Talk:Back to the Future

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Good article Back to the Future has been listed as one of the Media and drama good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
October 31, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Film (Rated GA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Film. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see lists of open tasks and regional and topical task forces. To use this banner, please refer to the documentation. To improve this article, please refer to the guidelines.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is on the project's core list.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the American cinema task force.
Note icon
This article was a past project collaboration.
WikiProject United States / American Cinema (Rated GA-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Film - American cinema task force (marked as Low-importance).
WikiProject Library of Congress (Rated GA-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Library of Congress, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the Library of Congress on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the importance scale.
WikiProject Science Fiction (Rated GA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Science Fiction, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of science fiction on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Comedy (Rated GA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Comedy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of comedy on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Pronoun Trouble[edit]

This article states: "Just as Marty reunites with Jennifer, Doc arrives, insisting that they accompany him to the future to sort out his children." Who's children are "his" - we know it's Marty's (and Jennifer), but this sentence would appear to make them Doc's, changing "his" to "their" would fix it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Outside opinions for revert war[edit]

Here I suggested seeking outside opinions to resolve the edit war on this article. To be more specific, I'd suggest a third opinion or input from members of WP:WikiProject Film as a first step. --Mkativerata (talk) 20:40, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

The info being inserted is right after a comment about the director having problems with Glover during the production. It would seem to be relevant to this article in that it suggests part of the reason he did not return for the sequels. But is that certain, or is it a coincidence? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:45, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
The brief, sourced comment seems to be appropriate on this article. Dayewalker (talk) 20:50, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
I'll make the point here I made in my edit summaries - it's a well known fact that the role George McFly was recast (although Crispin Glover was not removed completely, so the word "replaced", as preferred by one editor, was inaccurate) in the sequels - this has its own section in the Back to the Future Part II article - however, it's not relevant to THIS article, because Glover was the only actor to play George McFly in this film. It doesn't need to be mentioned everywhere that Glover is mentioned in relation to the role. MikeWazowski (talk) 20:51, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
I think it is relevant as well. I understand what MikeWazowski is saying, but it is a significant fact and there is no reason to be overly strict about what is included in this article. Additionally, as Baseball Bugs said, it adds context to the problems the director had with Glover during production. –CWenger (talk) 20:57, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
A one sentence summary in this case seems completely appropriate; it is simply a nice linking statement to go from this movie to the rest of the series and does no harm, particularly with the comment that Glover was difficult to work with here. --MASEM (t) 21:00, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
I have re-added the disputed content as we seem to have reached a consensus here. –CWenger (talk) 02:58, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
It seems fine with a ref--I've added a {{cite web}} template to it. --Glimmer721 talk 23:33, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Flickr pics[edit]

I've removed the picture link, as it does not really add to the article. If there is a picture that can actually enhance the article, perhaps we could consider exploring if it can be used under the fair use policy. Otherwise, it is essentially an almost-random link to a page with a few set pictures. --Ckatzchatspy 09:27, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

I also saw it as a form of fanpage, which is not a link allowed by Wikipedia per section 11 of WP:FANSITE -- Lyverbe (talk) 11:42, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
That's the same reasoning I saw it. The current license they have at flickr make them non-candidates for commons, but it would be great if the owner could allow one or two of them for use here. --MASEM (t) 14:09, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
If these same photos were in an article on an entertainment magazine website how would you see them? If these photos were in a published book how would you see them?--RadioFan (talk) 14:43, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
I would see them as copyrighted material that can't be used in Wikipedia. Still, this would make them more robust sources since magazines/books publishers should make sure the images are authentic compared to personal webpages where their owners can easily allow themselves to put up fake pictures. I'm not saying the pictures discussed here are fake, but merely pointing out the difference between personal and professional sources. -- Lyverbe (talk) 17:48, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Would the link to the script not have the same copyright concerns?--RadioFan (talk) 20:23, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
As far as I know, the scripts have voluntarily been made public by the owners (because I'm sure they would have requested for them to be removed from the site) compared to picture and article scans that are obviously not public material until officially released as such. -- Lyverbe (talk) 23:05, 24 January 2011 (UTC)


Yeah okay there's some great positive criticism about Back to the Future but what about negative criticism. It doesn't seem to me that this article is being critically biased enough for me. Surely some critic had something bad to say about the movie and its only fair that that side of the story should be in the article too. At least that's my oppinion. -James Pandora Adams —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:29, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Rotten Tomatoes[edit]

I don't agree with removing the Rotten Tomatoes score, rating and consensus from the "Critical response" section. According to the essay about review aggregators, Wikipedia promotes its use so readers will have a bigger picture of the critical scenario, in a concise form, for which RT is considered a reliable source and commonly used. For a movie as old as BTTF, the stats shouldn't be that dynamic and its numbers shouldn't change a lot these days. The film already has a "Certified Fresh" classification, which means it's extremely unlikely to change to "Rotten" anytime this decade - same goes for its "Consensus". Plus, with 4.000+ visits every day, surely the article will be kept accurate as needed. A couple more things: this reference might help understand why the movie has very few negative reviews, like someone noted in this discussion page. It's also useful if someone prints the article for whatever purpose of presenting it. Again, I don't agree with the removal. Otherwise, it should also be removed from the Part II and III articles. Other than this, the article is top class.

I don't have anything against Rotten Tomatoes, but if you want to mention its BTTF entry, you have to add it so the dynamic numbers don't show up. It was already there before and after I updated the stats 3 times in about 8 months (yes, they still change that often) to keep the article accurate, I had enough and removed it. I don't want to go there again. -- Lyverbe (talk) 01:49, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't see a problem with using Rotten Tomatoes. I think about every film article I have seen does. As long as the reference is dated (which it should be), people are aware that it might not be accurate anymore, just like anything else on Wikipedia. And for a movie as old as BTTF, it will never be that inaccurate anyway. –CWenger (^@) 01:57, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I do try to keep the articles as accurate as possible. That's one of the very main rule of Wikipedia. I feel it doesn't make any sense to put dynamic information like Rotten Tomatoes numbers (and I'm only talking about the numbers here), but I'll go with the majority. If you guys believe it's a must-have information for the article... -- Lyverbe (talk) 10:46, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
For a 25-year-old movie the information is not that dynamic though. And in my opinion having the aggregate opinion of film critics is very important for a film article. –CWenger (^@) 18:59, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Like I said above, I changed it about 3 times in 8 months (you can check the history). I was also surprised by this, but it's a fact. Either we remove the numbers (which would make the statement almost useless) or, like you said, add a {{as of}} template to prevent us from having to edit the information. -- Lyverbe (talk) 21:37, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I like the idea to use the {{as of}} template to reinforce to readers that this information may be dated. –CWenger (^@) 21:47, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

I removed 'Rotten Tomatoes' almost a year ago and my reason is mentioned above. Perhaps Lightstriker was thinking the same thing as I did (and still do). I don't want to open an old issue, but this might explain his "Unexplained removal" -- Lyverbe (talk) 11:32, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Marty's siblings?[edit]

Shouldn't there be some kind of mention of Marty's siblings, however minor they are? There's next to nothing about them here, which meant I had to use IMDb to look up who portrayed them. Mac Dreamstate (talk) 02:24, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

If worth mentionning, they should be listed in the article "List of characters in the Back to the Future films", not this one. -- Lyverbe (talk) 13:11, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, at the very least I'm going to add a brief mention of them in the opening plot section where it describes the family. No harm in that. I also think there should be a cast section, rather than just linking to that generic article above which only details the main cast of the entire trilogy. Once again, I found it very unhelpful that I had to use IMDb to look up those who had speaking roles. Mac Dreamstate (talk) 13:19, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Plot vs. Summary - Heading for a revert war[edit]

Personally, I prefer "Plot" even though I don't see "Summary" to be the end of the world. The problem with WP:FILMPLOT is that it reads "Plot summaries should exist as self-contained sections ("Plot", "Plot summary") in film articles" which doesn't help solving this case. The important thing is that the three BTTF articles need to use the same thing. The terms "Plot" and "Summary" basically mean the same thing, don't they? -- Lyverbe 23:35, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

They more or less mean the same thing, why not just say plot summary and be done with it.Meatsgains (talk) 00:38, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
First, how is it that the first entry wasn't signed yet it wasn't auto-signed by the bot either? I've never seen that before.
Second, are you really wanting an answer to that question here—without going to a dictionary to find out yourself? I'm not trying to be snide. I'm just asking.
Anyway, here's the difference:
The plot is the storyline, without going into much detail.
A summary (or synopsis) is basically a short recap—going into detail without telling the whole story (which is what we have in the BTTF articles).
But, the term "plot summary" (which is what is used in the WP:FILMPLOT) would suffice. --Musdan77 (talk) 01:10, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
About the signature, I must have added 5 '~' instead of 4 by mistake. I've now signed it manually. -- Lyverbe (talk) 11:33, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I think that "Summary" is too vague. It could refer to a summary of coverage about the film, for example. "Plot" is really just shorthand for "Plot summary" with the implicit expectancy that we're not going to go in depth about the film's events, considering that this is an encyclopedic article that discusses the film in real-world context. Either way, I think that "plot" in the section heading is a helpful descriptor. Erik (talk | contribs) 15:57, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'd think the fact that MOS:FILM clearly indicates "Plot" as the recommended section header would be all that really needs to be said on the topic, unless we want to discuss the appropriateness of the header in general, in which case the discussion should occur there, not on the Talk page for a specific film. Doniago (talk) 16:43, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Where does it "clearly indicate "Plot" as the recommended section header"? In fact, in the section, it uses the term "plot summary" 6 times, and the word "plot" only twice. And "plot summary" is the more accurate term, as the definitions given indicate. --Musdan77 (talk) 17:13, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I think that plot summary should be used, there is no way anyone will wonder what they were about to read with that title.Beefcake6412 (talk) 17:21, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
"Plot" is the name of the section on MOS:FILM under which the plot information is discussed, and in my experience section headings for film articles match the section headers provided there on an almost one-for-one basis where applicable. The text "Plot summaries should exist as self-contained sections ("Plot", "Plot summary") in film articles." is there, which granted could be taken either way, but every recently-maintained film article I've seen uses "Plot" rather than "Plot summary". Personally I don't see how the word "summary" adds any crucial information; the mere length of the section would seem to make it clear that in most cases it is not a bare overview...and I wouldn't mind a reference as to where those definitions are originating, personally, as I don't recall ever seeing a definition of "Plot" that explicitly stated a lack of detail was involved.
In any event, as I've noted before, this does not appear to be the proper forum for discussing this matter, as the issue applies to more than just this one film, unless folks at MOS:FILM have been directed here? And if the goal is to determine standards for all 3 BttF films then I hope an effort is being made to make it clear to followers of those articles that there is a discussion here that applies to their work; I would not have been aware of this discussion if I hadn't been "warned" for edit-warring with a link to this film's Talk page...which seemed rather unusual as I'd never edited this film's article. Doniago (talk) 18:43, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
"Plot summary" is just a redundant title. If I asked you the "plot" of a film you're going to summarize the basic story for me. You're not going to tell me word-for-word every detail. You're summarizing. So, the very nature of the word "Plot" implies a summarization. Thus, you don't need "summary" attached to it.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 18:51, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
It has been "Plot" for years, why not just leave it like that? The important thing is that all 3 articles use the same header name -- Lyverbe (talk) 23:16, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Wasn't there a brief conversation a few months back at the film project about making this more specific so that we could avoid potential edit wars? I seem to recall the conversation didn't go very far other than a handful of people noting their own preferences; the consensus in that conversation seemed to be for "Plot" (because "Plot summary" seems redundant as a section title) with some exceptions for "Premise" for as-yet-unreleased films that we had a sourced synopsis available to use in the article. Perhaps we should nail this down at the Project MOS? It seems a little silly to me that we'd need to but it might not be the worst idea ever. Millahnna (talk) 06:56, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

As apparently leaving it as an either/or situation leaves room for rather pointless edit wars, I'd support nailing it down and further support the reasoning you provide. While I appreciate the philosophy behind keeping things flexible, the reality is it just seems to result in the same arguments being brought up time and again. Doniago (talk) 11:43, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
So now, we have BTTF1 & 2 with "Plot summary" and BTTF3 with "Plot". Any objections to change BTTF1 & 2 to "Plot" (like it has been for years) and end this discussion? -- Lyverbe (talk) 10:40, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes. The consensus at MOS:FILM seems to be that either is correct, and to leave it which ever way it is. If it's not broke, don't fix it! And if there was to be any changes, it would certainly make more sense to change one instead of two. --Musdan77 (talk) 16:38, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps we should nail this down at the Project MOS? - Agree. I don't see any reason to leave this detail up to discretion, thus a bone of contention, thus a potential waste of time arguing about on talk pages. Shirtwaist 19:19, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

"Critically acclaimed" vs. whatever[edit]

So I went to check that Neutral language in critical reception discussion. My god, this is way too big for anyone to read. Personally, I don't care about one or the other, but we should be able to get a summary of that huge discussion. It's clear we're getting into a revert war in the BTTF article(s) -- Lyverbe (talk) 14:21, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

My understanding is that we're not supposed to use terms like "critically acclaimed" unless sources actually use such descriptors explicitly. In the meantime, "Very positive" is sufficient. There is an RFC on the subject, though thus far it's received little attention. Doniago (talk) 14:46, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
'Very positively' is fine. Charlr6 (talk) 19:18, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, "Critically acclaimed" should be classified as weasel words. HiLo48 (talk) 20:42, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Critical response - Robbie Collin's opinion[edit]

I'm not too sure about letting the latest paragraph in the "Critical Response" about Robbie Collin's vote for his ten greatest films of all time. Wikipedia works with facts (surveys, box office, etc.) and this is not really a fact but rather a personal choice of his. Personally, I don't think I would let it in. Anybody else? -- Lyverbe (talk) 16:36, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Who the hell is Robbie Collin, anyway? --Eaglestorm (talk) 16:42, 14 June 2012 (UTC)


Doc Brown isn't "mispronouncing" the word as presented in the video. "Giga" is Greek in origin, and the hard-g pronunciation is simply more common (as in "gigabyte") while not being any more correct (and in fact would be closer to mispronouncing the word). Atypicaloracle (talk) 21:39, 7 December 2012 (UTC) already stated here:, but should the word "mispronounces" be removed or not, hmm... perhaps. Yeah, I think so. -- Lyverbe (talk) 23:06, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Both pronunciations are acceptable. I have amended "mispronounced" to "pronounced" and inserted references to two dictionaries supporting this.[1] sroc (talk) 13:49, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
The UK and the US pronunciations are different. So to most people in the UK it sounds wrong but we still understand it.
(UK) IPA(key): /ˈɡɪɡə/, /ˈɡaɪɡə/
(US) IPA(key): /ˈɡɪɡə/, /ˈdʒɪɡə/
It is odd that this is even mentioned because it is trivia. And what about the cat, QuentinUK (talk) 07:31, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Telltale Games Video Game[edit]

Surely this section should be removed. It's a video game, so related to the franchise as a whole, rather the than this film. It's not even a video game set around the events of BTTF, but rather additional events following the third film. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:56, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

You're right, and it's already mentioned in List of Back to the Future video games anyway. I took care of it. I fail to understand how it got in the "American Film Institute list" section too! -- Lyverbe (talk) 14:47, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Some fool has vandalized the opening[edit]

I don't edit Wikipedia articles so not sure on protocol, but if someone can fix the damage that would be great. I don't want to break editing rules unknown to me by editing live page - hence comment here. Mitch — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:50, 30 May 2013 (UTC)


How about a simple cast list instead of the character breakdown currently on the page? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Beetfarm Louie (talkcontribs) 10:05, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

A "simpler" cast list can be found in the franchise article. I assume the way it's been done here is to explain why the actor was chosen. -- Lyverbe (talk) 13:28, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Cast list[edit]

A new "Cast List" section has recently been added to the Back to the Future articles. Some editors have seen this new section has been helpful, some have seen it as being useless and some are indifferent. For the good health of the articles, please express your opinion about this section on the franchise article. -- Lyverbe (talk) 15:12, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Source of BTTF album[edit]

@Paradoctor: I fail to understand why you removed that source (again?) regarding the BTTF album. WP:ELNO #5 talks about single web PAGES, not web SITES. As for WP:SPS, it talks about self-published sources which is not the case here (i.e. it is not WP:FANSITE). If you insist on removing the source, you need to find another one. -- Lyverbe (talk) 01:14, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

ELNO Is the cite to a page or a site?
SPS Please read the second footnote. Is there editorial control over Etsy listings?
"you need to find another" Nope, WP:BURDEN. You might want to check the article on the soundtrack, maybe it has a good source. Paradoctor (talk) 00:45, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
ELNO #5 is for pages, not sites, so it does not apply. As for Etsy, it's a huge company, not just something running as a server in someone's basement, so it is somewhat valid. The "somewhat" is because the items sold on it come from people like you and me which might not be considered reliable. Honestly, I can't tell. As for WP:BURDEN, you can't use that because it's there to say "If you say something, prove it's true", not "If you remove a proof, it's someone else's job to prove it some other way". -- Lyverbe (talk) 01:41, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
ELNO You did not answer my question. If you did, you would have realized that the cite is to a page, not to Etsy.
"I can't tell" If you yourself can't tell, you can't claim it is reliable, now can you?
"remove a proof" I did not remove a "proof", I removed a non-proof, and I made my case that it is indeed not a reliable source for the claim. If you think otherwise, the burden is on you to show that a) the cite directly supports the claim and b) that either the author is a recognized expert or that there indeed was editorial control.
If that doesn't satisfy you, and can't produce new arguments to convince me of the error of my ways, and want to reinsert the cite, you'll have to begin dispute resolution, because, as it is now, I will not let this cite return. If you do, it would probably be a good idea to start with WP:3O. Paradoctor (talk) 11:06, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
... I didn't contest the claim, only the ref, but, hey, suit yourself. Paradoctor (talk) 12:05, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
All I'm saying is that if you're personally not satisfied with a ref, you add another one or replace it, not remove it and tell other editors to do your task of finding a better one. The claim no longer as a ref so it can't stay there and that's why I removed it completely instead of adding a {{cn}} that will never be taken care of. -- Lyverbe (talk) 15:42, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
"personally not satisfied" That was not a matter of personal taste, or even editorial judgment. The ref plainly and utterly failed to do what it should. It served only to drive traffic to an Etsy shop. FYI: This link was one of more than thirty of this type added by the same editor, all pointing to the same Etsy shop.
Maybe this will help you see the light: Ignore the lack of reliability, just try to show that the claim is supported by the ref. You'll find you can't.
"never be taken care of" Perspective, attain it you must, young padawan. Face-wink.svg I have occasionally resolved cn's that had existed for years. Wikipedia's a huge project, and there's no WP:DEADLINE. Paradoctor (talk) 01:11, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't entirely agree there...if the source is blatantly unreliable then removing it and tagging the statement with CN is appropriate; if the reliability is merely questionable then Template:Verify credibility might be a better approach, perhaps with an appropriate Talk page thread here. That said, while removing a source may not be best practice, I don't believe there's any policy explicitly prohibiting the practice if there are well-meaning reliability concerns. Also it seems rather pessimistic to assume a CN tag will "never be taken care of". One way or another it will be in time, whether via the addition of a source or via the moving of the material here or its deletion. Just my two cents. DonIago (talk) 16:27, 28 October 2014 (UTC)