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Back to the Future Part II (1989) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • After visiting 2015, Marty McFly must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985...without interfering with his first trip.

  • Marty McFly has only just gotten back from the past, when he is once again picked up by Dr. Emmett Brown and sent through time to the future. Marty's job in the future is to pose as his own son to prevent him from being thrown in prison. Unfortunately, things get worse when the future changes the present.

  • This movie begins where Back to the Future ended; with Marty, Doc and Jennifer going into the future to help Marty and Jennifer's children. After doing that they return to 1985. But when they arrive they discover that things are not as they remember it. There's a casino which is owned by, of all people, Biff. Marty learns that his father was killed a few years ago and his mother is now married to Biff. Marty meets with Doc who thinks he knows what happened. Somehow Biff got his hands on a book from the future which has in it all sports results and he used it to bet on sports and amass his fortune. Marty said he considered doing that but Doc nixed it. Somehow the Biff from the future discovered about the time machine and Marty's plan and used the time machine to give his younger self the book. So they have to find out when Biff got the book so they can take it away from him. So Marty goes to see him and confronts him about it and Biff also tells him that he was the one who killed George. Marty and Doc then go back to, of all places, 1955 on the day of the school dance. So Marty tries to get the book while trying to avoid being seen by Doc's younger self and himself who's getting ready to go back to 1985. Marty at times gets the book but when Biff calls him a coward, Marty gets incensed which leads to him losing the book so he has to try and get it again.

  • After a wacky trip to 1955, Marty McFly returns to his own time only to find himself going with his friend Doc Brown to the year 2015 to straighten out a family problem. When they return to 1985 however, they quickly discover that Biff Tannen has turned Hill Valley into a hell hole. Their only chance to restore their original time is to return to 1955 to set things right.

  • The second part of the trilogy begins as Doc, Marty, and Jennifer take the time-traveling DeLorean into the year 2015 to straighten out the future of the McFly family. But Biff Tannen steals the time machine and gives his younger self a book containing 50 years of sports statistics, which the young Biff uses to amass an enormous gambling fortune and transform idyllic Hill Valley into a living hell. To restore the present, Doc and Marty must return to the events of their previous adventure in 1955 and retrieve the book.

  • Marty McFly and Doc Brown make an exhilarating visit to the year 2015 seemingly to resolve a few problems with the future McFly family. But when the two return home, they soon discover someone has tampered with time to produce a nightmarish Hill Valley, 1985. Their only hope is to once again get back to 1955 and save the future.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • After returning to his own time (albeit with his actions in 1955 having altered his family's fortunes for the better), Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) is ready to take his girlfriend Jennifer Parker (Elizabeth Shue) for a ride in his Toyota truck.

    Suddenly, with three sonic booms, the DeLorean Time Machine pulls into the house's driveway, and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) emerges, demanding the two get in the time machine, and come with him back to the future!

    The two comply, but as the time machine's wheels fold down and it lifts off into the air, no one in the car sees Biff Tannen (Thomas F Wilson) witnessing them taking off.

    The time machine sends Doc, Marty and Jennifer, to October 26th, 2015. When Jennifer grows to eager to know what happened to her and Marty, Doc uses a sleep-inducing alpha rhythm generator to put her to sleep and keep her from asking questions.

    After landing the time machine in an alleyway near the Hill Valley courthouse, Doc and Marty deposit Jennifer on a nearby loading dock, before Marty changes into some clothing provided by Doc. It is then that Doc explains to Marty that on this day, Marty's son Marty McFly Jr (Michael J Fox) gets talked into doing something illegal by Griff Tannen (Thomas F Wilson) and his gang. Marty is supposed to take his son's place and refuse to go along with the scheme, while Doc uses the alpha rhythm generator to detain Marty Jr, until Marty completes his mission.

    Marty then strolls out onto the town square, enamored by all the changes that have taken place in the last 30 years. For a moment, he stops and looks in the window of an antique store called "Blast from the Past," which has a number of vintage items, including a sports almanac.

    Making his way to the "Cafe 80's," Marty is surprised to run into an older Biff Tannen (Thomas F Wilson), who berates Marty McFly Jr's "old man" to be a loser. Before Marty can find out more information, Griff shows up, and drags his grandfather outside to finish waxing his car. Things get tense for Marty when Marty Jr DOES show up, and he ducks out-of-sight.

    Marty is shocked to find out that his son is "a complete wimp," but when Marty Jr angers Griff, the manic Tannen throws Marty Jr over the nearby counter, knocking the kid out. Marty then takes his son's place and refuses to give into Griff's demands, but as he attempts to walk out the door, Griff calls Marty "a chicken." Marty is about to attack Griff, when Griff pulls out a hidden baseball bat, and almost takes his head off!

    Marty rushes outside, and takes a hoverboard from a little girl. Griff's gang gives chase, and Marty is able to get away, before the board coasts to a stop over the Courthouse Square's duck pond.

    Griff uses the opportunity to pull out his heavy-duty Pitbull hoverboard, and once his gang hooks on, they attempt to mow down Marty. At the last minute, Marty manages to duck, causes the bully and his gang to fly right into the Courthouse's windows, and crash on through!

    In the aftermath, Marty attempts to return the hoverboard, but the little girl lets him keep it, having absconded with Griff's Pitbull hoverboard. After this, Marty encounters an old man named Terry (Charles Fleischer) who asks Marty for funds to save the clock tower, when a news graphic pops up showing the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series, against the Miami Gators. When Terry comments how he wishes he could have put some money on the Cubs, Marty gets an idea.

    Returning to the "Blast from the Past" store, Marty purchases the "Grey's Sports Alamanac" he saw earlier. On his way out, he encounters Doc landing the DeLorean, before having to explain about the crowd gathered in front of the Courthouse. Doc is at first incensed that Marty Jr showed up (blaming the use of the sleep-inducer on Jennifer for not giving the proper knockout dosage), but the two soon realize that because of the hoverboarding incident, Griff will go to jail, and Marty's family is saved!

    As they prepare to retrieve Jennifer, Doc finds the sports almanac, and lectures Marty for attempting to use time-travel for financial gain. Throwing the almanac in a nearby trash can, Doc and Marty then find out some local police officers have found Jennifer. Overhearing that they're taking her back to her home in Hilldale, the two take off in pursuit...unaware that old Biff has heard what they said, and retrieves the thrown-away sports almanac.

    After she is returned to the McFly house, Jennifer hides in a closet, as she sees the family prepare for dinner. Their daughter Marlene (Michael J Fox) greets Grandma Lorraine (Lea Thompson) and Grandpa George (Jeffrey Weissman) as they arrive. When Lorraine mentions the broken scene-screen, Marlene mentions how Marty got upset with the repairman for calling him a chicken. Lorraine once again brings up an automobile accident Marty had with a Rolls-Royce 30 years ago, all because someone called him chicken.

    Meanwhile, Doc and Marty have landed nearby. Doc takes his dog Einstein with him to retrieve Jennifer, and leaves Marty with the DeLorean. However, Marty is soon distracted by an automatic dog-walker, and doesn't see old Biff get out of a cab, and steal the time machine!

    Back in the McFly house, Jennifer watches as Marty Sr takes a video call from a co-worker named Needles (Flea). Marty is unsure about being a part of Needles' illegal plan, but gives in when he's called a chicken. A few moments later, Marty is shocked when his boss Mr Fujitsu (Jim Ishida) contacts him, claiming he was monitoring the call, and has Marty fired, causing a "your're fired" message to be printed out on fax machines throughout the home (even one near Jennifer, who takes it).

    Doc manages to find where Jennifer is hiding, and tells her to head out through the front door. She manages to make her way there, only to encounter her older self! The shock of seeing herself older, causes her to pass out, and Doc catches her before she falls.

    After finding Marty nearby, Doc gets him to help carry Jennifer back to the DeLorean (which has just been returned by old Biff...who has painfully stumbled out of the vehicle, breaking the top of his cane off inside the car!). Doc the claims when they get back to 1985, he intends to destroy the time machine to prevent any further damage to the space-time continuum.

    Once everyone is in the car, Doc sets the time circuits for October 26th, 1985, and they land near Jennifer's home. Doc claims they'll leave her on her family's porch-swing, and Marty can come back later, to convince her that the 2015 adventure was just a dream. As they leave, Marty questions when Jennifer's parents put bars on the front windows.

    Doc then drives Marty back to the McFly's residence, before driving the DeLorean back to his lab. Marty then sneaks in through his house's rear window, but finds a girl (Nikki Birdsong) sleeping in his room. Her screams wake up her family, and Marty is chased out of the house by her father (Al White)!

    Marty runs down the street, seeing the once-gentrified street in a state of disarray. Coming upon one house, he grabs the newspaper on the front-step, and is shocked to see that it is dated October 26th, 1985! Suddenly, he hears the cocking of a gun, and turns to find Mr Strickland(James Tolkan), brandishing a shotgun. Marty attempts to reason with the armed man claiming Strickland gave him detention last week. Strickland claims the school burned down 6 years ago, but the moment is interrupted by a drive-by shooting, and Marty rushes off into the night!

    He eventually ends up at the Hill Valley Courthouse, which has been turned into Biff's Pleasure Paradise and Casino! Marty soon finds himself watching a video at the steps of the nearby Biff Tannen Museum, that explains how Biff's 'fabulous winning streak' at sports gambling, caused him to gain local power, and influence those in higher office. When Marty finds out that Biff married his mother Lorraine, he freaks out, but is then subdued by Biff's gang of Match (Billy Zane), 3D (Casey Siemaszko), and Skinhead (JJ Cohen).

    Marty then wakes up on the 27th floor of the Pleasure Paradise, where he finds his Mom! Biff arrives shortly afterwards, claiming Marty is supposed to be at a boarding school in Switzerland. Lorraine attempts to stand-up to Biff and claim she's leaving him, but when Biff threatens to financially cut off her kids and possibly jail them, she quiets down.

    Once Biff leaves, Marty pleads to know where his father George McFly is. When Lorraine mentions "Oak Park Cemetery," Marty rushes off into the night. In the darkness, he finds a tombstone, showing George's death having been on March 15th, 1973. Suddenly, a shadow falls over the tombstone, and Marty turns to find Doc and the DeLorean.

    They return to Doc's garage, where he explains he went to the public library to find out more information. Given it was shut down, Doc 'borrowed' some of the old newspaper records, and began piecing together what happened (as he mentions this, Marty finds the headline telling of his father's murder in 1973, and tears it out of the library binding). Doc surmises that prior to the current date, something in the past caused the timeline they were on, to skew into the "Alternate 1985" they are currently in (while Marty, Doc, and Einstein find this timeline incorrect, everyone else finds it totally normal).

    Doc also reveals that he found the receipt for the Sports Almanac in the DeLorean, along with the top of Old Biff's cane. Doc surmises that Old Biff is the cause of this, and in showing Marty a picture of young Biff winning a big horse race bet in 1958, they can see the top of the sports almanac sticking out of his pocket! Marty figures they need to back to the future to stop old Biff, but Doc claims that will do no good, since the current timeline, would lead them into a future of their current reality, one in which Doc has been committed by local authorities. To repair the damage, they have to go into the past, but not before finding out where, when, and how young Biff got the sports almanac.

    Marty then confronts Biff back at the casino. The fact that Marty knows about the almanac, leads Biff to tell Marty how on November 12th, 1955, he was picking up his car when an old man confronted him. It was then that Biff received the almanac, though he had no idea who the old man was, or believed his claim to be "a distant relative."

    Biff then shows Marty the almanac, before putting it back in his safe. While his back is turned, Marty purloins a casino matchbook from a nearby tray. As Biff turns back, he tells Marty that the old man claimed that "a crazy wild-eyed scientist or a kid may show up asking about that book," and then pulls out a small pistol!

    Marty manages to distract Biff, but barely escapes as the madman attempts to kill him! Marty rushes onto the hotel roof, where he is cornered. Marty claims that if Biff kills him, they can match the bullet to his gun, but Biff claims he owns the police...who couldn't match up the bullet that killed George McFly.

    Biff is surprised when Marty falls over the edge of the roof, but as he goes to examine the body, Biff finds Marty has landed on the hood of the DeLorean, before Doc knocks Biff out by opening the driver's side door!

    Marty and Biff then set the time circuits to November 12th, 1955, though there is a moment of worry when the time circuits begin flashing January 1st, 1885. Doc manages to fix this temporarily, but as they head back to 1955, Marty notes that they are leaving Jennifer and Einstein behind. However, Doc claims that "assuming" they succeed in their mission, the changes they make will affect the present timeline, and both Jennifer and Einstein will be fine.

    Once back in 1955, Doc hides the DeLorean behind the Lyon Estates advertisement outside the town. Giving Marty some binoculars, a walkie-talkie and some money, Doc tells Marty that he has to find young Biff and tail him, but not to interfere with old Biff giving his younger self the almanac (old Biff still needs to bring the DeLorean he's stolen back to the future). Doc also cautions Marty to be careful to not run into his 'other self,' since Marty's other self is going to be at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance tonight, and the 1955 Doc will be prepping for the clocktower lightning strike.

    Marty manages to get some 50's clothing, and tails young Biff to the Western Auto store near the Courthouse. As young Biff haggles over the $300 price of cleaning his car, Marty hides in the backseat. From there he witnesses Biff harassing Lorraine, before she and her friend run off.

    It is then that young Biff finds an old man sitting in his car...and is even more surprised when the old man manages to get the car to start!

    Old Biff drives his younger self back to his Grandma's house, where he attempts to give himself the almanac, but young Biff just thinks the old man is playing a joke on him. Old Biff then turns on the radio, and his younger self is surprised when the almanac predicts the final score of the football game they're listening to! Young Biff then takes the almanac, and he and the old man leave the garage, locking the door and trapping Marty inside! Marty radios to Doc to get him out, but Doc claims he has to find another method to do so, since he can't take the time machine out in the daylight.

    Marty is stuck in the garage until nightfall, when young Biff opens the garage doors, and heads off to the dance. Just as Biff leaves, Doc peddles up on a bicycle into the Tannen's driveway, where he finds the garage empty.

    As Doc peddles through town, his walkie-talkie goes off, and Marty explains he's on his way to the dance. As Doc cautions him to watch out for his 'other-self,' Doc himself has to deal with the same when his 1955 counterpart asks for a wrench from a nearby toolbox. Doc hand off the wrench, while keeping his identity hidden from his past-self.

    Once Biff arrives at Hill Valley High School, he takes the almanac with him, and Marty trails him into the school auditorium. As he observes Biff and his gang spiking the punch and looking at a girly magazine called "Ooh-la-la," he watches as Mr Strickland notices the gang, who then beat a hasty retreat outside.

    While Biff sends his gang to find "Calvin Klein" (aka the 1955 Marty), Biff reads through the girly magazine, Marty attempts to get the almanac from his back pocket when Strickland shows up, and confiscates it!

    Marty trails Strickland to his office, and once the school administrator takes a drink of liquor, he tosses the magazine in the office trash can and leaves! Marty rushes for the book, but finds the girly magazine, with the almanac's cover on it! Panicking over what to do next, Marty notices out the window that his father is confronting Biff in the parking lot.

    Marty rushes out, and once his other-self, Lorraine, and George have left the scene, swoops in and recovers the almanac from Biff! Marty radios to Doc that he's got the book, but not before Biff's gang finds Marty, and give chase.

    Doc meanwhile, attempts to fly off to the school, but the DeLorean hits the billboard, causing the time circuits to malfunction temporarily, and trailing a length of advertising pennants from the sign.

    Back at the school, Marty has managed to evade Biff's gang, but as they come into the auditorium and see Marty's past-self onstage, they head to the side, attempting to take him out once he finishes playing the song "Johnny B Goode!" Marty hatches a plan that ends up knocking the thugs out, preventing a major paradox with his past self. Radioing to Doc that everything is fine, Doc tells Marty he'll be landing on the school roof soon.

    Rushing outside just as his past-self meets Lorraine and George, Marty then encounters Biff who wants to fight. Marty declines, but when Biff calls him a chicken, Marty is ready to go...until his past-self throws open the nearby door, running off as he knocks Marty to the ground! This causes the almanac to be revealed inside Marty's jacket, leading Biff to angrily kick Marty hard, before rushing to his car, and driving off!

    Marty rushes to the roof and tells Doc what happened. They then head towards the River Road Tunnel, trailing Biff. As Doc lowers the DeLorean, Marty uses the hoverboard from 2015, to get closer to Biff's car. Just as he's about to recover the book, Biff notices him! Biff attempts to make Marty let go, but the determined teenager hangs on. As they approach the River Road Tunnel, Biff attempts to crush Marty against the wall.

    Marty manages to avoid this, and makes another attempt for the book. Biff barely manages to avoid hitting a truck, before attempting to squash Marty against the tunnel's other wall, before Marty recovers the almanac!

    However, as Marty attempts to return back the way he came, Biff turns his vehicle around, and barrels on towards Marty, attempting to run him over. Marty just barely makes it to the tunnel entrance, when a string of pennants falls from the sky, and he grabs on...being hoisted aloft by Doc in the DeLorean!

    As Biff looks skyward, he is distracted and barrels into the back of the truck he almost hit in the tunnel: an A Jones manure truck, that once again ends up coating him and his car in the foul-smelling stuff!

    Doc flies Marty back to the Lyon Estates area. While Marty is able to settle down on the ground, Doc tries to maneuver around in the high winds and flashes of lighting as the thunderstorm begins to roll in. Doc tells Marty over the walkie-talkie to burn the almanac. Marty places the book in an old bucket, and using the book of matches from Biff's casino, sets it aflame. As he looks at the matchbook, Maraty notices the words "Pleasure Paradise," become the words "Auto Detailing!" Pulling out the newspaper that says "George McFly Murdered," Marty is ecstatic as the headline becomes, "George McFly Honored."

    Marty radios to Doc about the changes, and Doc looks at the newspaper headline he has, showing that instead of being "committed," he is being "commended!"

    With the future fixed, Doc prepares to retrieve Marty, when a bolt of lightning almost hits the DeLorean, but strikes a nearby tree! As Doc attempts to recover, a series of lightning bolts strike the DeLorean, that then disappears from the sky! As Marty attempts to radio Doc, the pennants he used fall to the ground, before the storm brings the rain.

    Suddenly, a car pulls up behind Marty, and a man gets out, asking if he is speaking to "Marty McFly." When Marty affirms, the man claims he's from Western Union, and presents Marty with a letter that was given to the local office, 70 years ago.

    Marty opens it up, and finds it is a letter from Doc Brown, dated September 1st, 1885! Knowing there's only one man who can help him, Marty rushes off towards the town square.

    Arriving minutes after his past-self went back to the future, Marty confronts 1955 Doc, who faints upon seeing another Marty in his presence!

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