motor Company announces the DMCEV which actually is electrically powered. It runs on batteries instead of a 1.21GW nuclear reactor, though.
    • The shopping mall in pre-time travel 1985 is named the Twin Pines Mall.
    • One movie BTTF beat at the box office was Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider. In Back to the Future Part III, the 1885 Hill Valley was shot at the same location used for Pale Rider and has Marty use the alias "Clint Eastwood".
    • Originally, Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty, while Jeff Goldblum was considered for the role of Doc Brown in the first film. In the following year, Goldblum had an iconic eccentric scientist role of his own named Seth Brundle in The Fly, which spawned a sequel The Fly II which starred Stoltz as Seth's son Martin Brundle.
    • In the film, Doc Brown saw a copy of Playboy from the future. In October 1985, one of the people in that month's issue was John DeLorean.
    • In the first draft of the script, the time machine was a refrigerator and needed to go to a nuclear test site, but Steven Spielberg had this changed because he didn't want kids mimicking the scene and it was too expensive to film. Fast forward to Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and a certain infamous scene involving a refrigerator.
    • Doc's initial dismissal of Marty's family photo as a fake has become all the more relevant with the ubiquity of Photoshop.
    • "What the hell is a jiggawatt?!" is oddly appropriate now that the hard-g pronunciation has cemented itself as the preferred pronunciation.
    • In one scene, Marty tries to convince George to invite Lorraine to the school dance by pretending to be an alien named Darth Vader. In the French dub, Marty is voiced by Luq Hamet, who later on became the voice of Dark Helmet in Spaceballs. Furthermore, Christopher Lloyd was cast in season three of The Mandalorian.
    • The dialogue between Doc and Marty, especially towards the end of the film, can include Doc Brown repeatedly saying the latter's name. This may remind one of a certain parody franchise.
    • The name of Marty’s band at the beginning? The Pinheads.
  • Hollywood Homely: Marty's older sister Linda in the original 1985. Though not a model by any means, she's relatively cute and certainly not somebody you'd expect to have too much trouble finding a boyfriend.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Dixon steals Lorraine from George at the dance and George starts to walk away. Unfortunately for Marty, this causes him to start fading out of existence. Luckily, George returns, shoves Dixon to the floor and kisses Lorraine, ensuring the timeline is fixed and also ensuring the existence of Dave, Linda and Marty.
    • Marty tries to send himself back to the future early enough to warn Doc he will be shot by the Libyans. When he gets there, the DeLorean stalls on him and he has to make the journey to the mall on foot. He gets there moments too late and Doc is shot and seemingly killed again. But, as it turns out, Doc came prepared by wearing a bullet-proof vest, having taped Marty's letter back together.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "If My Calculations Are Correct, when this baby hits 88 miles-per-hour, you're gonna see some serious shit."Explanation 
    • ONE POINT TWENTY-ONE GIGAWATTS!?Explanation 
      • What the hell's a gigawatt?!Explanation 
    • November 12, 1955. NEVER FORGET.Explanation 
    • "It's your cousin Marvin Berry!"Explanation 
    • "Great Scott!"Explanation 
      • Become "Nom de Zeus!" (literally "Zeus' name" but more akin to "Zeus dammit") in the French version.
    • "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."Explanation 
    • "Oh my God! They found me. I don't know how, but they found me. Run for it, Marty!!!"Explanation 
    • "I guess you guys aren't ready for that, but your kids are gonna love it."Explanation 
    • "Hey, I've seen this one!"Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
  • Narm Charm:
    • Marty almost fading has some bad green-screening, but it's still tense and terrifying to see him almost fade out of existence.
    • Marty's Big "NO!" when Doc gets shot by the Libyans. It's very over-the-top, but just imagine seeing your best friend killed in cold blood, twice, and not being able to do a damn thing about it in either case.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: This movie's initial teaser, whilst admittedly frigging awesome, gives entirely the wrong impression of the film. Marty is shown in complete control of the machine, deliberately setting it to go back in time, and far more self-assured and cool than he is in the film, more like Fox's Family Ties character Alex Keaton.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Match, one of Biff's goons, is played by Billy Zane.
  • Sacred Cow:
    • Regardless of people's opinions of the later movies, the first is widely regarded as one of the best time travel movies of all time.
    • Turns out, the image of the future Part II portrays stuck around in everyone's minds. The real-life 10/21/2015 ended up being something of a celebration of the series and The Future.
  • Signature Scene: Marty's rendition of Johnny B. Goode.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The Bobs were never thrilled with the effect used to show Marty's hand fading from existence; upon closer examination, rather than the entire hand fading away, it instead appears that a hole is appearing in it.
    • The green-screen shots of the flame trails not burning Doc and Marty are pretty obvious nowadays.
  • Spoiled by the Format: There are two sequels, and Christopher Lloyd is on the cover of both of them. Gee, I wonder if Doc is going to stay dead.
  • Squick: Behind the scenes: the idea that every studio except Fox and Disney thought that this film, which features a boy's mother falling in love with her son, was not risque enough.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Barely, since it relies on a coincidence Strickland couldn't have known about. He might be something of a jerkass to Marty at the beginning of the film when claiming he's a slacker who'll never amount to anything, but he is right that Doc Brown is dangerous, in a way - given he's not only willing to perform risky and highly illegal time travel experiments powered by stolen plutonium, but to rip off terrorists for said plutonium who might be out for revenge, and to allow Marty to be dragged into the situation. Based on the future Marty we see in Part II, it could be argued that he was somewhat right about the first part, too. Furthermore, he does have a point in reprimanding Marty for being late four days in a row, since while Marty may have had an excuse on the current day due to Doc's clocks being set back, there's no indication that he has justifications for the other days.
  • Tear Dryer: Near the end of the film, Marty arrives too late at the parking mall to save Doc Brown after the latter's refusal to hear Marty warning him about his eventual fate back in 1955, and witnesses the terrorists shooting down his friend again. After the chase between the other Marty and the terrorists, he rushes to Doc's body, and breaks down in tears believing he lost him for good. But suddenly, the Doc blinks, slowly wakes up, Marty turns around and realizes he's still alive, the Doc then reveals that he's been wearing a bulletproof vest, and that he did read Marty's letter warning him about his death, having taped it back together.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: People who are too young to meaningfully remember either the Cold War or Gaddafi’s Libya will be bewildered as to why it is Libyans who are after Doc Brown.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • In the DVD Commentary, it's mentioned that some European audiences were put off by how the "improved" McFly family had become more materialistic, as exemplified by Marty getting the truck seen earlier in the film. According to Crispin Glover, he also disagreed with showing this materialism, arguing that this contradicted the message that The Power of Love made the McFly's lives better.
    • Also to modern audiences, the implication that Chuck Berry was inspired to write his most famous song by hearing a white kid play it (Most famous song in *modern times* as Berry was an established, popular musician with a history of hit records years before "Johnny B. Goode" was released). Although Marty only knew it because Chuck Berry played it because he still wrote the song in the timeline Marty came from, so it's really a situation of Chuck Berry influencing Marty influencing Chuck Berry influencing Marty influencing...
    • Despite an apparently anti-racist message in showing Goldie Wilson rise up from being treated as a lowly black laborer to eventually becoming mayor of the town (and impressively standing up for himself when his boss at the diner pooh-poohs the idea of a black mayor), his bug-eyed, exaggerated mannerisms look pretty cringey by today's standards. Similarly, we're meant to sympathize with the black musicians at the dance when a member of Biff's gang refers to one of them as a "spook," but ultimately the musicians are a mere plot device to help Marty.
    • The fact that the film, a mainstream, widely-popular and heavily beloved/referenced movie, involves incest not only as a major plot point, but Played for Laughs, could also count.
    • The fact that even after he tried to sexually assault Lorraine on the night of their first kiss, George apparently hires Biff to tend to his car thirty years onward; one would think George, Marty and especially Lorraine might take some issue with Biff being anywhere nearby after that harrowing encounter. Not to mention, George and Lorraine once saw Biff try to murder Calvin Klein with his car while he was still a high school student. Yet George and Lorraine regard him with a begrudged affection, almost like he's family.
    • Doc and Marty's plan to subject Lorraine to a staged Attempted Rape in general.
      • In a Deleted Scene, Marty is worried that the psychological fallout might turn him gay. This 1) implies that being gay is a bad thing, in the tradition of many other 80s movies; 2) completely disregards any potential trauma Lorraine might suffer from the encounter; and 3) is not how being gay works.
      • Things are slightly better in the final cut where it comes across less like Marty doesn't care about Lorraine's mental health and more like he didn't fully think the plan out. He wants to pretend to try hitting on Lorraine against her will so that George can come in and "rescue" her, but as soon as he parks the car and is alone with her, Marty realizes that he has to actually hit on his own mom, and can't bring himself to do it. There's also the fact that Lorraine reveals that she's not a completely innocent teenager and isn't afraid of sex, turning the whole scenario on its head. Plus, she had a huge crush on Marty, so any sexual advances he would've made on her would've been reciprocated by her, so it's odd that he thought she wouldn't want him before she actually kisses him and gets turned off, saying it feels like kissing her brother.
    • The fact that the Doc was willing to work with terrorists (albeit to rip them off) is treated relatively lightly by comparison to how it almost certainly would have been post-9/11 is jarring to a 21st-century audience. Whilst it comes with predictably brutal consequences (it gets better), demonstrating why exactly messing around with terrorists is a bad idea, Marty seems much more shocked that the time machine is nuclear-powered and the Doc had to (illegally) acquire plutonium to power it than the precise details of how.
    • The film also shows George being a peeping tom, when modern films would use that to mark a character as a creepy pervert.
  • Values Resonance:
    • Marty telling a young Lorraine that she shouldn't drink or smoke. While it came from Marty literally knowing that these things would contribute to making her a bitter alcoholic and nicotine addict later in life, it was definitely a forward thinking lesson to teach. This is in stark contrast to most teen movies from the 1980s which relished in their characters liberally doing drugs without thinking about the consequences.
    • Biff's bullying behaviour towards George and possessive tendencies towards Lorraine culminating in an attempted sexual assault are certainly bad enough by the standards of The '80s, but in The New '10s and The New '20s when toxic masculinity and harassment of women and young girls have become prominent social issues...
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: A non-romantic version. Many have wondered that why exactly would George let Biff, who bullied him and tried to rape his wife years earlier, so close to his house in the improved 1985.
  • Woolseyism: Biff's catchphrase of "How about you make like a tree and get out of here?" was changed in the French dub to "Tu fais comme dans l'infanterie, tu t'tires ailleurs" ("You do like in the infantry, you get lost"). "Tire ailleurs" is phonetically very close to "Tirailleur" (a skirmisher). Several French military units since the Napoleonic era, especially those drawn from the African colonies, have been called "Tirailleurs".

    The Animated Series 
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One episode has Marty go by alias of Jimmy Olsen, referencing how Marc McClure, who played Jimmy Olsen in the live action Superman movies, portrayed Marty's brother Dave. David Kaufman, who voices Marty, would later go on to voice Jimmy Olsen in several animated productions. Years after playing Marty, Kaufman voiced another Michael J. Fox character for a cartoon adaptation.
  • Nightmare Fuel: "Forward to the Past" seems bent on traumatizing kids. First, Jules and Verne mess around with a molecular redistributor. A hypothetical demonstration makes everything Art Shift into chalk drawings, and it's demonstrated by having Verne dismember Jules in cartoony fashion and being told to reassemble him. When the cast goes to 3 Million B.C., they encounter the meteor that killed the dinosaurs and have to get out before it kills them, too. Doc destroys it with his device, resulting in a future where dinosaurs rule the world and humans no longer exist, including Marty, Clara, and everyone they've ever met—and because of that, Doc, Jules, and Verne will dissipate into nonexistence in 12 minutes. They end up having to put the meteor back, at the cost of seeing all the dinosaurs die, including a friendly Pteranadon they befriended.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Clara, for some of her detractors.
  • Retroactive Recognition:

    The comic book 
  • Author's Saving Throw: The stories attempt to reconcile a few dangling plot threads from the movies.
    • "Emmett Brown Visits the Future" shows that the internet does exist in the BTTF universe's 2015 alongside all the Zeerust. It also shows how Doc uses time travel to grab some copies of Action Comics #1 in 1938 to sell for a multi-million dollar profit in 2015, in order to finance the Mr. Fusion and hover conversion upgrades for the DeLorean.
    • "Clara's Story" shows that Clara's interests in science and the future — stymied by the cultural norms of the 19th Century — are the reasons why Doc changes his mind about destroying the time machine.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Doc's steam trike time machine isn't far-fetched compared to other BTTF media, as the animated series episodes "Witchcraft" and "Gone Fishin'" showed that it's possible to successfully connect and use a small flux capacitor with something as simple as a remote control car, or a barrel going over a waterfall.
    • Similarly, the idea of a time travel suit — which Doc cobbles together from an old timey diving suit — was originally seen in blueprints for a "Timeman" time travel suit in the Ride's pre-ride queue.

    The Pinball Machine 

Top