Back to the Future

Question: When Marty arrives back from the past, but a bit earlier to try to save Doc's life he sees himself disappear into the past. So for a few minutes we have two Deloreans and two Martys. What happens to this Marty who obviously goes back to 1955? Is he going to relive the whole film?

Answer: Basically, yes. We never see the looping effect, but we have to assume that's what happens. The Bill and Ted argument of "time is always running" doesn't seem to apply in the BTTF films - the Marty who goes back to 1955 is about to do exactly what we've seen Marty do throughout the film.

Jon Sandys Premium member

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Question: What is the principal's problem? Why is he taking it out on a 17 year old?

Answer: Just look at him and you'll know. LOL Seriously though, he just has a problem with slackers and he has a short fuse so he acts this way around them. In 1955, he acted the same way towards George and Biff too.

Question: Given that the entire McFly family's circumstances have changed at the end of the movie due to Marty altering the past, shouldn't Marty's whole life have gone down a completely different path from childhood on? What are the odds that he even still knows Doc and Jennifer in the revised 1985 (let alone has the exact same date planned with Jennifer for the very same evening), given that everything else has changed?

Answer: The suggestion is given that he was the only "normal" person in the family and when he changed the past his parents and siblings became more "normal" people as well whilst he stayed as he was, despitegrowingup with different parents and siblings, since he was "normal" anyway. This totally ignores the linear timeline idea given during the entire movie, but it's obvious that was the idea.

lionhead

You're absolutely right about Marty being the only "normal" one in the family, but that doesn't ignore the linear timeline idea. There are two different Marty McFly's by the end of this movie. There's the one we follow, who grew up with unhappy parents, and then there's the other Marty McFly who grew up with cool parents. We see the 2nd Marty go back to 1955 when Marty gets back to the Twin Pines mall. The idea isn't to ignore the linear timeline idea, but rather to imply that unhappy parents or not Marty will still always be Marty.

BaconIsMyBFF

Except for the fact Marty kept being in danger of disappearing if his parents wouldn't get together. If his old self would disappear from his parents not getting together then so he should if his entire life is different and he would be a different Marty just like his siblings. Even if it's only memories rather than an entire personality.

lionhead

Answer: It's definitely a paradox. Marty actually goes back to the life of 2nd Marty, but if that's the case then original Marty should have still faded away since he created a new timeline when he gave George confidence. Original Marty shouldn't exist anymore at all, he should have faded completely away on the stage. I've said it before and I'll say it again: time travel movies are a mess.

BaconIsMyBFF

Question: Are we ever given any suggestion as to what offence Lorraine's brother was incarcerated for?

Answer: Not in any official, canon source. In the Back to the Future comic books published by IDW he is an aspiring member of Biff's gang and gets arrested breaking into the home of Doc Brown's mother in an attempt to steal a large sum of money. It must be reiterated that the comics are non-canon and this should be taken with a grain of salt.

BaconIsMyBFF

The comic books are so skewed from the movie events, they cannot be considered canon. "Jailbird Joey" was only a baby in a playpen when Biff and his gang were seniors in highschool. Unless Biff and his highschool buddies were still recruiting gang members into their mid-30s, there is no way Jailbird Joey would be trying to join their gang.

Charles Austin Miller

While the answer does state the comics aren't cannon, it's the only place that really delves into Uncle Joey's criminal history since the film's didn't need to spend time discussing the exact nature of his crimes. However, it would not be unreasonable (or even unheard of) for Biff to be recruiting members for his "gang" at 35. Plus, Joey wanting to be part of Biff's gang wouldn't necessarily require Biff or his high school buddies to be personally involved in recruiting young Joey.

Bishop73

Question: At the dinner table in 1955, Marty's grandfather is there. It has always appeared to me that there is something off about his appearance. He seems to appear as if he was not actually there, and that he was spliced into the footage from another movie. The lighting on his face, his style of hair, the quality so to speak of him, just seems off from everyone else. He almost seems like he is from a black and white movie, spliced in and colorized a bit Is it supposed to be that he was to look this way, or did they actually take this actor's scene from another movie and splice it in?

oldbaldyone

Answer: I just pulled up this scene on YouTube, and I think it is just the lighting. The shadow from his wife's head is casting onto his right shoulder in a realistic way, which suggests the actor was there for filming. It would also be impractical logistically and economically to insert him after the fact, because they could simply hire another actor for the part if he was unavailable.

Phaneron Premium member

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

Question: When Biff and his gang are first chasing Marty on the skateboard in 1955, Marty escapes by grabbing the tailgate of a passing pickup truck which tows him around the corner. The gang jumps into Biff's convertible to continue the pursuit, and Biff's convertible actually has a rear-end collision with the pickup truck, barely missing Marty. How is it that the truck driver doesn't even react to all this insane activity and the rear-end collision? Rather than stopping and demanding an explanation, the truck driver continues away from the scene without even slowing down.

Charles Austin Miller

Chosen answer: It's likely any answer would be speculation at best, so it's hard to say. We can start with the fact that Biff barely taps the guy's bumper. He's seen stopping when Marty moves out of the way, although not enough, but I would not call it a "collision." Second, the style of the truck's metal bumper would have absorbed the impact to the point the driver didn't feel anything. In terms of if he actually felt an impact, in an era where you can't just call 9-1-1 on your cell phone to get police help, the man probably thought it prudent not to confront a car full of crazy teenage boys who just wildly rammed him for no reason. And if he did pull over, Biff had already turned the corner and so the man in the truck would have been off camera, so perhaps he does get out and inspect the damage and even sees Biff hit the manure truck, after which we don't know what happened.

Bishop73

Question: In BTTF 1 when the family are around the dinner table, Marty is drinking Diet Pepsi, his mother is drinking vodka and his sister has some other soft drink. Who is drinking the Bud Light in front of these 3? It's too far away from his brother and George.

Answer: Considering that Lorraine was alcoholic, the beer was likely hers as well. It is what is known as a "beer chaser."

raywest Premium member

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

Answer: Marty is eating chocolate cake.

Question: What is the make and model of the car that belongs to the McFly family, that Biff wrecks and had towed to the McFly house at the beginning of the film - not the 1941 Ford that 1955 Biff owned.

Answer: The wrecked car towed back to the house was a '78 Nova.

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

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

Marty McFly: Calvin? Why do you keep calling me Calvin?
Lorraine Baines: Well, that is your name, isn't it? Calvin Klein? It's written all over your underwear.

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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