Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 19
  2. Negative: 3 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Staff
    Feb 7, 2013
    90
    Recovers the style, wit and grandiose fantasy elements of the original. The simplicity of plot, and the wide expansiveness of its use of space, are a refreshing change from the convoluted, visually cramped and cluttered second part.
  2. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    Feb 7, 2013
    90
    From its opening shots, the film is like an invigorating elixir, a movie pick-me-up that delivers thrills and races your pulse but keeps your head in gear too. It's divinely frivolous, nearly perfect fun.
  3. Reviewed by: Harper Barnes
    Feb 13, 2013
    88
    'Back to the Future Part III is somewhat overlong and a little slow in getting started, but on the whole it provides an entertaining and emotionally satisfying conclusion to a memorable series. [25 May 1990, p.3F]
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Boyar
    Feb 13, 2013
    88
    Although I would rate Part III beneath Part I, the final installment does have the blessing of closure: There's something undeniably satisfying about seeing all those loose ends tied up. [25 May 1990, p.7]
  5. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Feb 7, 2013
    80
    A clever and enjoyable wrapping-up of the time-travelling adventures.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Feb 7, 2013
    80
    Future III is all smiles, nostalgically respectful of the western genre, serenely sure of the strength of its own more immediate heritage and of our affection for it.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 13, 2013
    75
    The series suddenly springs back to life. It's delightful and exciting, with good jokes and fun characters. While it might lack the freshness of the first installment, the formula isn't stale, just familiar. And familiar in a cozy and pleasant way. [25 May 1990, p.E1]
  8. Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    Feb 7, 2013
    75
    Back to the Future Part III wraps up the film series with a big high-tech lasso and ropes in one heck of a good time. [25 May 1990, p.01D]
  9. Reviewed by: Gene Siskel
    Feb 7, 2013
    75
    Part III has the more adult emotions of the original, and with the presence of Steenburgen it recalls the quality of her other fine time-travel romance, "Time After Time." [25 May 1990, p.C]
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Cosford
    Feb 13, 2013
    63
    Back to the Future Part III nicely concludes the threesome (calling this a "trilogy" confers just a bit too much honor on an extended, live-action cartoon). Unlike the second, III is quite satisfying -- often funny, and ultimately thrilling. [25 May 1990, p.G5]
  11. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 7, 2013
    63
    That looking-glass quality is missing, alas, from Back to the Future Part III, which makes a few bows in the direction of time-travel complexities, and then settles down to be a routine Western comedy.
  12. Reviewed by: Desmond Ryan
    Feb 7, 2013
    63
    Zemeckis and Gale obviously paid attention to quality control in finishing the trilogy. They could not, however, hope to reach the quality of their first effort. [25 May 1990, p.5]
  13. 50
    If nothing else (and there isn't much else), Part III rises above the wholesale clutter of its immediate predecessor, then contents itself with settling into an easy commercial groove. What remains is amiable kid's stuff, as sweetly forgettable as an orange Popsicle on a summer's day. [25 May 1990, p.C4]
  14. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 7, 2013
    50
    It too has no particular reason for being (except, of course, to complete the series and cash in). It's sprightly and inoffensive, though. And, for those who care, it satisfyingly ties up the various plot strands that were flapping in the breeze from the last installment. Back to the Future futurists will feel complete. [25 May 1990, p.C1]
  15. Feb 13, 2013
    40
    It's a little late to be spoofing Westerns, and most of the high-noonery in BTTF III falls flat. [4 June 1990, p.82]
  16. Reviewed by: Vincent Canby
    Feb 7, 2013
    40
    Except for Mr. Lloyd, the film is so sweet-natured and bland that it is almost instantly forgettable.
  17. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Feb 7, 2013
    33
    Back to the Future Part III has that same sort of studio back-lot clunkiness. Only this time it's the audience that gets conked — by the sheer desperation of the whole enterprise.
  18. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Feb 13, 2013
    25
    Back to the Future III has no future. The reason is that it never works up much of a past as it sends its gull-winged DeLorean time machine back to the Old West. In effect, it goes back to the Age of Steam and runs out of gas. [25 May 1990, p.45]
  19. Reviewed by: Julie Salamon
    Feb 7, 2013
    10
    Doc says: "I can't believe this is happening." …That sentence may be the only one uttered in the entire film that contains an ounce of true feeling. Certainly that was the thought on my mind as I watched this depressing rehash of material that seemed original just five years ago, when it was. And "I can't believe this is happening" seemed to be what most of the actors were thinking as they gamely trudged through their paces yet again. [31 May 1990, p.A12]
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 93 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Jul 18, 2013
    9
    While it is not as good as the previous two films, this film is still a good hit that takes us to a completely different period in time. The cast is again perfect- the music is good, the story is lacking a bit. But the film is entertaining in every way, which is why it scores so high in my book. Full Review »
  2. Oct 18, 2014
    8
    Marty McFly travels to 1885 to save his good friend, Doc Brown before he gets killed, they plan out a way to go back to the future before time runs out. Full Review »
  3. Apr 18, 2014
    8
    "The Different One" is how to define Back to the Future III, I guess.

    If the first one was flawless and the second one was almost as good
    but with a few minor issues, this one just can't be compared the same way.

    Its setting in the Old West for most of the movie, its story, which is simpler and focuses a lot less on Marty McFly and much more on Emmett Brown, its climactic action scene, its general storytelling, it's all quite different and sets it apart from the rest.

    Is it good? Yes, no doubt about it. But the complex plots of the two last ones aren't as complex. It boils down to Emmet Brown having to go to the future or not, with or without his love interest, and Marty dealing with his own pride issues and face Buford Tannen or not. Not a bad plot, but not as interesting or complex.

    The talents of Marty and Doc are interchanged when Marty becomes the voice of reason and Doc becomes the "born again teenager" when he falls in love. A twist with potential, but not very fulfilling, although it does lead to several very fun comedic scenes, and some more sad ones. Character-wise, apart from Clara, whom I thought to be sort of underplayed and not a strongly established character(she goes from almost dying due to a carriage accident, to chasing at high speed after a train about to self-destruct, on shoes with heels, with little to no real explanation as to how the same woman can be in both situations!), I was happy with everyone, minor or major character, Strickland, the bartender Chester, most other people all felt good to me.

    As for general directing/screenplay, well, if the second one was a downgrade from the first one, I'd say this one is on par with the second one...but with a less complex plot that leaves a lot of room for more, this movie comes off as less good.

    Ultimately BttF was flawless and did everything right. BttF II had a few flaws and reused the formula less well, and BttF III does something different, does it quite well, but does have more flaws than BttF II in my eyes, the plot is less good, the characters are better but that doesn't make up for it, the plot inconsistencies are more numerous, especially the ending which contradicts a lot of what has been asked by Doc Brown in 2 and 3, and so on.

    As flawed and different as it is, if you liked the characters from 1 and 2, you'll surely enjoy this one, but I'm not sure that it should be taken as being quite the same as 1 and 2, nor being as good. It's still a solid 8/10 movie with high quality acting, good comedy and action all around.
    Full Review »