At the Movies was a half hour show which centered around then current movies being reviewed by critics. It eventually ended in 2010.


While the show had several critics, the most notable ones were Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, whom during their time on the show reviewed all installments of the Back to the Future trilogy.

Both enjoyed the first film, while the latter two had mixed results among them.

Back to the Future[]

  • Air Date: July 6, 1985.[1]
  • Other Reviews: Red Sonja, Silverado and Mad Max- Beyond Thunderdome

Gene Siskel considered it one of his favorite movies of the summer movie season. He stated not caring for time travel films due to the lack of suspense as the characters can't change the past without rendering the beginning of the story a lie. Siskel liked how the movie dealt with that problem, as well as enjoying having been fooled and delighted by it. He also praised Christopher Lloyd's performance as Dr. Emmett Brown and the overall heart of the movie in focusing on the premise of a teenager meeting his parent when they were his age, rather than going for a more typical action/comedy.

Roger Ebert agrees with Gene on the premise, and praised the film for dealing with the paradox of how people grow up disbelieving that their parents were really young, while parents don't view themselves to be too old.

Both Siskel and Ebert gave it Thumbs Up.

Back to the Future Part II[]

  • Air Date: November 25, 1989[2]
  • Other Reviews: All Dogs Go to Heaven, Henry V, Prancer and Sidewalk Stories

Roger Ebert deemed the film to be the goofiest movie he's seen. Ebert considered the confusion to be a charm of the movie due to Marty and Doc having to go back and forth to fix the timestream. He considered it to not be as good as the previous film due to the lack of the same human emotions as before, but enjoyed it due to the goofy screwball nature.

Gene Siskel didn't care for the movie and felt the tone shouldn't be a reason to lack heart. Siskel found the movie to be too gimmicky and found that the focus seemed to be more on Biff Tannen than Marty and Doc.

Siskel gave it Thumbs Down, while Ebert gave it Thumbs Up.

Back to the Future Part III[]

  • Air Date: May 19, 1990[3]
  • Other Reviews: Bird on a Wire, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Cadillac Man and Longtime Companion

Gene Siskel considered each scene between Marty and Buford to work on their own, but found them special due to the characters messing with the past and possibly altering the future as a result. He commented on how a lot of money was spent on the film and enjoyed the backgrounds of the old west, as well as the nostalgic shot of Mary Steenburgen. The overall performance also influenced his opinion.

Roger Ebert didn't care for Marty traveling to a movie old west and considered the portrayal of the era to be cliched (citing Pat Buttram and Dub Taylor's presence as an example). He thought it would be better if Marty went to a real version of the Old West, and an actual time in the past rather than a fictional one. Siskel maintained his opinion due to the entertainment value, as well as the interactions between Christopher Lloyd and Mary Steenburgen.

Siskel gave it Thumbs Up, while Ebert gave it Thumbs Down.


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