Marty: “Are you telling me you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”
Doc: “The way I see it, if you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”
Back to the Future has always been one of those timeless movies that never grows older with time… in fact, it actually gets better as time passes.
Seeing this film for the first time in the theaters was incredible and a completely glorious experience. The film takes place in 1985, where teenager Marty McFly (portrayed by Michael J. Fox) is an aspiring musician whose family is far from perfect. His life is kind of shitty. His father is always intimated by Biff (Tom Wilson), the biggest bully in movie history and can’t stand up for himself. His mother Lorraine is a drunk and a downbeat mom and his parents simply don’t love each other. Marty is friends with Emmet Brown (played by Christopher Lloyd) a scientist who just created time travel by using a DeLorean and stolen plutonium from Libyan terrorists. The two meet at Twin Pines Mall and the Doc sends his dog Einstein for a test run one minute in the future.
For a demonstration, the Doc then sets the date of November 5, 1955, where he first invited time travel. The two are then attacked by Libyans terrorists who shoot Doc Brown and Marty guns the DeLorean back to 1955 and needs young Doc’s help to get back home since he has no more plutonium to gunstart the DeLorean and decides to find young Doc (still played by Christopher LIoyd). He asks him for help to get back home, all the while he meets his parents who are in high school, and he accidently prevents their meeting that made them fall in love, which has a reverse effect and Lorraine falls in love with Marty. This threatens his very existence…
The screenplay to Back to the Future is amazing. It sets up everything in the first twenty minutes, you learn about the characters and their history, and as the movie progresses and as Marty goes back in time, you watch everything unfold on screen. For example, Doc Brown declares that Mr. Peabody owned the land in the 1950’s and that he was obsessed with breeding pine trees, and when Marty travels through time, Mr. Peabody’s barn is the first thing we see. Brilliant writing.
The chemistry between Michael J. Fox and Christopher LIoyd is honestly perfect. Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly is seamless and gives one of the best performances of all time. His character is instantly likeable and it’s great seeing him stand up to Biff and have him chase him until he hits a manure truck which makes Marty one of the biggest badasses in cinema history.
Christopher LIoyd is incredible as Doc Emmet Brown and his performance is equally as good as Michael J. Fox and together the two make movie magic. They’re the reason why this movie is so timeless. Their friendship and what they’d do for each other is so touching and inspiring. They bounce off each other perfectly and both are perfect and they even have they’re own catchphrase.
Michael J. Fox was the filmmakers first choice for Marty McFly, but couldn’t because his schedule was full due to his involvement with the hit TV series Family Ties. Universal President Sid Sheinberg pushed Robert Zemeckis to cast Eric Stoltz, who was a young rising star at the time as Marty McFly, but after six weeks of shooting, Spielberg agreed that Eric Stoltz had been miscast as Marty. The filmmakers turned to Family Ties producer Gary David Goldberg who agreed to let Michael J. Fox to read the script for the movie if the series would take priority over the film. Michael J. Fox read the script and immediately agreed to work on the project, working double the amount of time on both projects and the studio head made the bold decision to let Zemeckis reshoot the entire thing. And the rest as they say, is history.
The comedy in this film is exceptionally well done and it never feels out of place. It’s always done right and at the right moment, for example there’s a very funny scene in which Marty dresses in a radiation suit and pretends to be Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan (blending both Star Wars and Star Trek) and tells him that he must ask Lorraine to the dance, which is where they first kiss.
This scene is so hilarious and just comedic genius and the humor is so spot-on.
The music of Back to the Future is iconic at this point. Alan Silvestry’s theme is awesome and the soundtrack is epic. The film features many 80’s classics like Back in Time, The Power of Love and of course, Johnny B Goode, which is sang by Michael J. Fox who kills it on stage and is just awesome at everything he does. That whole scene is so well done and iconic.
The ending of this movie is the very definition of epic. George McFly decks Biff and saves Lorraine and the two fall in love and everything is right with the world, except Marty now must return back to 1985 when the lightening strikes the clock tower. The doc is on the roof trying to connect the two cords together so that the DeLorean can pass through it. And MY GOD—this is one of the most suspenseful scenes that I have ever witnessed. Marty can’t get the DeLorean’s engine to work until he finally kicks starts the engine and drives to 88 miles per hour and the lightening strikes, successfully sending Marty back to 1985.
Marty attempts to go save Doc, but the DeLorean can’t start again just when the terrorists arrive. Marty runs to what has now become Lone Pine Mall, and witnesses Doc getting shot again by the terrorists who follow Marty in the old DeLorean disappear back in 1955. Marty goes to the Doc and discovers that Doc is alive and that he used a bullet proof vest since he read his letter that he ripped up and put back together.
The Doc sends Marty home, telling him that he is going to the future, about 30 years, and Marty sees that his life is now perfect, since everything he changed in the past has ricochet to the present. His parents love each other, his dad has become a writer, Biff is cleaning his dad’s car instead of intimidating him and his brother and sister are much better than in the beginning of the film. Marty learns that he has the vehicle that he previously wanted and sees Jennifer.
“You look like you haven’t seen me in a week.”
The two stare at each other, and the Doc arrives, from the future, putting trash inside the DeLorean’s compactor and telling them that there are something wrong with their kids.
The Doc preps the DeLorean and kicks the engine as Marty states, “Doc, if you don’t back up enough we won’t have enough roads for 88.”
The doc, smiles, coolly replying “Roads? Where were going we don’t need roads.”
The now flying DeLorean shoots up in the sky and the screen fades to black. Credits. And the Song Back in time plays.
Part 1 successfully ends and while it does set itself up for a sequel it still feels like it’s own self contained film which is remarkable.
The only thing wrong with Back to the Future, and I really mean the only thing, is that George and Lorraine, after everything is all back to normal, don’t even remember Marty from the past, a kid who looks exactly like their son, who monumentally influenced both of their lives. It’s the only thing wrong with the story, time travel wise, but nobody cares because this movie is so great that it doesn’t matter.
Back to the Future is one of those movies that if you don’t like, I don’t understand you at all. It’s a perfect bland of comedy, science-fiction, adventure, drama and romance. It also has the perfect screenplay and it’s superbly directed by Robert Zemeckis, wonderfully acted by everybody across the board and a is the very definition of a perfect movie and remains timeless to this day.