Back to the Future Part III

Back to the Future Part III

Synopsis of Movie

“The future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”

The time-bending antics of the Back to the Future trilogy came to a close in this 1990 installment. The manic, cross-time jumps of Part II were traded in for a rootin’, tootin’, shootin’ Old West showdown, with a surprising new romantic angle and even more surprising ZZ Top appearence.

At the close of Part II, the time-traveling DeLorean had disappeared in a lightning storm in 1955, taking 1985 Doc Brown back to 1885 and leaving 1985 Marty stuck in 1955 (Confused yet? It gets worse). As Part III opens, Marty receives a 70-year-old message from Western Union, written by Doc Brown in 1885. He’s doing just fine in the Old West, working as a blacksmith, and he doesn’t want to be rescued. The message also gives Marty directions on finding the DeLorean, which the Doc hid in a cave in 1885.

Marty finds the 1955 Doc (who just sent the 1985 Marty from the first film back to 1985) and tells him what’s up. Together, the two get the DeLorean ready for another time jump, but they’ve made a disturbing discovery: just days after Doc Brown wrote that note in 1885, he was gunned down by Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen, an ancestor of the trilogy’s eternal villain, Biff.

Dressed in a frilly western outfit from a souvenir shop, Marty makes the jump back to 1885, where the DeLorean’s fuel line accidentally gets cut. After attacks by a tribe of Native Americans and a large bear, Marty is taken in by a pair of his ancestors, Seamus and Maggie McFly. Stuck in 1885 Hill Valley, Marty finds Doc Brown and gives him the heads-up on Mad Dog, but Doc has his thoughts elsewhere. New schoolteacher Clara Clayton has arrived in town, and she and Doc Brown have turned a mutual appreciation of Jules Verne into a budding romance.

Meanwhile, Mad Dog Tannen has turned his murderous sights from the Doc to Marty, who’s known in 1885 Hill Valley as “Clint Eastwood.” A showdown is arranged, but the Doc thinks he’s figured out a way to get the DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour without gas, giving Marty and him a way out. The only catch is that Doc Brown will have to leave his true love behind, which, they learn, will result in her death. After a few heartbreaking moments, a beard-laden, guitar twirling ZZ Top performance and one rigged shootout, the various plots all come together in a climactic, cliffhanging train ride.

Filmed back-to-back with Back to the Future Part II, Part III arrived in theaters only six months after the second film. Director Robert Zemeckis was again at the helm, working from a script he co-wrote with Bob Gale. This final installment was the less chaotic than its two predecessors, focusing primarily on a send-up of classic movie westerns (with cameos by western film veterans like Pat Buttram, Dub Taylor and Harry Carey Jr.) Though this was the least successful of the three Back to the Future films, it was still a major hit, bringing the wildly popular trilogy to a close in grand style.

Despite the open ending of Back to the Future Part III, a fourth film has never been announced. The series lived on, however, in a hit Back to the Future Saturday morning cartoon series and in a popular motion ride at the Universal Studios theme parks.

Movie Release History

1985 - Back to the Future
1989 - Back to the Future Part II
1990 - Back to the Future Part III

Movie Sub Categories


Movie Studio

Universal, Amblin


Marty McFly (Clint Eastwood) Michael J. Fox
Seamus McFly Michael J. Fox
Dr. Emmett L. "Doc" Brown Christopher Lloyd
Clara Clayton Mary Steenburgen
Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen Thomas F. Wilson
Biff Tannen Thomas F. Wilson
Maggie McFly Lea Thompson
Lorraine Baines McFly Lea Thompson
Jennifer Parker Elisabeth Shue
Bartender Matt Clark
Barbed Wire Salesman Richard Dysart
Saloon Old Timer Pat Buttram
Saloon Old Timer Harry Carey Jr.
Saloon Old Timer Dub Taylor
Mayor Hugh Gillin
Marshall Strickland James Tolkan
Buford Tannen's Gang Christopher Wynne
Buford Tannen's Gang Sean Gregory Sullivan
Buford Tannen's Gang Mike Watson
Dave McFly Marc McClure
Linda McFly Wendie Jo Sperber
George McFly Jeffrey Weissman
Colt Gun Salesman Burton Gilliam
Engineer Bill McKinney
Deputy Donovan Scott
Needles Flea
Needles' Gang J.J. Cohen
Needles' Gang Ricky Dean Logan
Needles' Gang Christopher Wynne
Mortician Marvin J. McIntyre
Strickland's Son Kaleb Henley
Jules Todd Cameron Brown
Verne Dannel Evans
Townsman #2 Michael John Mills
Marty Dance Double Michael W. Higgins
Celebration Man Leslie A. Prickett
Photographer  Dean Cundey
Pie Lady Jo B. Cummings
Festival Dance Caller James A. Rammel
Townsman #1 Michael Klastorin
Festival Man #2 John Ickes
Festival Man #1 Steve McArthur
Townsman #3 Kenny Myers
Eyepatch Brad McPeters
Toothless Phinnaes D.
Ticket Agent  Rod Kuehne
Conductor Leno Fletcher
Joey Joey Newington
Train Fireman Larry Ingold
Boy with Gun Glenn Fox
Barbed Wire Salesman's Companion Tim Konrad
Band Member At Party Frank Beard
Band Member At Party  Billy Gibbons
Band Member At Party  Dusty Hill

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