Back to the Future is a science fiction film released in 1985. Written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, the film follows Marty McFly who accidentally travels back in time and prevents his parents from meeting, thereby threatening his own existence. The film stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson. It was directed by Zemeckis and has become an American classic, being added to the National Film Registry for preservation in 2007. The 1985 film sparked two sequels forming the Back to the Future trilogy. Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990) were commercially and critically successful films as well. Check out various Back to the Future screen facts below.
Michael J. Fox Almost Didn’t Star
Michael J. Fox was originally offered the role of Marty McFly but had to turn it down because of scheduling conflicts while filming Family Ties (1982). As a substitute for the creator’s first choice of Fox, Eric Stoltz was cast. Back to the Future began production for 6 weeks with Eric. Creators, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, and actor Stoltz agreed he was not right for the part. They went back and asked the Family Ties production team if Fox could be in the project one more time. Michael J. Fox worked long days to fulfill his commitments to both the projects, as he wanted to do Back to The Future. To accomplish this, he only slept about 5 hours a night. Reshooting those original 6 weeks of production and the scenes with Stoltz added additional costs to the film. John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, Ralph Macchio, and Johnny Depp all also auditioned for the part of Marty. Check out comparisons of the two actors in the reshot scenes below:
The Famous DeLorean
In the original script, the Back to the Future time machine was a chamber; a room Marty would go into and get transported back in time. This changed to a refrigerator out of concern that children would try to climb into fridges and get stuck, so the writers made a final adjustment. They decided a car time machine would allow for more engaging scenes because of greater mobility. They wanted the car to capture a futuristic look and that’s why the DeLorean was used.
The DeLorean was a model car created by John DeLorean and the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC). John was a General Motors engineer who had a lot of success in the automotive industry from a young age. He set sights on creating his own automotive company. DMC was only active from 1975 to 1982, with only approximately 9,000 cars built. By the time Back to the Future came out, the car company had already stopped production and become defunct. Upon watching the film, John DeLorean wrote a letter of gratitude to the filmmakers, stating he was, “particularly pleased that the DeLorean Motor Car was immortalized in the film, and want[ed] to thank all those responsible…for the outstanding job they did presenting the DMC as the vehicle of the future.”
Opinions on the Title
Sid Sheinberg did not like the title Back to the Future and wrote a letter to writers, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, asking them to change the name. In his letter, he gave reasons and outlined edits for the name change, suggesting Spaceman From Pluto as a better alternative to Back to the Future. The writers were unsure of how to reply so they asked Steven Spielberg to take on the task. Spielberg replied, “Sid, thanks for your most humorous memo. We all got a big kick out of it. Thanks, Steven.” He knew Sheinberg would be too embarrassed to pursue the title change any further. Although the letter certainly reads like a piece of comedy.