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I watched Back to the Future last night, for the first time in years, and I noticed something that I had never taken note of before. The nature of Marty's injury from being hit by a car is inconsistent.

As far as I was able to tell, he pushes his father out of the way, then turns to face the oncoming car. He puts his hands out to protect himself, the car stops short. Marty takes the full force of the impact in his hands and arms, and he is thrown back, falling backwards, and hitting the back of his head on the asphalt.

Later, he wakes up to find his incredibly hot mother applying a cold compress to his forehead. He realizes he is still in 1955, sits up, and his mother repeatedly mentions the bruise on his forehead, and tries to touch it. She focuses exclusively on his forehead, not the back of his head.

As far as I was able to determine, his forehead never suffered any injury - the car hit his hands (and possibly his knees), and the back of his head hit the pavement. Nothing seems to have hit his forehead at all.

Here is the scene I'm talking about - the car hits Marty at about 50 seconds in:

Is this an inconsistency, or am I missing something? Did Marty hurt his forehead, and if so, how?

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    When he got hit by the car, Marty falls to the ground, looks up briefly, then becomes unconscious, hitting his head on the road (which looks quite hard); other than that though his head doesn't contact the car Jun 15, 2015 at 23:43
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    I like to think Lorraine's dad knocked Marty's head on the doorframe a couple times while carrying him into the house. Jun 9, 2021 at 13:43

1 Answer 1

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Nope. It's just a goof.

In the original screenplay, the implication is that the car hit him and that he (somehow) bruised his forehead, either from the impact of the vehicle or him hitting the ground:

MARTY: Dad! Look out!

But George is still dazed. Marty dashes into the street, and in a spectacular flying leap, knocks him out of the path of the oncoming car.

As Marty moves to avoid the car, the car swerves in the SAME DIRECTION — there's a screech of brakes, and the car hits Marty!

George, never one to get involved, grabs his bike and pedals off, leaving Marty lying in the street, unconscious.

DISSOLVE TO: INT. DARKENED BEDROOM — NIGHT

MARTY is lying in bed, lit by ambient light from a doorway. FEMALE HANDS place a cold compress on the bruise on his forehead. Marty groans and stirs.

if that makes you feel any better, there's actually a split-second cut between the car hitting him and us seeing him rocketing backwards where he could (theoretically) have hit the front of his head.

enter image description here

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    Good answer, +1. The clip actually raises another question- Marty's grandfather says "another one of these damn kids jumped in front of the car". Who was/were the first kid/kids to jump in front of his car? We know that in the original 1955 timeline, Marty's mom and dad met when grandpa hit the latter with his car, but Marty just prevented that from happening. We can only assume that Marty's grandpa has a habit of mowing down children left and right every time he goes out for a drive.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 15, 2015 at 23:13
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    @Wad Cheber I just assumed that those damn kids who jumped in front of his car were other peeping toms who fell out of the tree. You know cos Marty's mom is hot and she doesn't close her curtains.
    – Boelabaal
    Jun 16, 2015 at 0:54
  • Cold Compress to the forehead was (and still is) a household treatment for headaches. If it is assumed that a concussion occurred but not a scalp laceration, it does make sense Jun 17, 2015 at 15:48
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    @frankcedeno - The script indicates a bruise on his forehead..
    – Valorum
    Jun 17, 2015 at 15:50

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