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Vault: 'Back To The Future' (1985) Dir. Robert Zemeckis

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, Claudia Wells, James Tolkan, Harry Waters Jr. and Donald Fullilove


Time-travel was reintroduced in the form of a DMC DeLorean hitting 88mph, and a fantastical adventure was had 30 years in the past...

Marty McFly (Fox) lives an un-eventful life in Hill Valley, California in 1985. Dating the beautiful Jennifer (Claudia Wells), Marty's friend, scientist Emmett “Doc” Brown (Lloyd) wants to show him his latest experiment.

Doc has created a time machine from a DeLorean. However, when testing the machine, an unexpected incident forces Marty to escape in the car and, hitting 88mph, is catapulted back 30 years to 1955.

Marty unexpectedly intervenes with the meeting of his parents Lorraine (Thompson) and George (Glover). Tracking down a younger Doc and convincing him of the future, the duo must seek a way to send Marty back to the future but ensure George and Lorraine seal their future together, as the very existence of Marty and his family hangs in the balance...

Little can be said about film so iconic as this so I will try and keep it basic. It's one of those timeless films, a classic, that I feel very few people will NOT have seen either on its release or on DVD/Blu-ray.

Firstly, this film captures the spirit and passion for film-making at a time when films weren’t driven by the ego of their leading stars or the promise of huge franchises. There is an innocence and naivety to this film, the first of an unexpected trilogy, which is wonderful to watch. It looks fresh, vibrant and full of life. The characters are memorable, likable and funny. The set design is superb and easily transports you across 30 years of American history. The soundtrack is toe-tapping and encapsulates what made American youth exciting both in the 50s and 80s. It just captures a snap-shot of America so well that it can’t be re-created. And the one observation is that none of the actors seem to be acting - they just seem to actually BE the character in the immensely detailed environments around them.

Many minor, natural factors gel together perfectly to make one big immersive and constantly enjoyable experience.

Michael J Fox doesn’t need to try hard to encapsulate the spirit of Marty McFly because it comes so easily. He’s self-assured but also doubts himself, showing an air of charming good looks and an honest do-or-die attitude. Fox makes the role his own and shows his acting skill because when he is on screen, you only see Marty, never Fox. As for Christopher Lloyd as the eccentric and loveable “Doc” Brown, no-one could play him better and the role has become infamous for the wild-haired, outlandish energy given by Lloyd with snappy one liners and a cunning brain that makes all their scenes together such a joy to watch; the perfect duo. 

All the other supporting cast do just as grand a job capturing their characters in two eras, youthful in the 50s and matured in the 80s, and seeing their interaction with each other is, again, fun to watch. With Glover's shy and geeky sci-fi addict making his own story of becoming a hero against Wilson's tough but dumb and imposing bully and Thompson in the middle as the dreamy damsel, it's a modern day fairy tale told with great gusto!

Special mention to the wonderful Claudia Wells as Jennifer Parker who shows so much sparkling chemistry with Fox, it's such a shame she couldn't carry on with Parts 2 and 3. Certainly the thing of teenage crushes across the land here, she is perfect opposite Marty in every way.

The basic theme of the film is, yes, fun. There is some violence but a few punches never hurt anyone, and the bad language is justified and never thrown in your face because it uses it in a way that every teenager would do – in times of danger, anger and uncertainty which Marty experiences as he adjusts to the past and sets about bringing his parents back together to save his own future. It’s a very clever plot and wonderfully done, with the basis firmly on character development, their relationships and the tension in getting everything back on track before Marty’s future implodes! 

It’s energetic, it’s funny, it’s exciting and it’s oozing with a real passion for talented film-making and story-telling with every scene full of iconic moments from a care-free time in cinema like the “Johnny B Goode” musical number, the DeLorean time machine and THAT theme tune by Alan Silvestri.

'Back To The Future' tells a highly original and nostalgic story, opening the door for 2 sequels and a legacy that will never be topped in our time...past or in the future!

'Back To The Future' is a Universal Pictures / Amblin Entertainment production

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