Back to the Future Part II
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Produced by Steven Spielberg
Neil Canton
Bob Gale
Kathleen Kennedy
Frank Marshall
Steve Starkey
Written by Robert Zemeckis,
Bob Gale
Starring Michael J. Fox,
Christopher Lloyd,
Lea Thompson,
Thomas F. Wilson
Music by Alan Silvestri
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) November 22, 1989
Running time 108 min.
Language English
Budget $40,000,000 USD
Preceded by Back to the Future
Followed by Back to the Future Part III
IMDb profile

"Getting BACK was only the beginning..."
—Tagline for the film

Back to the Future Part II is a 1989 movie and is the second part of the Back to the Future trilogy. It is the sequel to the first movie in the trilogy, Back to the Future. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale. This movie and the third part of the trilogy, Back to the Future Part III, were filmed back to back as a budgetary measure and to try and insure a minimum of continuity errors.


Doc Brown takes Marty McFly to 2015 to stop Marty's future son from making a horrible mistake that will ruin Marty's future family. However, when Biff steals the DeLorean to send a sports almanac back to his past self, Marty and Doc must return to 1955 to keep an alternate version of 1985 from forming.


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Off to 2015[]


Doc returns to 1985.

Picking up the story where Back to the Future left off the morning of October 26, 1985, Marty McFly and Doc Brown leave Marty's house and time travel to the year 2015 to stop Marty's kids from destroying their lives. Since Jennifer has seen the DeLorean time machine and Doc decides that the matter concerns her as well, they take her along and depart. However, Biff Tannen comes out of the house, intending to show Marty one of the new Biff's Auto Detailing matchbooks he has had printed, and accidentally witnesses their departure. They arrive on a skyway on October 21, 2015, where Doc is forced to tranquilize Jennifer because she asks too many questions about the future; Doc's firm belief is that no one should be allowed to know too much about their own destiny or future.

Doc lands the DeLorean in an alleyway adjacent to the Courthouse Square. Doc and Marty take Jennifer out of the DeLorean and lay her to the side as she is still sleeping and as to not get in the way of the mission. Doc then explains the chain of events that led to the McFlys' downfall and tells Marty the plan on how they will stop it from happening. Originally, Marty McFly Jr. is approached by Griff Tannen, Biff's grandson, and his gang and is asked to join in a robbery. The robbery is foiled and Marty Jr. takes the fall. His sister Marlene McFly will later attempt to break him out of jail, only to cause further acrimony for the McFly family. Doc's plan is for Marty to impersonate his son and to tell Griff he will not join in. Marty follows the plan, even though it is almost messed up when Marty Jr. unexpectedly comes into the Cafe 80's. The gang gets angry and chases after Marty, much like the chase in 1955 involving Biff.

Using a hoverboard, Marty manages to escape the gang. As a result, after Marty lands in the water near the square's pond, Griff and the gang, riding their own hoverboards, crash into the courthouse and end up in jail, preventing the robbery. Old Biff is a witness, commenting that this chase is similar to what he experienced in 1955. After changing the timeline, and remembering a conversation with the elderly Biff speaking about "Marty Sr." as the one who flushed his life down the toilet, Marty decides to buy the Grays Sports Almanac 1950-2000, which he finds in an antique store selling all sorts of memorabilia from the 20th century. Marty sees the almanac as a way to make a little extra money. The Biff of 2015 sees Marty and the DeLorean, and then remarks that he had not seen a DeLorean in 30 years. Suddenly, Marty Jr. runs out of the cafe and accidentally bumps into Biff. Seeing two Martys, Biff now becomes confused. When Doc sees the Sports Almanac, he puts it in the trash, berating Marty that he did not build a time machine for such trivialities as making money. The Biff of 2015 overhears the conversation and takes the almanac out of the trash, and also remarks that Doc built a time machine.


Doc and Marty in Hilldale attempting to retrieve Jennifer.

Just as Doc and Marty are about to get Jennifer, two police officers find her still tranquilized, and based on her thumbprint conclude that she must be the 2015 Jennifer. The officers proceed to take Jennifer home and Doc and Marty must follow. Doc fears that if Jennifer runs into her future self, there are two possibilities. Either she faints from shock or a paradox results in upsetting the time-space continuum and destroy the entire universe. When Jennifer gets inside the house, she gets scared and hides in a closet. Later, she moves to a bathroom where she sees that her family life is far from ideal. The Marty of 2015 is a miserable office worker who was forced to give up his guitar playing and music dreams when he was goaded into a street race and crashed his car into a Rolls-Royce which permanently injured his arm. 2015 Marty gets a video telephone call from his colleague Douglas J. Needles, who asks him if he wants to join in a profitable, but illegal, scheme which involves the use of Marty's CusCo credit card. Marty originally refuses to endanger his job, but when Needles calls him "chicken" Marty is instantly angered and goes along with it. However, their Japanese boss at CusCo, Ito T. Fujitsu ("the Jitz"), has been listening in. He appears suddenly on the video screen and Marty is summarily fired. "The Jitz" fires Marty by sending a fax bearing the words "YOU'RE FIRED!!!" (also superimposed over the video image in large letters filling the screen), and which is printed out from all the fax machines in the house. One of these faxes is taken by Jennifer from the fax machine in the bathroom. Doc finally finds Jennifer and tries to sneak her out of the house. Unfortunately, Jennifer meets her future self coming in the front door and with the dual exclamation "Oh, my God! (young Jennifer) I'm old! / (older Jennifer) I'm young!",  both faint from shock. While Doc is rescuing Jennifer, Marty is distracted by the sight of an automatic dog-walker and wanders off to look around his future neighborhood.


Biff steals the DeLorean.

While the DeLorean is left unattended, the Biff of 2015 steals it and travels to some point in time (on the time circuits, the previous destination read November 12, 1955, 6:38 p.m.). Just before Marty and Doc return with Jennifer, Biff suddenly clutches his chest in pain when exiting the DeLorean and slumps to the ground behind a nearby stationary car (a deleted scene showed him collapsing sideways and vanishing). He also accidentally breaks off the handle of his cane as he doubles up in agony and staggers away, leaving it in the DeLorean. Doc then decides that when they return to 1985, he is going to destroy the time machine, believing that it has only caused disaster and misfortune.


Screen delorean biffs

Doc and Marty escape from Biff's casino hotel.

Returning to 1985, Marty and Doc leave Jennifer on her porch swing. The first indication that something might be wrong is that there are security bars on the windows of the house. When Doc drives Marty back to his house, it is dark, leaving them unable to notice that the signs at the entrance to Lyon Estates have been defaced, or a pack of stray dogs roaming freely. He is unable to enter his house through the backyard because the gate is padlocked. Crawling through his bedroom window, he is shocked when he discovers that an African-American family lives here as the girl who is in Marty's room screams at the top of her lungs believing Marty is trying to rape her, and her father furiously chases Marty out of the house with a wooden baseball bat.

As Marty runs down the street, he sees it is lined with numerous abandoned and wrecked vehicles. At one point, he sees the chalk outlines of two victims from a drive-by shooting. Three police cars speed past the entrance to the neighborhood, lights flashing and sirens blaring. Marty thinks he's somehow in the wrong year, until he finds a newspaper on someone's porch showing that the date is indeed October 26, 1985. Before he can think further, someone puts the business end of a shotgun to his head. It's Mr. Strickland, who is wearing a bulletproof vest over his nightshirt. He claims not to recognize Marty, and thinks he's the guy who's been stealing the newspapers from his porch. Marty mentions that Strickland gave him detention last week, only to learn that Hill Valley High School was burned down by vandals six years ago (a deleted scene showed Marty coming across the burnt-out remains of the school, surrounded by a chain-link fence — affixed to which is a NO TRESPASSING sign from the Hill Valley Police Department — and topped with barbwire). As Strickland gives Marty five seconds to get off his porch before he uses the shotgun to shoot Marty in the crotch, a group of teenage drive-by shooters drive past and open fire with submachine guns, shattering an entire row of plant pots lined up on the porch wall and raking the house with bullets. Marty and Strickland take cover. As soon as the gunfire subsides, Strickland rushes out with his shotgun and fires two blasts at the fleeing car, shouting, "Eat lead, slackers!" With Strickland distracted, Marty takes the opportunity to run for his life.

Entering the middle of town, Marty finds the place to be a dilapidated, crime-infested, corrupt hell-on-earth, with the residents, all of whom appear to bikers and gang members, cavorting in the town square. A bulbous toxic waste disposal plant stands nearby, belching smoke. The courthouse has been turned into a casino hotel, attached to which is the Biff Tannen Museum (where a sign out front informs visitors Smoking Required). Marty sees a video documentary about Biff's life, describing how Biff became a millionaire overnight after a trip to the racetrack on his 21st birthday, and how subsequent successful bets on sports led to him being dubbed "the Luckiest Man on Earth." As a result of his gambling success, Biff apparently built a vast business empire called BiffCo, successfully legalised gambling in 1979, and in 1973 realised his lifelong dream by marrying his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Baines McFly. As Marty screams in horror when he sees Biff and a not very enthused Lorraine kiss, Biff's gang appear (having been alerted by a radio message from the museum's security guard, who saw Marty watching the documentary) and knock Marty out.

Marty wakes up in the dark and sees his mother, asking her if that's her. She tells him to relax, that he's been asleep for almost two hours. He thinks it was a nightmare. She tells him that he's safe and sound on the 27th floor and turns on the lights. To Marty's shock, Lorraine is an alcoholic and has had major plastic surgery because Biff demanded she get breast implants. She wonders what's wrong, and he stares at her chest, saying, "You're so big!" She asks Marty if he’s hungry and she can call room service. Just then, a man calls out Lorraine’s name, to which she realizes it’s Marty’s father. Marty asks, "My father?"

Biff bursts in and sees Marty, demanding to know why he's not in Switzerland, implying that in this reality, Marty has been sent to an overseas boarding school. Biff sneers to Lorraine that Marty is a butthead just like his father. Lorraine furiously defends George, telling Biff that he's not even half the man he was, to which Biff retaliates by roughly pushing her to the floor. Marty rushes at Biff, but Biff's gang — who work for Biff as his bodyguards — grab Marty, and Biff punches Marty in the stomach. Lorraine snaps at this abuse of her son and tells Biff she's leaving. Biff asks her who will pay for her clothes, jewelry, liquor, and cosmetic surgery. Lorraine argues back that he's the one who wanted "these things", cupping her breast implants. However, he blackmails her into staying by threatening not only to cut Lorraine off from his money, but also to cancel Marty's sister Linda's credit cards, revoke his brother Dave's parole, and ultimately have them all put in jail, just like Lorraine's brother Joey. Biff leaves, warning that Marty get lost within an hour. Once Biff is gone, the cowed Lorraine tells Marty that Biff was right and she was wrong, and then pours herself a drink. Marty is shocked, wondering how she could leave George for Biff. Lorraine is puzzled, saying that they must have hit Marty too hard this time, suggesting that this has happened before. Marty asks where his father George is. She says that he's where he's been for the past twelve years: Oak Park Cemetery.

Marty goes to the cemetery, and finds his father's tombstone. It shows that he died on March 15, 1973. Marty is struck with grief, and Doc steps out of the shadows, saying it's all true. Doc reveals that he knew Marty would come here when he learned about his father.

Doc takes Marty back to his lab and shows him bound collections of newspapers which he obtained by breaking into the library, which was boarded up and closed down. Marty tears out the page of the newspaper that reports his father was shot dead in an alleyway. Using a blackboard, Doc theorizes that somewhere in the past, the timeline has diverged into an alternate reality, reality for everyone except Marty, Doc and Einstein (and the unconscious Jennifer). He then shows the silver-colored bag the sports almanac came in, along with its receipt and old Biff's fist-shaped cane handle, which he had found in the DeLorean — revealing that old Biff had stolen the time machine and given the book to himself sometime in the past, thus changing his future. He then shows Marty a newspaper headline about Biff's first successful bet on a horse race back in 1958, which was clearly owed to Biff having the race results in the almanac. Marty uses a magnifying glass to look at the photo and, sure enough, sees the stolen sports almanac in Biff's pocket. Doc says that this proves how time travel can be misused and why the time machine must be destroyed... after they've corrected the timeline.

Marty suggests that they go back to 2015 to stop old Biff from stealing the time machine and changing history in the first place, but Doc dismisses this, pointing out that 2015 will now be the future of this alternate timeline - where, in addition to everything else, Doc has been committed to an asylum after being declared legally insane (Doc shows Marty a newspaper story confirming this fact, which is accompanied by a photo of Emmett in a straitjacket). Doc declares that they can only correct the timeline by travelling back to the past, which means they must first determine the precise date and location at which Old Biff gave his younger self the almanac. Marty says he'll ask the current Biff himself.

Biff is in a jacuzzi with two women, watching A Fistful of Dollars on television, when Marty comes in and turns off the TV with the remote control, tosses the device into the tub, and sternly confronts Biff about the Grays Sports Almanac. At the mere mention of the book, Biff's demeanor changes in an instant and tells the women the party's over, and sends them out. He asks Marty what else he knows about the book. Marty tells Biff that he should tell him how, where, and when he got the book. Biff leads Marty to his private office, where he tells (or rather, orders) him to sit down. As Biff opens the safe (which is hidden behind a large oil painting of himself, and has not one but three combination locks), he claims that on November 12, 1955 he had crashed his car drag racing (in reality, as shown in the last film, he had crashed into a manure truck). Biff continues, saying that a "crazy old codger with a cane" (his future self), claiming to be a distant relative, turned up and gave him the almanac, asking him how would he like to be rich. Biff admits he didn't see the resemblance. The old man told him he was going to be rich, and when Biff asked what the catch was, he was told, "No catch; just keep it a secret." Afterwards, the old man disappeared and Biff never saw him again.

While Biff turns his back to put the almanac (which is now minus its dust jacket) back in the safe, Marty slyly takes one of the matchbooks from an ashtray. Biff then remembers something else: old Biff warned him that "someday a crazy wild-eyed scientist or a kid will show up. If that ever happens..." Without finishing the sentence, Biff pulls out a snub nose revolver, while mentioning that he didn't think said person would be Marty, and prepares to shoot him. Marty throws the ashtray at Biff, but he ducks and the ashtray sticks into the back of Biff's chair.

Marty runs upstairs, and Biff shoots at him several times, but misses. Skinhead, Match and 3-D see Marty go downstairs in the hotel's stairwell, but he jumps the other flight of stairs and goes back upstairs to the roof instead, while the gang carry on downstairs. Biff catches up and sees the door to the roof swinging, and corners Marty on the roof. He tells Marty to jump, saying suicide would be "nice and neat". Marty then questions what will happen, if he doesn't. Biff responds by pulling his gun out and saying it will be lead poisoning leaving Marty with the choice of a suicide or a shooting... either way, he'll be dead.

Marty warns Biff that the police will match the bullet up to the gun. However, Biff reveals that he owns the police — and besides, they didn't match the bullet that killed George. Marty is furious at this confirmation that Biff shot George, but jumps over the ledge, much to Biff's disbelief. He calls Marty an idiot, and then looks over the ledge. Marty rises up standing on the hood of the DeLorean, and the gull-wing driver's door suddenly flies open, walloping Biff on the jaw and knocking him out cold. Doc and Marty fly away. Doc sets the time machine for November 12, 1955, but the destination display suddenly malfunctions and displays 1885 before shutting off; Doc thumps it and the destination display comes back on, displaying the correct date. Doc tells Marty it's unbelievable that old Biff chose that date, that it must have cosmic significance, or perhaps an amazing coincidence. Marty then objects to going back in time when Jennifer and Einstein aren't with them. Doc reasons that assuming they restore the proper timeline, the nightmarish version of 1985 will change around Jennifer and Einstein and neither of them would have any memory of these horrible events.

Back to 1955[]


1985 Doc inspects his younger self's experiment.

The two of them travel back to 1955. Doc advises Marty to wait until Old Biff gives his younger self the almanac, so he will think he has succeeded in his plan and go back to 2015 with the time machine.

Having acquired a leather jacket, a trilby hat and a pair of dark glasses and, looking like a spy, Marty goes to the sole Tannen listing in the phone book — that of Gertrude Tannen, Biff's grandmother. As Marty watches from across the street, Biff leaves the house to go pick up his car.

Marty follows Biff to a mechanic's shop in the middle of town. Terry, the mechanic who repaired Biff's car, drops it off with his tow truck, and mentions that he was unable to start the car while working on it and asks if it is fitted with a kill-switch. Biff grins at this, saying no-one can start his car except him. Biff then argues with Terry over the $300 bill for the repairs. Marty hides in the back of the car even as Biff and Terry return, still arguing. Old Biff watches, laughing because he remembers the manure. Biff and Terry return to the car, and Terry drives away in his truck.

Just then, Biff is distracted when he sees Lorraine and her friend Babs across the street, admiring the dress Lorraine has just purchased for the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, and he goes over to harass her. He wants her to go with him to the dance, but she rebuffs him, as she's going with "Calvin Klein" (Marty's alias in Back to the Future). When Biff gets more forceful, she tells him that she wouldn't go with him even if he had a million dollars, then wallops him over the head with her dress box and runs off even as Biff taunts her that she'll be his wife one day. Biff goes back to his car and finds Old Biff sitting in the driver's seat. An exasperated Biff tells Old Biff to get out of his car, but Old Biff starts the car — shocking Biff, who demands to know how Old Biff knew how to do that. Old Biff tells Biff to get in, telling him it's his lucky day.

The scene changes to Old Biff driving Biff rather recklessly back to his house. As they park in the garage, Biff demands to know how Old Biff knew where he lives. Old Biff gives Biff the almanac, telling him it will make him rich. Old Biff explains that it lists sports results from 1950 to 2000. Biff tosses it back and tells old Biff to "Make like a tree and get out of here!" Old Biff corrects him, "It's leave, you idiot!" Biff demands proof that the almanac is what old Biff makes it out to be. Old Biff turns on the car radio and tunes it to a football game, and surprises Biff when he announces that UCLA, trailing 17-16 with 20 seconds to go on the clock, will win 19-17. UCLA wins 19-17.

Old Biff tells Biff to always bet on the winner and he'll never lose, before giving Biff back the almanac. Biff tosses the book into the back of the car, but Old Biff grabs it before Marty can, angrily telling Biff to never leave it lying around, and to get a safe and keep the book locked up; until then, Biff should keep the book on him. Old Biff then stuffs the almanac into the back pocket of Biff's pants, and tells him to never tell anyone about it either. Old Biff and Biff close the garage door and walk away as Old Biff warns Biff about Marty or Doc coming to confront him about the almanac. Marty gets out of the car and tries to follow them, but the garage door is locked with a padlock. He calls Doc on his walkie talkie, telling him Biff and Old Biff left with the book; Doc radios that he'll find a way to get there without a car.

That night, Biff comes back to the garage while having to deal with his domineering grandmother yelling at him. Biff gets into his car to go to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. On his way, Biff hears some sports results and is amazed that they match what is in the almanac. Doc passes the car on a bicycle just after they leave and sees the open garage door, wondering where Marty is.

At the dance, Marty continually tries to obtain the almanac. He follows Mr. Strickland, who had confiscated the almanac and after stealthily obtaining the almanac, he discovers that Biff had actually swapped the cover with an Oh Là Là magazine. He then spots his father George knocking out Biff, like before. Marty then snags the almanac from Biff. Just as he radios Doc to pick him up, he runs into Biff's cronies, who mistake him for "Calvin Klein." They chase Marty backstage where he is able to stop them from attacking his earlier self by dropping sandbags on them, knocking them out cold. However, in a confrontation with Biff where he calls Marty a "chicken", Marty gets knocked down when he is hit by the door as his earlier self leaves to meet with the 1955 Doc at the clock tower, and Biff gets the almanac back. Eventually, Biff, nose bloodied from Marty punching him, drives off in his newly cleaned car, and Doc and Marty follow him in the DeLorean. Hanging onto the side of the car with the aid of the hoverboard, Marty finally grabs the almanac and is rescued by Doc from being run over by Biff's car, and the furious Biff crashes into a manure truck once again. As the rainstorm from the end of the first film begins, Marty burns the almanac to cinders, thus repairing the future.

With their mission successful, Doc and Marty prepare to go back to the future. However, before Doc can land the DeLorean, the car is suddenly struck by lightning, causing it to seemingly explode. Marty is aghast, thinking Doc is dead while he is trapped in 1955. However, a few seconds later, a car pulls up. it is a Western Union delivery man with a letter for Marty. The man explains that the letter was given to Western Union seventy years earlier, with the explicit instructions to deliver it to someone of Marty's name and description "at this exact location, at this exact minute, November 12, 1955". Marty tears open the letter to find out it is from Doc, who assures Marty that he is alive and well; he was actually sent back in time, due to the lightning strike and malfunctioning time circuits, to 1885 where he is living happily. Marty rushes off to find 1955 Doc, who has just succeeded in sending the other Marty back to 1985. Upon seeing Marty, Doc is aghast since he had just sent him back to the future. The former explains that he's back from the future, causing the latter to exclaim "Great Scott!", before he faints. As the film ends with Marty trying to wake Doc up, the words "TO BE CONCLUDED..." appear.

Finally the screen fades in again and a short trailer for Back to the Future Part III is shown, with the last frame of the trailer showing the Part III logo and underneath it, the words "COMING SUMMER 1990".


Deleted footage[]


Biff Tannen caused himself to be erased from existence.

  • In scenes deleted from the film, Biff Tannen of 2015 fades out of existence (much like Marty was in the original movie when interfering with his parents' meeting) once arriving in the future, having been erased from existence in that time period. This can be explained for two different reasons. First, these events created a time paradox. Having created an alternate timeline by giving his younger self the almanac, the old Biff from 2015 no longer existed, once 2015C became part of the 1985A timeline. Another possibility is that Lorraine, in 1996 of the alternate timeline, shot and killed Biff (possibly as revenge for killing George). These events are never depicted in the trilogy, although Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale suggest this theory as a way of explaining Biff's "disappearance."[1] The scene is notable in that Biff started to fade out as Marty and Doc Brown flew off in the DeLorean and only disappeared completely after the sound of the "time burst" is heard. Presumably, had Marty and/or Doc discovered the head of Biff's cane in the time machine, which Biff broke off when he exited the car, they could have aborted the trip to 1985 and restored the timeline. Had this occurred, Biff would have faded back into existence, much as Marty did in Part I, after his father kissed his mother.
  • While Jennifer is peeking inside the closet, after the scene where future Marty selects lithium mode and stands before his son watching television, he kisses his mother Lorraine, greets her daughter Marlene and asks his father George, who is strapped into his Ortho-lev upside-down, what happened. George replies that he had been on the golf course and thrown his back out, and Lorraine adds that he was hit by a car which fell from the sky. Marty calls his son over for a dinner, but Marty Jr. refuses as he is still watching. So Marty tells him to get his video glasses, but his son complains that the glasses only screen two channels at once. Marty comments that when he wanted to watch two channels at once at his son's age, he had to put two TV sets next to each other (which means six channels). The novelization reinstates this scene.
  • While exploring 1985A's rundown Hill Valley, Marty encounters the Hill Valley High School which is fenced off and in ruins, following the fire mentioned by the 1985A equivalent of Principal Strickland. The scene is reinstated for the novelization.
  • While in 1985A's run down Courthouse Square, Marty encounters the 1985A version of his brother Dave, now a drunk and ramshackle bum. According to the DVD commentary by producers Gale and Neil Canton, the scene was deleted because Wendie Jo Sperber, who played Marty's sister Linda in the first film, was pregnant at the time and thus could not be featured in the sequel; they felt that if Marty's brother was seen, people would wonder what happened to his sister as well. The scene did appear, however, in the novelization.
  • Prior to the DVD release of the movie, the scenes of Old Biff fading and vanishing, and Marty coming across the burnt-out Hill Valley High School was shown on The Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy (which was also included in the DVD release of the trilogy).
  • In the Netflix release of the movie, the Oh Là Là magazine's cover in the scene where Marty discovers that Biff had actually swapped the cover of the sports almanac with said magazine was removed, along with two lines from Marty. However, the edits were quickly fixed in response to backlash from fans.

Release details[]

Back to the Future Part II earned $27 million in its first weekend of U.S. release (November 22, 1989) and $118 million total US gross – $332 million worldwide. However, this was still short of the first film's gross, and the film experienced a drop of over 50% in its second weekend, a steep figure at the time. The same fate occurred in Part III, which came out only six months later. On December 17, 2002 Universal Studios released all three movies in a three disc DVD and three tape VHS boxed set which sold extremely well when it was released.

In the DVD widescreen edition there was a minor framing flaw that Universal has since corrected, available in sets manufactured after February 21, 2003.

Home Video Release History[]

  • May 22, 1990 (VHS)
  • December 17, 2002 (VHS & DVD)
  • October 26, 2011 (Blu-ray & DVD)

Main cast[]

Characters (In Order Of Appearance)[]

The characters of George McFly and Jennifer Parker were played by actors different from those of the original film, requiring some previous scenes to be re-shot.

Replacement of Crispin Glover[]

As Bob Gale states in the DVD commentary, actor Crispin Glover was asked to reprise the role of George McFly in this film. Glover indicated interest, but reportedly not only asked that his salary be increased to match that of Michael J. Fox, but also wanted script approval; both of which the producers felt was unreasonable. Glover reportedly refused to budge, so he was dropped from the picture. Glover later insisted in a 1992 interview on The Howard Stern Show that he and Zemeckis had had some "creative disagreements" over the character, and felt that the director simply wanted an actor who was more pliable. He also said that the salary offered was "really low" (reportedly around $50,000), and that he was certain they never really wanted him back.

In a later interview, Glover mentioned that he had been originally offered $150,000, as opposed to $350,000 offered to Thomas F. Wilson and $650,000 offered to Lea Thompson, and felt that the Ortho-lev scene was written in to make him physically uncomfortable, as a punishment for voicing his disapproval for the first movie ending. Glover, in his own words, didn't care so much for the extra money, and would have done the scene, but he just wanted to be compensated fairly. However, after a talk with Bob Gale, who even felt that they were paying Wilson, Thompson and Fox too much, his salary was reduced by $25,000.[2]

As a result, the filmmakers found inventive ways of avoiding showing the character's face in the movie, despite the fact that George McFly was in certain key scenes and has dialog lines. During all scenes in which the George McFly character appears in both this film and Back to the Future Part III, he is played by Jeffrey Weissman and seen wearing sunglasses, from the back, upside-down in an Ortho-lev harness, or out of focus in the background. This was to prevent audiences from realizing that George McFly was played by a different actor. However, producers also reused footage from the original Back to the Future that included Crispin Glover's portrayal of George McFly, listing him in the movie's closing credits as 'George McFly in footage from Back to the Future'. Glover sued Universal for compensation, on the grounds that his contract for the first film did not allow subsequent uses of his portrayal of George McFly in the sequels, and that the footage had been used without his permission and without his receiving any payment. The day before the lawsuit went before a judge, Universal quietly settled the case, paying the actor an undisclosed sum. Glover would not reveal the amount during his Howard Stern Show appearance, but did suggest the real reason for the settlement was that Universal was reluctant to "open up their accounting books to the public" during the trial. The Screen Actors Guild later rewrote their rules regarding the derivative use of actors' works in films or TV series, requiring the studios and networks to give appropriate payment and credit to the actors.

Replacement of Claudia Wells[]

Claudia Wells, who had played Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future, opted to drop out of acting in 1987 after her mother was diagnosed with cancer. The producers reluctantly cast Elisabeth Shue for the part, which required re-shooting the closing scenes of Back to the Future for the beginning of Back to the Future Part II. A comparison of both films reveals that Shue appears to be considerably older than Wells (and slightly taller than Michael J Fox).

It was more than a decade before Claudia Wells returned to Hollywood, with a starring role in the 1996 independent film Still Waters Burn. She is one of the few actors not to make an appearance during the 2002 "behind the scenes" documentaries on the Back to the Future Trilogy documentaries on DVD, though she does provide the voice of Jennifer in Back to the Future: The Game.

Rumors and urban legends[]


Marty, from the ankles down, riding a Hoverboard in 2015

During an interview, director Robert Zemeckis jokingly said that the hoverboards (flying skateboards) used in the movie were real. A surprising number of people thought he was telling the truth and requested them at toy stores. After the release of Part III, Zemeckis had the opportunity to explain in another interview that all of the flying scenes were accomplished by suspending the boards using wires.

There was even a high demand for the Nike MAG sport shoes Marty wears with automatic shoelaces, which fans also thought to be real. Nike patented auto-lacing in April 2009. In 2010, fan Blake Bevin designed a shoe with working automatic lacing at the touch of a button. Nike released a limited edition pair of MAG trainers which lit up, and Nike designer Tinker Hatfield claims that by 2015, they will have auto-lacing Nikes.

After the Florida Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series, a rumor began to circulate that the movie predicted the Series' result; however, this was not the case. No mention is made of Florida winning the World Series at all, and the only mention of a Florida-based team is in a news broadcast which announces that the National League Chicago Cubs beat an American League "Miami" team with an alligator logo (not a marlin) in the 2015 World Series (a joke at the Cubs' expense; they had not won the World Series since 1908). The rumors started yet again in 2003 when the Marlins defeated the Cubs in the NLCS. However, it still proves little, since both teams are in the National League and not the World Series, which the Marlins won against the New York Yankees.

The Cubs' opponent was referred to only as "Miami" because there was no Major League Baseball team in Florida at the time of the movie's filming. Instead, the movie was predicting that a team (most likely in the American League) would be in place there by 2015. The prediction was made because of persistent talk of the relocation or expansion of a team to Florida at the time (which was also part of the plot for the 1988 film Major League.) Since then, two expansion teams have been placed in Florida: the National League's Florida Marlins (1993), which as of 2012, will be known as the Miami Marlins, further supporting the rumor; and the American League's Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998), now known as the Rays as of 2008.

The Cubs made it to the playoffs in 2015 but did not win. A year later, in 2016, they did win the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Fans of the trilogy said that Doc and Marty's adventures caused a time displacement that made the win be a year later than predicted.


The movie won a Saturn Award for Best Special Effects for Ken Ralston (the special effects supervisor), a BAFTA Film Award for Ken Ralston, an internet-voted 2003 AOL Movies DVD Premiere Award for the trilogy DVDs, a Golden Screen, and a Young Artist Award. It was nominated in 1990 for an Academy Award for Visual Effects.

Most visual effects nominations were due to the development of a new computer-controlled camera system, called VistaGlide, which was invented specifically for this movie — it enables one actor to play two or even three characters in the same scene while the boundary between the sections of the split screen and the camera itself can be moving.

A closer look at VistaGlide


  • The original script for Back to the Future Part II had Marty and Doc Brown go back to 1967 instead of 1955, had Mr. Fusion destroyed, with Marty and Doc Brown having to fly the DeLorean over the Grand Canyon. (See the original draft in External Links). The producers had the idea in mind because the first film showed the 1950s, this time they wanted to show the 60s and "have the audience see the hippies and the lava lamps". This idea was scrapped when it was realized it was too expensive to build a fifth set.
  • Universal Studio's 100th anniversary is in the year 2015, the same year Marty and Doc visit in the beginning of the film, although this is just a coincidence.
  • The Back to the Future Theme is heard eight times in this film, two more times than its predecessor and two more times than its successor.
  • Back to the Future Part II was shot under the working title Paradox. This was done to try to lessen the amount of publicity.
  • Some of the footage for the opening title cloud scenes were created by Industrial Light & Magic for the 1982 Clint Eastwood film Firefox.[3]
  • Many of the cars that appear in the future scene are modified for the film or concept cars. Examples include Ford Probe, Ford Mustang, Saab EV-1, Citroën DS, Pontiac Banshee Concept, Pontiac Fiero, Volkswagen Beetle and Griff's BMW 633CSi.[4] Also appearing is the StarCar from the 1984 film The Last Starfighter, and many vehicles were also used in the 1982 classic Blade Runner.
  • When Marty demonstrates the "Wild Gunman" machine, the boy in the red shirt watching is future The Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood, making his acting debut.
  • In this film, George McFly is portrayed by an actor ten years older than that of the original. (Since Jeffrey Weissman is six years older than Crispin Glover, and this movie was made four years after the original).
  • In the alternate 1985, the newspaper that had the story about Doc being declared insane had an article titled Nixon to Seek Fifth Term; Vows End to Vietnam War by 1985. When the original 1985 was restored, Doc was featured as being "commended" (instead of "committed") and the Nixon article was changed to Reagan to Seek Second Term; No Republican Challengers Expected. This was a reference to Alan Moore's acclaimed comic book series, Watchmen, which is also set in an alternate October 1985; however, in that story the Vietnam War ended in 1971. In reality, Ronald Reagan won his second term in 1984.
  • When the DeLorean is struck by lightning and sent backwards in time, flames in the shape of a backwards number 99 appear in the sky. This is the same fire trails that appear when the time machine disappears at every occurrence of time travel. The reason for the twin loops in the sky is the DeLorean doing a backflip in the air due to the power of the strike.
  • The film ends with a trailer for Back to the Future Part III because Zemeckis was so frustrated with the cliffhanger ending of The Empire Strikes Back that he wanted to let the audience know the story would complete in six months, not three years later. The Tagline Coming Summer 1990 was removed from the VHS release and the 2002 DVD release, but on the recent 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release, it was retained.
  • As Bob Gale mentions in the audio commentary, he said that the trailer appearing to advertise Back to the Future Part III was taken from the device used to advertise The Four Musketeers within The Three Musketeers.
  • On December 12, 2008, Marty McFly's Hoverboard was sold at an auction between $30,000 and $50,000.
  • The sports scores Biff hears on the radio are actual scores from that day.[5]
  • The time circuits flicker twice with the year 1885, which is where Doc is sent when the DeLorean is struck by lightning and where Marty goes in Back to the Future Part III. The first time it flickers was when Marty was rescued by Doc in the flying DeLorean. However, Doc catches the glitch the first time and corrects the destination year to 1955.
  • When the Marty from the first film's chain of events is playing "Johnny B. Goode" at the dance, he sings the first few lines of the lyrics for the song, then plays different sounding notes from what he originally did in the first movie.
  • Technically, just taking the almanac from Biff and not letting him get it back, should've caused the timeline to repair itself. While this seemed like the original idea, Doc may have ordered its burning as he felt a book from the future had no business being left in 1955, as anyone could use it if they had the same sinful intentions as Biff. Another issue could have been that Biff's earlier recaptures of the almanac meant he was convinced of his "distant relative's" intent, and likely dismissed its value once he was convinced it was gone for good, likely brushing off the almanac as a joke or gimmick as he only owned it a short time and did not have much of a chance to study it.
  • In the Part III trailer, the part where Doc says "Just try it, Tannen" was trimmed out of the final cut of the following movie.
  • Old Biff should've technically returned to the alternate 2015 where he is rich as he had already given himself the almanac.
  • This was the only film of the trilogy not to end with a vehicle flying towards the camera.
  • It was the third highest grossing movie of 1989 behind Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Tim Burton's Batman.

Video games[]

Several video games based on the movies were released. See Back to the Future video games for a list.


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Back to the Future film series logo
Films: Back to the FutureBack to the Future Part IIBack to the Future Part IIIBack in Time

Music: Back to the FutureBack to the Future Part IIIThe Back to the Future Trilogy (soundtrack)
Video games: Back to the Future (1985 computer game)Back to the Future (video game)Back to the Future Part IIBack to the Future Part IIIBack to the Future Part II & IIIUniversal Studios Theme Park AdventureBack to the Future: The GameLEGO Dimensions
Other media: Back to the Future: The RideBack to the Future: The Animated SeriesBack to the Future (musical)Back to the Future: The Pinball

Marty McFlyEmmett BrownBiff Tannen
DeLorean time machineHill ValleyHoverboardNike MAG

Why a