Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Back to the Future is a family time-travel favorite that includes sequences that place the hero and his friends in physical jeopardy: an attack in which a sympathetic character is thought to be killed, a van chasing a teen on a skateboard, several episodes of bullying, and more. The violence is exaggerated and closer in tone to cartoon jeopardy than real danger, but some kids will no doubt find it tense. Several scenes show the hero's discomfort when the girl who will eventually be his mother tries to entice him with kisses and embraces; there's also a scene in which the beginnings of an assault on a high school girl are shown; she struggles/expresses fear, but intervention prevents anything else from happening. Strong language includes a couple memorable uses of "s--t," as well as "bastards," "damn," "a--hole," and a couple of racial slurs in the 1950s-set scenes. It's worth noting that this is the movie that alerted the public to the concept of product placement, with controversy arising from the near-constant visuals of Pepsi products and other brands.
A few kisses and embraces; flirting. Teenage crushes are a key part of the story, with Marty becoming the object of affection of the girl who will grow up to become his mother. While perched in a tree, a boy spies through a girl's window.
In an early scene, an attack by a squad of terrorists includes automatic weapon fire and what appears to be a significant fatal shooting. Other sequences include suspenseful car and skateboard chases, a character threatened by a shotgun, some perilous scenes involving a tall clock tower, and punches thrown between high school kids. Bullying, a significant theme, happens many times. The bully initiates an off-camera assault on a high school girl; she struggles/expresses fear, but luckily someone else intervenes before things go further than that.
Occasional swearing includes "damn," "butthead," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "son-of-a-bitch," "hell," "bastards," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation). In the 1950s-set scenes, a few racial epithets are used by the bad guys, including "Irish bug" and "spook," and a mayor is referred to as "colored."
Sends the message that bullies must be stood up to and that intelligence, courage, and integrity ultimately win out over brute strength and intimidation. Also, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything, and creativity and imagination are qualities to be admired and nurtured.
Many products are prominently displayed and mentioned in dialogue. Pepsi products are featured throughout. Other brands identified include Toyota, Calvin Klein, Texaco, Burger King, Bud Light, Miller beer, JVC, Panasonic, KalKan and Milkbone dogfood, Zale's, Yamaha, Popov, Maxwell House, J.C. Penney, and dozens more. A DeLorean car plays a very significant role.
Drugs / Tobacco /
In one scene, two underage teens briefly experiment with a small bottle of whiskey and a cigarette. Adults drink beer and vodka at dinner. A drunk man sleeps on a park bench. Reference to "reefer."