Thursday, 30 September 2010

52 Reasons Why Back to the Future Might Just be The Greatest Film of All Time - Redux


* This feature was originally written for, and published on, Obsessed with Film.

To coincide with the 25th Anniversary cinematic re-release of the greatest film of all time Back to the Future and in anticipation of the Blu Ray release of the trilogy on 26th October 2010 here is a redux of a feature I did for Obsessed with Film earlier this year arguing my case for why Back to the Future is the greatest film of all time…

You probably hadn’t noticed, but I’ve not been hanging around the halls of OWF HQ much lately. During my absence from the site, I saw something that has compelled me to return to Obsessed with Film like the proverbial prodigal son.

A while back, Tom Fallows wrote a brilliant feature listing 50 reasons why Ghostbusters might just be the Greatest Film of All Time, then at the tail end of last year Simon Gallagher attempted to go one better and list 51 reasons why his beloved Gremlins might actually be the greatest film of all time.

Both pieces were great and received huge amounts of traffic on the site, however I was left pondering something – how could these two talented, intelligent, film aficionados have got it so wrong?

Their articles were stellar, their points more than valid, but Ghostbusters? Gremlins? Neither of those seminal classics can be the greatest movie of all time, because everyone knows that the greatest movie of all time is…
BACK TO THE FUTURE!

So power up the DeLorean, turn the time circuits on and get the flux capacitor… fluxing, because, always one for a challenge, I’m going to attempt to go one better than my esteemed colleagues and present you with 52 reasons (in no particular order) why Back to the Future might just be the greatest film of all time…

1. The Opening Scene

The opening scene in Back to the Future is quite simply: perfect.

It flawlessly sets up the film’s central themes of time and space, provides heaps of exposition, presents the clock imagery that runs through the entire franchise and foreshadows events further on the film in one simple tracking shot; but most importantly it grabs your attention instantly.

Every time I watch Back to the Future I pick up on something new in that opening scene. The most recent occasion it was that one of Doc’s myriad clocks has a little scientist that looks remarkably like Dr. Emmett L. Brown himself hanging from one of the hands, foreshadowing that spine-tingling scene later in the film (more on that later though).


2. The Coolest Movie Car Ever

“You made a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”

I’ve heard all the arguments for other celluloid cars but nothing even comes close to Doc’s modified DeLorean – it’s a time machine for crying out loud!

3. Crispin Glover

The man who is the very definition of the phrase ‘cult actor’ got his big break in Back to the Future and went on to carve out a career filled with eclectic performances coupled with a plethora of off-screen eccentricities.

Glover is brilliant as George McFly and as much of a cult hero as he has become, it’s a shame Back to the Future wasn’t the start of a more successful career for this charismatic enigma.

4. Johnny B. Goode

“Well it’s an oldie where I come from”

One of Back to the Future’s most enduring scenes is Marty’s performance of Chuck Berry’s legendary Johnny B. Goode, complete with freak-out guitar solo at the end mimicking the playing traits of some of his all-time great guitar heroes.

As Marty looks out on the shocked crowd after his axe-wielding antics he realises he’s lost the 50s kids and quips: “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet… but your kids are gonna love it”.

5. The Chuck Berry reference

“It’s your cousin Marvin”

Mid-way through the aforementioned performance of Johnny B. Goode, before Marty’s over zealous string plucking loses the room, front man of the band playing the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, Marvin, of Marvin Berry and the Starlighters fame, heads off to the side of the stage and makes a phone call.

Yelling over the music to his cousin ‘Charlie’ he remarks “you know that new sound you’re looking for? Well listen to this…” and holds the phone out to capture Johnny B. Goode, essentially suggesting that Marty is responsible for giving Chuck Berry the inspiration for Johnny B. Goode and the pioneering of rock n’ roll.

This scene is typical of the clever alternate time zone pop culture references that pepper the whole Back to the Future trilogy – the use of Charlie rather than Chuck and the fact that Marvin’s surname is Berry, means this not an obvious reference to everyone but it’s very well done all the same.

6. Biff’s Question Song

Back to the Future was undoubtedly Thomas F. Wilson’s finest hour, as sadly he never really scaled the heights that he deserved to following the success of Robert Zemeckis’ film.

Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise though, because if Wilson had gone on to become a huge star I doubt we’d have ever got to hear his stand-up comedy stylings, which he has become renowned for and include this brilliant little ditty from the man himself about his experiences since the movie:


7. The sequels

Parts II & III may not be as good as the original or as fondly remembered but together they form one of the, if not THE, greatest trilogy in cinema history.

Each film expands the Back to the Future universe and continues to evolve our heroes, the sequels aren’t just re-treads of the original hitting all the same notes; they stand up on their own as great pieces of filmmaking.

The plot of Part II is in fact so complicated it actually makes your brain hurt if you really stop and think about what exactly is going on. Parts II & III also expand the mythology of the franchise and delve deeper into the ethical and moral questions raised in the first film as well as encompassing themes of fate and destiny.

8. They had the balls to re-cast Marty McFly

Would Back to the Future have been as successful with the originally cast Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly rather than Michael J. Fox?

We will never know for sure but I would venture: no.

That’s not a slight on Stoltz’s acting in any way but it’s impossible to imagine him in the role now. The fact that Zemeckis et al had the balls to re-cast and re-shoot after production had begun was a bold move, and it paid off in spades.

Much of Back to the Future’s broad appeal lies in Michael J. Fox’s effortless charm and without him this wonderful film may have never reached the universal audience it now has.

9. The fun they have playing with time

The Back to the Future universe is such a rich tapestry and there is endless fun to be had with the role reversals, relatives of our heroes and the effect travelling through time has in each time zone.

For instance, Goldie Wilson is a bus boy with big dreams in 1955 and Mayor in 1985 (he gets the idea to run for Mayor from Marty in 1955).

The effect of Marty crashing into the pine tree upon arrival in 1955 is also felt back in 1985 – the mall where Doc is shot is originally named the Twin Pines Mall but we later see it named the Lone Pine Mall after Marty destroys the pine tree in 1955.

10. One of the best scripts ever

Back to the Future’s script is absolutely seamless.

Nothing is wasted, no scene is unnecessary, no dialogue is extraneous, and everything contributes to furthering the brilliant story and expanding the Hill Valley universe.

I honestly believe this film should be core curriculum for budding writers looking to learn how write a succinct yet utterly perfect script.

11. The score

This will probably be one of the arguments in favour of every film featured in one of these lists as people associate the music of the films with those great childhood memories.

Alan Silvestri’s score though must go down as one of the all time greats – I’ve heard the music from Back to the Future used dozens of times other than within the film which just shows how enduring this music is.

I defy anyone not to get goose bumps when they hear Silvestri’s majestic score kick in, even if, like me, you’ve seen this film pushing treble figures number of times and you know it frame for frame. This score can’t help but make you feel that maybe Doc won’t get that wire reconnected in time or maybe Marty won’t get away from the Libyans this time.

12. It was referenced by a President in a State of the Union Address

Fair enough it was Reagan, but still.

Yes, that’s right, during his state of the Union address in 1986 President Ronald Reagan (who is referenced in the film himself) said in his State of the Union address - “As they said in the film Back to the Future, ‘Where we're going, we don't need roads’”.

Similarly, George W. Bush later referenced his favourite movie: Air Bud in one of his addresses.

13. Michael J. Fox’s performance of a lifetime

Michael J. Fox is a great actor and people often forget that – see his performance in Peter Jackson’s underrated The Frighteners or his recent Emmy-nominated guest run on the brilliant Rescue Me if you need proof that he can actually act rather than coast by on charm.

And while Marty McFly may not have required him to flex his thespian muscles too much, this is undoubtedly the performance he will always be remembered for, and deservedly so.

When they made Back to the Future, Fox was filming practically 24 hours a day – with Family Ties during the day and then Back to the Future through the night yet he still exudes his trademark charm & charisma and brings a sparkle to the role that is rarely emulated on screen.

14. The teaser ending

Nothing frustrates me more than when a film blatantly ends with a sequel in mind.

When Back to the Future was originally released the ending wasn’t meant to set-up a sequel, in fact had they had a sequel in mind the ending would have no doubt been somewhat different. Having Jennifer in the car at the end of the film presented the writers no end of problems with Part II, especially when Claudia Wells didn’t return.

The ending was meant to show the endless possibilities that Doc and Marty now had with their time machine not set up Part II. So when the decision to make sequels was made, the To Be Continued… graphic was added in to all cuts of the original film.

When that graphic flashes up it’s almost impossible to not want to pop Part II into the DVD player, so although it wasn’t originally intended to be a bridge to Part II, the ending of Back to the Future actually became a brilliant teaser for what was to come.

15. The theme park ride

I’m lucky enough to have ridden the Back to the Future ride at Universal Studios a couple of times before it was criminally replaced by a Simpsons ride, but sadly I have only been on it once since I became a Back to the Future mega-geek. Suffice to say though I appreciated every miniscule detail that last time.

As with all the theme park rides at the US parks, the attention to detail on the ride was second to none and even featured appearances By Christopher Lloyd and Tom Wilson.

The theme park ride and the events it encompasses are actually considered canon by some in the Back to the Future universe, and the animated series that came in the 90s actually used the theme park ride as a bridge between the films and itself.

Gone but not forgotten, the Back to the Future ride was like a wet dream for Back to the Future geeks everywhere.

16. “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88mph, you’re gonna see some serious shit.”

The first scene in which we see the DeLorean time travel is not just iconic for the genius line above from Doc, everything about the scene is recognisable and defines the movie; from the flaming tyre tracks to the most awesome licence plate in movie history: ‘OUTTATIME’ spinning round, this is one of the coolest and most recognisable scenes in the film.

17. Einstein

The most unsung dog in cinema.

Doc’s long-suffering pet becomes the world’s first time traveller and if that doesn’t make him the greatest movie canine then I don’t know what does.

Looking impossibly adorable in a little yellow rain coat following his time travelling escapades, ‘Einy’ even tries to alert his na├»ve owner to the presence of some rather angry Libyan terrorists, sadly too late, but at least he tried!

Einstein, like most characters in the film, even has his own 1955 counterpart in the form of Doc’s dog (and Einstein’s likely predecessor) Copernicus.

18. It won an OSCAR

Okay, it was for sound-editing, but still.

19. Spoofs and Parodies

Back to the Future’s cultural significance even today is evident in the number of pop culture references and spoofs & parodies the film receives. Some of these are bad, but the majority that I have seen are done with fondness and are very funny, my personal favourite being one from Family Guy with a racist Doc Brown which was available on Youtube but has subsequently disappeared - boooooo!

20. The film has a good message at its core.

“If you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything”

Doc’s inspirational catchphrase leaves a welcome, lasting impression.

21. Doc Brown swinging from the clock tower.

The climatic scene in 1955 with Doc dangling from one of the hands on the Hill Valley Clock tower seconds before it is struck by lightning never fails to put a big stupid grin on your face.

No matter how many times you see it, there’s still that moment of doubt that the good Doctor won’t re-connect the wires in time to harness the lightning into the DeLorean to send Marty “back to the future” but alas he always does and all’s well again.

It’s a brilliant scene that always warms the cockles.


22. “I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud”

Huey Lewis has a cameo!

Need I say more? I don’t care what anyone says, Huey Lewis and the News are a great band (more on that later) and the main man himself cameos as a stuffy judge at the Battle of the Bands auditions, ironically uttering the above line as Marty belts out one of Lewis’ own songs on his guitar.

23. It was made in the 80’s.

Let’s be honest, all the best stuff is from the 80’s.

24. The Hill Valley Clock Tower

An instantly recognisable movie landmark, even though the Back to the Future Hill Valley square set has been used in many other TV and film productions it will always be Hill Valley.

Looming over the picturesque little square is the clock tower – central to the plot of Back to the Future, the clock tower also makes appearances and is referenced in both sequels and the theme park ride.

A classic cinematic landmark.

25. Mr. Strickland

“Jesus, didn’t that guy ever have hair?”

Mr. Strickland or one of his relatives appears in every Back to the Future film but it is the first film where he is at his angry best. Strickland is definitely one of film’s all time great hard-nosed, Napoleonic disciplinarians.

Played by the brilliant James Tolkan, Strickland has a real irrational hatred of all things McFly and thinks that Marty and his Father George are “slackers”. The lovely little gag that he is bald and looks almost exactly the same in 1955 and 1985 is another of Back to the Future’s nice little touches.

26. The Power of Love

I’ve already discussed Huey Lewis’ cameo in the film but Back to the Future also boasts one of the 80’s most iconic movie songs in The Power of Love.

People often overlook the fact that Huey Lewis & The News also recorded Back in Time for Back to the Future, a great song in its own right which rolls over the end credits and makes several references to the film in the lyrics.

The Power of Love though was the universally popular song, was nominated for an OSCAR and is still a favourite at cheesy parties today. A classic 80’s song from a classic 80’s film – what more could you want?

27. “Why don’t you make like a tree… and get out of here”

Biff’s penchant for getting the punch line of supposedly witty sayings wrong never fails to raise a chuckle.

28. It still stands up today.

As with all great movies, Back to the Future has stood the test of, ahem, time.

25 years on, the film still stands up today and is as fresh and funny as ever whether it’s your first viewing or your hundredth.

The enduring longevity of the film really is a testament to everyone involved in the film and it will no doubt remain one of the most fondly remembered films of all time for years to come.

29. “The Libyans!”

They may be the most horribly stereotyped and overtly racist bad guys in film but the incompetence of the Libyan terrorists Doc Brown rips off for the plutonium he needs for the DeLorean is just funny.

Although, I personally find Doc’s complete ambivalence to the seriousness of his deceiving the terrorists funnier: “I gave them a shoddy bomb casing full of used pin ball machine parts!” you can’t help but smile when they get their comeuppance when Marty disappears in the DeLorean leaving the Libyans to helplessly plough into a conveniently located stand in the mall car park.

Take that terrorism!

30. The Catchphrases

Be it Doc’s “Great Scott!” or Biff’s “What are you looking at butt-head?” the catchphrases from Back to the Future are endlessly quotable and will live on in film infamy.


31. The Skateboard Scene

“Shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Although “I hate manure” became somewhat of a Tannen catchphrase as the trilogy progressed, Biff’s response to getting caked in manure first time around was simply to proclaim that he was going to “get that son of a bitch”, referring to his nemesis Marty.

The 1955 town square skateboard chase is one of Back to the Future’s most well known scenes and has been referenced a great deal in popular culture over the years, including one bizarre entry recently that saw Arsenal’s Andrei Arshavin depicted as Marty and Liverpool’s Gerrard, Carragher et al depicted as Biff and his gang!

Everything about the scene is perfect, from Marty inadvertently introducing the 50’s kids to skateboarding, to the tension and ultimately the comedy of Biff ploughing his prized car straight into the back of a manure truck.

32. The Old School Universal Studios Logo

The 1963 – 1990 Universal Studios logo is perhaps the coolest and most iconic production logo in film history. Just think of all the incredible films from that era that were preceded by that famous globe.

I have developed somewhat of an affinity with this particular logo mainly due to it being the first image you see when you put on Back to the Future – as soon as that globe fades out you know you’re in for an hour and fifty six minutes of pure, unadulterated enjoyment.

33. “…Your line George” - Marty

“Oh, hey you get your damn hands off her… Do you really think I oughta swear?” - George

“Yes, definitely, god damn it George swear”. – Marty

The above is one of my favourite bits of dialogue in the film and perfectly captures the bizarre relationship between Marty and George in 1955, with Marty as a mentor to his own Father.

34. “…Then tell me future boy, who’s President of the United States in 1985?”
- Doc

“Ronald Reagan” – Marty

“Ronald Reagan!? The actor!?, then who’s vice-president: Jerry Lewis!? I suppose Jane Wyman is the First Lady and Jack Benny is Secretary of the Treasury!” – Doc

35. Doc’s “crude” model of Hill Valley

“Please excuse the crudity of this model; I didn’t have time to build it to scale or to paint it”.

Doc’s brilliant miniature recreation of the Hill Valley town square and his dissatisfaction with it gives us a great insight into the mind of this brilliant, if somewhat unhinged, man and the fact that he is his own worst critic.

It’s also very funny as the scaled down trial run of Marty’s attempt to go back to the future ends in a ball of flames.

36. Billy Zane and Biff’s Goons

Back to the Future wasn’t only Michael J. Fox’s performance of a lifetime; it was also Billy Zane’s.

“Billy Zane?” I hear you say, “He wasn’t in Back to the Future”.

As one of Biff’s goons Billy Zane showed more charisma and personality without a speaking line than he has in any film since Back to the Future.
Biff’s goons are the very definition of sycophantic suck-ups, and their utter incapability to carry out their leader’s bidding successfully usually sees them getting their just deserts in a variety of humiliating ways.

37. “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” - George

“Yeah, well, let’s keep this brain melting stuff to ourselves, okay?” – Marty

38. The Dinner Scene

“Who the hell is John F. Kennedy?”

The dinner scene where Marty is somewhat coerced into eating dinner with his future Grandparents, Mother and Aunts & Uncles is a master class in uncomfortable.

With Marty eager to get away from the amorous advances of his own Mother, he further riles his future relatives with comments they don’t understand – having more than one TV set, re-runs and of course that Riverside Drive is actually JFK Drive much to Lorraine’s Father (and Marty’s Grandfather) Sam’s chagrin.

Lorraine grabbing his leg under the table is the final straw for Marty who makes his excuses and promptly leaves, prompting Sam to brilliantly, and rather ironically, comment:

“Lorraine you ever have a kid that acts like that, I’ll disown you”

39. The Animated Series

Another spin-off from the Back to the Future movies was an animated series, which ran for 2 seasons on CBS between 1991 – 1992 and further expanded the Back to the Future universe, although some fans dispute the canon of the animated series.

Only Mary Steenburgen (Clara in Part III) and Tom Wilson reprised the animated versions of their characters but Christopher Lloyd also appeared in live action segments. Weirdly, the animated Doc was voiced by Homer Simpson himself Dan Castellaneta.

Whilst sadly not available on DVD yet, the Back to the Future animated series is the kind of show that has achieved cult status – aimed at kids but no doubt also loved by the adults who grew up on Back to the Future.

Compared to today’s slew of cartoons that treat kids like morons, the science portions of the show were light years ahead of modern shows in terms of entertainment and educational value.

40. Not ‘Nuking the Fridge’

An early draft of the Back to the Future script saw Marty travelling through time in a fridge and being caught in a nuclear bomb detonation.

However, when concerns were raised that kids may try and emulate the stunt and become trapped inside fridges, the time machine was, mercifully, eventually changed to the now iconic DeLorean.

Years later, Steven Spielberg would again be involved with nuking the fridge, only this time it actually made it to the screen and ended up spawning a website.

In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indy actually escapes a nuclear blast by hiding inside a fridge. The moment was deemed so ridiculous that ‘nuke the fridge’ rapidly became cinema’s ‘jump the shark’ – that moment when you know a film or franchise has lost it.

Thankfully, Back to the Future avoided an association with such a derogatory term, but it further emphasises the cultural impact that the Back to the Future universe has had.

41. The Video Game

The Back to the Future video game by today’s standards is just about the lamest thing you’ve ever seen.

Even upon its 1989 release it wasn’t exactly state of the art; with people comparing it to Paperboy (which by the way, I used to be fucking brilliant on) but there’s something strangely exciting about the idea of controlling Marty McFly as he tries to defeat Biff’s goons in the diner and avoid kisses, in the form of flying love hearts, from Lorraine (seriously).

Naff? Yes. But don’t tell me you wouldn’t want a go.

42. Claudia Wells

A hit 80’s movie wouldn’t be a hit 80’s movie without one cast member being a one hit wonder. Whilst none of Back to the Future’s young cast ever quite scaled the dizzying heights they did with this film in their later careers, none of them vanished quite like Claudia Wells.

Wells quit acting due to family illness after the first film and was replaced by Elizabeth Shue for the sequels (out of necessity more than anything, as the first film had ended with Jennifer in the DeLorean with Doc & Marty).

Wells had some minor acting roles in later years but now runs a menswear store in Studio City. It’s a shame we never saw more of her really, she gave a big performance in a small role in Back to the Future and made a hell of a lot better Jennifer than Elizabeth Shue for my money.

Wells remains a cult favourite with Back to the Future fans and if Back to the Future is her ten minutes of fame then what a ten minutes to have.

43. Uncle Joey

“Better get used to these bars, kid.”

Uncle Joey is Lorraine’s jail bird brother, who fails to make parole (again) in the original 1985 timeline, prompting his cake to go to waste.

When Marty meets his future relatives in 1955, he discovers Joey in his play pen, in a black and white striped t-shirt, foreshadowing the jail cell bars he will spend much of his life behind. Stella (Marty’s Grandmother) even goes as far as to comment that Joey “cries every time we take him out” (of his play pen).

This is another brilliant example of the time-shifting and the fun that is to be had with this narrative device; it’s also a nice little throw away gag for those who were paying attention earlier on in the film – Back to the Future is filled with gags like these, you really do need a few watches to pick up on all the in-jokes and references.

44. The DVD(s)

After an agonising wait for the DVD release of the Back to the Future trilogy, it finally arrived in 2002 in glorious fashion, with a veritable smorgasbord of extras and goodies.

As it turns out the long wait for the DVD release wasn’t enough time to get all the extras in though so we were eventually given The Ultimate Edition with a shiny 4th disc of goodness – needless to say, I have both.

The DVD box sets (both) really are fantastic and give fans a wealth of bonus features and extras worthy of the greatest film ever.

45. The Poster

Everybody recognises the Back to the Future poster, with the iconic image of Marty with one foot in the DeLorean checking his watch.

The poster was duplicated for Parts II & III with Doc (II) and then both Doc and Clara (III) joining Marty on the poster but there really is no beating the original movie poster.

It is simple yet effective, much like Back to the Future itself; the poster tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the film and still manages to retain an air of cool, even today.

The Back to the Future original movie poster remains one of the greatest of all time and that’s not just my partisan bias talking (well, maybe it is a little).

46. Doc Brown

Doctor Emmett L. Brown must be one of the most beloved characters in film – I’ve said it before: but who hasn’t attempted a lame Doc impression at some point? Be honest…

Christopher Lloyd saved most of his best performances for playing eccentrics but no one was quite as magnificently eccentric as Doc – The Einstein-esque hair, the larger than life mannerisms and of course his endless line of failed inventions.

Yet underneath his dedication to science, Doc had a touching friendship with Marty and even if his head wasn’t always in the right place (stealing from terrorists), his heart always was.

And let’s not forget, this is the man that invented a DeLorean that could travel through time!

47. Spielberg’s Memo

Head of Universal at the time Sid Sheinberg made many changes to the Back to the Future script, some good, that actually made it into the shooting script, but he also had some pretty shocking ideas to go with them.

One of which was to change the title as he didn’t believe anyone would see a movie with the word ‘future’ in the title. In a memo to director Robert Zemeckis, Sheinberg reportedly stated that the title should be changed to ‘Spaceman from Pluto’, tying in with the Marty-as-alien gags in the film (Old Man Peabody’s son concludes Marty is an alien after reading a comic book featuring a story entitled ‘Space Zombies from Pluto’)

Thankfully Steven Spielberg intervened and replied to Sheinberg in a memo of his own that thanked the exec for his "joke memo", telling him everyone got a kick out of it; Sheinberg, supposedly too proud to admit he had been serious, is alleged to have then let the title stand.

48. “My name is Darth Vader, I’m an extraterrestrial from the planet Vulcan” - Marty

49. Biff

“What are you looking at butt-head?”

I’ve already sung the praises of Tom Wilson the actor but I’d be remiss if I didn’t credit Biff the character’s contribution to Back to the Future’s greatness.

Biff has to be one of those seminal cinematic villains you love to hate, because as horrible as he is and in spite of all the trouble he causes for our heroes you can’t help but like the big dumb lug.

He’s as lovably obnoxious as an adult in 1985 (original timeline) as he is as a teen in 1955 and even when he is a sniveling suck-up in the alternate 1985 he is equally as annoyingly great.

Without great villains, you can’t have great heroes and that is definitely true of Back to the Future.

50. Robert Zemeckis

Robert Zemeckis has been involved with some of the most memorable and revolutionary films of the past two and a half decades, and although he had made Romancing the Stone prior to Back to the Future, it was this film that really launched him as a film-maker and allowed him to go on to make the likes of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Forest Gump and err… Contact.

Love him or hate him, Zemeckis is a great director and has been instrumental in pioneering a number of new film-making techniques, but it is easy to forget that he also holds a writing credit on Back to the Future, which, given the fantastic script, is something else impressive for his resume.

He may have won the OSCAR for Gump, but I maintain that Back to the Future still remains the best film he’ll ever make.

51. Marty blowing the amp

“Rock N’ Roll…”

Following on from the note perfect opening scene, we have another fantastic moment that tells us so much about our characters with barely a spoken line.

This first glimpse of Marty is him blowing up Doc’s giant speaker with a mini guitar, setting up his love of rock n’ roll, his somewhat rebellious streak and of course Doc’s penchant for hair-brained inventions.

Seeing Marty sent flying across the room by his over-zealous strum is an unforgettable moment that establishes numerous plot threads in a concise and most importantly entertaining manner.

52. Doc’s bullet proof vest

“What about all that talk about screwing up future events? The space-time continuum?” - Marty

“Well, I figured: what the hell!” - Doc

What would the greatest family film of all time be without a happy ending?

After all his gesticulating about irreparably damaging the space-time continuum it seemed as though Doc would never get Marty’s warning of his impending death. As Marty arrives back in 1985, his plan to go back early foiled by the DeLorean breaking down in Hill Valley Square, he watches on helplessly as Doc is once again gunned down by the Libyans.

Sobbing over his friend’s lifeless body, Marty is suddenly shocked as the Doc springs back to life and reveals a bullet-proof vest.

Everyone goes home happy and for once changing events in a time travel film has a positive outcome.

So there you have it, my evidence in favour of Back to the Future as the greatest film of all time. I could have gone on but that wouldn’t have been fair to the others…

What do other (less biased) film fans think of Back to the Future?

But more importantly what do the Back to the Future fans out there have to say in support of our beloved movie?

More Back to the Future goodness:

Back to the Future – Where Are They Now…?

Top Ten Time Travel Films of all… Time!


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