Movie #110: Back to the Future (1985)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, Claudia Wells

Academy Awards (1986):

Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing: Charles L. Campbell, Robert R. Rutledge

Academy Award Nominations:

Best Music, Original Song: Chris Hayes, Johnny Colla, Huey Lewis for ‘The Power of Love’

Best Sound: Bill Varney, B. Tennyson Sebastian II, Robert Thirlwell, William B. Kaplan

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Robert Zemekis, Bob Gale


 Teenager Marty McFly (Fox) inadvertently goes thirty years back in time and interrupts his mother and father’s first meeting.  To avoid fading out of existence he must convince his future parents that they’re meant to be together. (via 501 Must-See Movies:Revised and Updated Edition)

This is a nice mix of science fiction, comedy, action, and drama.  This mix was common for a lot of the major films of the 1980s.  Looking back, the casting for Back to the Future was spot on.  Michael J. Fox works wonderfully as Marty McFly.  Eric Stoltz, who was originally cast as Marty, would have probably done a serviceable job, but Fox’s comedic timing and chemistry with the rest of the cast really makes the character and by extension the movie.


I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the key characters in this movie.  One of the things that really sticks out to me is how each character acts whether it’s 1955 or 1985.  It’s interesting to see how common American culture and history influences each era and   Christopher Lloyd does a great eccentric scientist, and he’s a much different character depending on what year it is.  Part of that was his performance, part of it was from great writing.

"Last night, Darth Vader came down from Planet Vulcan and told me that if I didn't take Lorraine out, that he'd melt my brain."

“Last night, Darth Vader came down from Planet Vulcan and told me that if I didn’t take Lorraine out, that he’d melt my brain.”

Ok, yes, this was more than a little creepy.

Ok, yes, this was more than a little creepy.

Though they all were around the same age, I enjoyed the contrast that Biff Tannen (Wilson), George McFly (Glover), and Lorraine (Thompson) has with Marty in 1985.  The makeup really gives each character, Thompson specifically, a noticeable difference between looking 17 and looking 47.

One interesting message in this film is the profound impact one moment can have on a person’s life.  George’s encounter with Biff towards the end of the movie completely changes the dynamic of their relationship.

Though I’ve seen this movie many times before, it’s always interesting to catch new things I hadn’t seen before.  I’ve realized and come to appreciate how the dialogue is intricately connected throughout the movie.   There are very few throwaway lines in Back to the Future.  It’s also interesting how a lot of the same lines and conversational sequences are used in 1955 as well as 1985 Hill Valley between Biff, George, and Marty.

Back to the Future is fun.  It combines a funny, intelligent script with great on-screen chemistry between the primary actors and actresses.  It’s fascinating to look back and think that virtually every major studio passed on this movie and Universal Studios green lit this film after Robert Zemeckis directed Romancing the Stone.

Also, since they travel to 2015 in Back to the Future Part 2, here are a few reminders.

People dress like this...

People dress like this…

and drive cars like this.

and drive cars like this.







My Rating: 4.5/5 stars


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