Back to the Future: The Story

Adapted by Robert Loren Fleming from the novel by George Gipe


Deborah Bethel


46 (unpaged)


Berkley Books

Publish date






Back to the Future: The Story (UK Edition)

Corgi Books





Back to the Future: The Story is an abridged version of Back to the Future for children that was released in conjunction with the first movie in 1985.


The author, Robert Loren Fleming, adapted the story from the full-length novel by George Gipe. It is well-illustrated with photographs depicting the characters mentioned on each page, even though some of the photos do not strictly depict the related scene in the movie.

It was published in the United States as "a presentation of Weekly Reader books", intended for younger elementary school students and at a fourth grade reading level. As such, Marty's problems with school are skipped over other than one mention that Mr. Strickland is "picking on dad just like he picks on me in 1985!", there is no mention of alcohol, and Marty's date with Lorraine is rated "G" ("Marty picked up Lorraine and drove her to the dance. As they were getting out of the car, Marty felt a strong hand on his shoulder. He turned around just in time to see Biff's fist...") However, Doc does get shot by terrorists before Marty departs for 1985, Marty does get punched, and George does hit Biff ("with all his might").

The story avoids Marty being late for school or auditioning for the Battle of the Bands, and begins with his arrival in "Hill Valley Town Square", where he "walked up to his girlfriend Jennifer, who waited for him there." It ends without the film's famous closing "we don't need roads" quote: "Without hesitation Marty and Jennifer joined Doc inside the time machine. Instead of driving it away, Doc touched a new switch and the car suddenly rose over the ground. It flew off in a brilliant burst of brightness and color, headed—back to the future!"

Differences from the film[]

  • Marty seems to be an only child as no mention is made of Dave or Linda.
  • Marty crashes into a barn and drives away without meeting the Peabody family
  • Having already heard "the dreaded first date story... for the millionth time", Marty realizes immediately that he's changed history in 1955 when Lorraine compares him to "a little lost puppy". He runs out of her room and all the way to Doc's house, without staying for dinner with the Baines family.
  • When meeting with Marty for the first time, 1955 Doc accepts his claim instantly, rather than displaying skepticism.
  • There is no confrontation with Biff in the cafeteria, but Marty does trip Biff at "the soda fountain" and escapes on the makeshift skateboard. The bullies drive after him but Marty is "too clever for them" and gets away and there's no collision with a manure truck.
  • At the dance, Marty doesn't get locked in the trunk of Marvin Berry's car by Biff's gang. Instead, Marvin Berry and the Starlighters' band members wake Marty, who's still lying on the ground after being punched by Biff, just in time for him to see his parents enter the school. Marty then "joined Berry and The Starlighters for a song, since their guitarist hurt his hand during a break." (There's no reference to him playing "Johnny B. Goode" either.)
  • Marty returns to his home in 1985 and goes "downstairs" after waking up, and sees that his Mom is now "thin and beautiful" and his Dad is "confident and athletic" (though not a science fiction writer), and realizes that "Thanks to him, both of his parents grew up happy and confident."