Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Back to the Future (1985)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Back to the Future (1985)

In director Robert Zemeckis' witty science fiction adventure comedy/fantasy film:

  • the scene of madly-eccentric, wild-eyed, crackpot scientist Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and his first testing of his time-travel car at Twin Pines Mall in the early morning of October 26, 1985
  • the frizzy-haired Doc's unveiling of his time machine invention to mid-1980s teen "Marty" Seamus McFly (Michael J. Fox), his silver DeLorean car, powered up to 1.21 gigawatts of electricity with plutonium - stolen from Libyan terrorists
  • after witnessing Doc's dog Einstein's short one-minute time-travel trip into the future ("temporal displacement") in the parking lot (at 88 mph), Doc's ecstatic reaction
  • the scene in the year 1955 in a diner when Marty witnessed loutish bully Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) and his gang harrassing his future father, nerdy George (Crispin Glover); later, Marty tripped Biff and punched him in the face in the diner - and then fled; he created a makeshift skateboard ("It's a board with wheels") - not yet invented - from a little boy's scooter and evaded the group chasing him on foot and in their car by hanging onto the back of a pickup truck; his actions had unintended consequences - his future mother, teenaged Lorraine (Lea Thompson), was falling in love with him ("He's an absolute dream")
  • the sequence of Marty still stuck in the year 1955, who played lead guitar and sang the 1950's rock 'n' roll song Johnny B. Goode [originally recorded by Chuck Berry in 1958] at his teenaged parents' 1955 "Enchantment Under the Sea" prom night dance when the lead musician was put out of commission; he was there to encourage a romance between them (otherwise he would cease to exist in the 1980s) - his future father and mother George and Lorraine; he became carried away during his performance, strutted 1980's heavy metal guitar riffs, strummed behind his head, skidded on the floor with his knees and knocked over an amplifier; at the end when he remembered belatedly that he was playing to a 1950s audience, he told the stunned, blankly-staring prom-goers: "I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it!"
  • the scene of "Doc" Brown dangling from the courthouse-town hall's tower in front of the clock face, when he attempted to reconnect the wires so that a bolt of electricity from a lightning strike would flow into the flux capacitor of the speedy DeLorean, to send Marty back to the future of 1985
Doc Dangling From Town's Clock Face
Doc's Workshop
(Film's Opening Sequence)
Courthouse Town Clock
Connecting the Electricity From the Lightning Strike to the Flux Capacitor

[Note: the sequence paid obvious homage to the similar scene in Harold Lloyd's Safety Last (1923). Many did not notice the foreshadowing of the scene, in the film's opening, during a panning view of Doc's Workshop, when there was a quick snapshot of a straw-hatted man holding onto the minute-hand of an AXIS clock-timepiece reading 7:53]

  • in the twist ending, "Doc" Brown suddenly returned to 1985 Hill Valley from the future year of 2015 in his silver DeLorean time machine vehicle, shouting: "Marty! You've gotta come back with me!...Back to the future!" Marty and girlfriend Jennifer Parker (Claudia Wells) got into the car, when "Doc" told them of his worries about their future children: "No, no, no, no, no, Marty. Both you and Jennifer turn out fine. It's your kids, Marty! Something has gotta be done about your kids!" As "Doc" squealed out of the driveway to take off, Marty noted: "Hey, Doc. We better back up. We don't have enough road to get up to 88." Doc smugly replied with a famous line: "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads!"; the DeLorean unexpectedly levitated into the air, then zoomed down the street, turned, and flew directly into the camera
The Classic Ending - to the Future (2015)
Doc: "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads!"
The Flying DeLorean

"Doc" Testing the Time-Travel DeLorean at Twin Pines Mall

In 1955: Biff Hassling George (Crispin Glover)

Marty's Skateboard Escape

Marty (from the mid-1980s) Playing Guitar at His Teenaged Parents' 1955 Prom


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