Back to the Future (1985)

As Michael J. Fox’s career-launching movie and one that will keep you in the loop of pop culture references like “make like a tree”, Back to the Future is a classic.

Mad scientist “Doc” Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) creates a time machine out of an old DeLorean, and his teenaged friend Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) accidentally uses it and travels back in time to 1955. Marty encounters his teenaged parents, George and Lorraine, and has to get them to fall in love while his father’s nemesis, Biff Tannen, gets in the way.

What this movie does best is create iconic phrases, characters, symbols, and scenes: a DeLorean will forever be a time machine to viewers, every clock tower is a location for significant events, and Michael J. Fox can’t ever shake the McFly image.

Marty and Doc make an iconic duo with their witty catchphrases and distinct personalities: Doc as the older but not always wiser scientist; Marty as the aloof yet logical teenager. Their comedic timing and chemistry are still sought after in comedy films today and keep viewers engaged throughout the movie.

A major theme in this movie is relationships, both with family and with friends. The sentimental value of Doc and Marty’s friendship, or Marty’s relationship with his parents and girlfriend, or even his parents’ relationship with one another cannot be overlooked while watching this film—attachment to the characters is inevitable.

Let’s not forget about the second and third parts to this franchise, the second of which created “Back to the Future Day” on October 21, 2015 with the story of Marty’s future, and the third of which is about Doc in the Wild West.

It seems logical that Back to the Future is a cult classic for a reason. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a wonder you understand any pop culture references at all. Also, maybe you live under a rock. If Back to the Future is still on your list of movies to watch, I’d recommend taking advantage of your next study break to do just that.



  1. BTTF isn’t a “cult classic” as you say. It was a blockbuster and “classic”. Cult classics are usually box office bombs or obscure films that developed a following. BTTF is neither.

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