Back to the Future

Question: I've noticed that Eric Clapton's "Heaven is One Step Away" is on the movie soundtrack. Does it appear in the film, and if so, where?

Cubs Fan
1

Chosen answer: The song is playing on the Red's radio while he is lying on the bench outside the Courthouse when Marty arrives back in 1985.

1

Question: Just wondering out loud. Since Marty showed Doc the drawing of a flux capacitor in 1955, I think this would have caused some infinite loop in the universe. I'll explain it better. Wouldn't Marty have destroyed the universe because he showed Doc the time machine in 1955, meaning Doc wouldn't have had the machine tested out in 1985 because the design was already "completed" in 1955? Meaning Marty never would have gone back in time in the first place to show Doc the time machine, meaning that Doc would test it out in 1985. Meaning that Marty would have gone back to 1955 and showed Doc the time machine, meaning Doc wouldn't have tested it out in 1985, meaning Marty wouldn't have gone back in time and showed Doc the time machine, etc.

Answer: Jeez, take a deep breath already. Yes, as a result of Marty's jaunt back in time, Doc now knows more about the design of the time machine, but that doesn't mean that he has the capability to build it in 1955. He needs all sorts of high-tech equipment, plus, let's not forget, some plutonium from somewhere. Regardless of his additional knowledge of the systems, it may simply be impossible to build until 1985. You also have to consider that Doc's not stupid - he knows that he completes the time machine in 1985, starting the whole thing off. He's not going to risk a temporal disruption by completing it early.

Tailkinker Premium member
3

Question: Not sure if this is a mistake or if it is because of the movie's time travel rules, but when Marty goes to 1955, he's there for a whole week so when he comes back to 1985, why does his family and Jennifer never question where he's been for a whole week?

Answer: He arrives back to the same night he left, specifically he arrives ten minutes earlier so he can rescue Doc. As far as his family and Jennifer were concerned, he was never gone.

Phaneron Premium member
8

Question: What's the Van Halen song Marty plays to his dad when he tells George he's Darth Vader?

Answer: The song is called "Out the Window," not much longer than what you hear in BTTF. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmc6f2kCyLU.

3

Question: Shouldn't Doc have been severely electrocuted because he touched the lighting bolt when he connected the wires?

Answer: He probably got a good shock, but there have been recorded instances of people being struck by lighting and lived with little or no injuries.

Mark English
3

Question: Whats the name of the song that's playing on the radio while Marty is asleep, just before Doc calls him to pick up the camcorder and head to the mall?

Answer: "Time Bomb Town" by Lindsey Buckingham.

The_Iceman
2

Question: I'm really confused, and need help with this. I saw the second BTTF, so I saw the scene when Doc explains the two timelines and changing the future, but I'm still confused. If what Doc said was true, when Marty got hit by the car, he would have changed the future by preventing his parents from marrying. Therefore, there are now several timelines in the movie all going off at the same time. According to the movie, the first one is a timeline where Marty goes into the time machine back to 1955, and he has a loser for a father. There is also a timeline just like the first one, but George punched Biff, making him cool in the future. Another, alternate timeline is also present where Marty's parents haven't married, Marty doesn't exist, and none of the events from the first two timelines happen in this timeline. However, if this were true, all three timelines would have to be there, as Marty jumps from timeline to timeline in the movie and then in the end, watched himself do it again. First he would be in the regular timeline, then as he prevents his parents from meeting, he is in the other timeline. As he puts his parents back together and goes to 1985, he is now in the "cool father timeline". That is how I see the movie. Can somebody help shed some light on the subject for me?

Answer: To be honest, it sounds like you've got a reasonably good handle on the situation. Initially Marty's in a 1955 where his parents will marry after George is hit by the car, but his father will be the loser we see in Marty's original 1985. The moment that Marty gets hit by the car, the future is changed and he's now in a timeline where his parents will never get married and thus he will not be born. The timeline begins to slowly alter (time is shown to have a resistance to change in the series), giving Marty enough time to reengineer his parents' meeting before he's erased from existence as the new timeline exerts itself. The way he handles it creates a third timeline where his parents do get married and go on to be cool and thus when he returns to 1985 at the end of the first film, that's the timeline he's in. The other Marty that he sees there is one who grew up in that third timeline, with the cool parents, and thus may be a bit different, but who still met Doc at some point, rendezvoused with him at the mall and ultimately went back in time after encountering the terrorists, where he'll encounter the young loser version of his father and will have to turn him into the cool, confident man that he grew up with. In the second film, old Biff goes back in time and gives his younger self the sports almanac, which changes the timeline again, now creating a fourth timeline where George and Lorraine still marry and are cool, but George will subsequently be murdered by this timeline's rich and powerful version of Biff, leading to the 1985 we see in the middle section of the second film. When Marty and Doc go back to 1955 from there, they arrive in the same timeline, the one where Biff will go on to be rich and powerful. As a result of their actions there, stealing the almanac from young Biff and destroying it, they technically create a fifth timeline, one where events in 1955 played out slightly differently but which is otherwise effectively identical to the third timeline, where Marty's parents are cool and successful in the present day. It is quite a complicated situation, with several different timelines involved, and I have no idea how well I explained it, but hopefully that helped a little bit, at least.

Tailkinker Premium member
7

Question: At the end of the film when Marty sees Doc get shot at the mall the second time why is he crying when he runs over to check Doc? Couldn't he have just grabbed the plutonium that was sitting next to Doc's van, run back to the Delorean with it and travelled back much earlier to warn Doc?

Answer: Technically he could have done so, but that doesn't make it any less distressing to see his friend murdered.

4

Next to that he doesn't know how the DeLorean works, he doesn't know how to put the plutonium in (or doesn't want to risk using it wrongly, having only seen it loaded once) and he and Doc from 1955 have tampered with it to have it be powered by lightning so it probably wouldn't work properly anyway.

lionhead
5

Question: If Marty and his brother and sister are fading from the photograph because they are being erased from existence, wouldn't that mean that the moment when the photograph was taken would also be erased from existence? If so, why doesn't the photograph itself disappear instead of just the people in it?

dan coakley..

Chosen answer: The photo itself didn't disappear while the people were fading because the people in the photo were still in the picture. First, Marty's brother was erased, followed by Marty's sister, followed by Marty himself. Since, Marty's brother was erased, his sister and himself would have remained in the photo until they were erased. So really, the photo wouldn't have disappeared until all the people had been erased, since no-one would have been in the picture.

Casual Person
2

Question: What did the cafe server mean when he said to Marty "I can't give you a tab unless you buy something"? I know that Marty was referring to the Tab soda (which didn't exist then), but what was the other guy talking about?

Gavin Jackson

Chosen answer: A tab is the same as a bill. The server guy thinks Marty wants a bill for whatever he's ordered, although because Marty hasn't eaten or drunk anything yet, he can't give him one. Even though a bill for a restaurant meal can be referred to as a "tab", this term is more commonly used in bars. When someone "runs a tab," it means they pay the total cost as they're about to leave, rather than pay for each drink separately.

raywest Premium member
7

Question: In the bar scene, after Marty asks for a Pepsi Free, the barman tells him that "You want a Pepsi, pal, you're going to pay for it". I know there is a reason for it, but isn't it obvious that if Marty wants a Pepsi he must pay for it?

Isaac.BTTF

Chosen answer: The counterman had never heard of Pepsi Free as it didn't exist yet. He therefore assumed that Marty was asking for a Pepsi Cola free of charge. Also, Biff and his cronies frequent this bar. The counterman might have assumed that Marty was some snot nosed punk that thought he could bluff his way into free drinks.

Grumpy Scot
6

Question: What is the song called that Marty plays in the "Enchantment under the sea" dance?

Answer: "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, hence the bit where the lead singer Marvin Berry phones up his cousin Chuck during the song.

Tailkinker Premium member
6

Question: What happened to the original timeline to cause such a dramatic change in Marty's mom? In the original timeline, Marty's mom was 'born a nun' as Marty described her to Jennifer. But when Marty goes back to 1955, Lorraine is a drinking, smoking, parking with boys kind of girl. In the original timeline, what would have made it to where Lorraine thinks it's inappropriate for a girl to make advances on a boy? She seems to already be a boy chaser before Marty even gets there.

unicorngoddess

Chosen answer: Actually, nothing happened to the original timeline to change Marty's mom. It's Marty, like many children, who had a rather unrealistic view about what Lorraine was actually like when she was a teenager. He always believed (and was deliberately given the impression) that she was extremely shy and proper, when in fact, she was a boy-crazy flirt, though she apparently changed after falling in love with George. Parents are often evasive regarding their own youthful behavior.

raywest Premium member
5

Question: What is George's working status with Biff at the end of the film? George mentions in the beginning that Biff is his supervisor so I assume Biff is George's boss but at the end of the film it is implied that Biff seems to be working for George or is George still working for Biff, but Biff is no longer bullying George?

Answer: At the end of the film, Biff owns his own auto detailing company (probably a nod to the fact his car kept getting filled with manure and needed cleaning) and George is his customer. Although it seems Biff will still try to con people, but George stood up for himself to make sure Biff did the job correctly. Before the present changed, Biff was his supervisor that still bullied George into doing his work for him for an unspecified company.

Bishop73
4

Question: I was watching the documentary on the trilogy. What exactly does Robert Zemeckis mean by "the ending with them going to the future was a joke?" What exactly is so funny about Marty and Jennifer going to the future and helping out their future kids from getting into trouble?

Answer: The original film was not written with sequels in mind. The sequels were only created after the overwhelming box office success and popularity of the first film. The ending is a "joke" because of how much more absurd the story has become, and the fact the audience doesn't actually see the future. Of course the joke is ruined somewhat because sequels were eventually produced and we did actually see the future, Marty and Jennifer as older adults, and their kids. When viewed in the context of a stand-alone film (and in the four years audiences had to wait until the sequel was released) this ending was indeed quite funny at the time.

BaconIsMyBFF
4

Question: When Eric Stoltz was in this film, did he dye his hair black? It looks black in behind the scenes footage.

EK8829

Chosen answer: Eric Stoltz's hair was actually more red than Michael J. Fox's; but Stoltz's original "Marty" was overall a visually darker character with a 1980s punk-rock or teen-idol look, wearing a full-sleeved black jacket, black pants and black sneakers. His hair was also dyed black for the part. Director Robert Zemeckis decided, after his 5-week ordeal with the dark and humor-challenged Stoltz, that the Marty character needed to be brighter, more colorful, and a lot funnier. So, Marty's appearance was changed to a more casual teen look, with a faded Levi's jacket, sleeveless orange vest, bluejeans and white sneakers. Michael J. Fox's hair was darkened slightly for the role, but it was still a noticeably lighter color than Stoltz's.

Charles Austin Miller
4

Question: This shouldn't be bothering me as much as it is, but somewhere within the first twenty minutes of Back to the Future when Doc wakes Marty up by calling & ask him to pick up his camera, what does Marty begin to eat?

Answer: Marty eats a piece of chocolate - you can see on his nightstand a bar of chocolate with a chunk on top. It's this chunk he eats when Doc calls him about collecting the video camera and meeting him at Twin Pines Mall.

Heather Benton Premium member
4

Answer: Marty is eating chocolate cake.

Question: If Marty goes back to the future and sees a duplicate of himself go back to the past, would the duplicate see the Marty that had just got back to the future watch him (the duplicate that goes to the past), thus 3 Deloreans and infinitely more Deloreans as it continues...and so on and so forth, or is that the the universe rewriting his timeline to prevent this time loop of paradoxical events?

Craig Celestin

Chosen answer: There wouldn't be infinitely more Deloreans, as versions of Marty would keep having to leave in order to appear at a different point in the timeline to watch himself. There's no real limit on how many there could be at once though - at one point on November 12th 1955 there are four Deloreans in Hill Valley at the same time (brought there by Marty from the first film, Marty from the second film, Biff from the second film, and the one Doc buried from 1885). They're all the same car, just travelling from different points in time.

Jon Sandys Premium member
4

Question: At the end of the film Marty gets out of the DeLorean sees the bad guys and runs after, what ever happens to the DeLorean?

Answer: After he has "seen the bad guys", he discovers that Doc was wearing a bullet-proof vest, and that he had read Marty's letter from 1955. Both he and Doc then return to their homes, so presumably Doc picked up the DeLorean on his way or right after this, before going into the future.

Twotall
4

Question: What exactly did Biff do to George McFly's car? It is strongly suggested, but I couldn't understand what caused the accident.

Answer: He mentions spilling beer on his shirt so it's inferred that he was somewhat less than entirely sober, and he also refers to the car having a blind spot. Based on this, my assumption has always been that he was tipping his head back to take a drink from a can of beer, which means his eyes left the road, and he struck another vehicle; most likely at an intersection where the other driver had the right of way.

Phixius Premium member
4

Continuity mistake: When Biff and his goon friends are in Biff's car, as they chase Marty on his borrowed 'skateboard', the car's rearview mirror repeatedly disappears and reappears, and the side mirror changes from round to square repeatedly. (01:06:50)

Super Grover Premium member
More mistakes in Back to the Future

George McFly: Lou. Give me a milk... Chocolate.

More quotes from Back to the Future

Trivia: The farm where Marty arrives in 1955 belongs to a man called Peabody, and he calls his son Sherman; the names are a tribute to "Sherman and Mr. Peabody," two cartoon time travellers from a 1960s American TV show.

More trivia for Back to the Future

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