Where we're going, we don't need road races

Dear Johnny B Goode,

While watching Back to the Future - Part III recently, something didn't quite make sense to me.

In 1985, Marty is involved in a road-race accident with his rival Needles that sends his career on a downward spiral (as was seen in Back to the Future - Part II). However, Marty picks up information about this from the Doc during their travels together, so when he returns to 1985 he decides not to go through with the race.

So why, having decided not to race Needles, does Marty slam his 4x4 into reverse and spin it around? This could have caused a much worse accident. Would it not have been better to have just let Needles drive off looking like a fool?


Carl Haigh

Johnny Fanboy replies:

Though he has no intention of racing, Marty is still enraged about being called a chicken and doesn't wish to appear uncool in front of either Needles or Jennifer. Therefore, he performs that impressive wheel spin.

I think it's also likely that Marty doesn't realise that this is the potentially life-changing event he had heard about from Doc Brown until he actually sees Needles' car narrowly avoiding a collision with the vehicle that would so easily have hit his own. The Doc was very cagey indeed about the details, so it could be that Marty put two and two together only after the event. In other words, Marty's change of behaviour is down to what he has learned during his adventures about not always rising to the bait when someone calls you a coward, rather than any specific foreknowledge of his own future or any considerations about road safety.

It also makes for better cinema this way. As Tony from Men Behaving Badly would put it, "It's exciting!"

Return to: