Back to the Future parents guide

Back to the Future Parent Guide

Overall C+

Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) accidentally time travels back to 1955, thanks to Dr. Emmett Brown's (Christopher Lloyd) souped-up DeLorean. Meeting up with his younger Mom and Dad (Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover), the teen desperately tries to get Back to the Future before his visit alters history permanently.

Release date July 3, 1985

Violence D+
Sexual Content B-
Profanity C
Substance Use C-

Why is Back to the Future rated PG? The MPAA rated Back to the Future PG

Run Time: 116 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Twenty-five years after it first released in theaters, Back to the Future blasts into home theaters on Blu-ray.

In the movie, Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly, the youngest son of an alcoholic mother (Lea Thompson) and a faint-hearted father (Crispin Glover) who is still browbeaten by an old high school classmate (Thomas F. Wilson). The teen has two older siblings, Linda (Wendie Jo Sperber) and Dave (Marc McClure), and a gorgeous girlfriend (Claudia Wells) that he plans to take on an intimate camping excursion.

But Marty’s best pal seems to be the eccentric Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd). The wild-eyed inventor has enough clout with the high school student to drag him out of bed in the middle of the night to help him test a new time traveling car in the parking lot of the local mall. Unfortunately the trial goes horribly wrong. Emmett, who apparently stole a supply of plutonium for his machine, is gunned down with an automatic rifle by some angry terrorists. In the chaos that follows, Marty jumps into the doctor-altered DeLorean and speeds away only to find he has time traveled back to 1955.

Trying to get his bearings in the unfamiliar decade, Marty accidently bumps into his future parents, Lorraine Baines and George McFly. The chance meeting alters the course of history and proves to be disastrous when Lorraine begins to fall in love with him instead of George. Evidence of this is found in a family photo Marty has in his pocket. As he watches, he and his siblings begin to fade away. Unless he can set things right, the change will be permanent. Tracking down a much younger Emmett Brown, Marty begs the doctor to help him find a way back to the future.

For anyone who lived through the 80s, this film, packed with references to cultural items like Pepsi Free, Darth Vader and a Walkman, becomes a nostalgic trip back in time. Other forgotten tidbits may be some of the content issues in Back to the Future. Profanities are prominent fillers in the script, which contains frequent expletives along with some racially derogatory terms and sexually suggestive dialogue. As well, Marty discovers his parents aren’t quite as pure and wholesome as they led him to believe. First he catches George hiding in a tree in order to watch Lorraine undress. And later his prospective mother tries to make out with him before a school dance.

While this anniversary release may be a journey down memory lane for many parents, some moms and dads might want to push pause when it comes to showing this classic to their children.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson. Running time: 116 minutes. Theatrical release July 3, 1985. Updated

Back to the Future
Rating & Content Info

Why is Back to the Future rated PG? Back to the Future is rated PG by the MPAA

Violence: A boy runs into the street and is hit by a car. Foreigners gun down a man (though little blood is seen, the bullets impacting the body are shown) in a parking lot, then attempt to shoot another character. Teens and adults are bullied. A man cuts his hand and later it is seen with a bloody bandage.

Sexual Content: Teens and adults engage in sexually suggestive conversations. A teen couple plans to go on an intimate camping trip together. A boy uses binoculars to watch a girl undress in her bedroom. A teen makes sensual advances toward a boy. A teen boy takes a woman’s bra out of a laundry basket. Girls wear low cut gowns. A boy forcefully kisses a girl against her wishes. A boy has pictures of pin up girls on his bedroom walls. A teen couple kisses.

Language: Over three dozen profanities, terms of Deity and scatological slang are used in the script along with some sexually suggestive dialogue and derogatory racial terms.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A mother, who appears to be intoxicated, drinks at home. Teen characters drink from a flask and a girl smokes. References to illegal drugs are made and it is intimated that adult characters are smoking drugs.

Other: A mother fails to tell the truth about her teen years. Characters are covered by a load of manure.

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Back to the Future Parents' Guide

What impact does Marty have on the future when he goes back in time? What does he discover about his parents?

If you could change one thing in the past, what would it be? Would you want to know what happens in your future?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Back to the Future movie is February 10, 2009. Here are some details…

Back to the Future releases as part of a 25th Anniversary Trilogy on October 26, 2010. The package is available on DVD (plus Digital Copy) or Blu-ray (plus Digital Copy).

Related home video titles:

Along with his eccentric depiction of Dr. Emmett Brown, actor Christopher Lloyd portrays equally unconventional characters in Angels in the Outfield and My Favorite Martian. Michael J. Fox plays a former child star who runs a talent agency for youngsters in Life With Mickey.

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