That Scene From ‘Back to the Future Part II’ (1989)

“Hey, have you seen this movie? What did you think about THAT SCENE?!” We have all used that phrase at one point during our discussions of movies with the other person’s eyebrows raising, “Oh yea, THAT SCENE!” You go on to pick that memorable scene apart by listing what you loved or didn’t like, how it made you feel and the impression it left on you. 

In this series, we will do just that. We will take a scene from a movie and discuss its impact on us. Some of these scenes may be frightening, weird, iconic, controversial, hilarious, and everything in between. Let us know your impression of the scene and the impact it left on you the first time you watched it down below in the comments. Enjoy!

 *Warning: May Contain Spoilers*

Movie: Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Scene: Back From the Future


Director: Robert Zemeckis

Characters: Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), 1955 Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), Western Union Man (Joe Flaherty)


Marty has just burned the Sports Almanac and prevented the alternate 1985 from ever existing. Doc Brown is looking for a place to land the modified 2015 DeLorean, whose time circuits have been acting up throughout the movie, with hover tires. A bolt of lightning strikes near the DeLorean. Marty reminds Doc via walkie-talkie that it is important to not get struck by lightning. The words are barely out of his mouth when the DeLorean is struck and time travels to an undisclosed location.

Marty, now stranded in 1955, looks around in shock and confusion as rain pours down heavily on him. Suddenly, a car pulls up behind him. A man gets out and asks if his name is Marty McFly. The man is from Western Union and he has a letter for Marty McFly. It’s 1955. Marty McFly does not exist yet. A letter for him should be impossible, right?



The buildup to this scene is brilliant from the burnt remains of the flag banner to the uncertainty of who is behind the wheel of the vehicle. Joe Flaherty deserves a lot of praise for his performance as the Western Union Man. He was able to change his whole demeanour from a potential threat (perhaps a government agent) to a cheerful man with a letter. Likewise, Michael J. Fox displays the range of emotions as he goes from confused to excited to determined. There is only one man he knows can help him get back to the future.

What happens next is easily my favorite scene in the whole franchise. Zemeckis shows us the exact same time travel moment from Back to the Future. 1955 Doc Brown successfully hooks up the necessary electrical cords and sends the first film’s Marty back to 1985. He runs over to the flaming tire tracks and cheers at his success. He then settles down and heads over to his car. And that’s when it happens.

Part II Marty rips around the corner of the street and begins running up to the unaware 1955 Doc Brown. I still get chills every single time I watch that scene. Marty grabs Doc and it takes a moment for Doc to fully recognize Marty. Once he does, he freaks out and says that it is impossible for Marty to be here since he just sent him back. Fox then delivers one of the best lines of the franchise, “But I’m back. I’m back from the future.”

As Doc Brown faints, “TO BE CONCLUDED…” appears over top of the scene. It’s the perfect cliffhanger ending that leaves us desperately wanting Part III to begin playing immediately. Kudos to writer Bob Gale for crafting such an ending and for Zemeckis for shooting it perfectly.

What do you think of this scene? Did you find it leaving you excited for Part III? Did you find it intense and well done?

Author: Marmaduke Karlston

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, uh, are you telling me you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"