The Back to the Future trilogy is a comedic science fiction film trilogy written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, directed by Zemeckis, and distributed by Universal Pictures. The plot follows the adventures of high-school student Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and scientist Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) as they use a modified DeLorean automobile to time travel to different periods in the history of Hill Valley, California.

The first film was the highest grossing film of 1985 and became an international phenomenon, leading to two sequels which were filmed back-to-back and released in 1989 and 1990 respectively. The trilogy is widely noted for its irreverent comedy, eccentric characters and ability to incorporate complex theories of time-travel without confusing the audience.[citation needed] Though the two sequels did not perform quite as well at the box office as the first film, the trilogy remains immensely popular and has yielded such spin-offs as an animated television series and a motion-simulation ride at the Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando, Florida (ride now closed as of late March 2007); Universal City, California (ride closed on September 3, 2007), and Osaka, Japan.

References in other media[]

Back to the Future[]

  • In one episode of the American television show Supernatural, Dean is transported to the past by an angel and has several experiences mimicking the film. Dean meets his father in a diner (the entire scene is an obvious parody), there is a minor character named Dr. Brown, Dean asks the angel if they " a hold of some DeLoreans or something" to send him back, He is referred to as "Future boy" and many other subtle references appear throughout the episode.
  • A Simpsons episode titled "Bart to the Future" has an Indian sachem showing what Bart's future may look like 30 years from now. The bully Nelson Munt is a nightclub owner with a dark suit, turtleneck, and better styled hair than he had as a child. The future Nelson's appearance and business ownership was a nod to the powerful Biff of 1985A and the title is like Back to the Future. In another episode of the Simpsons "That 90's Show", Homer is playing a grunge song to much success, and 'Marvin Cobain' calls his cousin Kurt to let him know of the sound, in reference to the famous scene of 'Marvin Berry' calling his cousin Chuck for him to hear Marty playing "Johnny B. Goode".
  • The 2007 movie Knocked Up in the scene where Ben, Alison, Pete and Debbie are having dinner at a restaurant and Ben and Pete are joking about their future with Pete saying "Where we're going we don't need roads," as well as "I'm gonna throw you in my DeLorean and gun it to 88," much to the chagrin of the annoyed and confused women. There are also some references to Doc Brown.
  • In an episode of Stargate Atlantis, Major Shepherd suggests you would need a "really nice DeLorean" to travel through time and later names a device attached to a time travelling space ship as a "flux capacitor".
  • British band McFly, named themselves after lead character Marty McFly.
  • In the Disney Channel Original Movie Minutemen, Virgil, Charlie, and Zeke need to get permission to access room 77 in order to build their time machine. They get permission by having a club at their high school called, "Back to the Future Fan Club."
  • In Garfield and Friends, the U.S. Acres episode "Quack to the Future" is a spoof of Back to the Future. The main character Garfield travels through time using a Delorean.
  • In the 2007 Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code", the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) uses Back to the Future to explain how time can be changed to his companion Martha Jones.
  • Kanye West's song "Good Morning" from his Graduation album contains the third verse lyric "Look at the Valedictorians/Scared of the future while I hop in the DeLorean". The music video also includes a flying DeLorean not unlike the one seen at the end of the first film. Kanye's "Dropout Bear" mascot tries to fly off to school in the DeLorean in the beginning of the music video when he finds out he is late for his graduation ceremony, but the car stalls and he is left to run all the way. He and his friends are later seen flying in a topless version of the car at the end of the video.
  • The Disney Channel series Phineas and Ferb has an episode where the title characters build a "Flying Car of the Future Today" out of their mom's station wagon. Candace and Jeremy later use it on the way to rescue Phineas and Ferb, with the music in the background resembling the Back to the Future theme before they crash it. An earlier episode has Candace walking into Jeremy's house dressed like Marty in his hazmat suit.
  • Issue #259 of the VG Cats webcomic sees Aeris, fed up with Leo's feeble attempts at humour (mostly from internet forums), use a BTTF-style DeLorean (with visible flux capacitor) to travel many years into the past and kill him in utero, effectively 'aborting Leo from time.' (Ironically, Leo reappears two strips later despite this, claiming he 'got better') The comic features not only the time machine, but Aeris wears Marty's signature bodywarmer jacket and sunglasses; these items, along with the car's key, are initially held in an emergency-break-glass case with the label 'Break glass in case you need to make like a tree and get outta here,' a reference to the one-liner antagonist Biff regularly misuses.
  • An episode of Pokémon: The Abridged Series has satired Back to the Future, with a girl telling Ash to defeat his future self after he became obsessed with fighting Pokémon thirty years ago, simultaneously parodying the events of lightning striking the clock tower in Hill Valley and Biff Tannen rising to power in 1985A.
  • In "Peter", the 16th episode of the second season of the American television series Fringe, September meets with his associates, August and December, outside of a movie theater in an alternate dimension. The movie that is listed on the theater in this alternate dimension in 1985 is Back to the Future, Staring Eric Stoltz.[1]
  • The Spanish band Delorean name themselves after the movies time travelling DMC-12.
  • Family Guy has made frequent references to the film:
    • In "Meet the Quagmires," Brian explains how the future changed a la Doc Brown. Brian takes over the dance band and plays "Earth Angel" while Peter proposes to Lois, and then when prompted, he says, "Here's a song by a gay guy," before starting to play "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. The injured bandleader, Rick's cousin "Marvin Astley" calls him up to listen to the song. The scene is a spoof on the performance of "Earth Angel" and "Johnny B. Goode" at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.
    • In the episode "The Courtship of Stewie's Father", is a flashback where Doc Brown flies away with Marty and Jennifer and says "Something's gotta be done about your kids. Your Daughter marries a black man." This offends Marty and Jennifer.
    • In "Baby Not On Board", Peter is shown skateboarding to school with Huey Lewis and the News' The Power of Love in the background in a parody of the movie's opening.
    • A flux capacitor is a key part of Stewie's time machine in "Mind Over Murder".
    • Stewie's newer model time machine's return pad runs on uranium in a cylinder similar to the plutonium from Back to the Future in "Road to Germany". Also in "Road to Germany", while being chased by Nazis, Stewie 'borrows' the bottom of a vegetable vendor's wooden cart and uses it as a scooter, much as Marty McFly did in BTTF. Parodying the almost identical scene in BTTF, when the Nazis' car catches up to Stewie's scooter, placing him in imminent jeopardy, Stewie lets the scooter travel under the car while he runs over the top of the Nazis' heads to retrieve the scooter at the back end, causing the Nazis to turn around to watch and then crash into the back of a truck filled with manure, which as a result of the impact dislodges and covers them. And when Brian and Stewie first arrive in Poland, they leave twin fire tracks just like the Delorean.
    • Peter drives the Delorean time machine in "The Perfect Castaway".
    • "If I'm Dyin', I'm Lyin'" features Peter's cousin Rufus, who stared in the fictitious blaxploitation film Black to the Future.
    • Marty is seen shouting at Stewie during a storm in "The Juice Is Loose".
  • In The Suite Life on Deck episode "International Dateline", the S.S. Tipton is repeatedly struck by lightning while crossing the International Dateline and sent a few hours back in time, creating a temporal loop. Lightning induced time travel is a major plot point in Back to the Future.
  • The second episode of Ashes to Ashes featured the central protagonist, time-travelling Detective Inspector Alex Drake, riding through London in a DeLorean twenty-seven years in the past.
  • In the Drake & Josh TV special, Merry Christmas Drake & Josh, Crazy Steve drives off in his DeLorean, and as he did, his licence plate fell off and spun around before falling down flat on the road, just like the visual gag in the movie.
  • In the Wizards of Waverly Place episode "Franken-Girl", Justin uses the electrical current of "1.28 gigawatts" from his wand to bring Franken-Girl to life.

Back to the Future Part II[]

  • In the Family Guy episode "Meet the Quagmires," Peter goes back in time and ends up not marrying Lois, altering history much like in BTTF II. In the altered timeline, Brian draws a time-line similar to Doc Brown's (while the track "Alternate 1985" from the film score plays in the background) and adds, among the things different, "for some reason, we now have a chalkboard in the living room." Peter also has a photograph of his children which fades throughout the episode, similar to Marty's.
  • At the end of the Family Guy special "Something, Something, Something, Darkside," Chris receives a letter from a mysterious man. The letter is a duplicate of the one at the end of Part II, and the last lines of the special are "He's alive, the Doc's alive, i mean sure he's in 1885, but he's alive!!", mirroring the end of Part II. The man is voiced by Joe Flaherty, who played the Western Union man who delivered the letter in BTTF II.
  • At the end of the Kappa Mikey episode "Easy Come, Easy Gonard", the Lilymu sequence shows Mikey being thrown off a roof by Gonard, but a split second later, Mikey is shown standing on the Lilymu team jet while it is elevating him back to the top, which is a spoof of a scene from the movie.
  • In The Simpsons: Road Rage video game, Professor Frink has a flying car. He mentions that the car has a flux capacitor and that if he goes any faster, the car will travel through time.
  • In the racing videogame Burnout Paradise, the Back to the Future DeLorean was described as "legendary", by way of the game's downloadable content pack "Legendary Cars". The pack includes a car called the Jansen 88 Special, which looks like the Back to the Future DeLorean, and at top speeds leaves behind a trail of fire and hovers above the ground. Other cars in this pack are look-alike homages to the General Lee, the Ecto 1 and KITT from Knight Rider.
  • On 6 July 2010 an internet phenomenon arose over the apparent arrival date of the DeLorean, a screen-cap of the time module showing a date of July 6 2010 was rapidly posted by users of Twitter and Facebook with the caption (or variations of) "Today is the day that Marty McFly arrived in the future after hitting 88mph in a pimped out Delorean in 1985". This is not strictly acurate as Marty McFly went forward (in the film) to 29th October 2015. The screen cap is from the first movie. The first time shown (Jul 06 2010 01:21) is where Doc is planning on heading as he says he is heading to the future. When he sent Einstein to the future it was only by one minute, hence the last time departed (Oct 26 1985 01:20) at the bottom .Unfortunately the Doc never made it to 2010 as he was shot by terrorists.

Back to the Future: Part III[]

  • In an episode of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show when the family travels back in time to the old west, when main character and father Wayne Szalinski is asked his name by the town's inhabitants, he says it's John Wayne. When his wife gives him a look of disbelief, he says that if Marty could be Clint Eastwood in Back to the Future Part III, there was no reason why he could not be John Wayne.
  • In The Polar Express(also directed by Robert Zemeckis), the locomotive is travelling over a series of hills and dips. Meanwhile in the interior of the train, the engineers are attempting to catch the broken cotter pin that is supposed to be holding the throttle together. In the background a flux capacitor can be seen, a nod to the Jules Verne time machine.
    • Also in The Polar Express, the Hero Boy pulls the train's whistle and acknowledges that he's wanted to do that his whole life. This line was said by Doc Brown after he and Marty "borrow" the locomotive.
    • A third reference present in The Polar Express is in the scene in which the locomotive halts abruptly, knocking down passengers in the process. After which, the train is then shown coming close to the camera. This scene mirrors that when Clara Clayton pulls the brakes on the locomotive she was planning on travelling on.
  • In the 2009 Family Guy episode "Business Guy", Peter and Lois are watching Carter's video will, but they play the wrong video, in which Carter says, "If you're watching this, it means the train was not able to push the DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour and I am still stuck in the year 1885." A reference to Part III.


  1. "Peter". Fringe. Fox. 04-01-2010.