Back to the Future

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Back to the Future
Original title Back to the future
genre Science fiction
Country of production United States
original language English
Locations Universal Studios
script Bob Gale
Co-author Robert Zemeckis
Director Robert Zemeckis
producer Neil Canton
Bob Gale
camera Dean Cundey
cut Harry Keramidas
Arthur Schmidt
music Alan Silvestri
occupation Michael J. Fox
Christopher Lloyd
Thomas F. Wilson
Lea Thompson
Crispin Glover
Jeffrey Weissman
Claudia Wells
Elisabeth Shue
James Tolkan
Marc McClure
Wendie Jo Sperber
synchronization Sven Hasper : M. Fox
Ernst Jacobi : C. Lloyd
Liane Rudolph : L. Thompson
Stephan Schwartz : C. Glover
Thomas Petruo : T. Wilson
Bettina Spier : C. Wells
Stefan Krause : M. McClure
Hansi Jochmann : W. Sperber
Back-to-the-Future logo (USA)

Back to the future (in the original English: Back to the Future ) is the name of a science fiction - film - trilogy of 1985, 1989 and 1990. In all three films, led Robert Zemeckis directed . The trilogy shows the time travel of the teenager Marty McFly ( Michael J. Fox ) and his friend Dr. Emmett L. "Doc" Brown ( Christopher Lloyd ) between 1885 and 2015. The three parts are:

The first part was initially planned as a single film. The open end, which later formed the transition to Part 2, was intended to be more of a joke. Only commercial success led to the two sequels.

Overview of the plot

Time lines in the three back-to-the-future parts

At the beginning of the first film, the teenager Marty McFly arrives with the help of a Dr. Emmett L. Brown-designed time machine from 1985 to 1955.

Once there, he inadvertently prevents his parents from meeting and falling in love - instead, his mother falls in love with him. This changes the future timeline (change from timeline 1 to timeline 2). Marty realizes that he urgently needs to ensure that his parents find each other, because he does not want to endanger his future birth. However, this project proves to be extremely difficult. As a teenager in 1955, his father is the typical loser who is completely lacking in self-confidence and Marty's mother only gets to know her by chance. To make matters worse, Biff Tannen, who was his father's cocky boss in 1985, was already an arrogant disgust in 1955 and was also interested in Marty's still young mother. Eventually, however, Marty succeeds in increasing his father's self-confidence towards Biff and thus saving his future existence, because his father finally knocks Biff down when he once again harasses Marty's mother.

Marty also contacts Doc Brown of 1955, who helps him get the power for his time machine to get Marty back to 1985. Back there, Doc Brown reappears after a trip to 2015 and takes Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer into the future because their children are in danger.

This is where the second part of the series begins. In the future, Marty manages to avert the imminent arrest of his son (change to timeline 3). However, the future Biff recognizes the function of the time machine and uses it to change the past in his favor (timeline 4/5). When Marty and Doc Brown notice this, they travel back to 1955, where they undo Biff's changes (timeline 6/7). Doc Brown then accidentally travels to 1885.

In the third part, Marty states that Doc Brown was murdered in the same year (1885). Therefore he travels to the year 1885, where he succeeds in preventing the murder of his friend (change to timeline 8). However, after his arrival, the fuel line of the time travel vehicle is damaged, which is why Doc Brown and Marty decide to use a steam locomotive to accelerate the time machine to the required 140 kilometers per hour. However, Doc Brown makes a last-minute decision to stay in 1885 because of a woman. When Marty arrives back in 1985, the time machine is destroyed by a train. Doc Brown managed to return to Marty in 1985 with a new time machine in the form of a locomotive.

Characters and actors

figure Movies cartoon
Back to the Future Back to the Future II Back to the Future III Back to the Future
Marty McFly Michael J. Fox David Kaufman
Dr. Emmett Brown Christopher Lloyd Dan Castellaneta (cartoon segments)
Christopher Lloyd (live-action segments)
Biff fir trees Thomas F. Wilson
Lorraine Baines Lea Thompson
George McFly Crispin Glover Jeffrey Weissman
Jennifer Parker Claudia Wells Elisabeth Shue Cathy Cavadini
Dave McFly Marc McClure (mentioned) Marc McClure
Linda McFly Wendie Jo Sperber (mentioned) Wendie Jo Sperber
Mr. Strickland James Tolkan
3-D Casey Siemaszko
match Billy Zane
Skinhead JJ Cohen
Needles Flea
Marty McFly, Jr. Michael J. Fox
Marlene McFly Michael J. Fox
Handle fir trees Thomas F. Wilson
Seamus McFly Michael J. Fox
Maggie McFly Lea Thompson
Clara Clayton Mary Steenburgen
Buford "Mad Dog" fir trees Thomas F. Wilson
Chief Marshal James Strickland James Tolkan

Parallels between the films

Each of the three films contains scenes that appear in a similar form in the other parts, so-called running gags .

In parts two and three, Marty's peculiarity, that he does not want to be called a “cowardly pig” (in the original among other things: chicken = “coward”), often leads to the fact that, contrary to his first decision, he does not evade a provocation and is in trouble device. In addition, Marty passes out once in all parts and then woken up by his mother or, in the third part, by his great-great-grandmother. He always thinks he woke up from a bad dream at home in 1985. In addition, Marty always stumbles in the same way on the main street of his hometown.

"Town Hall" with clock; in the foreground the logo of the film

The old town hall or courthouse of Hill Valley and its clock, which is important for the plot, appears at least once in all parts. Each part also shows the journey through time that Marty (back) transported from 1955 to 1985.

Some people appear in different flavors in each of the parts:

Marty's opponent is Biff Tannen of different ages or a male ancestor or descendant (part two: his grandson Griff Tannen, part three: his great-grandfather Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen). After a persecution, one member of the fir family in each part ends up in a dung heap. In the first and second part, Biff Tannen drives his car into a truck that has loaded manure; in the third part, Buford Tannen is knocked unconscious by Marty and ends up in a cart full of manure. The manure transporters are each from the company "A. Jones - Manure Hauling "(1885) or" D. Jones - Manure Hauling "(1955). In every film, the respective fir has a gang of three people.

The guardian of law and order is Mr. Strickland in the first two parts and his ancestor in the third part. In parts one and two he appears as the school principal, in the third part as a US marshal . The various fir trees respect him.

Each of the three films contains a bar scene in which McFly is called by a member of the fir family, whereupon Marty turns around in surprise only to find that his respective relative is actually meant during this time. In the first two parts, the respective family member sits at the counter and was also meant by the respective fir tree. In the third part, Buford Tannen thinks Marty McFly is his great-great-grandfather, because he got a hat from him and therefore looks like Seamus McFly from behind.

In every film, Marty has an image (a newspaper in the second part) that changes due to current events and the resulting effects on the future. In the first and second films, a fir tree taps another main character on the head and says, “Hello? Hello? Anyone home? Think about it, [...], think about it! "

In the first and third films, Doc Brown shows Marty a complicated and unnecessarily detailed model that shows how the time machine gets its energy and is accelerated to 140 km / h, and apologizes for the fact that it is not to scale because it has too little time have had. After the “maiden voyage” of the time machine in the first part and its destruction in the third part, you can see how the fallen license plate rotates briefly on the floor in a corner before it tips over.

In addition, Marty borrows a child's “scooter” in the first and second part (a so-called “ hoverboard ” in the second part ) while he is fleeing from a fir tree and takes off the handlebars of the scooter so that he can use it as a skateboard.

The company "Statler" is also present in Hill Valley at all times: 1885 as a horse and carriage dealer, 1955 as "Statler Motors Studebaker ", 1985 as "Statler Toyota " and 2015 in the same place as "Pontiac Sales - Hoverconversions". It was not foreseeable in 1989 that the car brand Pontiac was dissolved in 2010.

Every time it travels back in time, the DeLorean's tire tracks , where they would have continued if it hadn't traveled in time, are marked by trails of flame - in contrast, the car is ice cold when it emerges.

Whenever Doc receives information from the future, directly or indirectly through Marty, and becomes aware of the magnitude of what has happened, he uses the phrase “God God!” While Marty uses similar situations or answers, “Oh man, this is real strong! ”says. When Doc points out to Marty in the third part that Marty could be the one who will be shot by firs instead of Doc, they swap roles, with Marty yelling “Good God!” And Doc responding with “I know that's strong!” .

Product placement

The films in the trilogy also contain a number of product placements . For example, Marty is in the first part of his mother in 1955, first Calvin Klein called because it has read this name on his underpants, and at the beginning drives a Toyota - Pickup past him what he you seen with the words "Have these super box ? ”Comments. At the end of the first part and at the beginning of the second part, the same pickup truck is in Marty's parents' garage. Further examples are a gas station (first part) and a commercial (second part) for the Texaco company , the camcorder (on which the brand name JVC can be clearly seen), the Pizza Hut -Pizza in the second part, which only comes from a device from Black & Decker "hydrates" grows to full size, or various signs from Burger King and Pepsi in parts one and two. Also in parts one and two, Marty orders a Pepsi-Cola in the bar and in part two uses a hoverboard, a futuristic type of skateboard from Mattel . Marty and other characters also wear Nike sneakers. In the third part, a fairground trader advertises a “peacemaker” -colt (a euphemistic term, in English: “peacemaker”) as an unusual product placement .

The time machine

The time machine from the first film, Petersen Automotive Museum , Los Angeles
The time machine from the second film

Dr. Emmett L. Brown built the time machine out of a DeLorean DMC-12 , because he found the sports car stylish and because its stainless steel body was ideal for this purpose. In addition, the required jumping speed of around 140 km / h (in the original and from the third part also in the German dubbing: 88 miles per hour) is easily possible with it.

The flux compensator

The flux compensator (left), Expo SyFy in San Sebastián 2013

The flux compensator is the core of the time machine , which, according to Brown's statement, “makes traveling through time possible”. It consists of a gray, rectangular box with three elongated, flashing glass tubes that are arranged behind a pane of glass at a 120 ° angle to each other. The flux compensator is attached to the rear wall between the two seats inside the vehicle. Brown invented it on November 5, 1955, when, while hanging a clock in his bathroom, he slipped off the bowl of his toilet and hit his head roughly.

The term "flux compensator" is a wrong translation; the original English term flux capacitor would have to be translated correctly, both technically and linguistically, as “flux capacitor ”. On the other hand, on the drawing that Doc Brown made after he fell off the toilet, the English term "flux compression" is written. So the device is designed to “condense the flow of time”. The term “flux compensator” quickly entered German-speaking pop culture and has been used since then, sometimes jokingly, for highly developed, incomprehensible and miraculous technology.

power supply

The fusion generator “Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor "

The speed of 140 km / h, the DeLorean achieved using the built-combustion engine with unleaded fuel, is being falsely claimed in the first part of Doc Brown: "This box is electric ..." The for the time jump required 1.21  gigawatts power be a Nuclear reactor provided in the rear of the vehicle, which works with plutonium . In the German synchronization version, this value is incorrectly called “Eins Punktzwanzig Gigawatt”. Since the decimal separator is a point in English (“One point twenty-one”), but in German it is a comma, “Eins Komma Zwei Eins” (or even “Eins Komma Zwei Eins”) would have been correct. The plutonium reactor will later be replaced by a fusion generator (originally "Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor"). This device, borrowed from the future, converts all matter - in the film always waste - into energy.

The problem of the 140 km / h speed barrier

In order to initiate a time jump with the help of the flux compensator, the DeLorean must reach a speed of 140 km / h (88 mph). This requirement repeatedly confronts the protagonists with various problems. It would be fatal to hit an obstacle at such a high speed, which is directly in the driveway of the DeLorean in the target time, without having the opportunity to brake and avoid a fatal collision. This problem is dealt with ironically in the three parts and is also part of some scenes. Marty McFly drives straight into a barn after his first time jump, but remains unharmed because he can brake in time. Nevertheless, he is almost shot by the startled farmer because he believes that McFly is an alien visitor. The radiation protection suit Marty is wearing reinforces this impression. Then towards the end of the same part, after going back to 1985, Marty crashes into a former movie theater.

The second part begins with a jump in time to 2015. But here the DeLorean, which thanks to an improvement (hover conversion) can now also fly, comes onto the oncoming lane. A pile-up can only be prevented by Doc Brown's flying skills.

The leap in time at the beginning of the third part ends in a catastrophe on which the drama and other plot of the film are largely based. To jump in 1885, Marty to the DeLorean in an abandoned drive-in speed to the required speed by hurtling onto the painted with mounted Indians canvas. To his objection that he would then crash into the Indians, Doc Brown replied that Marty had to think four-dimensionally - in 1885 there would be no Indians at this point. After the time jump, however, McFly rode towards real Indians who are being pursued by US cavalry . The DeLorean's fuel line is damaged and gasoline leaks as it escapes over hill and dale. To be able to go back to 1985, Doc Brown tries unsuccessfully to find a suitable fuel. Getting the DeLorean up to speed with the help of six horses does not work either. After all, he plans to push the time machine up to the required 140 km / h with the help of a locomotive and special "super fuzes" (in the original presto logs ). The bridge over the gorge is not yet completed here, but it will be on the return, so the DeLorean can easily cross the gorge. The project succeeds, but the time machine is completely destroyed by an oncoming train on arrival in 1985, shortly after Marty was able to jump out and get to safety.


Grossing results

Movie publication Grossing results $ Budget $ receipt
Back to the Future 3rd July 1985 381.1 million 19 million
Back to the Future II November 22, 1989 332 million 40 million
Back to the Future III May 25, 1990 244.5 million 40 million
total 957.6 million 99 million

Critical and public reception

Movie Rotten tomatoes Metacritic All movie IMDb
Back to the Future 96% (68 Ratings) 86% (12 Ratings) 90% 8.5 (497,800 ratings)
Back to the Future II 64% (42 Ratings) 57% (17 Ratings) 60% 7.8 (227,763 ratings)
Back to the Future III 73% (41 Ratings) 55% (19 Ratings) 60% 7.4 (188,147 ratings)
average 78% 66% 70% 7.9

Further implementations

Computer games

  • Back to the Future - Schneider / Amstrad CPC , Commodore 64
  • Back to the Future Part II - Schneider / Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MS-DOS , Amiga , Atari ST
  • Back to the Future Part III - Schneider / Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Amiga, Atari ST
  • Back to the Future: Hill Valley - was released as an unofficial mod (expansion) for GTA: San Andreas and GTA: Vice City for the PC
  • Telltale Games has published a five-part adventure series for the Mac and PC. The first part was released in December 2010, the last part on June 24, 2011. In the American original of the game, Christopher Lloyd speaks the character Doc Brown and Claudia Wells Marty's friend Jennifer Parker. Lloyd played this role in all three films, Wells in the first part of the trilogy. The titles of the individual episodes are:
    • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 1: It's About Time
    • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 2: Get Firs!
    • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 3: Citizen Brown
    • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 4: Double Visions
    • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 5: Outatime

Games for consoles

  • Back to the Future - NES
  • Back to the Future Part II & III - NES
  • Super Back to the Future II - Super Nintendo
  • Back to the Future Part II - Sega Master System
  • Back to the Future Part III - Sega Mega Drive / Sega Master System
  • Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure - Nintendo GameCube
  • The console games of Part II and III differ only slightly in the level design from the computer versions, while the game of Part I was recreated on the NES.
  • In the game "Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure" for Nintendo Game Cube you can play a mini game called "Back to the Future - The Ride", in which you have to compete with the DeLorean against Biff Tannen, who also drives a DeLorean.
  • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 1: It's About Time - PS3 / Wii
  • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 2: Get Firs! - PS3 / Wii
  • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 3: Citizen Brown - PS3 / Wii
  • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 4: Double Visions - PS3 / Wii
  • Back to the Future - The Game Episode 5: Outatime - PS3 / Wii
  • Back to the Future - The Game - PS3 / Wii (the five episodes previously available for download only, on disc)
  • Back to the Future - The Game: 30th Anniversary Edition - PS4

Games for smartphones & tablets

  • Back to the Future: The Game (iOS), consisting of:
    • Episode 1: It's About Time
    • Episode 2: Get Firs!
    • Episode 3: Citizen Brown
    • Episode 4: Double Visions
    • Episode 5: Outatime


  • Originally, the time machine was a refrigerator in an early draft of the script. Director Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg rejected the concept out of fear that children could climb into refrigerators and accidentally lock themselves there.
  • The name of the scientist ( "Emmett Lathrop") provide backward read about the concept of Time Portal (dt. Time Portal ).
  • While the camera pans through Doc's apartment at the beginning of the film, the viewer sees numerous clocks. One of these clocks is adorned by a man hanging from one of the hands. This is both a reference to the end of Back to the Future and the movie Skyscraper Ironically! , famous for a scene in which the main character is also hanging on a clock hand. In addition, the main actor of Skyscrapers of all things! , Harold Lloyd , and Doc Brown's cast member Christopher Lloyd, share the same last name.
  • The Holomax cinema in the second part shows “ Jaws Part 19” from 2015 by director Max Spielberg. Executive producer Steven Spielberg made the first film in the Shark series in 1975 and has a son named Max. On October 21, 2015, the day Marty "arrived," Universal Pictures released a fictional trailer for it.
  • The machine "Mr. Fusion “is actually a designer coffee grinder from the Krups company (Type 223), which was also used in Ridley Scott's film Alien - The uncanny creature from a strange world .
  • In the films in 1985, references to how the protagonists changed the timeline appear again and again. At the beginning of the first part, the shopping center is called "Twin Pines Mall" (twin pine shopping center). Doc Brown mentions that this area used to be the farmland of a certain Peabody who wanted to plant everything with pine trees. After Marty knocked over one of the two conifers standing there while traveling back in time in 1955, the shopping center was called "Lone Pine Mall" in 1985. Another example is the gorge in the third part. In 1885 this was called "Shonash Ravine" (German: Shonash Gorge). Marty knows it as "Clayton Gorge", which is named after a teacher who is said to have crashed into it 100 years ago. But Marty and Doc save the teacher in question, Miss Clara Clayton, from falling. Since Marty pretends to be Clint Eastwood in 1885 , and the locomotive that Marty pushes in the DeLorean crashes into the gorge and everyone has to assume that he fell down with him and perished, the gorge is called "Eastwood Gorge" in 1985 (sign) .
  • Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis obtained permission from Clint Eastwood to have his name featured in the film.
  • On the night of June 1, 2008, parts of the set were destroyed by fire in the Universal Studios, but the courthouse (sometimes called “City Hall” in the film) and the main street were spared.
  • In 1996 the western town was destroyed by fire; ironically sparked by a lightning strike.
  • Michael J. Fox was the first choice for the role of Marty McFly from the start. But since he was not available at the sitcom Familienbande , Eric Stoltz was initially engaged for the role of Marty. When the situation with family ties relaxed again ( Meredith Baxter was available again after a pregnancy), Michael J. Fox took over the role of Marty McFly. The scenes that had already been shot were then shot with him.
  • In episode 16 of the second season of the series Fringe - Borderline cases of the FBI there is a cinema in a parallel universe at which "Back to the Future - starring Eric Stoltz" can be seen.
  • In the café of the 80s, on the TV screens behind the bar, you can see various TV series from the 80s, including family ties with Michael J. Fox (1982–1989) and Taxi with Christopher Lloyd (1978–1983). The characters interacting with the guests on moving TV screens are allusions to the virtual figure Max Headroom from the television series of the same name in terms of appearance and behavior .
  • In the second part, Elijah Wood has a brief appearance as a little boy in a red T-shirt in the computer game Wild Gunman .
  • In the second part of the window of the antique shop "Blast from the Past", you can see the denim jacket that Marty wore in many scenes from the first film and then left next to his bed in 1985.
  • The rock singer Huey Lewis made a cameo in Back to the Future , in which, as chairman of a competition committee, he downgraded the song The Power of Love - his own in real life - as "too loud" for a school performance.
  • Eric Clapton contributed the song Heaven Is One Step Away .
  • DeLorean and Doc Brown made a guest appearance in the 2014 feature film A Million Ways to Die in the West . They are discovered in a barn with strange noises and light effects. Doc quickly covers the time machine under a cloth and says it's just a weather experiment.
  • On October 21, 2015, numerous cinemas in Germany showed all three “Back to the Future” films one after the other. That's the day in the future that Marty McFly arrives in the second movie.
  • In the German version of the second part, October 21, 2015 is referred to as Tuesday (instead of Wednesday).
  • In the German version, Marty is consistently challenged with the accusation that he is a "cowardly pig". Various provocations are used in the original: While the term "Chicken" was used in 1985 and 2015, Marty was referred to as "yellow-belly" in 1885.
  • Biff repeatedly refers to Marty in German as “dung fly”, the English equivalent is “Muck Fly”, a mockery of the family name McFly.


Web links

Commons : Back to the Future  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  2. Back to the Future Part II. BoxOfficeMojo, accessed July 20, 2013 .
  3. Back to the Future Part III. BoxOfficeMojo, accessed July 20, 2013 .
  4. ^ Back to the Future. BoxOfficeMojo, accessed July 20, 2013 .
  5. ^ Back to the Future (1985). Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved July 20, 2013 .
  6. ^ Back to the Future. Metacritic , accessed July 20, 2013 .
  7. ^ Back to the Future (1985). All Movie Guide , accessed July 20, 2013 .
  8. Back to the future. Internet Movie Database , accessed June 27, 2014 .
  9. ^ Back to the Future Part II (1989). Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved July 20, 2013 .
  10. ^ Back to the Future Part II. Metacritic , accessed July 20, 2013 .
  11. Back to the Future Part II. All Movie Guide , accessed July 20, 2013 .
  12. Back to the Future II. Internet Movie Database , accessed June 27, 2014 .
  13. ^ Back to the Future Part III (1990). Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved July 20, 2013 .
  14. Back to the Future Part III. Metacritic , accessed July 20, 2013 .
  15. ^ Back to the Future Part III (1990). All Movie Guide , accessed July 20, 2013 .
  16. Back to the Future III. Internet Movie Database , accessed June 27, 2014 .
  19. Jump up ↑ Jaws 19 trailer. YouTube , October 5, 2015, accessed October 9, 2015 .
  20. Tagesschau from June 1, 2008, in it as the last post (13:46) a report on the fire .
  21. ^ DRadio knowledge "One hour of film" . October 20, 2015. Accessed October 23, 2015.