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(1985) (Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Minor Moderate Minor Moderate
Moderate None Mild None Mild
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Mild Minor Minor Minor Moderate

Action/Adventure: A teen inadvertently travels back in time and meets his young parents before they were a couple, causing his future mother to fall for him instead of his father.
Marty McFly (MICHAEL J. FOX) is a typical suburban teen in 1985 with less than perfect parents. His mother, Lorraine (LEA THOMPSON), is a drinking, somewhat bitter woman who isn't happy in her marriage and criticizes Marty's sister for calling boys on the phone. His father, George (CRISPIN GLOVER), is a sniveling nerd, still terrorized and ridiculed by former school classmate and bully, Biff Tannen (THOMAS F. WILSON). Marty spends most of his time with the local eccentric inventor, Doctor Emmett Brown (CHRISTOPHER LLOYD) who has just recently developed a time machine out of a Delorean sports car. In a mishap, Marty is inadvertently sent back to 1955 where he meets his teenage parents before they're a couple. To make matters worse, he unknowingly causes Lorraine to fall for him instead of George, thus threatening Marty's future existence. From then on, Marty must make sure his parents meet and fall in love while avoiding Biff, and working with Brown to get him back to the future.
If they're fans of Fox, sci-fi type adventure films, or have just heard about this movie, they probably will.
The reason is not available, but we'd guess it was for language and some mild violent scenes.
  • MICHAEL J. FOX play a typical teen who swears a little, but mainly in reaction to the strange situation he finds himself in.
  • CHRISTOPHER LLOYD plays an eccentric inventor whose only bad trait is behaving eccentrically.
  • LEA THOMPSON plays an adult who's a heavy drinker (mainly implied), and a flirtatious teenager.
  • CRISPIN GLOVER plays a nerd unsure of himself as an adult and a teen, who doesn't stand up to the class bully until the very end of the story.
  • THOMAS F. WILSON plays a bully (as an adult and teen) who terrorizes those who are weaker than him.


    OUR TAKE: 9 out of 10
    One of the best time travel movies ever made, this film features a nearly perfect cast that works from an intelligent, clever script. Starting with the age-old idea of what would happen if you traveled back in time and met your relatives, this film takes that notion several steps further. By having Marty's mother fall for him instead of his father, the film adds not only a great predicament for him to overcome, but also allows a teen to see what his parents were like at his age. It's very clever and many jokes are made not only concerning his parents then and now, but also contrasting the different decades. All of the actors/actresses are perfectly cast and deliver more than adequate performances, although Fox's diminutive size doesn't hold up very well as a possible threat to Wilson's hulking bully. Still, this was the film that sent Fox's movie career into orbit and spawned two equally thought-provoking but less commercially successful sequels. What makes this film so good, however, is the human element behind it. Unlike nearly all other time travel movies, this story isn't only about that sci-fi device. Here it's about family and McFly's efforts to bring his family back together (in a manner of words) and in doing so makes them a stronger unit. The time travel material, while fun and imaginative, is just the fizz in the soda. It's filling, but ultimately is just a bunch of gas that wouldn't stand up well without the more human elements of the plot. This film also brought director Robert Zemeckis into the spotlight and showed the beginnings of his flair for dramatically mixing solid stories and special effects, both of which pervaded his later films such as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Forrest Gump," and "Contact." Never dull or complicated beyond comprehension (as some time travel stories are), the film is entertaining with winning performances from everyone involved. As an extra treat for those who like such things, the film contains many subtle nuances that are only noticed with repeated viewings (notice the name of the shopping in different scenes) and were probably missed the first time you saw this film. A movie that so far has stood the test of time, "Back to the Future" is still as enjoyable as it was more than a decade ago, and we give it a 9 out of 10.
    Language and a few non-graphic violent scenes are the worst of the material in this film. Five "s" words and an assortment of "lesser" words and phrases are scattered throughout the movie. The "Violence" and "Guns/Weapons" categories received moderate ratings because a terrorist shoots the Doc Brown character with a machine gun, supposedly killing him (with a time travel story, however, what's been done isn't always what will be done the next time around and in this instance, he's okay). Nonetheless for that reason alone, we gave the moderate ratings. Beyond that there a few punches thrown, some mild sexual material (no nudity or anything like that), and some drinking. Biff's behavior heads up the worst of the bad attitude category and there are a few imitative behaviors that you may not want your kids repeating (including being pulled along on a skateboard while holding onto a moving vehicle). Relatively tame when compared to today's movies, you should still check out the content if impressionable viewers will be seeing this film.

  • As an adult, Biff grabs a beer out of the fridge.
  • As an adult, Lorraine pours vodka into whatever she's drinking.
  • Lorraine's father has a beer on the table at dinner.
  • Lorraine takes a swig of alcohol from a flask and tells Marty that "Everybody's who anybody drinks." Marty takes it from her (commenting on how it might lead to future drinking problems) and then absentmindedly takes a swig himself.
  • The guys with Biff drink beer.
  • One of Biff's cohorts tells some musicians that they "don't want to mess with no reefer addicts," and while smoke comes from their car, there's no indication that it's marijuana.
  • A drunk on a park bench holds a bottle of liquor.
  • Doc grabs a beer can from the trash and pours the remaining liquid into his time machine for fuel.
  • A musician has a slightly bloody bandage on his hand after cutting it.
  • Biff has both as a student and as an adult, specifically in the way that he treats George at both ages (bullying George into writing school and work reports for him), and the way he paws at Lorraine in several scenes.
  • We learn that Doc Brown stole plutonium from some terrorists who hired him to make a bomb for them (he didn't).
  • A white restaurant owner (in the 50's) comments on Marty telling a black busboy that he'll be the mayor in the future. The owner says, "A colored mayor? That'll be the day."
  • One of Biff's cohorts calls a black musician, "Spook."
  • Some viewers may think that some scenes listed under "Violence" are tense, but none of them are too bad.
  • The ending where Doc and Marty try to get Marty back to the future has a few suspenseful moments, such as when Doc hangs from a clock tower as time begins to run out for Marty's trip.
  • Machine Gun: Used by several terrorists to shoot Doc Brown and to shoot at Marty.
  • Shoulder Missile Launcher: Also used by the terrorists as they aim it at Marty but don't fire it.
  • Shotgun: Fired at Marty by a farmer who thinks Marty's a space alien.
  • Phrases: "Nutcase," "Slacker," "Butt head," "Sucker," "Bastard," "Dork," "Idiot," "Punk," and "Peckerwood."
  • In several scenes Marty catches a ride holding on to the back of different vehicles while skateboarding.
  • Marty is known for being late and receives his fourth tardy notice at school.
  • Biff taps George on the head asking, "Hello. Anybody home?" and gets him to the look at the floor (shoe's untied) and then slaps him in the face.
  • Marty tears a page from a phone book.
  • Marty finds George (as a teen) high in a tree spying with binoculars as Lorraine undresses.
  • Some students playfully kick George's butt (he has a "kick me" sign on his back).
  • None.
  • There's a mild amount of suspenseful music in the movie.
  • None.
  • 5 "s" words, 12 damns, 8 hells, 3 "ass" words (1 used with "hole"), 3 S.O.B.'s, 6 uses each of "Oh my God," and "Jesus," 3 uses of "G-damn," 2 uses each of "Jesus Christ" and "My God," and 1 use each of "God" and "Oh God."
  • Marty's girlfriend, Jennifer, asks him if his mom knows about them going to the lake together (implying that there might be some fooling around between them).
  • A movie marquee shows the title "Orgy American Style," and is seen in the background of a shot.
  • Marty finds George (as a teen) high in a tree spying with binoculars watching Lorraine undress (she's seen in her bra and slip).
  • Lorraine has "the hots" for Marty (in a 1950's way) and tells him that she's never seen underwear (purple) like he's wearing.
  • Biff sits behind Lorraine in the cafeteria and paws at her saying, "You know you want it. You know you want me to give it to you." She then smacks him and says, "I'm not that kind of girl." He replies, "Maybe you are and you don't know it yet."
  • Marty tells George about his plan to get him to rescue Lorraine from Marty's staged advances. After he tells George that nice girls get upset when guys try to take advantage of them, George asks, "You mean you're going to touch her on her..." but doesn't finish the question.
  • Later in a parked car with Marty, Lorraine tells him that she likes to park and that it's not her first time.
  • Lorraine shows some cleavage in her low-cut dance dress.
  • Lorraine briefly lights up a cigarette in a car.
  • Some musicians get out of a smokey car.
  • Some students smoke outside a dance.
  • Marty's family (in the 1980's) is dysfunctional and his mother has alcoholic tendencies and isn't happy about her marriage, but none of it is too bad.
  • Time travel.
  • School bullies and standing up to them.
  • Marty is blown across the room by the output of a large speaker.
  • Several terrorists show up and shoot Doc Brown with a machine gun and then chase Marty and shoot at him as well and crash their van into a small building.
  • Marty crashes the Delorean into a barn and then runs over a tree as he flees from a farmer who fires a shotgun at him (thinking he's a space alien).
  • Marty is hit by a car and knocked unconscious.
  • Lorraine smacks Biff for pawing at her.
  • Biff and Marty push each other in the cafeteria and get ready to punch one another, but they're stopped.
  • Marty trips Biff, slugs him, and then knocks down his cohorts and races outside. He accidentally knocks over several people as Biff and the others chase him. They drive through some park hedges and throw bottles and cans at him. They then try to ram him (on his skateboard) into a truck but end up crashing into it themselves.
  • Biff pulls Marty from a parked car and then starts to paw Lorraine while the other guys punch Marty in the gut and take him away.
  • George tries to throw a punch at Biff who deflects it and bends George's arm behind him. Lorraine tries to help, but Biff pushes her to the ground by her face. George then gets mad, winds up a punch, and knocks Biff out.
  • George pushes another student to the dance floor after he rudely cuts in on a dance with Lorraine.

  • Reviewed July 26, 1997

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