Director Robert Zemeckis’s blockbusting trilogy went slightly off the rails with the second segment, but it got right back on track (literally) with this concluding instalment.
Shot back-to-back with Part II, the film is set predominantly in the Old West and offers Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) the chance to indulge in all the sharpshooting situations that made Saturday matinée western serials such a treat for millions of children – including, one suspects, Zemeckis and screenwriter Bob Gale.
As before, the plot revolves around the need to tinker with time and the problem of how to power the trusty DeLorean car so that Marty can get back to the present.
Trapped in 1955, Marty learns that his friend from 1985, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) was sent back to 1885 by a freak lightning strike.
There, in the early days of Hill Valley, Doc opened up a shop in town as a blacksmith and hid the time-travelling DeLorean in a mine, realising that one day it could be fixed and could send Marty back to his present.
Once more Gale and Zemeckis come up with an ingenious plot and a clutch of in-jokes, including the casting of western favourites Dub Taylor, Harry Carey Jr and Pat Buttram as a trio of old-timers in the saloon.
The inimitable Fox is again in cracking form as Marty and the romance between Doc and spinster schoolteacher Clara Clayton (Mary Steenburgen) is surprisingly touching.
Using the special effects intelligently, Zemeckis stages a spectacular steam-train finale and neatly ties up the trilogy’s loose ends. Look out for a cameo appearance from ZZ Top.
Marty McFly/Seamus McFly
Michael J Fox
“Doc” Emmett Brown
Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen/Biff Tannen
Thomas F Wilson
Maggie McFly/Lorraine McFly
Barbed wire salesman
Colt gun salesman
Douglas J Needles
Saloon old timers
Harry Carey Jr