Back To The Future: Part III Review

Image for Back To The Future: Part III

Doc Brown has been left stranded in 1885. Now Marty must go back to save Doc, before bad guy Burford Tannen murders him.


As a trilogy, the Back To The Future films make a lot more sense strung together than, say, the Star Wars trio. Back To The Future Part II teed off a lot of critics by not being a remake of the first film, and for daring to be a) complicated, b) very fast and c) heartless. Part III, which is slightly less fleet of foot, restores heart interest of the first film and has a satisfying complete storyline.

At the end of the second film Doc Brown was stranded in 1885 while young Marty McFly was in 1955; now, learning Doc is due to be backshot by a varmint of the Old West, Marty returns to the 1880s and we get a hugely enjoyable science-fiction Western packed with Jules Verne-style steam engines and plenty of neat jokes.

Arriving in 1885, dressed in an absurd set of fringed buckskins that accurately reflect a 1950s Roy Rogers idea of a cowboy outfit, Fox swiftly changes into a muddier, more realistic set of Western duds, and adopts the most cowboy-sounding name he can think of, one ‘Clint Eastwood’. The villain is Burford Tannen, the thuggish outlaw ancestor of the bullies who terrorised Marty in various periods in the earlier films, and the movie constantly plays clever reprises of the highpoints of the series but in 1885 terms - with a chase around main street on horses replacing the skateboard stuff, a shooting match replacing video games and a community hoe-down instead of a school dance. And if you’ve been paying attention in the series to date, you’ll get plenty of fun out of quirks like the brief appearance of the solemn child who’ll grow up to be the oppressive principal or the reference to a the clip from A Fistful Of Dollars as seen in Part II.

This time, in a reversal of the first film, Fox buzzes around keeping the plot on the move while Lloyd softens up and has a funny romance with schoolmarm Mary Steenbergen, and it all winds up with another great suspense-action sequence as a locomotive and the DeLorean head towards the ultimate precipice. Neatest of all is a coda, which features one of the best time machines in the cinema, promising that this is indeed the very last in the series and neatly wrapping it up for everybody.

A clever and enjoyable wrapping-up of the time-travelling adventures