Although Marty is only in 1955 for one week, he plays a pivotal role in getting his parents together. He even briefly dates his mother. So, considering he plays such a pivotal role, does it make sense that his parents never mention that he looks so similar to their old friend?

Is it not mentioned to simply cover up a plot hole, or is it likely that the producers simply overlooked this?


7 Answers 7


There is a definitive answer to one part of this question:

Is it likely that the producers simply overlooked this?

No. It was intentionally removed from the original draft. (Obviously this version is fairly different)

Here's the original ending of the script:

INSERT – CLIPPING A story with the headline, “Police Quell Near Riot At School Dance,” along with a photo of the dance that shows Marty on stage!

GEORGE stares at the photo, then shakes his head.

GEORGE Nah. Couldn’t be.

  • 4
    why would it be intentionally removed? The original ending would have made more sense to me!
    – pho
    Dec 7, 2011 at 13:37
  • 12
    I suspect they either 1. Decided it was cheezy to have George to notice the resemblance at that precise moment or, 2. Having written the riot out of the dance, couldn't think of or didn't like any other excuse for a picture of "Calvin Klein" at the dance to exist.
    – mootinator
    Dec 13, 2011 at 19:59
  • 5
    It may have been removed because it was a bit heavy-handed. When I think back to thirty years ago, it's amazing how little exact detail I can remember. The reality is that no one would assume they were seeing a person that is unchanged from thirty years ago - the human brain has a way of dodging what it thinks are absolute impossibilities. Too - the parents at the end have still watched Marty grow up from a baby. They wouldn't be viewing him the way we do. My mum looks at me and my sibs at whatever age we are, and pretty much sees us as kids.
    – user27684
    Nov 18, 2015 at 10:53

Even if they would notice, they would never accept it as a truth, because it is much against a normal understanding of the world.

It would be probably like:

"Ever notice how much Marty looks like that one guy I nearly fell in love with?"

"Yeah, funny that".

And thats it :). They could never imagine/reason, that Marty did time travel. So it is not even a possibility and therefore would not seem to be strange.

  • 5
    I'm not sure about that explanation. Every time I see Yo Gabba Gabba I can't shake the feeling a kid I went to high school got an impossible race change and turned into DJ Lance Rock.
    – mootinator
    Dec 2, 2011 at 1:19
  • 5
    This is the trope that the series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Beetlejuice", and Hitchhiker's 'SEP' field work from. The average person will overlook something that disagrees 'violently' with their worldview/paradigm. TVTropes defines these as "InvisibleToNormals" or the "Weirdness Censor" May 21, 2012 at 23:35
  • Well, besides all that, there's the explanation that they would've noticed earlier, before the film's plot starts, because his parents were around the entire time he was growing up. Sep 28, 2015 at 21:51
  • 1
    @ParthianShot That's not the way time travel works in this film (even though that is the way many would accept TT to work). In BTTF, until Marty goes back, he hasn't been back - he lives in a world unchanged by a trip back in time.
    – user27684
    Nov 18, 2015 at 10:56

Remember that cat your parents took in for one week when you were a child? Isn't it strange that it looks exactly like the kitten you've been raising down to the last stripe?

You don't remember what that cat looked like?

I don't remember my childhood best friend's face very well and I knew him for years. Had I met him and known him for only a week I doubt I would even remember the details.

This isn't a plot hole.

  • 1
    Oh it's a plot hole if you try hard enough. Yearbooks existed in the 50s, too.
    – mootinator
    Dec 3, 2011 at 4:36
  • 19
    They did exist, and Calvin Klein wasn't actually a registered student. Also, no part of the film had any mention of it being the week that yearbook photos were taken.
    – Kalamane
    Dec 3, 2011 at 13:40
  • 3
    Double irrelevant as none of this is in the films and it is purely speculation.
    – Kalamane
    Dec 4, 2011 at 1:18
  • 1
    Yes. My point exactly.
    – mootinator
    Dec 4, 2011 at 4:06
  • 5
    But Marty wasn't just a kitten his mom took in, or his dad's childhood best friend. He was the guy his mom had a crush on, the guy who set his dad up with his mom, and the guy who invented rock and roll at the high school. He was a pretty big deal.
    – mipadi
    Dec 7, 2011 at 20:19

Suppose the parents did notice the similarity. What would the chances be that they noticed exactly in the '85 time frames the movie shows? Nil.

  • 8
    Exactly -- viewers only see the updated versions of Marty's parents for a few minutes, both those versions could have noticed the similarity and commented on it at any earlier point in Marty's life.
    – Shiz Z.
    Jul 23, 2012 at 18:49

It doesn't matter

His parents never mention the similarity in the movie because:

  1. Before the 1955 part of the movie, it would be somewhat of a spoiler.

  2. After the 1955 part of the movie, it might have worked, but it would have been "cute dialog of convenience" and not really realistic there.

Ultimately, if you accept the underlying premise of Back to the Future which is that if key events stay more or less the same, the future will be unchanged, then you have to accept that whether his parents saw the similarity or not is irrelevant. This is good news. You can either choose to believe they never noticed a similarity, or you can choose to believe that at some point in Marty's alternate youth, his parents showed him a picture of this guy he bears an uncanny resemblance to, and none of them including alternate past Marty had any idea it actually was him yet, and then they went about the rest of their lives normally. Whether either theory is correct is irrelevant, because according to the rules of the BTTF universe, it doesn't actually change anything.

  • 6
    Before the 1955 part of the movie, they couldn't remember him because those events didn't happen (remember, the 1985 he returns to is different from the 1985 he departs from in essential ways caused by his actions in 1955).
    – celtschk
    Jun 14, 2012 at 9:04

Who is to say they DIDN'T notice and comment on it... but we didn't see it? What would they have said anyway?

Lorraine: Wow, Marty! You look just like a highschool friend of ours. (To George) Honey, c'mere! Look at Marty. Doesn't he look like that friend of yours, Kevin?

George: You mean Calvin? Oh yeah, he does! Shame we don't have any photos of him. Honestly, if he hadn't had disappeared all those years ago, I'd have sworn you'd been cheating on me!

Lorraine: Oh, honey! As if I'd cheat on you...

George: I know, dear. *kiss* Hmm. Is Biff done with that car yet?

What would YOUR parents say if you resembled a childhood friend they hadn't seen in 30 years?

  • 1
    ▲ for extra plot. Totally liked it. Especially the cheating part.
    – user30432
    Mar 21, 2016 at 0:56

It was 30 years ago for Marty's parents. I can barely remember what happened 30 days ago, I can't imagine remembering something from 30 years prior. Now given that Marty's parents encounter with "Calvin Klein" is what brought them together, I doubt they could remember what he looked like some 30 years later. I would say it's plausible that they would remember his name, but not his face.


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