Study Guide

Back to the Future Family

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Imagine all the things you could do and the places you could go if you had the ability of time travel. You could check out Italy during the Renaissance. England during the Middle Ages. Walk amongst the dinosaurs. Or…hang out with your family.

It's unusual for a film working around this type of premise to keep things so close to home. What that tells us is that, at its root, Back to the Future is really a film about family: why we love them, why we can't stand them, what we'd do if we could change them.

Questions About Family

  1. How does Marty feel about his family at the beginning of the movie? How does that change when he runs into them in 1955, and then again when he sees the "new them" in alternate 1985?
  2. Marty probably likes to think he doesn't have much in common with his parents, but we're usually a little blind to that stuff. What traits does he have in common with his dad? With his mom?
  3. For a movie that's all about family, it sure gives all its secondary characters the shaft in that department. As far as we know, Doc, Biff and Jennifer are all orphans. Why don't we get any family background on these folks?
  4. We find out at the end of the movie that there's something wrong with Marty and Jennifer's kids in the future. Knowing what we know now (and disregarding the sequel if you've seen it), what might we expect is the trouble?

Chew on This

Before Marty's trip through time, he was destined to become a mediocre, like his dad. But now, thanks to his new and improved family, he's pretty much guaranteed to become a successful, well-adjusted individual.

Marty always loved his family, but at the end of the movie he actually loves them more than he did before.

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