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The Biggest Continuity Errors And Plot Holes In 'Back to the Future'

Updated July 31, 2020 5.6k votes 2.1k voters 77.6k views5 items

List RulesVote up the most story-breaking paradoxes in the Back to the Future movies.

While the idea of time travel is something that fascinates people, movies based on this premise always suffer from one particular problem: paradoxes. Paradoxes plague even the best time travel films. Anytime a character has the ability to go into the past, it opens up endless possibilities of all sorts of problems. Even the most famous movies have a whole mess of plot points that simply don’t make any sense when you look at them closely, none more so than the paradoxes in Back to the Future.

Despite being arguably the most famous time traveling movie of all time (at least until the inevitable reboot gets made), Back to the Future has its fair share of problems. In fact, the movie is packed with logic-breaking paradoxes, thanks to the fact that Marty and Doc can seemingly travel to any point in time. Almost every time travel story warns against tampering with the past and with good reason. Even the smallest change can massively alter the future and the characters from this series seem to enjoy nothing better than modifying the world around them.

Listed here are the biggest and most damaging Back to the Future paradoxes. They don't just introduce plot holes; they negate the entire series in one fell swoop. Whether they were caused by a misunderstanding of the laws established in the first movie or due to an oversight by the writer, each of these paradoxes is big enough to erase everything that happened in the three movies. Check them out below and vote up the paradoxes that wreak the most havoc on the franchise. 

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    Marty Should Not Know About The Lightning Strike As It Wouldn’t Have Stopped The Clock

    The way that Marty is able to escape 1955 and return to his own time in the first film involves him knowing about the time and place of a lightning strike. This is the only way to generate the energy needed to power the DeLorean. Marty knows about this because the lightning strike stopped the clock when it hit the timepiece in 1955 and he is given a flyer about the event before traveling back in time.

    However, Doc and Marty effectively stop the clock from ever being hit with lightning. Their plan involves diverting the electrical energy directly into the time machine, rather than the clock. This means that the clock should never have been hit and would not have stopped working. 

    If the pair stop this from happening, as they do in the movie, then no one would ever know the exact time and location of the strike. The fact that the clock would still be working perfectly would mean Marty would never get the flyer in the first place. Without the flyer, he wouldn’t know when the lightning strike was going to happen and would be unable to return to the future. 

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