Back to the Future Part III (1990)

PG | 119 mins | Science fiction, Western | 25 May 1990

Director:

Robert Zemeckis

Producers:

Bob Gale, Neil Canton

Cinematographer:

Dean Cundey

Production Designer:

Rick Carter

Production Companies:

Universal Pictures , Amblin Entertainment
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HISTORY

       A preview for Back to the Future Part III appeared at the end of Back to the Future Part II (1989, see entry).
       According to production notes from AMPAS library files, in developing a sequel to Back to the Future (1985, see entry), director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale decided they had more material than would fit into a two-hour motion picture. Thus, they contacted Universal Pictures and proposed that they write two films instead of one, with the first to be released Thanksgiving 1989 and the second to follow in summer 1990. Zemeckis and Gale were adamant that the films be released within six months of each other so that viewers would not have to wait too long for a conclusion to the trilogy.
       The decision to take Michael J. Fox’s character, “Marty McFly,” and Christopher Lloyd’s character, “Dr. ‘Doc’ Emmett Brown,” back to the Old West was partly based on Zemeckis’s love for Westerns, according to production notes. Zemeckis stated that he and Gale chose 1885 “because if you go back much further in California history…there would only be some Indians and maybe a few Spanish guys running around.” The set for 1885 Hill Valley was built in Sonora, CA, a popular filming location for Westerns, first seen in Universal’s serial The Red Glove (1919), and later in Western classics such as High Noon (1952, see entry) and the television series Bonanza (NBC, 12 Sep 1959--16 Jan 1973). Sonora’s Sierra Railroad, a “57-mile route” that was built in 1897 and was no longer in use at the time of filming, served as the ... More Less

       A preview for Back to the Future Part III appeared at the end of Back to the Future Part II (1989, see entry).
       According to production notes from AMPAS library files, in developing a sequel to Back to the Future (1985, see entry), director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale decided they had more material than would fit into a two-hour motion picture. Thus, they contacted Universal Pictures and proposed that they write two films instead of one, with the first to be released Thanksgiving 1989 and the second to follow in summer 1990. Zemeckis and Gale were adamant that the films be released within six months of each other so that viewers would not have to wait too long for a conclusion to the trilogy.
       The decision to take Michael J. Fox’s character, “Marty McFly,” and Christopher Lloyd’s character, “Dr. ‘Doc’ Emmett Brown,” back to the Old West was partly based on Zemeckis’s love for Westerns, according to production notes. Zemeckis stated that he and Gale chose 1885 “because if you go back much further in California history…there would only be some Indians and maybe a few Spanish guys running around.” The set for 1885 Hill Valley was built in Sonora, CA, a popular filming location for Westerns, first seen in Universal’s serial The Red Glove (1919), and later in Western classics such as High Noon (1952, see entry) and the television series Bonanza (NBC, 12 Sep 1959--16 Jan 1973). Sonora’s Sierra Railroad, a “57-mile route” that was built in 1897 and was no longer in use at the time of filming, served as the location for Doc and Marty’s time machine launch. Engine Number 3, a train built by “Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works in 1891,” doubled as the steam-powered train needed to push the time machine along the tracks. Another scene in which Marty departs 1955 from the Pohatchee Drive-In Theatre was staged in Monument Valley, UT. There, the cast and crew endured freezing temperatures, with a low of twelve degrees Fahrenheit, although Fox and Lloyd’s costumes were better suited for summer weather.
       According to a 20 May 1990 NYT interview with Lloyd, the film marked the actor’s first onscreen kiss after a fifteen-year career. Zemeckis also commented that Back to the Future Part III showed Marty and Doc exchanging roles, stating that “Marty becomes a man, and Doc Brown…gets in touch with that boyish, romantic, innocent part of himself.” A 23 May 1990 Var review noted that Mary Steenburgen, the actress who played Doc’s love interest, “Clara Clayton,” had formerly rejected Lloyd’s romantic overtures in the film Goin’ South (1978, see entry), another Western.
       According to a 20 Nov 1989 LAT article, the cumulative budget for both Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III was roughly $80 million, with an estimated savings of $10-15 million thanks to the back-to-back production schedules. Some scenes from Back to the Future Part III were shot during principal photography on Back to the Future Part II, according to a 20 Apr 1990 HR “Hollywood Report” column; however, production on the third installment officially began eight days after filming on the second was completed, as stated in a 25 May 1990 HR news item. Principal photography on Back to the Future Part III began Aug 1989, as stated in an 18 Jul 1989 HR item, and, according to production notes, lasted five and a half months. The 20 Nov 1989 LAT noted that, during production, Zemeckis worked eighteen-hour days, dividing his time between shooting the third film and overseeing the editing of the second.
       According to a 20 May 1990 LAT brief, in addition to providing the song “Double Back” to the soundtrack, the band ZZ Top – Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard – made an uncredited cameo appearance as the band that played Hill Valley’s 1885 town festival.
       According to a 31 Aug 1990 HR article, special visual effects producer Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) employed a “two-part prototype image manipulation system” called “’the scanner,’” wherein 35mm film of Back to the Future Part III was digitized using a Kodak scanner, manipulated on computers by special effects artists, then transferred back to film from electronic images containing “4,000 lines of horizontal resolution, considered ‘film quality.’” Sandra R. Ford of ILM stated that Back to the Future Part III “marked ‘the first time computer graphics ha[d] been used to create full-scale bluescreen digital composites for a theatrical release.’” In a particularly challenging bluescreen sequence, ILM had to work around a purple dress worn by Steenburgen. Although purple was a color that ILM could not properly reproduce using traditional bluescreen methods, the producers maintained that the wardrobe choice was non-negotiable.
       One day prior to the wide release of Back to the Future Part III on 25 May 1990, Universal re-released Back to the Future (1985, see entry) and Back to the Future Part II in a triple feature with Back to the Future Part III, charging a single admission price for all three films, as reported in a 25 May 1990 HR article. The triple feature was shown in nineteen U.S. cities, and fans lined up as early as 2am the night before in Los Angeles, CA, with many dressed in Back to the Future garb. In its four-day opening over Memorial weekend, Back to the Future Part III took in $23.7 million in box-office receipts, one of the top ten Memorial Day openings in box-office history to the time, as stated in a 30 May 1990 LAT article. According to a 16 Aug 1990 DV item, the domestic box office had reached $82.1 million, with an additional $81.1 million earned overseas to the time.
       Critical reception was mostly positive. The 23 May 1990 Var review lamented the end of the Back to the Future saga, saying it was “a shame” that Zemeckis and Gale had no plans for another sequel. Many reviews noted that the plot was simpler and less frenetic than the film’s predecessors,’ and Duane Byrge’s 21 May 1990 HR review lauded the technical achievements, including “texturally flawless” special effects, Dean Cundey’s “big-scoped cinematography,” and Rick Carter’s production design. In a more negative review in the 25 May 1990 NYT, Vincent Canby described the story as “astonishingly small” and stated that the humor was “more cheerful than laugh-provoking.”
       According to a 14 Sep 1991 LAT article, a Back to the Future animated television series was launched on CBS television network in Sep 1991, with Lloyd appearing as Doc in live-action sequences, presenting “basic science projects” to viewers. Fox did not participate in the series, which LAT described as “typical ‘70s Saturday-morning fare.”
       A 12 Oct 2011 LAT brief announced that several costume and prop items from the Back to the Future trilogy would be auctioned in Dec 2011, including Marty’s jacket, Doc’s shirt, and one of the seven DeLoreans used in filming, expected to fetch between $400,000 and $600,000.

      In the end credits, producers thank the following individuals and organizations: the people of Tuolumne County, California; the Navajo Nation and Monument Valley Park; Railtown 1897; Bill Ham; Simon Wells; Michael Casper; Daniel Leahy; Tom Gerard; Wendy Greene Bricmont; Laura Perlman; Michael Winslow; Mark Campbell; Rene Gonzalez; Byron Berline; Chuck Domanico; Mitch Holder; Frank Marocco; Tim May; Tommy Morgan; Jeff Ruff; Steve Schaeffer; Dennis Setchet; Buffalo Bob Smith; Michael Jackson; and Clint Eastwood.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1990
p. 4, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 1990
p. 1, 53.
Los Angeles Times
20 Nov 1989
Calendar section, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
20 May 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 May 1990
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
30 May 1990
Calendar section, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
14 Sep 1991
Calendar section, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
12 Oct 2011.
---
New York Times
20 May 1990
Section A, p. 17.
New York Times
25 May 1990
p. 10.
Variety
23 May 1990
p. 33.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Steven Spielberg Presents
A Robert Zemeckis Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d unit dir
Unit prod mgr, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam loader
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Lighting tech
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Video eng
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Best boy, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
Grip best boy, 2d unit
Video playback, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set des
Set des
Set des
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Greensman
Greensman
Stand by painter
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Paint foreman
Paint foreman
Plaster foreman
Prop master, 2d unit
Greensman, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Men's cost supv
Women's cost supv
Cost
Men's cost, 2d unit
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Mus programmer
Mus contractor
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cable person
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Processed eff
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixed by
Foley rec
ADR supv
ADR ed
ADR asst
ADR mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff spuv
Visual eff spuv
Mechanical eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Process composting
Opticals
Spec eff, 2d unit
Spec eff, 2d unit
Spec eff, 2d unit
Spec eff, 2d unit
Spec eff, 2d unit
Spec visual eff prod at
a division of Lucasfilm Ltd., Marin County, California
Visual eff prod, ILM
Visual eff art dir, ILM
Opt photog supv, ILM
Key cam op, ILM
Anim supv, ILM
Eff cam supv, ILM
Rotoscope supv, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Supv model maker, ILM
Supv stage tech, ILM
Transportation capt, ILM
Exec in charge of prod, ILM
Exec in charge of post prod, ILM
Gen mgr, ILM
Visual eff coord, ILM
Visual eff coord, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt processing, ILM
Opt processing, ILM
Opt processing, ILM
Cam op, ILM
Cam op, ILM
VistaGlide op, ILM
VistaGlide eng, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam eng coord, ILM
Eff cam op, ILM
Eff cam op, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
FX coord, ILM
Chief modelmaker, ILM
Chief modelmaker, ILM
Model mechanical des, ILM
Model mechanical des, ILM
Model mechanical des, ILM
Model mechanical des, ILM
Model mechanical des, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Asst eff ed, ILM
Asst eff ed, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Stage construction, ILM
Stage construction, ILM
Stage construction, ILM
Greensman, ILM
Greensman, ILM
Greensman, ILM
Grip, ILM
Grip, ILM
Elec, ILM
Elec, ILM
Elec, ILM
Elec, ILM
Elec, ILM
Elec, ILM
Elec, ILM
Elec, ILM
Mechanical eff, ILM
Mechanical eff, ILM
Supv pyro tech, ILM
Pyro tech, ILM
Pyro tech, ILM
Pyro tech, ILM
Pyro tech, ILM
Cam eng, ILM
Cam eng, ILM
Train loc coord, ILM
Train transportation crew, ILM
Train transportation crew, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Negative cutter, ILM
Negative cutter, ILM
Negative cutter, ILM
Prod accountant, ILM
Opt coord, ILM
Ed coord, ILM
Visual eff extra, ILM
Prod asst, ILM
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Key make-up artist
Key make-up artist
Michael J. Fox's make-up
Mary Steenburgen's make-up
Addl make-up
Addl make-up
Key hair stylist
Key hair stylist
Michael J. Fox's hair
Addl hair
Hair stylist, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Loc mgr
Supv prod accountant
Supv prod coord
Co-prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod controller
Prod accountant
Const accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
DGA trainee
DGA trainee
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Craft service
First aid
Loc projectionist
Loc projectionist
Dialect coach
Gunslinger adv
Studio teacher
Asst to Mr. Zemeckis
Asst to Mr. Gale
Asst to Mr. Canton
Asst to Mr. Starkey
Asst to Mr. Marshall
Asst to Michael J. Fox
Asst to Michael J. Fox
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Transportation co-capt
Mechanic
Shotmaker insert car
Ramrod
Wrangler
Wrangler
Re-enactor coord
Casting asst
Extras casting
Extras casting in Sonora/Jamestown
Extras casting in Sonora/Jamestown
Dog trainer
Dog trainer
Bear and trainers provided by
Post-prod supv
Scr supv, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
First aid, 2d unit
Craft service, 2d unit
Catering, 2d unit
Transportation capt, 2d unit
Helicopter pilot, 2d unit
WESCAM provided by, 2d unit
Wescam tech, 2d unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Michael J. Fox's stand-in
Marty photo double
Marty dance double
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale.
SONGS
"Double Back," written and performed by ZZ Top, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, available on Warner Bros. Records
"Power of Love," written by Huey Lewis, Johnny Colla and Chris Hayes, performed by Huey Lewis and the News, courtesy of Chrysalis Records, Inc.
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 May 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 25 May 1990
New York opening: week of 25 May 1990
Production Date:
began August 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc., and U-Drive Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 July 1990
Copyright Number:
PA473604
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Color by Deluxe®
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
119
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30392
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On 12 November 1955 at 10:03pm, teenager Marty McFly reunites with young Doctor “Doc” Emmett Brown and announces that he is back from the future after time traveling. The next morning, Marty shows young Doc a letter sent from an older version of Doc who has time traveled back to 1885 and is living there now. In the letter, Doc says that his time machine was hit by lightning and can no longer fly, so he plans to stay in the Old West. He also writes that the time machine has been buried under the Delgado Mine and he’s sent a map so that Marty and young Doc can find and repair it. Doc instructs Marty to return to 1985 once the time machine is fixed and destroy the vehicle when he gets there. Lastly, Doc forbids Marty from returning to 1885 to retrieve him lest they further disturb the already altered space-time continuum. At the site where Marty and young Doc find the buried time machine, Marty notices an old gravestone with Doc’s name on it, stating that he was shot and killed by Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen on 7 September 1885. Marty takes a picture of the gravestone, and, later, procures Western clothing while young Doc fixes the time machine. Hoping to save Doc, Marty travels back to 2 September 1885, five days before Doc’s murder. As he arrives in the Old West, Marty hides the time machine in a cave, but is chased out by a bear. Marty falls and passes out on the property of Seamus McFly, Marty’s ancestor whom Marty closely resembles. When Marty wakes up inside the McFly home, Seamus’s wife, Maggie McFly, ... +


On 12 November 1955 at 10:03pm, teenager Marty McFly reunites with young Doctor “Doc” Emmett Brown and announces that he is back from the future after time traveling. The next morning, Marty shows young Doc a letter sent from an older version of Doc who has time traveled back to 1885 and is living there now. In the letter, Doc says that his time machine was hit by lightning and can no longer fly, so he plans to stay in the Old West. He also writes that the time machine has been buried under the Delgado Mine and he’s sent a map so that Marty and young Doc can find and repair it. Doc instructs Marty to return to 1985 once the time machine is fixed and destroy the vehicle when he gets there. Lastly, Doc forbids Marty from returning to 1885 to retrieve him lest they further disturb the already altered space-time continuum. At the site where Marty and young Doc find the buried time machine, Marty notices an old gravestone with Doc’s name on it, stating that he was shot and killed by Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen on 7 September 1885. Marty takes a picture of the gravestone, and, later, procures Western clothing while young Doc fixes the time machine. Hoping to save Doc, Marty travels back to 2 September 1885, five days before Doc’s murder. As he arrives in the Old West, Marty hides the time machine in a cave, but is chased out by a bear. Marty falls and passes out on the property of Seamus McFly, Marty’s ancestor whom Marty closely resembles. When Marty wakes up inside the McFly home, Seamus’s wife, Maggie McFly, tends to him. Marty recognizes Maggie, who looks just like his mother Lorraine, and introduces himself as “Clint Eastwood.” In town the next day, Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen and his gang enter a saloon and bullies Marty, mistaking him for Seamus. Recognizing Doc’s future murderer, Marty addresses Tannen as “Mad Dog,” and Tannen becomes irate, shooting at Marty’s feet. Tannen tries to kill Marty, but runs out of bullets, and Marty flees with Tannen’s crew following on horseback. Doc arrives and saves Marty from being hanged by Tannen’s men. Tannen announces that Doc, the town blacksmith, owes him eighty dollars due to some shoddy horseshoe work. Doc refuses to pay, and Tannen says he will someday shoot Doc in the back. Afterward, Doc reprimands Marty for traveling to 1885 against his wishes, but Marty shows Doc a photograph of the gravestone he found, explaining why he had to save Doc. A woman named Clara also is named on the gravestone as Doc’s "beloved," but Doc swears he hasn’t formed any personal relationships so that the space-time continuum would not alter. Later that day, Mayor Hubert visits Doc’s shop to announce the arrival of a new schoolteacher, Clara Clayton, and he asks for Doc’s help in greeting her the following day. Although Marty believes Doc will fall in love with Clara, whose name is on the gravestone, Doc says he will send someone else to meet her in order to avoid a romantic entanglement. Making plans to travel back to 1985 together, Marty informs Doc that he tore the fuel line on the time machine. Doc panics because the engine requires gasoline, which is not available in 1885. Doc decides their only chance is to push the time machine with a train, but when Marty and Doc question a train engineer, he says the locomotive can only reach fifty-five miles per hour. Since the time machine needs to reach eighty-eight miles per hour to achieve time travel, Doc and Marty devise a scheme to commandeer the train, and, in order to gain the necessary speed, release all excess cars, driving it along a flat stretch of track that ends at an unfinished bridge jutting over a ravine. As they examine the unfinished bridge, Doc hears a woman calling for help from her horse-drawn carriage. Doc saves the woman from falling into the ravine and realizes that she is Clara Clayton, the new schoolteacher he was trying to avoid. Doc and Clara fall in love at first sight and agree to see each other again at the town festival that night. Later, as Doc and Clara dance at the festival, Tannen breaks in and knocks Clara to the ground after she kicks him. Tannen tries to shoot Doc, but Marty blocks the shot, prompting Tannen to challenge Marty to a gunfight the following Monday at 8am. Doc escorts Clara to her home where they discuss their mutual love of astronomy and Jules Verne before sharing a kiss. The next morning, Doc notices that the photograph of his future gravestone has altered; although the date of death is still visible, Doc’s name has vanished. Doc worries that Marty’s name might replace his, but Marty believes he will return to the future with Doc on Monday morning and avoid the gunfight altogether. Doc warns Marty about the problem he suffers from in the future, in which he makes bad decisions once anyone calls him a coward. Marty wants to know more about this "problem," but Doc says that no one should know too much about their future. As they work on the time machine, Doc says he wants to stay in 1885 with Clara, but Marty argues against it. Doc goes to Clara’s house to announce that he’s leaving, although when he explains that he must return to the future, she slaps him and accuses him of lying. Doc goes to the saloon and orders a shot of whiskey, but the bartender reminds Doc that he cannot tolerate alcohol. So, Doc ends up simply holding the shot in his hand. The next morning, Doc is still holding his shot, rambling to saloon patrons about the future. Marty finds Doc at the saloon and tells him they must head to the train tracks, but Doc takes his shot of whiskey and falls to the floor. Meanwhile, Clara buys a one-way ticket and boards the train to San Francisco, California. The bartender helps to revive Doc with a concoction of liquids he calls “wake-up juice”; however, just before 8am, Tannen arrives, calling Marty outside for the gunfight. Marty forfeits, and, when Tannen calls him “gutless,” Marty heeds Doc’s advice and ignores the insult. Doc and Marty escape through the back door of the saloon, but Tannen’s crew manages to kidnap Doc. Using Doc as a hostage, Tannen lures Marty outside, and as the clock strikes 8am, draws his gun. Marty suggests they settle the matter with a fistfight, but Tannen shoots him down. On the train to San Francisco, Clara overhears a man who spent the night at the saloon with Doc talking about Doc’s heartbreak over Clara, and she pulls a cord to stop the train. In town, Tannen approaches Marty’s body to confirm he is dead, but Marty kicks away Tannen’s gun and reveals an iron stove door that he used as a bulletproof vest. Marty hits Tannen with the stove door and knocks him into a wheelbarrow full of manure. Soon after, Tannen is arrested for a robbery he recently committed. Doc and Marty rush to catch the train on horseback, and Clara follows from a distance. Catching up to the train, Doc and Marty jump from their horses and make their way to the front of the train, holding the engineer at gunpoint and ordering him to stop the train. Doc and Marty then remove the excess cars, and Marty gets inside the time machine while Doc restarts the train. As the train gains speed and pushes the time machine along the tracks, Clara appears, jumping onto the train from her horse. Just before Doc leaps from the train to the time machine, he notices Clara holding onto the outside of the train and heads back to save her. Marty pushes his hoverboard, a flying skateboard he brought back from the future, out of the time machine and toward Doc. Catching the hoverboard, Doc floats over to Clara, grabs her from the train, and zooms away as the time machine reaches eighty-eight miles per hour and disappears with Marty inside. Arriving in 1985, Marty narrowly avoids death, getting out of the time machine just before a train runs over it. After seeing his family happy and healthy at home, Marty finds his girlfriend, Jennifer, sleeping on a porch swing outside her house. They kiss and Jennifer recalls a vivid nightmare she had about their future in which Marty was fired from his job. Later that day, a hoodlum named Needles drives up next to Marty and Jennifer at a stop sign and challenges Marty to a road race. Although Needles calls Marty a coward, Marty ignores the challenge and watches as Needles nearly collides with a Rolls Royce. Jennifer unfolds a piece of paper she found in her jacket with the message, “You’re fired,” but the message erases, and she realizes her nightmare about the future may have been real. To explain what happened, Marty shows Jennifer the remnants of the time machine by the train tracks. Suddenly, a steam-powered train appears, with Doc and Clara inside. Doc introduces their children, Jules and Verne, and presents Marty with a photograph taken of him and Marty in 1885. When Jennifer asks about the future, Doc promises that it has yet to be written. As Doc and his family depart on the time-traveling train, Marty asks if they are headed into the future, but Doc responds that they are not, saying he has already been there. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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