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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 8.56%
Average: 3.21%
Pretty Bad: 1.6%
Total Crap: 3.21%

3 reviews, 169 user ratings

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Back to the Future
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by MP Bartley

"The Greatest Time-travelling Incest Comedy Ever!"
5 stars

Lately, I've began to realise that slowly but surely, I'm turning into my father. I like the films he does, we watch the same television porgrammes, we have much the same views on things from sports to politics and my hairline's starting to recede like his. Hell, I even slouch in a chair in the same way that he does. It's a feeling that most sons will probably have at least once in their life, but for Marty McFly that feeling becomes much more close to reality as he becomes very close to actually taking the place of his father.

Marty (Michael J Fox) is your typical 1980's American teenager. He sings in a band, has a cute girlfriend and has dreams of escaping Twin Pines, the small town where he lives. But, like all teenagers, his life also has his disappointments. His mother, Lorraine, is a frumpy, over-bearing nag (Lea Thompson), while his father George (Crispin Glover), is a spineless lackey in servitude to Biff Tannen (Thomas Wilson), who bullied George during high school and is doing the same in adulthood. Marty's only glimpse of excitement is with his crazy old friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), who has managed to build a time machine. Out of a DeLorean. Could it be any more 80's?

But Doc Brown's invention has managed to anger some Libyan terrorists and in a tragic accident, Marty is transported back to 1956 - but without a power source to get back. To make it worse, he quickly starts a feud with the high school version of Biff. And to make it even worse, he accidentally disrupts his parents first fateful meeting, meaning he takes his father's place in history. So not only has Marty got to get back to the future (hey!), but he's got to make sure his mother and father meet and fall in love, or else he quite simply won't exist. A situation made worse by the fact that after meeting Marty, his mother, has, well...feelings for him. Shudder...

It's a story that any casual fan of film will be well aware of, but it's worth recounting because it serves to point out the first thing that makes 'Back to the Future' such a joy. It's a peerless screenplay, polished and structured to perfection. The above plot outline may take two paragraphs to write, but it's played out over 50 minutes before we're fully informed at just how messy Marty's situation is. Writer/ director Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale display here a superb sense of how to lay out a plot and integrate the twist and turns along the way. The plot isn't crammed into the first twenty minutes, and neither is it a bore to get through to the core of the problem. It's a film where the narrative flows wonderfully, full of incident and character, but never over-bearing, meaning that what is actually quite a complex film is also clear and focused throughout.

This results in a final 25 minutes that is one of the most enjoyable climaxes that any film has ever conjured up. The several plot-lines that Zemeckis and Gale have layered throughout, all beautifully come to a head, with, respectively, one of the best knock-out punches ever, the most romantic kiss ever seen, the funniest rock and roll performance put to screen, a terrific action climax on top of a clock tower that recalls Harold Lloyd at his best, and then to top it all off, a wonderful final cuddle from the script that shows 'Back to the Future' is second only to 'It's A Wonderful Life' in terms of showing just how much worth one mans life is.

That's 5 climaxes for the price of one, yet it never over-eggs the film, but instead dovetail into each other perfectly. Take that, Peter Jackson. Further proof of how great the script is, is in the tone that it takes. The storyline of Lorraine having a huge crush on Marty could have been hugely...icky to say the least, but here it's the ground-work for some of the films best jokes. And 'Back to the Future' is a film that is hilarious throughout. Marty's bewilderment at being sent back to the 1950's and meeting his parents and the earlier Doc Brown could have resulted in some clunkingly obvious jokes, but is instead played with marvellous subtlety and skill, such as the revelation of who's President in the 1980's to his first family dinner with the grandparents. It's just a vastly entertaining romp from the first minute to the last.

The cast also rise to meet the high standards that the script makes. Fox does the hugely difficult task of making a good-looking, cocky teenager also instantly likeable. Marty is someone who you like and would want to hang out with in real life, which is a rare thing in a film indeed. Lloyd also gets great mileage out of Doc Brown, a character that could fall into cliche or over-acting, but actually becomes one of the highlights of the film. Thompson is massively appealing as Lorraine, pulling off the tricky task of portraying both a teenager and a middle-aged mother in the same film. But praise should also go to two of the film's most over-looked, but best performances. Wilson is terrific as Biff, one of film's best school bullys, who really makes you itch for his come-uppance. And Glover is the real emotional heart fo the film. As a weak-willed, crushed older man and the shy, lily-livered teenager he could have become an easy joke, a wimp that deserves the beatings that life deals out to him. But Glover makes much more of the part than that, becoming someone who you empathise with instantly and root for throughout. It's the fine work of Fox, Wilson, Thompson and Glover in particular, that give 'Back to the Future' the emotional thump at the end that makes it so memorable.

Essentially, 'Back to the Future' is that rare thing: a perfect film. There's not one second of it that needs altering, not one moment that isn't the slightest bit entertaining. It aims for several targets of action, humour and emotion and hits them all out of the park.

The Best Picture winners of the 1980's were: 'Ordinary People', 'Chariots of Fire', 'Gandhi', 'Amadeus', 'Out of Africa', 'Terms of Endearment', 'Platoon', 'The Last Emperor', 'Rain Man' and 'Driving Miss Daisy'. Not one of them can match up to the sheer verve and joy of 'Back to the Future'. Hell, very few films can. And who can't love a film with the line "Last night, Darth Vader came down from the planet Vulcan and said if I didn't ask Lorraine to the dance he'd melt my brain"?

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originally posted: 11/01/05 02:10:47
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell very good still holds up 4 stars
8/11/16 carl J Clever script, loveable characters and great music. A true classic 5 stars
4/27/16 Ken A must see! Anyone who hates this has big problems. 5 stars
12/01/15 Lisa H Flawless. Perfectly plotted, paced, funny and entertaining. 5 stars
10/24/15 Billy34 One of the best movies ever! Still great after 30 years. 5 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
3/01/15 lucas poll pretty shit 1 stars
2/15/15 filmiw23 like star wars film 1 stars
1/06/15 steffany one word: overrated 1 stars
1/05/15 lolipop incredibly overratted 1 stars
9/02/14 David Marsden The best 80's movie and one of the best movies of all time. 5 stars
3/06/14 Justin R. Absolutely, positively one of the best of the 1980s. Please go see it, if you haven't. 5 stars
4/06/13 Flipsider One of the best American movies ever made! 5 stars
12/11/12 Nellie Best movie ever! 5 stars
1/30/12 BgQxpOjn zaGrejgQqOvGKR 5 stars
10/02/11 7thstranger An american classic! Hello, McFly! 5 stars
1/12/11 Matt Stilwell This is a favourite of mine. Makes me feel just like a kid again 5 stars
10/20/10 Benchwarmer Possibly Robert Zemeckis' finest hour! 5 stars
1/16/10 Omar A must-see! If you haven't seen this, you're missing out! 5 stars
8/29/09 Jeff Wilder A sci-fi comedy classic. 5 stars
4/23/09 Dakota Shipps This Movie is PIMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/21/09 Charlie Absolutely Spectacular Film 5 stars
8/12/08 Shaun Wallner Great film!! 5 stars
8/11/08 Jon G bow down to greatness 5 stars
6/17/08 Johnnyfaye What this film does really well is create that light heart presents/No one dies on screen. 5 stars
1/30/08 Dave Brilliant film, one of the best ever made! 5 stars
12/06/07 Lost Boy This movie was off the F-ing food chain 5 stars
11/27/07 Alaina A well known feature that captivates and entertains most if not all. 5 stars
9/12/07 yerlin greatest movie i've ever seen!! 5 stars
6/20/07 Joshua The movie had so much action, I thought it was great 5 stars
5/04/07 Double M A timeless classic that's slick, fun and hugely entertaining. 5 stars
3/18/07 brandon This is not a opion this is the greatest movie of all time it!! ALSO SAVE BTTF THE RIDE!!! 5 stars
2/06/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
11/30/06 Pee Pee Head The Movie freaking rules!!! it kicks all other movie a$$ 5 stars
5/20/06 chienne Love the time travel concept, this is a bloody great movie on it. 5 stars
4/22/06 Becky How can anyone not like this movie. Loved it forever; there's nothing bad about it! 5 stars
2/20/06 Jenny My favorite movie of all time. Fabulous Plot Twists 5 stars
1/30/06 WiseMan I wish they made movies like this still :+( 5 stars
12/31/05 tony Boring 3 stars
12/14/05 deadfishrman this is a cool movie 4 stars
11/29/05 Ming Imaginative and hilarious. This trilogy is a classic. 4 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Entertaining and enjoyable. One of the few good Fox films. 4 stars
11/13/05 cypress great movie, classic for me, never get bored with it! 5 stars
11/09/05 Stan L 1 great romance, 2 scifi, 3 western, all are time travel fun 5 stars
10/18/05 dave Kick ass 5 stars
9/23/05 noopy gr8 movie...nice starting & fabulous climax 5 stars
8/28/05 D Buckley Good times. Good times. 5 stars
8/27/05 EZ Amazing 5 stars
8/20/05 Derek Morse My favorite movie EVER! 5 stars
8/18/05 ES The whole series was well worth the effort, entertaining and fun 5 stars
8/03/05 ALDO Closest thing to a perfect movie. Characters, music, pacing... but 2 and 3 were mistakes 5 stars
6/28/05 brycicle gr8 i love these movies 5 stars
6/12/05 Manu Ginobli The best trilogy of movies, ever. 5 stars
5/30/05 Burnt Very over rated 2 stars
5/18/05 Cindy Lovell A great trilogy...Dr. Emmit Brown is my favorite! 5 stars
3/27/05 indrid cold Fantastic entertainment. Glover at his one-of-a-kind best. 5 stars
2/27/05 mike bad 1 stars
2/08/05 Jeff Anderson Great 80's nostalgia! The leads are all great, but it's Tom Wilson as Biff who STEALS IT!!! 5 stars
2/04/05 Gray classic 5 stars
1/04/05 ALDO a true classic 5 stars
10/22/04 Tom fun to watch 5 stars
9/30/04 john k fanfreakintaboulous 5 stars
8/14/04 Alien assassin Head and shoulders above most mainstream features released in the 1980's !!! 5 stars
8/05/04 Steely Dan Best flick ever! This movie has it all. 5 stars
7/30/04 American Slasher Goddess An absolute classic. 5 stars
6/03/04 Mr. me hey "snow" are you on angel dust? 5 stars
6/01/04 Nobody Knock knock hey McFly this is a classic! 5 stars
5/15/04 Read it, Seen it, Done it If you saw this, as I did, in 1985, you know why it's a classic! 5 stars
3/31/04 Laura Ward Childish, suitable for teenagers of the eighties I suppose. So so Acting, lame story! 2 stars
3/28/04 john great stuff! a truly original sci fi adventure 5 stars
3/25/04 Gray great fun 5 stars
3/23/04 Alex Brown Almost perfect screenplay 5 stars
1/21/04 Betty White Overrated, but still plesant enough comedy. 3 stars
1/16/04 Littlepurch Not much you can say - AMAZING! Will always be a classic. 5 stars
12/27/03 Dr. Egon Spengler AS YOU SAY, "AWESOME"! 5 stars
12/09/03 Samuel One of the Greatest films of all time!! 5/5 stars 5 stars
9/28/03 JJ An excellent time-warp fun adventure movie whatever time period your in! 5 stars
6/24/03 Grumpy210 Awesome! 5 stars
6/18/03 Andrew Callaway Only okay... nothing special. 4 stars
4/29/03 Buko A classic movie. One of the best ever 5 stars
3/30/03 Matt Thiel Studios: let your filmmakers tell a good story, and the money will roll in. 5 stars
2/18/03 natasha_theobald sweet and oddly romantic -- carried on the charm of the cast 4 stars
2/11/03 Ubu the Ripper A delightful family movie. Script is just so-so. But great premise and acting. 5 stars
2/05/03 123 perfect fun, there's something in this movie that its sequel don't posses 5 stars
2/03/03 name Plain fun, something hard to find in movies nowaday 5 stars
12/30/02 John Aster Habig chistopher lloyd' humor michael j fox's charm and zemekis's wit 5 stars
12/28/02 DMF This is a fun movie. But 5 stars? Naahh!! 3 stars
12/27/02 Dominic Love it :) One of THE best ever. Fond memories. 5 stars
12/03/02 Matt ick 2 stars
11/25/02 Mason Can one movie be any more FUN? 5 stars
11/22/02 Wendel This is one that goes on every top ten list 5 stars
11/22/02 dead great 5 stars
10/29/02 Josť humour,suspense and action; perfect 5 stars
10/08/02 chris super-wicked-awesome movie 5 stars
9/29/02 Fuze44 I had to learn that move where he popped his skateboard up into his hand. 5 stars
9/24/02 CVJ Excellent !!!! Just simply Excellent 5 stars
9/04/02 Tony AWESOME 5 stars
8/03/02 TLsmooth This movie is decent, but no way should it be in the top 20. 4 stars
7/11/02 Flounder This truly is a cult classic. One of my all time favorite movies and a must see. 5 stars
6/06/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi cool 5 stars
5/25/02 Charles Tatum Fun film 4 stars
5/24/02 Gabby Laroo 1.21 gigowatts?! greatest movie ever made 5 stars
5/16/02 Dark Baron Can't wait for the DVD 5 stars
4/13/02 oldgoatmon When i was young i liked 2 better. but this really is the best. 5 stars
4/08/02 stoolie-bird the 1980's were was this movie! 4 stars
4/02/02 lauren mccreight a classic..... 4 stars
3/15/02 Zargo tremendously funny and charming film with a wonderful cast 5 stars
3/14/02 Rockitman007 One of my all time favorites!!!!!! 5 stars
3/08/02 Mo Anand My favorite movie of all time...that never gets tiring 5 stars
2/17/02 Clarance Yeah, back to the future is good...but definitely not my favorite 3 stars
1/31/02 Doug Great 5 stars
12/29/01 paul the movie of the 80s 5 stars
11/30/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Great comedy and fantasy. The precise little detail change. From Twin to Lone Pin Mall. 5 stars
11/27/01 damon_dee hey where's Michael J Fox in the cast box? 5 stars
11/10/01 DMF Pretty good fun, but ultimately a throw-away. 3 stars
11/10/01 Rampage well worth a rental, and kick-ass too! 5 stars
11/03/01 Chris Batchelor same as other's comments 5 stars
11/02/01 Connoisseur "it is a very polish film"?!? what are you nuts KC Au (great nickname too)? 5 stars
10/30/01 carla sanchez one of THE greatest movies, a definite must see, a movie that is filed under "classics" 5 stars
10/23/01 Soggy Bottom Boy Solid, fun comedy. 4 stars
10/22/01 Idot stick Hey, if Marty changed the future but remained the same doesn't that there's a 2nd Marty? 5 stars
10/02/01 Phoenix One of the funniest movies ever made. 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk A childhood favorite. Still holds up after all these years. Best of the series. 5 stars
8/02/01 KC Au One of my favorite movies! It is a very polish, well paced and well executed film. 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg Class . 5 stars
7/11/01 Fish Eye Classic comedy movie - this movie was perfectly cast 5 stars
6/09/01 Turtle Michael J. Fox at his best! Although he's superb in all of his movies. 5 stars
5/24/01 Deanna "This is heavy" 5 stars
5/23/01 I love movies 1.21 gigawatts!!! 5 stars
5/11/01 J THE Micheal J. Fox movie! 5 stars
4/11/01 Eternity Best movie of all time, I swear to you. Everything about it is absolute movie magic. A+++++ 5 stars
4/06/01 fifu great movie it's a classic the movie that made Fox's famous 5 stars
3/01/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Thoroughly original, and a hell of a good can you NOT dig it??!! 5 stars
2/18/01 Jake a sweet piece of Americana 5 stars
2/04/01 Invader I loved this movie as its pure fanasy escapism and optimistic, can we return to 1985? 5 stars
1/15/01 perverted pixie Crispin Glover is my density. 5 stars
1/04/01 R.W. Welch One of the ultimate fun movies, with sequels almost as good. 5 stars
12/27/00 Turtle "Go, Johnny, go! Johnny B. Good!" 5 stars
10/27/00 dan 1.21 gigawatts!!! 5 stars
9/28/00 Laura This is one the best movies ever made. 5 stars
9/08/00 Jed Pure solid 80's classic! 5 stars
9/01/00 Matthew Bartley 'Last night Darth Vader came down from Vulcan and threatened to melt my brain' 5 stars
8/29/00 DokBrowne No kidding - the greatest movie of all time. I've devoted my life to it. In Marty we trust 5 stars
8/23/00 Josh Luther The best movie ever,always loved the movie since the 1st grade. 5 stars
8/23/00 zall wonderful 5 stars
8/13/00 Cidec Stark really funny 4 stars
8/12/00 Justin Absolutely brilliant! The best movie of all time! Funny, Exciting, A Masterpiece!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/18/00 Gen Whoa...heavy!!! 5 stars
5/30/00 perverted pixie A Sci Fi classic! Glover & Wilson steal all- "Think McFly, Think!" 5 stars
4/24/00 SID This was probably my most-watched movie when I was a kid. It's a classic. 5 stars
2/07/00 steve layne The best in the trilogy 5 stars
1/20/00 Jedi15 One of my favorites as a kid. And it's still great to watch. 5 stars
12/23/99 Michael "Doc" Browne The best movie of all time 5 stars
11/23/99 Ralf Behet Charming, funny, witty. One of the best teenie-films of all time. 5 stars
10/01/99 Doug Paulsen Good fun. 5 stars
8/21/99 Olivia Neutron-Bomb I want to fuck Crispin Glover. I just do. 5 stars
5/04/99 Big Dog 1.21 gigawatts 5 stars
4/08/99 Ah Dooey Excellent movie. Now get lost! 5 stars
2/01/99 Vick Di Brecci Always felt the scene where Marty meets his dad was very well acted by Fox.Other scenes too 4 stars
9/16/98 Trav Great movie, though not near-perfect. Typical commercial movie of the 1980s. 4 stars
9/15/98 Negative Creep The Perfect Film. Now make like A tree and get outta here°° 5 stars
8/31/98 MikeF it rocked man! 5 stars
8/29/98 Miss Stress i liked it, wasn't great, but i liked it. 4 stars
8/21/98 rotten f. milk It's so good, I wanna fix my Beta VCR just so I can see it again! 5 stars
8/18/98 zubilicious anyone that puts huey lewis in their movie is awesome in my book! 5 stars
8/17/98 J-Guy (The MFC) awesome flick. loved it in the 80's love it still. 5 stars
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  03-Jul-1985 (PG)

  02-Feb-1986 (PG)

  02-Feb-1986 (PG)

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