Back to the Future: 19 Pressing Questions, Answered!

Back to the Future questions answered!

Back to the Future is one of the most beloved films of all time. Even nearly 30 years later, Back to the Future remains at or near the top of any ‘greatest films of all time’ list. Because of that, we thought we’d answer all your questions about this iconic flick!

 

Back to the Future: When Was Back to the Future Made?
The original “Back to the Future” movie poster from 1985.

What does BTTF mean?

This is the first and most pressing question, mostly because this will be used many times in this post. BTTF is an often used acronym for Back to the Future. This makes it much easier to reference the iconic film.

You have probably seen it floating around the internet quite a bit. It’s thrown around by so many people that it is assumed everybody knows what it is. As often happens on the internet, people don’t want to seem out of the loop and go along with it, just nodding and typing without clarifying. Now you know. You’re in the loop!

 

What Does BTTF Mean?
“Back to the Future” 25th Anniversary Poster
Photo: Universal Studios

Who wrote Back to the Future?

Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis both wrote the script but the original idea and concept came from Robert “Bob” Gale himself. He found an old yearbook from his father’s high school days and learned things about his father he didn’t know. It made him wonder what it would have been like to go to school with him and whether or not they would have been friends.

 

Who wrote "Back to the Future?"
Bob Gale (right) and Robert Zemeckis (left) on the set of “Back to the Future.”
Photo: Universal Studio

He also noted how people in their adult years downplayed how wild they actually were in high school and thought that he would have loved to go back and see if his elders were all as wholesome as they claimed to be in high school.

Magical thoughts can become magical films sometimes. This is one of those times.

 

Who made Back to the Future?

BTTF was made by Amblin Entertainment, which is none other than Steven Spielberg, basically. Amblin doesn’t do it unless Spielberg, at the very least, approves it. He brought on Universal Pictures for production help and distribution.

 

Who made "Back to the Future?"
Steven Spielberg and Michael J. Fox on the set of “Back to the Future.”

Who produced Back to the Future?

Aside from Amblin Entertainment – I mean, really, it’s basically just Steven Spielberg – and Universal Pictures, the writer, Bob Gale and Neil Canton produced the film. The Back to the Future series is the most notable work for both of them. I mean, how can you top those, though?

Spielberg himself received an Executive Producer credit as did the producing couple dream team who often work with Spielberg – Kathleen Kennedy (who now runs George Lucas’ Lucas Films) and Frank Marshall.

 

Who directed Back to the Future?

Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale’s co-writer, directed the film. He had worked with Steven Spielberg before on an unknown film that flopped. In order to get BTTF made, he had to go out and prove himself with a hit, which he did with Romancing the Stone, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner (look it up, it’s good!). After that, he went after this little film about a teenage boy who goes to the past and meets his parents in high school. He knew it was going to be a hit.

Zemeckis went on to direct Who Framed Roger Rabbit and a film you may have heard of called, Forrest Gump. He’s also known for his films Cast Away, Matchstick Men, A Christmas Carol, Flight, and his most recent, Allied starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cottiard. Yeah, no big deal.

 

Who directed "Back to the Future?"
Director Robert Zemeckis

Who played in Back to the Future?

Lea Thompson and Thomas F. Wilson played the mom and the bully who wanted the mom in high school but could never have her. Lea’s sweet and naïve yet take-charge attitude was perfect and when she hits on her son from the future, it’s comedy gold.

Wilson who plays Biff, the bully, is the perfect amount of mean and the perfect amount of dumb. He also pulls off that fifties buzz cut like nobody else.

 

WHo played in "Back to the Future?"
Lea Thompson on the red carpet for her latest project “Switched at Birth” on Freeform.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images
Who played in "Back to the Future?"
Comedian Thomas F. Wilson during a recent interview in Las Vegas.

Who played Marty McFly?

Oh, Marty McFly, such an infamous character played by one Mr. Michael J. Fox. How the girls swooned over him in the eighties and nineties. His comedic timing and ability to have chemistry with pretty much anybody are what made him perfect for the role.

Could you imagine anybody else playing Marty? Well, it actually almost happened. Zemeckis wanted Fox for the role from the beginning but he was under contract for a huge show in the eighties called Family Ties. The creator of the show wanted the Fox all to himself and wouldn’t let Zemeckis use him.

 

Who played Marty McFly?
Michael J. Fox then and now.

Since they couldn’t get Michael J. Fox, they went looking for another rising star and decided on Eric Stoltz who had a few films under his belt and an incredible performance in the movie Mask, no not the one with Jim Carrey.

After five weeks into filming, they realized that even though Stoltz was a good actor – and honestly, very, very easy on the eyes – there was something missing from the performance. Stoltz was more of a method actor and while he had the ability to be comedic, he wasn’t really pulling it off as Marty McFly and the producers thought there were too few laughs.

 

Who played Marty McFly?
Eric Stoltz shooting “Back to the Future” before his dismissal.

Universal Studios agreed and did something very rare, they let Zemeckis reshoot the first five weeks. Everything aligned and while they hated having to fire somebody, they were absolutely excited to find out that Michael J. Fox made it work with the creator of his show and Marty McFly, as we know him, was born.

 

Who played the dad in Back to the Future?

George McFly, Marty Mcfly’s dad, was played by none other than Crispin Glover. Like Eric Stoltz, he was also a method actor. Unlike Stoltz, he was also able to bring the comedic chops necessary for this movie.

His awkward and socially inept character was perfectly portrayed as that is Glover’s specialty. He endears us to him with his portrayal of a quiet and shy nerd who is in love with a popular girl in school, the woman who becomes Marty’s mom. It’s a story as old as time.

 

Who played the dad in "Back to the Future?"
Crispin Glover then and now.

Who played Doc Brown in Back to the Future?

Dr. Emmet Brown, or as Marty calls him, Doc Brown or Doc, was played by the incredible Christopher Lloyd. Before being in one of the best trilogies of all time, Lloyd was best known for his crazy and wacky character, Reverend Jim on the show, Taxi.

Crazy and wacky is one of Lloyd’s specialties as we see with the Doc. His lovable goofiness is enough to make you overlook the fact that a man in his fifties has such a close relationship with a teenage boy who has no interest in science. It could be seen as creepy but Christopher Lloyd makes it believable and wholesome. That’s talent.

 

Who played Doc Brown in "Back to the Future?"
Christopher Lloyd then and now.

What year was Back to the Future made?

BTTF began filming in 1984 but that was the version of the film with Eric Stoltz. So let’s ask again with more detail, “When was Back to the Future made with Michael J. Fox?” January of 1985 is when Fox had a window, the show’s creator let go of his grip a little bit and everything worked out for one of the greatest films ever made to come into existence the way it was meant to be…with Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly.

 

What year did Back to the Future come out?

Filming lasted around 100 days and they quickly got to editing around April 1985. It was then held up for a few months as they did test screenings, which rated off the charts. They had been nervous that it wouldn’t screen well. They were quickly eased of those nerves.

Back to the Future opened on July 3rd, 1985 and spent 11 weeks at number one. It was a huge success.

 

What year did Back to the Future come out?

 

And when did Back to the Future come out on video? A year later, the video came out and as they started filming Back to the Future II around that time, they added a graphic that said, “To be continued…” at the end to let people know that Doc and Marty’s good times were not done. No, they were not.

 

What day did Back to the Future go to?

Nov. 5, 1955. This is the day that Doc Brown invented the flux capacitor, which was the cornerstone of his DeLorean becoming a time traveling machine. He had typed that date in as an example, showing Marty how to work everything.

Then Middle Eastern terrorists come after Doc and Marty’s only form of escape is the time machine. Not thinking about anything Doc told him, Marty hightails it out of there fast enough to get enough speed for the DeLorean to travel back in time and take Marty with it.

 

What day did Back to the Future go to?

 

When does Marty go to the Future?

Our hero, Marty McFly goes to the future in the sequel, Back to the Future II. At the end of the first film, Doc Brown has figured out how to rework the DeLorean and comes back to get Marty from the future to help with a problem happening in his family.

The date that Doc types in before they take off and fly with the Doc’s souped-up time machine is October 21, 2015. When that date passed a couple of years ago, Universal theatrically rereleased the whole trilogy in celebration. We are now further into the future than BTTF2 had gone.

 

When does Marty go to the Future?

 

How many Back to the Futures are there?

There are three glorious movies, making BTTF a trilogy. Every film gives us a chance to hang out with Doc Brown and Marty McFly, our unpredictable duo as they deal with challenges in future time travel as well as past time travel.

 

When did Back to the Future 2 come out?

Back to the Future 2 was released Wednesday, November 22, 1989, the day before Thanksgiving. They had the film written and began developing the sequel almost immediately after the release of the first movie, however, the sets and props used to show the future took years to build and create.

It was all worth it, the future world that we get to see is entertaining, whimsical and above all, fairly realistic. Adding realism to special effects is what makes it the most enjoyable.

 

When did Back to the Future 2 come out?
The original “Back to the Future II” movie poster from 1989.

How long is Back to the Future 2?

BTTF 2 is the shortest of the trilogy at 1 hour 48 minutes. The first film clocks in right at 2 hours and the third film is 1 hour 59 minutes.

 

When did Back to the Future 3 come out?

Back to the Future 3 came out May 25, 1990, six months after part 2. Part 2 had done so well, they tried to piggyback off its success as much as they could. It’s not the strongest film in the trilogy but it holds its own and still has the most important parts, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

 

When did Back to the Future 3 come out?
The original “Back to the Future III” movie poster from 1990.

How to get to the Future?

To get to the future, time should mean nothing to you. You must find a disgraced scientist who owns a DeLorean. He must also have invented the flux capacitor or have gotten permission to use it. It is a plus if you have some garbage around, as this Doc we speak of, figured out a way to make his time machine run on organic materials.

Once you have all of this lined up, type in the date you want to go to, like say October 21, 2015 – if you were still in 1985, of course – and don’t worry if there isn’t enough road to gain the speed you need for time travel. The Doc figured it out and where you’re going, you won’t need any roads.

Let the wheels lift and fly, like a rocket, into the future.

 

How old is Back to the Future?

BTTF is officially 32 years old but this timeless movie – see what I did there? – is as old as you want it to be. It has something for everybody and all ages can relate to some part of it. One of the reasons why it has such staying power is because it captures the nostalgia for the past and the hope and excitement for the future.

The characters make us love them and root for them. They are you and me. They show us how time travel is possible. Maybe not physically yet, as they travel in the films, but possible in our hearts and minds. We let this film in our hearts and our minds and, oh boy, what a door this trilogy opens to our imaginations.

 

How old is Back to the Future?

 

 

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