Back to the Future (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

Back to the Future1985

Back to the Future (1985)



Critic Consensus: Inventive, funny, and breathlessly constructed, Back to the Future is a rousing time-travel adventure with an unforgettable spirit.

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Contemporary high schooler Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) doesn't have the most pleasant of lives. Browbeaten by his principal at school, Marty must also endure the acrimonious relationship between his nerdy father (Crispin Glover) and his lovely mother (Lea Thompson), who in turn suffer the bullying of middle-aged jerk Biff (Thomas F. Wilson), Marty's dad's supervisor. The one balm in Marty's life is his friendship with eccentric scientist Doc (Christopher Lloyd), who at present is working on a time machine. Accidentally zapped back into the 1950s, Marty inadvertently interferes with the budding romance of his now-teenaged parents. Our hero must now reunite his parents-to-be, lest he cease to exist in the 1980s. It won't be easy, especially with the loutish Biff, now also a teenager, complicating matters. Beyond its dazzling special effects, the best element of Back to the Future is the performance of Michael J. Fox, who finds himself in the quagmire of surviving the white-bread 1950s with a hip 1980s mindset. Back to the Future cemented the box-office bankability of both Fox and the film's director, Robert Zemeckis, who went on to helm two equally exhilarating sequels. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Michael J. Fox
as Marty McFly
Christopher Lloyd
as Dr. Emmett Brown
Crispin Glover
as George McFly
Lea Thompson
as Lorraine Baines
Thomas F. Wilson
as Biff Tannen
Claudia Wells
as Jennifer Parker
Marc McClure
as David McFly
Wendie Jo Sperber
as Linda McFly
George DiCenzo
as Sam Baines
James Tolkan
as Strickland
Frances Lee McCain
as Stella Baines
Harry Waters Jr.
as Marvin Berry
J.J. Cohen
as Skinhead
Donald Fullilove
as Goldie Wilson
Elsa Raven
as Clocktower Lady
Will Hare
as Pa Peabody
Ivy Bethune
as Ma Peabody
Jason Marin
as Sherman Peabody
Katherine Britton
as Peabody Daughter
Jason Hervey
as Milton Baines
Maia Brewton
as Sally Baines
Jeff O'Haco
as Terrorist Van Driver
Johnny Green
as Scooter Kid
Jamie Abbott
as Scooter Kid
Sachi Parker
as Bystander
Robert Krantz
as Bystander
Tommy Lee Thomas
as Starlighter
David Harold Brown
as Starlighter
Lloyd L. Tolbert
as Starlighter
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Critic Reviews for Back to the Future

All Critics (83) | Top Critics (30)

"Back to the Future" is the best comic-strip movie I've seen this year. It's well-made, lighthearted and is exactly the right length to give you excitement and laughs and a few surprises, and then it's over, leaving you feeling good.

June 26, 2020 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Zemeckis and Gale have cannily chosen the time periods, which are funny as much for their similarities (political and materalistic) as their contrasts (music, fashions, language).

October 21, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Though it is hardly one of the greater flights of cinematic imagination to be seen since science fantasy reared its head as mass appeal material again, it would be virtually impossible not to enjoy it in some way or another.

October 21, 2015 | Full Review…

Every bit as classy, clever and cockle-warming as it was 30 years ago.

October 20, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Kids and parents alike are gonna dig this wonderful fantasy.

July 7, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Zemeckis and Gale have given the movie a core of feeling that makes real claims on us. For all its comedy, Back to the Future is about a kid coming to terms with his parents' inadequacies, a moment familiar to everyone, and the fulcrum in growing up.

June 23, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Back to the Future

One of the best and clever movies Ive ever seen my third favorite film made. I love how when Marty goes back to the past everything is intertwined into the future for the film. The mayor who was a employee at the diner, the uncle who's in jail who in the past as a baby cries every time he gets taken out of his caged crib, and how all the things are altered in the future, like Crispin Glover who plays Marty's dad who becomes a man when he kicks Biff's ass and how Biff is no longer dominant over George Mcfly's life

Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer


A wonderful adventure that relies on a first-rate script full of nuances and details (some of which you only notice after watching the film thirty times), great visual effects, an unforgettable score and an exceptional cast - especially Crispin Glover, who deserved an Oscar.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

I love Back to the Future. While having a typical 80s feel to it, which I like, I love how fun, irresistible and original the film is. The special effects are dazzling and the comedy is suitably sly and sophisticated. Helping along the way is a script that is pretty ingenious, the sort of script that has quotable lines and also pokes fun at 1950s icons and lifestyles during the frequent bouts of time travelling. The score by Alan Silvestri elevates the sense of fun to a greater level, the main theme is one of the most memorable themes ever in the history of film, or so I think anyway. Robert Zemekis's direction is very good, and the cinematography, scenery and costumes are also excellent. And I have to mention the acting, Michael J Fox is really appealing in the role of Marty McFly, the role that propelled him to stardom, and Christopher Lloyd is brilliant in one of his most memorable roles(and yes this includes Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Professor Plum from Clue). Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover are also great. Overall, brilliant film that is good in so many ways. 4 stars 10-27-07 (Updated)

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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