Back To The Future is a classic science fiction comedy. It’s about a high school student who is sent thirty years into the past with a time traveling DeLorean.
The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by Steven Spielberg. It stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson.
Even though the film was released in the 80s, it is timeless. Here are a few reasons why Back To The Future is (and always will be) the greatest time travel film ever made:
1. There are easter eggs hidden throughout the film.
In the beginning of the first film, a series of clocks are shown as the opening credits are flashing. One of them depicts a man hanging from the minute hand, which foreshadows the end of the film when Doc is hanging from the clock tower.
A little later, Marty and Doc meet at Twin Pines Mall. However, after Marty travels to the past and runs down a pine tree at Ol’ Man Peabody’s farm, the sign in the future is changed to Lone Pine Mall.
Some of the BTTF easter eggs are more subtle. In 1955, Marty sees a car pass with a campaign advertisement for Mayor Red Thomas. When he returns in 1985, he passes a homeless drunken man sleeping beneath newspapers on the streets and refers to him as Red. This is meant to be the same man.
You can watch Back To The Future one hundred times, but you will continue to discover little details you have never noticed before. There is always something new to see.
2. The movie is memorable — and highly quotable.
There are dozens of well-known quotes from Back To The Future. “This is heavy.” “Great Scott.” “Are you telling me you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”
Even famous celebrities — and presidents — have referenced the film. Ronald Reagan is mentioned during a scene when Marty is thrust into the past and tries to convince Doc he is from the future. Marty reveals Ronald Reagan is the president and Doc scoffs at the possibility of an actor getting into politics.
Apparently, Reagan loved the reference. In his 1986 State of the Union address, he quoted the film. He said, “Never has there been a more exciting time to be alive. A time of rousing wonder and heroic achievement. As they said in the film Back to the Future, ‘Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.’”
3. The film deals with surprisingly heavy themes.
The Back To The Future screenplay is brilliantly written. For such a seemingly lighthearted film, it touches upon serious topics. Rape. Terrorism. Incest. Abuse. It finds a way to weave important topics in with the narrative to create a perfect blend of comedy, action, and drama.
Despite the ultimate success of the franchise, the original screenplay was rejected over forty times. It was turned down from every major film studio for a period of four years. Eventually, Steven Spielberg joined the project, giving it more credibility.
However, the name of the film was continually debated. A studio executive was worried the word future would turn away viewers, so he suggested to change the name to Spaceman From Pluto. Luckily, the change was not made.
4. The cast showed their range by playing multiple characters.
Virtually every actor in Back To The Future had to play multiple versions of themselves.
Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover had to play older, miserable versions of themselves in the beginning of the first film. They had to play teenagers in the middle of the film. And they had to play older, livelier versions of themselves at the end of the film.
Michael J. Fox had a similar challenge in the second film. He had to play an older and younger version of Marty — along with completely different characters. He also played Marty’s son, Marty Junior, and Marty’s daughter, Marlene.
Michael J. Fox became so attached to the role that he accidentally got into the character of Marty while he was on set for other movies. While he was filming The Frighteners, he repeatedly used the wrong name during scenes. Instead of calling out to the judge, he would say Doc on accident. He was clearly as attached to his character as much as his fans are.
5. The core message of the film is an inspirational one.
Back To The Future is a reminder the future is not set in stone. We can be anything we want. We can do anything we want.
As viewers learn over the course of the three films, Marty gets into a car accident that ruins his musical career. The accident was caused by his own insecurities, impulses, and short-temper. If he made another decision, his life would have turned out completely different. Luckily, by the end of the trilogy, he gets to change the decision he makes. He gets to live a better version of his life.
Of course, we are not that lucky. We only have one chance to do the right thing. That is why we have to be careful with which decisions we make and which paths we take. We are in charge of our own destiny.