Back to the Future is home to a timeless number of iconic and classic quotes. The film trilogy follows Marty McFly, a teenage boy hoping for a bright future, and who is observant of his parents’ somewhat passive marriage. But when his best friend, Doc Brown, creates a time machine, and Marty accidentally takes it back to when his parents were teenagers in 1955, Marty must get his parents to fall in love with each other in order to solidify the timeline he comes from, along with the existence of himself and two older siblings. But, Marty’s time adventures do not stop once he returns home to 1985. Instead, Doc Brown reveals that there is more to come on a trip to 2015 and, later, 1885.
The movie trilogy has various iconic dialogues throughout its run. While the famous lines do send fans into a sense of nostalgia about the movies, they also bring out plenty of sentimentality surrounding the 1980s. The 1980s was a big time for films, and Back to the Future exhibits plenty of significant elements of 1980s pop culture, from Star Wars to Marty’s fashion choices of his jacket, to the use of skateboards. Most of the film’s most recalled quotes were spoken by Marty McFly and Doc Brown, but that does not mean that the other characters do not participate in building heavily nostalgic moments in the franchise.
10 “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
As Marty and Doc Brown prepare to head off to 2015 and discover the unfortunate situation of Marty’s future son, Marty Jr, Marty becomes aware that their time machine is flying. Marty is terrified about their flying, calling into question the potential roads they may be facing. At this point, Doc Brown delivers this line of dialogue that teases what to expect from potential future advances in technology.
Back to the Future Teases Flying Cars
The idea of a flying car is not necessarily a surprise. When thinking about ways that technology could advance, the idea of the flying car definitely would have been on the list of ways to show how different 1985 and 2015 would be. Sadly, as time passed in real life and 2015 came and went without the introduction of a real flying car, this element just became another thing on the list of future suggestions from Back to the Future Part 2 that ultimately did not come true. While the world has come closer to creating self-driving cars, technology and engineering are still a long way away from having traffic lights in the sky.
9 “Great Scott!”
Doc Brown’s trademark statement continues throughout the entirety of the Back to the Future trilogy. Whenever Doc makes a discovery, he tends to lean on his catchphrase as a way to help make a point.
One of the Biggest Nostalgic Lines
It is a part of the charm of his character that he makes such a statement, and its continuity through each iteration of the character allows Marty to rely on certain elements that prevent time from changing too much. While “Great Scott!” was a big line in this movie, statements of dialogue like this are not necessarily used in present-day shows, movies, or real-life speeches. But, when watching Back to the Future, this line of dialogue helps the audience travel through time back to the 1980s.
8 “88 Miles per hour!”
When the DeLorean time machine reaches 88 miles per hour, be prepared to be sent off to a new time. When Doc is explaining the rules of time travel to Marty, using his dog, Einstein, as the first official time traveler, he does so by explaining that once the car hits 88 miles per hour, Einstein will instantaneously be transported one minute into the future.
88 Miles per Hour Has Become a Staple of Pop Culture
The call to reach 88 miles per hour has become one with the film franchise and something that big fans of the series, or those who have never seen the movies, seem to be able to connect to the Back to the Future trilogy. While going 88 miles per hour may not be difficult for Marty to achieve in 1985, 1955, or 2015, it becomes one of the biggest obstacles in Back to the Future: Part 3 when Marty and Doc realize that they cannot drive the DeLorean as they normally would, and must rely on the town train to force the car to reach such a speed.
7 “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it”
When Marty takes over at his parents’ school dance in 1955, he performs Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” a song that was not released until 1958. Marty’s performance is upbeat, but to such a degree that it confuses the rest of the students who have never heard the song.
A Testament to Different Generations of Music
Ultimately, one of the most interesting comments about this line is how it foreshadows and acknowledges the future and how different generations appreciate separate forms of music. A decade that was more interested in slow ballads may not have been ready for rock and roll. Marty’s comment to the student body addresses how, while his performance may not fall under what they would consider to be good music, it will be a fan favorite for generations to come. Marty’s performance is also one of the most iconic moments of the movie.
6 “Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, are you telling me you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?”
One of the biggest staples of Back to the Future is the DeLorean that Doc makes the time machine out of. This car is ingrained with the series, appearing in each film, and while not quite a character itself, is one of the most fundamental and important elements that are included in the trilogy. Marty’s initial shock that Doc has invented a time machine comes twofold at the revelation that he made it out of a car.
DeLoreans Are No Longer Made
The DeLorean Motor Company, which was founded in 1975, stopped selling cars in 1983. Technically, the DeLorean was already a finished vehicle by the time the movie came out. However, there were still more of them visibly on the road. For fans searching for 1980s nostalgia, reminiscing on a car that never escaped the 1980s decade in any way other than pop culture fame is a fond way to recall the car. Style-wise, the DeLorean certainly fits the bill of a cool or exciting-looking vehicle, as each of the doors rises upward rather than being pulled out, and such an effect gives it a futuristic approach that adds style to the film.
5 “Why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here?”
Biff is not the smartest or kindest character in the trilogy. In each iteration of his life, Biff is a bully, putting George McFly down at every opportunity while disgustingly harassing Lorraine, no matter how many times she yells at him to go away. While one of his most famous moments is crashing his car into a manure truck, he also has a constantly used catchphrase.
Even Older Biff Was Annoyed at His Younger Self
One of Biff’s most constant lines of dialogue was a wrongly used phrase to send people away. The statement should have been, “Why don’t you make like a tree and leave?” However, Biff somehow does not understand the wrongful use of the phrase until he is an older man in 2015. Still, telling someone to make like a tree and leave is not necessarily an overused statement in the 21st century, either.
Biff is also a tool people may use to feel nostalgic toward the concept of the bullies that appear in teen movies in the 1980s. Bullies were never necessarily the most academically bright characters, and tended to rely on brute force more than anything, which matches most of Biff’s behavior throughout his time on screen.
4 “This is heavy!”
One of Marty’s most constant phrases, “This is heavy!” tends to appear whenever something serious occurs in his life, such as being sent back in time or worrying about teenage Lorraine’s romantic feelings for him.
It Did Not Last the Test of Time
It is uncertain how long Marty’s catchphrase was used by the general public, if it ever was in his time in 1985. But, in 1955, Doc Brown had never heard the expression before, replying that weight had nothing to do with their situation. Meanwhile, none of the teenagers who appeared in 2015 tend to use the phrase either. In the real world, Marty’s big catchphrase died out, and other than hearing it in the movie or from someone quoting the film, this expression immediately brings people back to this 1980s film more than anything else.
3 “Eastwood. Clint Eastwood.”
Just like how Marty briefly goes by Calvin Klein after Lorraine finds the name written on his clothes, in 1885, Marty takes on the name Clint Eastwood to fit into the Old Western atmosphere they have arrived in. All he wants to do is grab Doc and go home, but first, they must ensure that Doc survives an event that leads to his death.
Marty Relies on a Famous Western Actor
To help him get through his time in 1885 without giving too much away, rather than giving his real name, Marty declares himself to be Clint Eastwood, a real-life Hollywood actor who has starred in numerous Western films. Clint Eastwood’s career would have had him be very well-known by 1985, which is one of the reasons it was easy for Back to the Future: Part 3 to name-drop the successful actor. By 1985, Clint Eastwood had already starred in movies such as Hang ‘Em High, Paint Your Wagon, Two Mules for Sister Sara, Joe Kidd, and The Outlaw Josey Wales.
2 “Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.”
After a trilogy of crazy time-traveling mayhem, Back to the Future: Part 3 concludes with some kind words of wisdom. Marty finally returns home from 1885 and reunites with his girlfriend, Jennifer. But, the movie’s biggest reunion is the heartfelt final moment between Marty and Doc Brown.
This Line is Still Relevant Today
Given the circumstances this line of dialogue surrounds, it may be considered nostalgia for Doc and Marty’s relationship. However, this is one of the lines that truly stands the test of time. Doc understands the significance of making the most of one’s life and gives this advice to Marty and Jennifer before time-traveling away once again with his wife and their children.
Jennifer’s concerns about what Marty’s future would be when her proof of the future fades away because Marty made a life-altering choice, declares that nothing in the future is set in stone and that Marty and Jennifer have full control of their future, and the lives they choose to live, rather than feeling that their lives have been pre-determined or fated to go a certain way.
1 “Nobody calls me chicken.”
One of Marty’s biggest character flaws surrounds his inability to step away from a fight. If someone calls him out for being afraid, specifically to show them up, Marty will fight anyway, even without a good reason. In Back to the Future: Part 2, his 2015 counterpart is proof that such a mentality eventually ruined his life.
The World’s Mentality Has Changed
Stepping away from a fight is not considered cowardly. Understanding that not every battle is one someone needs to fight encourages people to recognize when the fight is worth it. Marty is quick to jump to claim he is not “chicken” or “yellow” when he is mocked by others who enjoy mocking him for trying to walk away from a fight. However, no one needs to constantly fight to prove themselves as being tougher or stronger than they are.
There is no shame in walking away from a fight when understanding that it may be a bad idea or could cause harm. Marty eventually understands the significance of stepping away from a race or fight when he refuses to participate in the driving race that would have negatively impacted his life forever.