We've all thought about time travel. Whether we wish we could take a peek into the far-flung future or correct a silly mistake in our past, having the ability to jump back and forth in time would be useful to say the least. But what if we get stranded in a time we have no place being in? Even worse than being stuck there, the presence of a new individual could have all sorts of widespread, unfathomable consequences. If we're messing around in the future it's not such a big deal; when we do go back to the present everything we did should, theoretically, be undone. But the past? Now that's a dangerous path to walk. And putting a rowdy teenager behind the wheel of a time machine has the potential to make things even crazier.
Michael J. Fox was well into his twenties when he played Marty McFly, a rock and roll-loving teenager, in Robert Zemeckis' crazy time travel movie Back to the Future, but he nailed the part anyway. Thanks to the quirky science of his friend Doc Brown, Marty is unwittingly sent to the past in a time-traveling car and accidentally threatens his own existence when his future mother falls in love with him. With the help of the past version of Doc, Marty has to find a way back to the future whilst simultaneously helping his parents fall in love. Back to the Future was funny, dramatic, and wacky, and its iconic characters, premise, and time-traveling car allowed the movie to catapult its way into pop culture.
Do you remember the first Back to the Future film in great detail, from Doc's scientific babble down to the most minute character interactions? Prove it now, and go back...to Back to the Future!
In what year is the movie set?
This is the era of rock and roll, and Zemeckis is keen to remind viewers of that. Big hairstyles, loud music, and even louder fashion abound in Marty's time, and Marty himself is a good old rebellious teenager who likes his music at a volume so high it shatters eardrums and explodes speakers. Of course, there are still plenty of uncool folks who haven't gotten hip yet, but Marty embodies the essence of cool of his time and as such takes it back to the past with him.
What iconic car is used for the time machine?
If there's one thing that everybody remembers from Back to the Future, it's the car. The awesome, crazy, otherworldly-looking car. It's so weird, in fact, that it scares the living daylights out of a farmer and his entire family because the poor folks think it's an alien spaceship. Why use a car that's so out there? Well, as Doc himself says, "if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?" Why not indeed, Doc. Why not indeed.
What device enables time travel?
It looks like a flimsy bit of wiring, but this contraption is what makes time travel possible according to Doc Brown. Though it's installed behind the car's back seat in the present, Doc explains that he originally came up with the device several decades ago after he fell and his hit head in his bathroom, leaving him with a nasty bruise. That same night he made his first sketch of the device, and spent many years and most of his money trying to realize its potential.
What song plays during the opening scenes of the movie?
In the film's first few minutes, we see Marty fooling around at Doc's workshop before school and abusing his giant speaker to the point of no return. Shocked but impressed by the power of music, Marty revels in the coolness of rock until he gets a call from Doc. During their conversation, Marty realizes he's going to be late for school, grabs his stuff, and hightails it out of there. He uses his skateboard to hitch rides on numerous cars and almost makes it to school on time. Music takes a front seat in Back to the Future, and this first sequence sets that tone with a song written specifically for the movie.
What speed does the DeLorean need to reach to time travel?
Doc Brown's time machine is a complicated thing. It requires tons of power, the Flux Capacitor, and apparently it has to hit a certain speed before it can drive through time. It's never really clarified as to why the speed part is necessary. Maybe it's to generate enough force? Maybe it's a fail safe to prevent casual drivers from accidentally traveling a millennium into the future whilst cruising at high speeds on the highway? It's hard to say for sure, especially since we're talking about Doc Brown's brand of science.
What's Doc Brown's first name?
He may be weird, wacky, and maybe even crazy, but he knows a thing or two about science. Well, sometimes he does. Doc Brown is known for producing all kinds of strange inventions, most of which never pan out, but that doesn't stop him from inventing and ultimately realizing his lifelong dream of creating the Flux Capacitor and, in turn, the possibility of time travel. Doc's first name is only mentioned a handful of times throughout the film, such as when the DeLorean experiment is filmed.
Marty travels back in time to what date?
It takes the better part of a day for Marty to fully come to grips with the fact that he's in the past, but he soon realizes there's no denying it. The cars are rounder and ancient, fashion is far more modest and restrained, and everything just oozes a retro vibe. Throughout the film Marty keeps questioning whether the whole thing is an elaborate dream (and so the audience does, too), but in the end it's real, and his actions in the past have significant consequences when returns to the future.
What article of Marty's 1985 clothing stands out in 1955?
Marty is really out of place in 1955. He's out of sorts, and, understandably, has a hard time differentiating between the culture of the past and that of the present, leading to quite a few slip-ups. His clothing, though, is what's really eye-catching for the quiet folks of 1955 Hill Valley. Lorraine comments that she's never seen purple underwear before, and Marty gets a lot of weird looks when he's out in public, particularly because of one article of clothing he wears, which a lot of people make jokes about.
What's the name of Marty's girlfriend?
Marty's a pretty laid back guy and doesn't have the best track record with, well, responsibilities of any kind, so thank goodness his girlfriend is around to keep him in check. She's definitely not completely straight-laced herself, though; she loves Marty and his rebellious streak. She enjoys his music and even helps him sneak into school when he's late. Frustratingly, Marty doesn't appreciate her nearly as much as he should at the beginning of the movie, but by the end he realizes how lucky he is to have her.
What substance is used to power the DeLorean?
It turns out that time travel takes a lot of power. Like a ton. So much so that, as Doc Brown explains, a nuclear reaction is required to give the process a solid kick in the butt. So, Doc has to acquire some radioactive material. Since that's not exactly the most readily available (or legal) thing in the world, he's forced to deal with some shady people. Though there are likely a few things Doc could have used, he gets his hands on one particular substance.
What's the name of Marty's jailbird uncle?
The little, funny coincidences are what make time travel so much fun, and Zemeckis knew it. While in 1985, Marty and his family talk at dinner about Marty's uncle who yet again failed to get out of jail, meaning they have to eat his "welcome home" cake without him. When Marty meets his mom's family in 1955, his uncle is there as a little squirt, pictured here. Apparently his uncle really loves his playpen, prompting Marty to tell him that he better get used to the bars.
What's the name of Doc Brown's dog?
Even brilliant scientists like Doc Brown are subject to the charms of man's best friend. Doc's dog, who undoubtedly puts up with all kinds of shenanigans, seems like a really helpful, obedient, and cute little guy who loves Doc to a fault. Whether the love is entirely mutual is a little questionable, though, since Doc is all too happy to send his canine companion into the past to become the world's first time traveler. Let's just assume Doc tested the DeLorean a lot beforehand.
What town is featured in the movie?
Marty's hometown is a quaint little place in California. It features a high school, some fast food joints, a diner, a beautiful town square, and many other places. The town becomes even more quaint when Marty visits the 1955 version, which subtracts the newer urban developments and the larger brand stores and infuses it with a retro charm. Marty resents his hometown to some degree, particularly for its refusal to fully embrace the tenets of rock and roll, but it's where he grew up and it has a good deal of historical significance for his family.
Whose music does Marty use to torture George?
Marty has to go to great lengths to get George to ask Lorraine out, including a stint as "Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan." During his meeting with George in this persona, Marty uses intense rock music to torture him, threatening to melt his brain. George, clearly terrified by this prospect, is all too eager to meet up with Marty the next day and get ready to ask out his dream girl. Marty uses the music of a particular artist for his "torture", whose name is written on the tape.
What name does Lorraine call Marty?
After getting hit by a car and inadvertently taking his dad's place as his mom's object of affection, Marty wakes up in her room. He's sure his whole time travel experience was just a bad dream, until he realizes that the girl with him isn't quite the version of his mom he's used to. Having taken off Marty's pants for some strange reason, Lorraine sees Marty's underwear and assumes that it's his name written on them, prompting her to call him something different from everyone else.
What future mayor works at the diner in 1955?
Remember those funny coincidences I mentioned before? Zemeckis tosses the audience another one here, in the form of a young man working at the diner. After witnessing George being picked on by Biff and his gang, the young man drops his work for a minute to encourage George to stand up for himself. Marty and his future dad are both appreciative of the guy's tough love, and when Marty recognizes the guy's name, he remarks that he should run for mayor. Visibly delighted by the idea, the hardworking guy does just that.
What's the DeLorean's license plate number?
Though it's only glimpsed a few times throughout the movie, one of the DeLorean's most memorable features is its license plate, which boasts a particular phrase as its identification number. You might as well fully embrace the flair if you're using a DeLorean to travel through time, and that's exactly what Doc did. Sadly, the license plate is left behind spinning in place when the DeLorean surges into the past, so its witty impact cannot endure for the majority of the film.
What song plays when Marty first enters Hill Valley in 1955?
Remember how I mentioned that music is really important in Back to the Future? The soundtrack takes center stage again in this instance, when Marty first enters the town of Hill Valley proper in the past. Marty is out of place, out of time, and seemingly in a very strange world quite different from his own, and the song that plays during the sequence matches that feeling to a T. It's a dreamy little song for a happy little town, and yet everything feels off at the same time.
What's George doing right before Marty gets hit by a car?
When Marty meets his dad, George, in 1955, he realizes that his father to be needs a lot of help, maybe even a full-on intervention. George has a lot of trouble standing up for himself to the likes of Biff and his goons, he lacks self-confidence, and he avoids confrontation like the plague. When Marty first follows George around, he discovers him engaging in this activity, which also doesn't exactly help his appeal. There's no doubt that it changes Marty's opinion of his dad, though.
What item does Marty pick up for Doc?
Though Doc tells Marty it's very important that they meet at the mall in the wee hours of the morning for Doc's big experiment, Marty of course still falls asleep. Thankfully, Doc has forgotten a key item he needs for his big moment, so he calls Marty to get it for him, thereby waking up the sleepy teenager. Marty, a little embarrassed, agrees and goes to fetch it. Turns out that same item would end up being really helpful to past Doc as well.
What's the title of the school dance?
It turns out that some people actually get a lot of enjoyment out of school dances. In Back to the Future, the school dance is the keystone of Marty's parents' future relationship, so it has to go off without a hitch. The dance ends up going off with a whole lot of hitches, but Marty puts his plan into action and it ultimately pays off. George gets the enormous confidence boost he needs and Marty's family is all the better for it.
What does Marty see that first makes him realize he's in the past?
Poor Marty. The guy is of course really freaked out to find himself a fish out of, er, time. Though he arrives in the middle of the night in a farmer's field, scares the man and his family, and destroys a few crops during his getaway, he doesn't fully understand what's going on until, after driving for a while, he stumbles upon a particular sight that leaves him speechless. That's a pretty rare thing for Marty, so you know it really rattles him.
What's the name of the mall in the new future?
It turns out that one's actions in the past really do have lasting consequences in the future, even if you simply ran over a few shrubs. In the original 1985, Marty meets Doc at Twin Pines Mall, but his reckless driving on the farmer's property in 1955 ultimately leads to a name change when Marty goes back to the new version of the future. It's a minor change, but keen-eyed viewers are rewarded with a chuckle if they manage to spot it.
What's Biff's trademark insult?
Biff may not be the smartest guy around, but he knows how to be a bully, even if his script doesn't change much between 1955 and 1985. He's cruel, intimidating, abusive, and he has his own personal goon squad to back him up if his massive frame wasn't already convincing enough. There are a lot of reasons to hate Biff, so it's doubly satisfying when he gets what's coming to him, whether it's a pile of manure or a punch to the face. His insult game could use some serious work, though.
What rock song does Marty play to end the dance?
Marty closes out the school dance with an iconic rock performance that, while undeniably cool, doesn't quite delight the 1955 student crowd as much as he hoped. In a funny and discreet musical nod, Marvin Berry, the injured guitarist, calls up his cousin Chuck to have him listen to the new kind of music. Chuck Berry would later go on to be the one whose song Marty is performing, creating an entertaining little coincidence that those with deep musical knowledge might notice.
How much power is needed to initiate time travel?
Remember how Doc used plutonium to give the DeLorean the kick it needs to leave those flaming tracks? Yeah, it takes a lot of juice, but it turns out there are other ways to get it. After Marty convinces 1955 Doc that he's from the future, he shows Doc the tape of the experiment. Doc is baffled by the sheer amount of power needed, and laments that only a lightning strike could generate enough. Thankfully, Marty knows just where and when to find one of those.
When does Lorraine realize her thing for Marty is "all wrong"?
That fateful moment when Marty gets hit by a car seems to be what triggers Lorraine's affection, and Marty inadvertently taking his dad's place means that he's in a world of trouble. Lorraine likes him more and more as the film goes on, what with him putting bullies in their place and being the essence of cool (though he's definitely a little strange, too). However, at one key point in the movie Lorraine realizes that she's made a mistake. Marty very much agrees.
Where does George finally confront Biff?
George suffers a lot at Biff's hands, both in the past and in the future, so it's really satisfying when he at last gives the nasty bully what-for. Marty lays an elaborate plan in which he'll be behaving questionably towards Lorraine at the dance, allowing George to step in and defend her, but of course all that goes out the window and Biff ends up taking Marty's place. Though George is about to give up and walk away, he musters all of his courage and knocks Biff out with one massive punch. One giant leap for geek kind.
What songs prompts George and Lorraine's first kiss?
Helping his parents fall in love was probably the hardest thing Marty had ever done in his life up to that point, and it's at last sealed with a kiss on the dance floor during this memorable song. After the guitar-playing member of the band is injured helping Marty escape the trunk of their car, it falls to Marty to fill in for him. Normally that wouldn't be an issue, but it turns out that it's pretty hard to play when you're fading out of existence. After the kiss, though, Marty becomes fully real again, an undeniable indicator of his successful matchmaking.
At what exact time does lightning strike the clock tower?
Thank goodness for people who champion a worthy cause. Though Marty and Jennifer are visibly annoyed by this lady, who interrupts them making out to encourage them to donate to save the clock tower, Marty may have never been able to get back to the future without her. Though the teens don't seem to care much about her spiel, she hands them a flyer about the fateful night of the clock tower's run-in with lightning. Marty later hitches a ride on that same bolt to return to his own time.
What drink does George order before asking Lorraine out?
George comes a long way over the course of Marty's stay in 1955. The fact that he was able to pluck up the courage to ask Lorraine out at all was a monumental step for him, but he couldn't have done it without his favored beverage. Determined to take his dream girl on a date, George finds her at a table with her friends in the crowded local diner. He asks the owner for a particular drink, downs a swig of it like it's hard whisky, then makes his way over to the girls' table.
Doc deals with terrorists from what country?
Doc may be a smart guy, but he makes a fatal mistake underestimating some dangerous people. Doc needs plutonium to run the DeLorean, and he gets it from a group of terrorists who ask him to make them a dirty bomb in return. Doc didn't follow through on his end, though, so the terrorists are pretty displeased and, rather than negotiate, they simply blast Doc to kingdom come. Marty is forced to flee for his life in the DeLorean, setting the rest of the film into motion.
What saying of Marty's sticks with George?
Marty makes a hugely positive impact on George's life, and both he and Lorraine are keen to thank Marty before he departs. The pair credit Marty with helping them find each other and George is extremely appreciative of Marty's advice and encouragement, which ultimately enabled him to believe in himself and stand up for both himself and Lorraine. One particular phrase stands out in George's mind and becomes his personal mantra, which he continues to repeat even when Marty travels into the new future.
What precautions does Doc take against the terrorists?
Despite Doc's warnings, Marty is willing to risk the butterfly effect to warn Doc with the details of his future death at the hands of the terrorists. Marty writes a letter to Doc and slips it into one of his many coat pockets, but Doc finds it and rips it up, giving Marty hell for his attempted warning. However, Doc ends up reconstructing the letter and heeds Marty's warning, taking precautions that allow him to escape with his life in 1985.
What's the title of George's book?
When Marty returns to the new version of 1985, he finds a world that's way different from when he left it. His family is happy and successful, Biff works for the McFly family doing odd jobs, and George is a published author. Most important to Marty, though, is his shiny new truck that he finds parked in the garage. He's ecstatic about his new, happy life and his reunion with Jennifer, and is ready to go on his weekend getaway with her when Doc shows up with some bad news about the future...