Secrets, Facts, Quotes and Behind the Scenes – Back to Back to the Future
I can never have enough of this genius movie. My childhood, Hollywood, science – nothing would have been the same without it. So here is my own tribute and don’t miss the video and beautiful photos of 1955 Lorraine from the deleted scene…! They are towards the end of the article.
Amazing real story: President Ronald Reagan was amused by Doc Brown’s disbelief that an actor like him could become president, so much so that he had the projectionist stop and replay the scene. He also seemed to enjoy it so much that he even made a direct reference of the film in his 1986 State of the Union address: “As they said in the film “Back to the Future”, ‘Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.’“
It’s a long post for true fans with many behind-the-scenes photos and stories. To keep the post safe from getting stuck, I had to divide into several pages. Don’t miss the video and beautiful photos of 1955 Lorraine from the deleted scene… It’s towards the end of the article.
Will there be Part 4? Love Back to the Future? Scroll down… Great Scott!
Back to the Future Part 4?
True fact: Director Christopher Lloyd stated that he always wanted to do one more movie, in which Marty and Doc Brown time-travel back to Ancient Rome.
The original Back to the Future film’s script was rejected 40 times before it was finally green-lit. It was the top grossing movie release of 1985. Then we received two more parts. And this train was from the Wild West in part 3. But that long awaited part 4 was never made. Yet. Who knows what the future holds…
Future quote? Marty McFly: Oh. One other thing. If you guys ever have kids, and one of them, when he’s eight years old, accidentally sets fire to the living room rug… go easy on him.
Coming Up: Scroll down for the Flying DeLorean…
My dream car: Flying DeLorean
True story: After the film’s release, body kits were made for DeLoreans to make them look like the time machine. This is clearly my dream car. The DeLorean was deliberately selected for its general appearance and gull wing doors, in order to make it plausible that people in 1955 would presume it to be an alien spacecraft.
There was a small DeLorean goof: The door pull strap on the DeLorean driver’s door repeatedly alternates between being entirely absent, present, and present but installed incorrectly. You know why? The production ultimately used three real DeLoreans.
And the mandatory quote here is:
Marty McFly: Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?
Dr. Emmett Brown: The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?
What’s Next? Click for more about the special effects…!
Back to the Future: Handmade Effects before CGI
True facts: There are only about thirty-two special effects shots in the entire first film. When this movie was previewed for a test audience, Industrial Light and Magic had not completed the final DeLorean-in-flight shot, and the last several minutes of the movie were previewed in black and white. It didn’t matter, as the audience roared in approval of the final scene anyway.
Have you noticed any goofs? Clearly the movie is not bulletproof of goofs, even with no relation to special effects. For example, the sound and volume of Marty’s singing never changes, even when he moves way back from the mic. I never noticed it and truth to be told, it doesn’t really matter, right?
They proved that nothing is impossible. This is why I love this quote… Marty McFly: If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
I couldn’t believe how they almost named the movie… Scroll down!
They almost named it “Spaceman From Pluto”
Universal Pictures head Sid Sheinberg did not like the title “Back to the Future”, insisting that nobody would see a movie with “future” in the title.
Spaceman From Pluto: In a memo to Robert Zemeckis, he said that the title should be changed to “Spaceman From Pluto”, tying in with the Marty-as-alien jokes in the film, and also suggested further changes like replacing the “I’m Darth Vader from planet Vulcan” line with “I am a spaceman from Pluto!” Sheinberg was persuaded to change his mind by a response memo from Steven Spielberg, which thanked him for sending a wonderful “joke memo”, and that everyone got a kick out of it. Sheinberg, too proud to admit he was serious, gave in to letting the film retain its title.
Exact quote – George McFly: 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.
Star Wars was there as well?
And also – George McFly: Who are you?
Marty McFly: [after giving him another earful of loud rock music] Silence, Earthling. My name is Darth Vader. I am an extraterrestrial from the planet Vulcan!
[makes Live Long and Prosper sign with his hand]
Coming up next: The Hoverboard!
Hoverboard Effect: Like Marionette Puppets
Great story, not exactly about this photo, but still wow! Michael J. Fox had always been the first choice for Marty, but he was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with his work on Family Ties (1982). As “Family Ties” co-star Meredith Baxter was pregnant at the time, Fox was carrying a lot more of the show than usual. The show’s producer Gary David Goldberg simply couldn’t afford to let Fox go.
They started filming with another actor! Zemeckis and Gale then cast Eric Stoltz as Marty based on his performance in Mask (1985). After four weeks of filming Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale felt that Stoltz wasn’t right for the part and Stoltz agreed. By this stage, Baxter was back fully on the show and Goldberg agreed to let Fox go off to make the film. Fox worked out a schedule to fulfill his commitment to both projects.
5 Hours Sleep Only! Every day during production, he drove straight to the movie set after taping of the show was finished every day and averaged about five hours of sleep. The bulk of the production was filmed from 6pm to 6am, with the daylight scenes filmed on weekends. Reshooting Stoltz’s scenes added $3 million dollars to the budget.
Favorite Quote! Marty McFly: Look, Marvin, you gotta play. See, that’s where they kiss for the first time on the dance floor. And if there’s no music, they can’t dance. If they can’t dance, they can’t kiss. If they can’t kiss they can’t fall in love, and I’m history.
What’s next? Does the Hoverboard fly on water?
Do hoverboards fly on water or not?
True fact! While most of the Back to the Future movie was filmed according to script, Biff’s catchphrases “make like a tree and get outta here” and “butthead” were improvised by actor Thomas F. Wilson. Not a butthead at all!
What’s behind the name? Biff Tannen is named in homage to Ned Tanen, one-time head of Universal, who threw Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis’s script for I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) on the floor in a heated meeting, accusing it of being anti-Semitic. Despite the fact that Bob Gale is Jewish.
Quotes from Biff Tannen? Sure!
Since you’re new here, I-I’m gonna cut you a break, today. So, why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here?
What are you looking at, butthead?
Coming up next: Were Predictions Accurate? The future has arrived!
Back to the Future Predictions Came True
The predictions in the Back to the Future movie inspired science, film and imagination alike. And while Jaws 19 was never made, 3D movies did happen big time.
What actually happened? Other predictions that came true include handless and wireless video games, handheld tablet computers, a baseball team in Florida, video conferencing, wall-mounted widescreen televisions, auto lacing sneakers, multiple TV channels on one set and many more. Some of the predictions are yet to come… like flying cars!
Remember what Marty tells the audience with shocked expressions after playing a wild heavy metal guitar solo at the dance?
“I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.”
What’s Next? Clint Eastwood and BttF
Clint Eastwood and Back to the Future?
Clint Eastwood was asked for permission about his name being used for Marty in the film. He consented and was said to be tickled by the homage.
Do you remember when? When Doc and Marty are at the drive-in preparing the DeLorean for the trip to 1885, Marty mentions Clint Eastwood and Doc replies, “Clint who?” In this shot, there is a movie poster on the drive-in’s wall showcasing Revenge of the Creature (1955) and Tarantula (1955), containing some of the first film appearances of a young, then-unknown Eastwood.
The Full Eastwood Quote:
Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen: What’s your name, dude?
Marty McFly: Uh, Mar- Eastwood. Clint Eastwood.
Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen: What kind of stupid name is that?
Scroll down for the beautiful Lorraine…!
Confession: I was in Love with Lorraine Baines
One scene only: When Lorraine follows Marty back to Doc’s house, she and Doc exchange an awkward greeting. This marks the only on-screen dialogue that Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson ever have, though they have appeared together in five movies and one TV movie.
True Story! While filming the “parking” scene with Marty and young Lorraine in the car, the production crew decided to play a practical joke at Michael J. Fox’s expense. The scene called for Fox to drink from a prop liquor bottle filled with water and do a spit take when he sees Lorraine with a cigarette. For a specific take however, the prop liquor bottle was switched for one which contained real alcohol inside. Fox, unaware of this, performed the scene and drank from the bottle, only to discover the switch after-the-fact.
Marty McFly: Calvin? Wh… Why do you keep calling me Calvin?
Lorraine Baines: Well, that is your name, isn’t it? Calvin Klein? It’s written all over your underwear.
What’s Next? The Big Kiss of Back to the Future
The Big Kiss of Back to the Future
True Trivia Fact! Sid Sheinberg, the head of Universal Pictures, requested many changes to be made throughout the movie. Most of these he got, such as having “Professor Brown” changed to “Doc Brown” and his chimp Shemp changed to a dog named Einstein. Marty’s mother’s name had previously been Meg and then Eileen, but Sheinberg insisted that she be named Lorraine after his wife Lorraine Gary.
The dialogue where Lorraine says that when she grows up she’ll let her kids do anything they want was cut. That dialogue is re-inserted in Back to the Future Part II (1989) when the second Marty creeps past the car the first Marty and 1955 Lorraine are in. Lorraine states she’ll let her kids do anything, Marty replies, “I’d like to have that in writing.”
I’m your Density!
George McFly: Lorraine. My density has brought me to you.
Lorraine Baines: What?
George McFly: Oh. What I meant to say was…
Lorraine Baines: Wait a minute. Don’t I know you from somewhere?
George McFly: Yes. Yes. I’m George. George McFly. I’m your density. I mean, your destiny.
Next: Where were you on October 21, 2015?
Where were you on October 21, 2015?
The future has arrived! Be prepared! In the entire Back To The Future trilogy, the “present” date is October 26, 1985 (2015 is the future, 1885 and 1955 are the past). The Saloon in 1885 Hill Valley is in the same location as Lou’s Cafe in 1955, the Gym in 1985, and the Cafe 80’s in 2015.
Inspiration for the movie? The inspiration for the film largely stems from Bob Gale discovering his father’s high school yearbook and wondering whether he would have been friends with his father as a teenager. Gale also said that if he had the chance to go back in time he would really go back and see if they would have been friends.
Who else was in love with Michael J. Fox?
The Screen Actors Guild can’t have two people with the same name on their books. So Michael J. Fox inserted the letter J in his name to differentiate himself from an actor called Michael Fox. In Back to the Future (1985), Marty goes back to the year 1955. His dad is a huge fan of the show Science Fiction Theatre, something Marty uses to his advantage. The original Michael Fox starred in the real Science Fiction Theatre in the year 1955.
Micheal J. Fox was born on 1961, making him 24 by the year Back to the Future was released (1985). In the December 7, 1998 issue of People magazine he revealed that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. But he never quit acting and still stars on the screen, recently in The Good Wife as Louis Canning.
Marty McFly: Whoa. Wait a minute, Doc. Are you trying to tell me that my mother has got the hots for me?
Dr. Emmett Brown: Precisely.
Marty McFly: Whoa. This is heavy.
Dr. Emmett Brown: There’s that word again. “Heavy.” Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?
Favorite Scientist? Doc Emmett Brown!
Trivia Fact! Doc Brown’s distinctive hunched-over look developed when the filmmakers realized the extreme difference in height between Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox; Fox is 5′ 4½” while Lloyd is 6′ 1″. To compensate for the height difference, director Robert Zemeckis used specific blocking where the two often stood far apart at different camera depths. For close ups, Lloyd would have to hunch over to appear in frame with Fox. The same approach was used in the two sequels.
True Story! Christopher Lloyd based his performance as Doc Brown on a combination of physicist Albert Einstein and conductor Leopold Stokowski. Brown’s pronunciation of gigawatts as “jigowatts”, is based on the way a physicist whom Zemeckis and Gale met with for research said the word.
[Marty and Doc observe George’s incompetence in 1955]
Dr. Emmett Brown: Which one’s your pop?
Marty McFly: [points him out] That’s him.
[they see him getting kicked around by other school bullies]
George McFly: [has a “kick me” sign on his back] Okay. Okay, you guys. Ah-ha-ha-ha. Very funny. You guys are being real mature.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Maybe you were adopted.
Coming up next: Marty’s Guitar and Music
Marty’s Guitar and Music
Steven Spielberg gives a nod to Stanley Kubrick in the first few minutes of the film. When Marty is first over at Doc’s house looking for him and doesn’t find him, he hooks up his guitar to Doc’s electrical equipment. The first dial he turns up is labeled CRM 114, which Kubrick used as a reference throughout many of his films.
Marty’s guitars used throughout the movie: – Erlewine Chiquita (“big amp” sequence) – Ibanez black Roadstar II (scenes of Marty’s band performing in the 80s) – Gibson 1963 ES-345TD (Marty performing at the dance). Musician Mark Campbell did all of Michael J. Fox’s singing. He’s credited as “Marty McFly”.
Marty McFly mimics famous rock stars during the later part of his performance at the school dance, when he starts playing heavy metal. His kicking of speakers (The Who), playing the guitar while lying down (Angus Young of AC/DC), hopping across the stage with one leg kicked up (Chuck Berry) and his solo (Jimi Hendrix/Edward Van Halen).
Already used it once, but this quote is a must here… Marty McFly: I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.
The Special Effects Seemed Real, Right?
The special effects were amazing, right? Well, it took a lot of work. For example, it took three hours in make-up to turn the 23-year-old Lea Thompson into the 47-year-old Lorraine.
And nevertheless, from the day the film wrapped to the day it was released was a mere nine and a half weeks, an unprecedentedly short lead time for a major movie release.
Oh, so many people just believed the effects. They seemed real. According to Bob Gale, on October 26th, 1985, a group of people showed up at the mall used to film the Twin Pines Mall location to see if Marty would arrive in the DeLorean. He, of course, did not.
Quote by Dr. Emmett Brown: If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit.
Part 2: The Greatest Time Travel Movie Ever Made
Renowned scientist Carl Sagan considered Back to the Future part 2 as the greatest time travel movie ever made. He praised the accuracy in handling the multiple time lines as what would really happen if time travel were possible. In Back to the Future: The Game, Carl Sagan is the alias used by Doc Brown when visiting Hill Valley in 1931.
Why did we have to wait for so long? The production of Part 2 was delayed for three years because Robert Zemeckis was busy making Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
Lord of the Rings? Back to the Future part 2 hosted the first film appearance by Elijah Wood. He plays one of the two video game boys that Marty speaks to in the diner near the start of the film.
Doc: The time-traveling is just too dangerous. Better that I devote myself to study the other great mystery of the universe: women!
Part 3: They Saved the Best Trip for Last?
We had to wait until 1990 to finally get the final part of the Back to the Future trilogy. And it was worth the wait, especially for fans who noticed all the little things. For example, this is the only film in the trilogy where Marty and Doc Brown exchange catchphrases. Marty says “Great Scott!” and Doc Brown replies “Yeah, this is heavy” while talking about the tombstone photo.
Part 3 was filmed at the same time as Back to the Future Part II (1989). I had to check to make sure that this story is true… In the five years since Back to the Future (1985) was made, Michael J. Fox had forgotten how to ride a skateboard. By the way, he had also lost his father and gained a son.
The 1885 time setting was partly due to a suggestion by Michael J. Fox, who had commented to producers how he always thought it would be fun to act in a Western.
Jennifer Parker: Dr. Brown, I brought this note back from the future and – now it’s erased.
Doc: Of course it’s erased!
Jennifer Parker: But what does that mean?
Doc: It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.
Marty McFly: [Marty wraps his arm around Jennifer] We will, Doc.
What’s next? The Lorraine Baines Dress
The Lorraine Baines Dress
We all remember the weird futuristic clothes of the youngsters of the future. And no, now that 2015 is here, we know that fashion didn’t go that way.
But did you remember the fabulous pinkish dress of Lorraine Baines? This is the true fashion of the past of Back to the Future. For many girls and young women, this was true inspiration for retro style fashion. For many boys and young men, these photos were the stuff dreams were made of.
In case you’ve wondered, the beautiful actress was Lea Thompson. Michael J. Fox was only ten days younger than Lea Thompson who played his mother. This is not very surprising, since most of their scenes take place in 1955. They were cast to match their younger self’s ages.
Another trivia fact? The donning of a Burger King uniform by Marty’s brother, Dave, may have been a tribute to Lea Thompson’s early acting gigs as a Burger King spokesperson.
Up Next… Back to the Future: Cast Reunion
Back to the Future: Cast Reunion
This great photo is from the cast reunion, London 2015. But the beloved cast of Back to the Future was almost very different. Zemeckis and Gale wanted Michael J. Fox but he was too busy, so they had to cast Eric Stoltz as Marty based on his performance in Mask (1985). After four weeks of filming they felt that Stoltz wasn’t right for the part and Stoltz agreed.
According to Bob Gale, Johnny Depp auditioned for the role of Marty McFly: “I looked through the notes, and I said, ‘Geez, I don’t even remember that we read Johnny Depp!’ So whatever he did, it wasn’t all that memorable, I guess!”
Ralph Macchio turned down the role of Marty McFly, thinking the movie was about “A kid, a car and plutonium pills.”
Sad but true: Claudia Wells, who played Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future (1985), gave her role up to Elisabeth Shue for Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990) when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
What’s next? The Numbers of Back to the Future
The Numbers of Back to the Future
You were not alone in falling in love with the Back to the Future trilogy. The success was worldwide and even today, 30 years after the first movie (1985), people still enjoy watching it. These posters here are in Spanish, Hebrew and Chinese (I’m almost sure, please correct me if I’m wrong).
The budget of the original movie was a humble sum of $19 million. The second and third parts each had a double budget of $40 million. Together, the three movies registered box office performance of $965,531,382 (updated data available at Wikipedia). Yes, that’s nearly $1 billion!
With all this money, Marty could have probably paid for that Pepsi Free. Remember this quote?
Lou: You gonna order something, kid?
Marty McFly: Ah, yeah. Give me- Give me a Tab.
Lou: Tab? I can’t give you a tab unless you order something.
Marty McFly: Right. Give me a Pepsi Free.
Lou: You want a Pepsi, pal, you’re gonna pay for it.
Advanced Back to the Future Trivia – For Real Fans Only
True Fact: The mall where Marty McFly meets Doc Brown for their time travel experiment is called “Twin Pines Mall.” Doc Brown comments that old farmer Peabody used to own all of the land, and he grew pines there. When Marty goes back in time, he runs over and knocks down a pine tree on the Peabody’s property. When he comes back to the mall at the end of the film, the sign at the mall identifies the mall as “Lone Pine Mall.”
Trivia Point: In the shot of the clock tower of 1985, after Doc Brown sent Marty into the future (with a flying-by helicopter), you can clearly see that the piece of the ledge under the clock dial is broken off. It was broken off by Doc Brown in 1955.
To be continued?
Could you believe? To be continued” was inserted into the end of the VHS release Back to the Future (1985), and was omitted from the 2002 DVD release. The cliff-hanger ending of the film was not originally intended to set up a sequel, but rather just as one last joke. It was admitted by the writer that had they originally intended the following two sequels, the ending would not have had Jennifer get into the car with Doc and Marty. This is why Jennifer was almost immediately knocked unconscious at the beginning of Back to the Future Part II (1989).
Fact! The “Mr. Fusion Home Energy Converter”, which is sitting on the DeLorean when Doc returns from the future, is made from (among other things) a Krups coffee grinder.
What do you know about the Clock Tower?
Nice story: Co-writer Bob Gale confirmed that for wide shots, the wind during the storm at the Clock Tower was created by using a McBride, which was described by the writer as “basically a airplane engine on a huge cherry picker” and was placed a good fifty feet away from the actors. The McBride was so loud that all of the dialog said by actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd had to be re-recorded later. However, the McBride also had an effect on Fox’s health: while filming the sequence where Marty yells up at Doc at the Clock Tower to tell him about the future, he coughed up blood after filming those scenes.
One Minute Difference: When Marty gets into the DeLorean to travel from 1955 back to 1985, he says that he will give himself 10 minutes to warn Doc about getting shot. However, when he puts the new time into the time control panel, the time switches from 1:35A.M. to 1:24A.M.–11 minutes.
Secrets from the Original Script
Confirmed with the production: In the original script, Marty’s playing rock and roll at the dance caused a riot which had to be broken up by police. This, combined with Marty accidentally tipping Doc off to the “secret ingredient” that made the time machine work (Coca-Cola) caused history to change. When Marty got back to the 1980s, he found that it was now the 1950s conception of that decade, with air-cars and what-not (all invented by Doc Brown and running on Coca-Cola). Marty also discovers that rock and roll was never invented, and he dedicates himself to starting the delayed cultural revolution. Meanwhile, his dad digs out the newspaper from the day after the dance and sees his son in the picture of the riot.
I’d like to have that in writing…
Who wouldn’t, right? The dialogue where Lorraine says that when she grows up she’ll let her kids do anything they want was cut. That dialogue is re-inserted in Back to the Future Part II (1989) when the second Marty creeps past the car the first Marty and 1955 Lorraine are in. Lorraine states she’ll let her kids do anything, Marty replies, “I’d like to have that in writing.”
Back to the Future: Deleted Scene
Yes, the rumor is true. There is a deleted scene from Back To The Future, featuring Marty and Doc having an awkward conversation about Marty’s mother.
In the movie Marty travels back in time to the 1950’s and meets a teenage version of his mother, Lorraine, who develops a crush on him. In the deleted scene, Marty is nervous about potentially having to hit on his own mom. Doc gives him some man-to-man advice along with a wink of encouragement. Needless to say Marty is reluctant. The ending, which includes a homophobic remark, was luckily removed from the film.
Here’s the video of the deleted scene. Don’t forget to scroll down below, there’s more to come…
Back to the Future: Gag Reel
Just before this voyage reaches the final words, lean back and enjoy 3 minutes of a funny video… Bloopers, Gag Reel & Outtakes from the original film.
Last but not Least
To summarize, this trilogy has changed my life. And I think I’m not alone in feeling this. I’ve already watched each of the three films over 50 times. And I still discover new things. Brilliant!
As the final lines of the original Back to the Future film go:
Marty McFly: Hey, Doc, we better back up. We don’t have enough road to get up to 88.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
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