- "Pretty mediocre photographic fakery, they cut off your brother's hair."
- —Doc to Marty
- " He [Doc] returned the picture to Marty. It was the same as he had always remembered it — except that Dave had no head. Looking closely at the photo, he saw that his brother's head hadn't been blotted out or torn off. Behind where his head should have been was a continuation of the rose bush which his body was blocking out. It was just as if Dave had no head when the snapshot was taken! / "Good God!" Marty whispered. "His head is gone... Like it's been erased..." / "Erased from existence," Doc Brown added significantly. / "I don't understand this," Marty said. "Or maybe I do but I don't want to." "
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, pages 137 and 138)
The McFly family photograph was a photograph of the three children of George McFly and Lorraine Baines McFly. From left stood Dave McFly, Marty McFly, and Linda McFly. Marty kept a copy of the photo in his wallet and referred to it when he was stuck in 1955 to prove to Emmett Brown that he was from the future. Doc noted that it must have been fake as the top of Dave's head had disappeared from the photo after Marty's run-in with his parents.
Throughout the week, Marty kept tabs on the photo as his brother and sister completely disappeared, with him to follow. Just as Mark Dixon pushed George away from Lorraine to cut in at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, Marty's image began to fade, and soon after Marty's own hand. However, upon George's swift recovery, his parents kissed, and the photo was completely restored.
Behind the scenes
- A poster sized version of the photograph can be seen on the wall of Marty's bedroom in Back to the Future. As with the poster for Huey Lewis's album, Sports, one can only glimpse it for a few seconds on film. It is hanging on the wall over his bed.
- In the DVD commentary for the film, writer Bob Gale acknowledged the lack of logic as to why the McFly siblings were disappearing gradually from the photograph, instead of all at once, or why the picture itself was not disappearing — since it would almost certainly have not been taken in the first place if the three people in it did not exist.