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Well, this was the biggest box office hit of the year - 1985 - and maybe it tells us something: combine a classic sci-fi plot involving time travel with comedy and you get a huge hit. But, it's not that simple; like many sci-fi films around this time, this emulated the Spielberg method, which was a golden touch for Hollywood back then. Director Robert Zemeckis may have added his own zest and zing to the proceedings, but it still copied Spielberg - almost an "aw gee whiz" approach to crowd-pleasing entertainment.
There aren't too many time travel movies around after the seventies, mainly because The Time Machine (1960), The Time Travelers (1964) and Time After Time (1979) films pretty much covered the subject. And, "Star Trek" used up the premise in its TV episodes and films, and there was even that "Time Tunnel" TV series in the mid-sixties. One option was to do such a movie with humor, pointing out the potentially absurd ramifications of traveling to your own past. So the main character of Marty McFly (Fox) ends up meeting his own parents when they were his age. Though this is a relatively tame comedy as far as teenage comedies of the eighties, there is the risky Oedipal element of Marty's own mother having the hots for him. This concept is then tossed aside near the end when, in a rather lame scene, his mom stops her advances because she suddenly feels like she's kissing her own brother. Disney (who passed on this) should have went with this after all - it's possibly the least offensive picture of the decade and probably also explains its huge popularity - everyone could enjoy it.
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