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Back to the Future Part III (1990) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (1) | Spoilers (22)
Clint Eastwood was asked for permission about his name being used for Marty in the film. He consented and was said to be tickled by the homage.
When "Mad Dog" tried to lynch Marty, Michael J. Fox was accidentally hanged, rendering him unconscious for a short time. He records this in his autobiography "Lucky Man" (2002).
Doc's kiss with Clara marks Christopher Lloyd's first kissing scene in his movie career.
According to the book "Billy Gibbons: Rock & Roll Gearhead", ZZ Top was hanging around the set and was asked to be the town band. During one take, the camera broke. While waiting for the camera to be repaired, Michael J. Fox asked if they would play "Hey Good Lookin'" which they did. Afterwards, more requests were played. Two hours later, someone inquired if the camera had been repaired. Robert Zemeckis replied that it had been fixed for quite a while, he just didn't want to stop the party that had evolved.
Marty uses a Frisbie pie plate to knock a gun out of Mad Dog's hand. In 1871, the Frisbie Pie Company started in Connecticut. Their pie pans were thrown on the campus of Yale and these eventually lead to the invention of Frisbees (tm).
Filmed at the same time as Back to the Future Part II (1989). In the five years since Back to the Future (1985) was made, Michael J. Fox had forgotten how to ride a skateboard.
The town was in Jamestown, California, and was, in an eerily fitting way, destroyed by lightning in 1996.
When Doc and Marty are at the drive-in preparing the DeLorean for the trip to 1885, Marty mentions Clint Eastwood and Doc replies, "Clint who?" In this shot, there is a movie poster on the drive-in's wall showcasing Revenge of the Creature (1955) and Tarantula (1955), containing some of the first film appearances of a young, then-unknown Eastwood.
The DeLorean used in the filming of this movie is on display at the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is suspended from the ceiling and hung upside down to give restaurant patrons a better view of the vehicle from above.
This is the only film in the trilogy where Marty and Doc Brown exchange catchphrases. Marty says "Great Scott!" and Doc Brown replies "Yeah, this is heavy" while talking about the tombstone photo.
The part of Seamus McFly was originally written for Crispin Glover.
In the course of the year that it took to film Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990), Michael J. Fox lost his father but gained a son.
The name on the manure wagon in 1885 reads "A. Jones". In Back to the Future (1985), the name on the manure truck from 1955 reads "D. Jones".
In Back to the Future (1985), Doc tells Marty that he was inspired to create the flux capacitor after hitting his head on the bathroom sink while trying to hang a clock over his toilet. In Back to the Future Part III (1990), when Doc freaks out after seeing Marty in his house and runs into the bathroom, you can just see the clock hanging above the toilet he slipped on.
Mary Steenburgen's children were the ones who persuaded her to be in the film.
The character of Clara Clayton is in reference to Clara Clemens, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain's daughter. Clara Clemens went on a sleigh ride with her future husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the horse took fright from a wind-swept newspaper and bolted while the Gabrilowitsch lost control. At the top of a hill, next to a 50 foot drop, the sleigh overturned, throwing Clemens out. Gabrilowitsch leaped to the ground and caught the horse by the head, stopping it as it was about to plunge over the bank, dragging Clemens with her dress caught in a runner.
In the entire Back To The Future trilogy, the "present" date is October 26, 1985 (2015 is the future, 1885 and 1955 are the past). Exactly 25 years later on October 26, 2010 the entire Back To The Future trilogy was released on Blu-ray in a 25th Anniversary Edition.
Actor and former President Ronald Reagan was originally approached to play the part of Mayor Hubert because of his fondness for the first film in the trilogy. He reluctantly turned down the role, and the part went to Hugh Gillin instead.
A bottle of Tabasco sauce is visible at the saloon during the "wake-up juice" scene. It has the design consistent with the time period.
The death of Michael J. Fox's father delayed filming for two weeks.
Buford Tannen is arrested by Marshall Strickland's Deputee, rather than the Marshall himself. During the arrest, when the charge "robbing the Pine City Stage" is read, the camera cuts away to Marty and Emmett. There is a reason for both of these: Buford was originally arrested for the murder of Marshall Strickland. The murder scene was deleted as it was deemed too dark for a family film, and the line was dubbed over.
The man in the saloon with barbed wire that Doc Brown converses with is not named, but appears to be historical figure Joseph Glidden. Glidden invented barbed wire, and the character's appearance is consistent with pictures and descriptions of Glidden.
Clara can be seen behind Marty and Doc while looking at the map at the train station.
Thomas F. Wilson who plays Buford Tannen, performed all his horse riding stunts himself. He also did the trick where he lassoes Marty just before we meet the 1885 Doc.
The 1885 time setting was partly due to a suggestion by Michael J. Fox, who had commented to producers how he always thought it would be fun to act in a Western.
This film marks the only time in the trilogy when Doc Brown interacts with a member of the Tannen family.
The drive-in theater was constructed specifically for this film. It was built in Monument Valley, and demolished immediately after filming. No films were ever screened there.
SERIES TRADEMARK: The song "The Power of Love" is played during both the second scene of the series and the second-last scene of the series.
The embroidery on Marty's western costume is the symbol for atomic Energy.
The brief clip of Clara yanking the emergency cord aboard the train car is used on a regular routine on the tram cars for the Universal Backlot Tour as part of safety regulations.
A horse dealership in 1885 is own by the Statlers. In Back to the Future (1985) there is an ad on the radio for "Statler Toyota" in 1985. In 1955, "Statler Motors Studebaker" is visible near the town theater.
The photographer at the festival is the film's director of photography Dean Cundey.
The three old timers in the saloon were played by Dub Taylor, Pat Buttram, and Harry Carey Jr. who played sidekicks, town drunks, and colorful townsfolk in hundreds of westerns and television shows.
The editor of Hill Valley's newspaper in 1885 is "M. R. Gale", a tribute to trilogy screenwriter Bob Gale.
The role of Clara Clayton was written specifically for Mary Steenburgen.
The second and third Back to the Future movies were shot consecutively over the course of 11 months (with a three week break between Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990)).
Just recently a prop and building set preservation committee submitted a request and got it granted for the Ponachee Drive-in theater to be re-built for display.
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson, James Tolkan, Marc McClure (deleted scene - Part II), and J.J. Cohen are the only actors to appear in all three "Back to the Future" films.
The cart used as Benny the Cab from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) was used to pull Michael J. Fox in the scene where Marty is being dragged by Buford's horse.
Thomas F. Wilson based his characterization of Buford Tannen on Lee Marvin's Liberty Valance in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).
Before sending Marty back to 1885, Doc mentions that he uses the drive-in theatre so Marty doesn't run into a tree that existed in the past. In Back to the Future (1985), one of the first things Marty does in 1955 is run into farmer Peabody's pine tree that existed in the past.
Doc Brown states his German ancestors' surname was "von Braun". This is a reference to Wernher von Braun, one of Germany's leading rocket scientists, who was taken to America following World War II and assisted greatly in the NASA program.
First movie to use Universal's new 75th Anniversary opening studio logo. The logo ran until 1997.
Each of Needles' henchmen comes from one of the other gangs in the trilogy. J.J. Cohen played Skinhead in Biff's gang in Back to the Future (1985) and Back to the Future Part II (1989). Ricky Dean Logan played Data in Griff's gang in Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Christopher Wynne played an unnamed member of Buford's gang in the third film. Cohen appears in all three movies.
On November 7th, 2010 the Delorean used during filming was put back on the exact set of tracks used for the vehicle's final scene for part of the week-long celebration of the 25th anniversary.
The clock for the Hill Valley Clock Tower can be seen in the background being unloaded from the train as Doc and Marty talk to the conductor about the train's speed.
The steam locomotive used in this movie is called Sierra No. 3, painted to look like an 1880's steam locomotive. This type of locomotive was actually created in 1896.
In Back to the Future Part II (1989), in the alternate 1985, Biff's hotel is called "Biff's Pleasure Palace." In Back to the Future Part III (1990), the saloon is known as the "Palace Saloon."
In a scene that was cut from the film, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen shoots Marshall Strickland in the back, just as the disgruntled schoolboys try to gun down their former school principal in BTTF2. It appears that multiple generations of rowdy defiant Hill Valley residents have consistently wanted to kill the stern "by the book" Strickland men who became authority figures throughout the decades.
The train station is near the site of the station built for Pale Rider (1985), another Clint Eastwood movie. The two halves of the "Pale Rider" station became new buildings in "Hill Valley". One can be seen at the north end of town by the corrals and tracks, and the other at the south end by the waterwheel.
Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis figured that for Back to the Future Part III (1990) they had already done all that they could with Marty's family, so the focus of the film was shifted to Doc Brown.
The steam locomotive in the film, Sierra #3, has been recently returned to service at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in California following an extensive overhaul.
Executive Producer Trademark (Steven Spielberg): [stars]: When Doc and Clara kiss whilst looking at the stars.
For approximately three weeks Robert Zemeckis would fly to L.A. after his day's filming of the train climax of Back to the Future Part III (1990) to approve the sound dub that Bob Gale had been supervising of Back to the Future Part II (1989). He would then get up at 4:30am the next morning to fly back to the northern California set to continue with his filming for that day.
In the "Making of" DVD, Producer/Screenwriter Bob Gale describes the character of Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen as "Biff's worst intentions realized".
A common FAQ for this film is: why didn't Doc and Marty remove the Delorean that was already in 1885 to use for traveling into the future. The reason why this doesn't work is because this is the Delorean Marty needs to go back to 1885 to begin with. For some reason, most fans don't get it, even though they should have figured it out by this time into the trilogy.
Pat Buttram's last on-screen role, as a patron in the saloon. All of the roles he performed afterwards were voice actor roles.
This film was released in North America on May 25th, Bob Gale's birthday.
In 1996, Lego released their line of time travel themed sets. As part of the promo for both the Time Cruisers and the Wild West sets being released, the comic section of the Lego magazine did a two part piece sending a character to the Wild West.
In this film, Mary Steenburgen played Clara Clayton, a 19th Century woman who falls in love with a time traveller from the 20th Century. In Time After Time (1979), she played Amy Robbins, a 20th Century woman who falls in love with a time traveller from the 19th Century.
The film takes place from November 12 to November 16, 1955, from September 2 to September 7, 1885 and on October 27, 1985.
The railed version of the Delorean released to the public in a 1:18 sized scale was the last Delorean model to be released, leaving a two to three year span in between model releases when the 1:15 sizes of the Delorean were released.
The 1:15 scale Delorean model with the rail wheels was originally set to be released on December 29, 2010, however because of the 25th anniversary of the series it was rushed into release on December 26, 2010.
The recent release of the 1:15 scale model of the railed version of the Delorean is the first model of the railed version to have wheels strong enough to support the body of the car, as well as not having the train track bed as part of the model display.

Cameo 

ZZ Top:  One of the film's composing bands have a cameo as the band in 1885, playing a variation of "Doubleback".

Director Trademark 

Robert Zemeckis:  [citation]  When Marty walks along the railroad tracks and finally reaches the town, he comes to the railway station. Then he walks into the town, while the camera slowly rises up above the station and finally shows Marty at a large distance walking into the town. This scene is shot exactly the same way as the scene in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), when Jill arrives at the station.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

There exists enough clues in all three movies to reconstruct the travels of the DeLorean precisely (to within a few minutes at worst, except 2015 Biff's arrival in 1955 and Doc's personal travels). There are a few interesting things to note: Not counting the time Doc traveled by himself, the DeLorean spent nearly 71 years (on its own time scale) from its first time travel to its destruction. By the time Marty made his ultimate return to 1985, he was approx. 14 days, 3 hours, and 27 minutes older than he should have been; Jennifer, on the other hand, is 7 hours and 26 minutes younger than she should have been. Another interesting conclusion is a point of contention. There are two theories, one of which drops the last item. On November 12, 1955, between the time Biff arrived (or 6 am, whichever came later) and 6:38 pm (the time he left), there were four DeLoreans present in Hill Valley (ordered from its point of view): (1) The instance when Marty was trapped in 1955 in the original movie. (2) the instance when Biff came to 1955 to give himself the almanac. (3) the instance when Marty and Doc came back to 1955 to take the almanac back. (4) the instance when it was waiting in the abandoned mine. Those who do not agree with (4) argue that according to the "ripple effect" timeline as presented in the films, there wouldn't be a DeLorean hidden by Doc in the mine until later that evening, when the lightning blast would accidentally send Doc back to 1885, thereby altering the timeline. It is *entirely true* that *we* do not ever witness a moment in the films where all four instances coexist, but the text "ordered from its point of view" above should hint at a solution. Once the DeLorean is in 1885, consider what it would detect (if it were in a position to witness the comings and goings of its former selves): over 70 years of peace, then (1) arrives, then (2) and (3) arrive in some order; (2) then leaves at 6:38, (3) leaves around 10 pm, and (1) leaves at 10:04. (4) itself leaves soon after that. If we grant that all three of those instances (1-3) continue to exist in the "final" timeline, then there should be no problem accepting this theory. Still not convinced? Consider the 100-year gap near the end of BTTF III when Marty takes the DeLorean on its final journey. 70 years into it, for a few hours, there are 4 instances of the car.
SERIES TRADEMARK: In every film Marty is knocked out. He always wakes up and says "Mom?", Lea Thompson is always present, she tells him to "be still now", and tells him for exactly how long he's been out cold.
In every film of the trilogy there is a scene where Marty is knocked unconscious and awoken by someone resembling his mother as he thinks the whole film a has been a dream. There is always a scene with him entering a public drinking place where Biff (or one of his relatives) enters calling for one of Marty's relations. There is always a scene with Marty being chased by someone resembling Biff (or Biff himself) and his gang (in one and two he was on a skateboard). The time machine always becomes unusable at some point. Characters related to Biff have been covered in manure in every film, and are always beaten up by Marty.
In the novelization after the little boy hands Marty back his gun he asks him where he got the idea to wear the oven door under his clothes, Marty replies he saw it in a movie. The boy asks Marty what is a movie. Before Marty can answer a woman calls out the name 'David... David Llewelyn Wark Griffith'. This of course is the real name of pioneer filmmaker 'D. W. Griffith (I)', who having been born in 1875 would've been 9-10 years old in 1885 when this movie takes place.
SERIES TRADEMARK: In each film in the trilogy Thomas F. Wilson ends up covered in manure.
SERIES TRADEMARK: In each of the three films a common theme is that Marty always ends up in a public drinking place, shortly after arriving at his time destination and is confronted by a Tannen shouting "Hey McFly!". In Back to the Future (1985), shortly after Marty arrives in 1955 he walks into a café and is drinking a coffee whilst his father George McFly is sitting next to him. Biff Tannen comes in and shouts "Hey McFly!", to which Marty acknowledges but doesn't realize Biff is shouting his father. In Back to the Future Part II (1989), shortly after arriving in 2015 with the Doc, Marty enters the 80s nostalgia café when Griff Tannen (Biff's grandson) shouts "Hey McFly!" to Marty's future son (Marty Junior) who just entered before him. In Back to the Future Part III (1990) shortly after arriving in 1885 Marty enters the saloon and is confronted by Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen who shouts "Hey McFly!" confusing Marty with Marty's great, great grandfather Seamus McFly.
Throughout the trilogy, the Delorean and its duplicates created via time travel make 15 trips through time. They are: 1) Doc's dog, Einstein, is sent one minute into the future to test the machine. 2) Marty travels back to 1955 from 1985. 3) Marty returns to 1985 from 1955. 4) Doc travels past 2015 from 1985. 5) Doc travels to 2015 from the future to find the beginning of the unraveling of Marty's family. 6) Doc returns to 1985 from 2015. 7) Doc takes Marty and Jennifer forward to 2015 from 1985. 8) Biff travels from 2015 to 1955 to give himself the sports almanac, thus creating an alternate timeline. 9) Biff returns to 2015 from 1955. 10) Doc, Marty, and Jennifer return to the alternate 1985 from 2015. 11) Marty and Doc travel back to 1955 from the alternate 1985 to get the sports almanac from Biff. 12) Doc accidentally travels from 1955 to 1885 when the Delorean is hit by lightning. 13) Marty travels from 1955 to 1885 to rescue Doc. 14) Marty returns to 1985 from 1885. 15) Doc and his family travel from the future to 1985 to introduce Marty and Jennifer to Jules and Verne, and to give Marty an undamaged photo of him and Doc Brown in front of the clock. Additional off screen time traveling has occurred as stated by Doc Brown, but these are th 15 confirmed travels.
In the mid 1990s, there were plans for Back to the Future Part IV. One discussed plot would have involved Doc and his family going to Roswell, NM in 1947, with Michael J. Fox appearing only in a cameo role. In the early 2000s, Michael J. Fox talked about doing Back to the Future IV, saying that he wanted Marty McFly to be a mentor to a new, different family.
Michael Winslow performed the sound effects of Michael J. Fox's feet during the breakdancing sequence.
In Back to the Future Part II (1989), Biff watches A Fistful of Dollars (1964) in the alternative 1985, in which Clint Eastwood's character uses steel plating underneath his poncho. Marty (calling himself "Clint Eastwood") uses the hatch from a stove under his poncho in 1885. The sign at the train crossing in 1985 identifies the location (formerly Clayton Ravine) as "Eastwood Ravine" named for Marty's character.
The scene where Marty and Jennifer kiss on the porch was the only scene shot while Back to the Future Part II (1989) was being made.
In the deleted scene (shown on DVD), Buford Tannen was supposed to shoot Marshall Strickland in the back, killing him. His son was present at the time. This was edited out of the final cut as it was deemed too depressing. This is why Strickland's deputy arrests Buford at the end of the movie rather than Strickland himself. The deputy's dialogue from the latter scene had to be re-looped to compensate for the change.
The clock in the clock tower started running at 8:00 p.m. on September 5, 1885. The date is provided by the caption on the photograph Doc gives Marty at the end of the movie. The lightning strikes the clock tower at 10:04 p.m. on November 12, 1955. This means that the clock tower operated for exactly 70 years, 2 months, 7 days, 2 hours, and 4 minutes.
Early in 2008, several directors, including Steven Spielberg voted on an attraction room for Universal Hollywood that would contain rare and old costumes and props. Two of the items pulled out from storage vaults were the miniatures of Doc's time travel train and the railroad version of the DeLorean. The full sized version of the time train can be seen over in the Orlando park.
Bob Gale owns two pieces of the destroyed DeLorean; the time circuit display, and a table lamp made out of Mr. Fusion by special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri.
By the time it is destroyed, the time machine is made up of components of each era it visited in the films: 1980's DeLorean chassis, 2015 Mr. Fusion, 1955 vacuum tubes and transistors (replacing a burnt out microchip), and 1885 train wheels.
The DeLorean makes its longest single leap through time in this movie, traveling 100 years, 1 month, 20 days, from Sept. 7th 1885 to Oct. 27th 1985.
Two versions of the DeLorean were used for the smashing of the time machine. One was simply half flattened while the other was destroyed with small explosions. The one that is half smashed is suspended upside down at Planet Hollywood in Honolulu.
When Marty in the Hilldale neighborhood decides to "race" Needles, as Needles' truck swerves away from the Rolls Royce you can see a street sign that reads "Clark." Clark & Hilldale was a very popular spot for Bay Area rock bands in the 1960s, and is even mentioned in the title of a song on Love's "Forever Changes" album in 1967.
When filming the sequence with the train and DeLorean, for safety's sake the builders rigged it so that the DeLorean could flip off at any given time.
The train that crashes into the bottom of the ravine was actually a model.
The locomotives that smash the DeLorean at the end of the film belonged to the Ventura County Railway.

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