Back to the Future Trilogy Timeline
Back to the Future
Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) lives with his unambitious family in Hill Valley, California. His father, George McFly (Crispin Glover), is bullied by his supervisor, Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson), while his unhappy mother, Lorraine Baines McFly (Lea Thompson), is an alcoholic. Marty's underachieving older siblings, Dave (Marc McClure) and Linda (Wendie Jo Sperber), also live in the household. When Marty and his band audition to perform at the high school dance, they are rejected. Despite this setback, Marty's girlfriend, Jennifer Parker (Claudia Wells), encourages him to pursue the dream of being a rock musician. At dinner that night, Lorraine recalls how she and George first fell in love when her father Sam Baines (George DiCenzo) hit George with his car.
Marty meets his friend, scientist Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown (Christopher Lloyd), late at night in the parking lot of Twin Pines Mall where Doc reveals a DeLorean time machine made from a modified DeLorean DMC-12; the vehicle's time displacement is powered by plutonium, which supplies the 1.21 gigawatts of power to a device he calls the "flux capacitor." Doc explains that the car travels to a programmed date upon reaching 88 miles per hour, using the date November 5, 1955, as an example destination. Before Doc can make his first trip, the Libyan terrorists, from whom he stole the plutonium, arrive in a van and shoot him. Marty attempts to escape in the DeLorean and inadvertently activates the time machine. He is transported back to November 5, 1955, and finds himself without the plutonium needed for the return trip.
While exploring the 1955 version of Hill Valley, Marty meets his 1955 father who is being bullied by Biff and is writing unshared science fiction stories. As George is about to be hit by Lorraine's father's car, Marty pushes him out of the way and is knocked out by the impact. Consequently, a 1955 Lorraine becomes infatuated with Marty instead of George. Marty is disturbed by her flirtations and leaves to find the 1955 Doc. Marty convinces Doc that he is from the future, and asks for help returning to 1985. Doc explains that the only available power source capable of generating 1.21 gigawatts of energy is a bolt of lightning. Discovering the "Save the Clock Tower" flyer that Marty received in 1985, indicating that lightning will strike the courthouse clock tower the following Saturday at 10:04 pm, Doc makes plans to harness the lightning strike to power the DeLorean's flux capacitor. When they examine a fading photograph of Marty with his siblings, they learn Marty has prevented his parents from meeting, jeopardizing his family's existence.
Marty attempts to set George up with Lorraine. To make his parents fall in love, Marty plans to have George "rescue" Lorraine from Marty's inappropriate advances on the night of the school dance. A drunk Biff unexpectedly shows up, pulls Marty from the car, and attempts to force himself on Lorraine. George arrives to rescue her from Marty, but instead finds Biff, who humiliates George and pushes Lorraine to the ground. Standing up to him for the first time, George knocks Biff out. A smitten Lorraine follows George to the dance floor, where they kiss for the first time, ensuring Marty's existence.
Marty arrives at the clock tower where Doc is making final preparations for the lightning strike, and tries to warn Doc of his impending 1985 murder in a letter, but Doc tears it up, fearing it will lead to altering the future. A falling tree branch disconnects Doc's wiring setup, but Doc repairs the connections just in time to send Marty and the DeLorean back to 1985. Although Marty arrives too late to prevent him from being shot, Doc is still alive and admits to reading the letter anyway and wearing a bulletproof vest.
Doc drops Marty off at his house and uses the time machine to travel 30 years into the future. Marty awakens the next morning to find his family changed; Lorraine is happy and physically fit, a self-confident George is a successful science fiction author, Dave is a White-collar worker, and Linda no longer has trouble finding boyfriends. George and Lorraine now have a closer relationship than ever, while Biff has become an auto detailer who is on good terms with the McFly family. As Marty reunites with Jennifer, Doc arrives, insisting they accompany him to the future to sort out a problem with their future children. Marty and Jennifer enter the upgraded DeLorean, now a hovercar powered by nuclear fusion, and Doc flies the time machine into the future.
Back to the Future II Part 2
On October 26, 1985, Doctor Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) arrives from the future and persuades Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his girlfriend, Jennifer Parker (Elisabeth Shue) to save their future children from getting into trouble. As they depart, Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) accidentally witnesses their departure. They arrive on October 21, 2015, where Doc electronically hypnotizes Jennifer and leaves her incapacitated in an alley. Meanwhile, Doc has Marty pose as Marty McFly, Jr., Marty's future son, to refuse an offer from Biff's cybernetically-enhanced grandson, Griff Tannen.
Marty successfully switches places with his son and refuses Griff's offer, but Griff goads Marty into a fist fight. Griff and his gang end up crashing into the local courthouse and are arrested, saving Marty's future children. On his way back to meet Doc, Marty purchases Grays Sports Almanac, a book detailing the results of major sporting events of the 20th century's second half. Doc discovers the purchase and warns him about attempting to profit from time travel, but before Doc can adequately dispose of the almanac, they are forced to follow the police who have found Jennifer incapacitated and are taking her to her 2015 home. 2015 Biff, overhearing the conversation and recalling the DeLorean from 1985, follows with the discarded book in a taxi.
Jennifer wakes up in her 2015 home and hides while the McFly family has dinner together. She overhears that Marty's life, as well as their life together, is not what they had expected due to a car accident involving Marty. Jennifer witnesses the 2015 Marty being goaded into a shady business deal by his friend, Douglas J. Needles (Flea (musician)), causing their supervisor. Ito T. Fujistu (Jim Ishida) to dismiss Marty from his job, as announced by numerous faxes (one copy of which Jennifer keeps). While escaping the house, Jennifer meets her 2015 self and they both faint. As Marty and Doc run to retrieve the 1985 Jennifer, 2015 Biff uses the DeLorean to travel back to 1955, gives his 1955 self the Grays Sports Almanac, then returns to 2015. Marty, Doc, and an unconscious Jennifer return to 1985, unaware of 2015 Biff's actions, and Jennifer is left on the porch at her home.
Marty and Doc soon discover that 1985 to which they returned has changed dramatically. Biff has become wealthy and corrupt, and changed Hill Valley into a chaotic dystopia. Marty's father, George McFly (Jeffrey Weissman), was murdered in 1973, and Biff has forced his mother, Lorraine Baines McFly (Lea Thompson), to marry him instead. Doc has been committed to an insane asylum, and Marty, Dave (Marc McClure) and Linda) (Wendie Jo Sperber) are away at boarding schools. Doc finds evidence of the sports almanac and Biff's trip to 1955 in the DeLorean and tells Marty he needs to learn when the 1955 Biff received the Grays Sports Almanac so they can correct the time line. Marty decides to confront Biff regarding the almanac. Biff explains that he received the book from an old man on November 12, 1955 who told him that all he has to do is bet on a winner and never lose. He was also told to eliminate anyone in particular who questioned him about the almanac in case of any attempt to change the past. As a result, Biff attempts to kill Marty, during which time he reveals that he killed George and allowed Hill Valley to be taken over by crime to prevent being captured. However, Marty flees with Doc and, with the new information, returns to 1955.
Marty works undercover to trail the 1955 Biff. Marty is present when the 2015 Biff arrives to give the 1955 Biff the almanac, but Marty is unable to retrieve it. Marty is forced, with Doc's help, to try to get the book back during the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, being careful to avoid undoing the events that he had already corrected in his previous visit. Eventually, Biff leaves the dance as Doc and Marty follow him silently. After a struggle, Marty takes the almanac from Biff, who crashes his car into a manure truck a second time as Doc and Marty fly away in the DeLorean.
With the storm approaching, Marty burns the Grays Sports Almanac and restores the previous (improved) timeline. However, the DeLorean is struck by lightning and disappears. A courier (Joe Flaherty) from Western Union arrives minutes later and gives Marty a 70-year-old letter. It is from Doc, who became trapped in 1885 after the lightning strike made the DeLorean go back to January 1, 1885. Marty races back into town and finds the 1955 Doc, who has just sent the other Marty back to 1985 seconds earlier at the courthouse. Doc is shocked by his friend's sudden re-appearance and faints.
Back to the Future III Part 3
On November 12, 1955, Marty McFly discovers that his friend Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown has become trapped in the year 1885. Marty, with the 1955 Doc, uses the information in Doc’s 1885 letter to locate and repair the DeLorean. While retrieving the car, Marty spots a tombstone with Doc's name, dated six days after the letter. Learning that Doc was killed by Biff Tannen's great-grandfather, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, Marty decides to go back to 1885 to save Doc.
Marty arrives on September 2, 1885, in the middle of a United States Cavalry pursuit of Indians. While evading the pursuit, the DeLorean's fuel line is torn, forcing Marty to hide the car in a cave and walk to Hill Valley. Marty meets his Irish-born great-great-grandparents, Seamus and Maggie McFly, and also runs afoul of Buford and his gang. Buford tries to hang Marty, but Doc saves him. Doc agrees to leave 1885, but with the DeLorean out of gasoline and no more available, there is no way to accelerate the car to 88 miles per hour.
After some experimentation, Doc devises a scheme to use a locomotive to push the DeLorean up to speed. As Doc and Marty explore the rail spur they intend to use, they spot an out-of-control horse-drawn wagon. Doc saves the passenger, Clara Clayton, and the two fall in love. Buford tries killing Doc at a town festival, but Marty intervenes. Buford then goads Marty into a showdown in two days' time. Consulting the photograph of Doc's tombstone, Marty and Doc note that Doc's name has disappeared, but the date on the tombstone remains unchanged. Doc warns Marty that he, not Doc, might be killed by Buford.
The night before their departure, Marty and Doc place the DeLorean onto the rail spur. At Clara's house, Doc tells Clara he is from the future, but Clara believes it is an excuse to end their relationship and angrily dismisses him. Distraught, Doc returns to the town saloon to get drunk, but Marty rides to the saloon and convinces Doc to leave with him. However, Doc drinks a single shot of whiskey and (due to extreme alcohol intolerance) passes out instantly. Buford arrives early and calls out Marty, but Marty has finally realized his reputation is unimportant and refuses to fight. Doc revives after drinking the bartender's special "Wake-Up Juice" and tries fleeing with Marty, but Buford's gang captures Doc, forcing Marty to duel. Marty uses a firebox door from a stove as a bullet-proof vest, battling Buford on his own terms. During the fistfight that follows, Buford destroys the tombstone, is knocked unconscious and arrested for an earlier robbery. Marty and Doc depart to "borrow" the locomotive.
Clara is leaving on the train when she overhears a salesman discussing a man he met in the saloon, despondent about his lost love. Realizing the man is Doc, Clara triggers the emergency brake and runs back to town. She discovers Doc's model of the time machine and rides after him. Doc and Marty, having stolen the train at gunpoint, begin pushing the DeLorean along the spur line, attempting to get it up to 88 miles per hour. Clara boards the locomotive while Doc is climbing towards the DeLorean. Doc encourages Clara to join him, intending to bring her to 1985. As she climbs to Doc, Clara falls and is left hanging by her dress. Marty passes the hoverboard to Doc, who saves Clara. They coast away from the train as the DeLorean disappears through time, while the locomotive roars over the edge of the incomplete bridge.
Marty arrives on October 27, 1985. He escapes the powerless DeLorean before it is hit by a freight train and destroyed. Marty discovers that everything has returned to the improved timeline. Marty finds Jennifer sleeping on her front porch. Later, he uses the lessons he learned in 1885 to avoid being goaded into a street race with Needles, avoiding a potential automobile accident. Jennifer opens the fax message she kept from 2015 and finds that the message regarding Marty being fired has been erased.
Marty takes Jennifer to the time machine wreckage. As they survey the remains, a locomotive equipped with a flux capacitor appears, manned by Doc, Clara, and their two children Jules and Verne. Doc gives Marty a photo of the two of them by the clockworks at the 1885 festival. Jennifer inquires about the fax, and Doc tells them it means that the future has not been written yet. After the Browns bid farewell to their friends, Doc’s train converts into an aerial craft and roars off into an unknown time.