Back to the Future

Back to the Future

“Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”

Every teenager knows that his or her parents must have been geeks when they were seventeen, but Back to the Future gave one teen a chance to see for himself. Directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Forrest Gump), this mid-80’s time-traveling romp became the highest-grossing movie of the year, and it helped transition Michael J. Fox, then best known as orthodox conservative Alex P. Keaton on the popular sitcom Family Ties, into a genuine movie star.

At the start of the film, Marty McFly (Fox) lives at home in 1985 with his pantywaist father George, alcoholic shut-in mother Lorraine and siblings Dave and Linda. George is such a wimp that high school thug Biff Tannen, now George’s supervisor, still bullies him around on a daily basis. Marty’s only escape is the home/lab of the eccentric Doc Brown, inventor of various gadgets and doo-dads.

After a routine day of disappointment at school and at home, Marty meets up with Doc at the local mall, where the white-haired genius unveils his latest and greatest creation: a time-traveling DeLorean. The first test, with Doc’s dog Einstein in the driver’s seat, is a success, but before Doc himself can take a whirl, a group of Libyan terrorists (from whom Doc stole the plutonium to power his time machine) peel into the parking lot for a drive-by shooting. Doc is gunned down, but Marty escapes in the DeLorean, which sends him thirty years into the past.

Landing in 1955, Marty finds that the DeLorean is out of radioactive fuel and can’t make the jump back. When Marty goes to find the 1955 Doc for a way back, he accidentally interferes with his own past. A teenage George (as dorky as ever) misses his chance to meet the teenage Lorraine (a bit of a scamp in her younger years), who instead falls for the cute new kid in town… Marty. Marty eventually does find Doc and convinces him his story isn’t a crock, but if Marty can’t put George and Lorraine back together, he won’t even have a future to come home to.

The twisty, turny plot of Back to the Future thrived on little cross-time touches – like Marty being mistaken for “Calvin Klein,” since that’s the name sewn on his underwear. That type of creativity and the script’s manic energy helped earn Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale an Academy Award nomination, and the film itself became one of the biggest hits of the decade. Two feature sequels followed, as did a successful cartoon series and a motion ride at the Universal Studios theme parks in California and Florida.

Speaking of sequels, in October of 2015, we will have reached the future that Marty and Doc traveled to in Back to the Future II. It seemed so far away in the 80s, and little did we know that we would still be talking about this classic film as that date draws nearer. Truth be told, this film will likely remain fondly remembered long after that particular future becomes the past.

Did you see Back to the Future in the theaters back in the 80s? Do you count it among one of your favorite comedies of the era? We hope you’ll take a minute to share all of your thoughts and recollections of this timeless film in our comments section below.

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One Response to “Back to the Future”

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  1. Gina says:

    The BTTF movies are among the greatest of all time. I saw them multiple times. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen them, though. I have them on VHS; I should watch them again.

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