The humour, the pathos, the tension - even the blooming soundtrack - all conspire to ensure that the tale of a teenager traveling back 30 years to ensure his parents meet and ultimately mate can, given its vintage, now be fairly described as a classic.
This fusion of sci-fi, action, romance and comedy could have been a dreadful mess, were it not for writer-director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale's refusal to let a loose line or idea escape their pens.
Zemeckis and Gale have given the movie a core of feeling that makes real claims on us. For all its comedy, Back to the Future is about a kid coming to terms with his parents' inadequacies, a moment familiar to everyone, and the fulcrum in growing up.
It isn't often that extremely clever moviemakers use their brains in the service of pure fun. But that's just what the people who made Back to the Future have done. This brilliant contraption of a film could become the hit of the summer.
Though it is hardly one of the greater flights of cinematic imagination to be seen since science fantasy reared its head as mass appeal material again, it would be virtually impossible not to enjoy it in some way or another.