|Back to the Future|
|Directed by||Robert Zemeckis|
|Written by||Bob Gale
|Starring||Michael J. Fox
Thomas F. Wilson
Claudia Wells (Part 1)
Elisabeth Shue (Parts 2 & 3)
Crispin Glover (Part 1)
Jeffrey Weissman (Parts 2 & 3)
Mary Steenburgen (Part 3)
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||337 minutes|
|Gross revenue||$957 million|
Back to the Future is a comedic science fiction adventure film series written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, directed by Zemeckis, produced by Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures. The plot follows the adventures of high school student Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and scientist Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) as they use a modified DeLorean automobile to time travel to different periods in the history of Hill Valley, California.
The first film was the highest grossing film of 1985 and became an international phenomenon, leading to the second and third films which were filmed back-to-back and released in 1989 and 1990 respectively. Though the two sequels did not perform quite as well at the box office as the first film, the trilogy remains immensely popular after nearly a quarter century and has yielded such spin-offs as an animated television series and a motion-simulation ride at the Universal Studios Theme Parks in Universal City, California (now closed); Orlando, Florida (now closed), and Osaka, Japan. The film's visual effects were done by Industrial Light and Magic. All together, the trilogy was nominated for five Academy Awards, one of which (Best Sound Editing) was won.
|Back to the Future||1985||Robert Zemeckis||Robert Zemeckis
|Back to the Future Part II||1989||Story:
|Back to the Future Part III||1990|
17-year-old Marty McFly is accidentally sent back in time to 1955 in a time machine built from a DeLorean by eccentric scientist Emmett L. Brown, also known as "Doc". Upon arriving in 1955, Marty inadvertently causes his mother (Lorraine McFly) to fall in love with him, rather than with his father (George McFly). This begins to cause what Doc Brown later describes as a paradox that would cause Marty to disappear from existence. To make matters worse, Marty did not bring back any additional plutonium to power the time machine, so he must find the 1955 version of Doc Brown to help him reunite his parents and return to 1985. Biff Tannen, the antagonist, further complicates Marty's efforts to return to an unaltered 1985. Marty successfully causes his parents to fall in love and simultaneously ruins the future of Biff Tannen, who in the end is an auto detailer instead of George McFly's boss. Marty learns in the end that his family situation has improved because of the way his parents' relationship was changed by his intervention in the past. However, in the film's final moments Doc Brown and the DeLorean appear and Doc tells Marty that he has returned from the future, and that Marty must come back to the future with him.
Doc Brown travels with Marty to the year 2015 where he has discovered Marty's family is in ruins. Marty buys a sports almanac containing the outcomes of 50 years worth (1950–2000) of sporting events. However, Doc catches him and throws the almanac in the trash, where the aged Biff Tannen finds it. While Marty and Doc are at Marty's future house, Old Biff steals the DeLorean time machine and gives the book to himself just before he goes to the dance at the end of the first movie. When Doc and Marty return to 1985, they find that Biff has used the almanac's knowledge for financial gain, which allows him to turn Courthouse Square into a 27 story casino, "own" Hill Valley, get away with the murder of Marty's father, and later marry Marty's mother. Marty learns that Biff was given the book by old Biff on November 12, 1955, so he and Doc go back to that date in order to steal the almanac from Biff before he can use it to destroy their lives. They accomplish this in a complex fashion, often crossing their own past-selves' paths. When the duo are about to travel back to 1985, a lightning bolt strikes the DeLorean and scrambles the time circuits, sending Doc back to 1885 and leaving Marty stranded in 1955.
After finding out that Doc Brown is trapped in 1885, Marty sets out to find the 1955 Doc to help him fix the DeLorean (which has been waiting for him in a mineshaft for 70 years) and restore it to working order. Learning that Doc gets shot in 1885, Marty travels back in time to save Doc (who becomes a blacksmith) and bring him back to the future. Unfortunately, Marty rips a hole in the fuel line, rendering the DeLorean immobile. Furthermore, Doc falls in love with schoolteacher Clara Clayton, and considers staying in 1885. Marty must convince Doc to come back with him and find a way to get back to his time before it's too late. After several dramatic action scenes involving a speeding locomotive, Marty returns to 1985 in the restored DeLorean. It appears on a train track as planned, and Marty jumps out just in time to see the DeLorean time machine destroyed by a modern train. He worries that Doc has been lost in the past forever, when suddenly Doc Brown appears in a new time machine, modeled after a locomotive. He introduces Marty to Clara (to whom he is now married) and his two sons, Jules and Verne. When Marty asks if Doc and his family are going to the future, Doc replies that he's already been to the future. The locomotive flies across the sky and disappears, and the trilogy ends.
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|United States||Foreign||Worldwide||All time domestic||All time worldwide|
|Back to the Future||July 3, 1985||$210,609,762||$170,500,000||$381,109,762||#86
|Back to the Future Part II||November 22, 1989||$118,450,002||$213,500,000||$331,950,002||#320||#180||$40,000,000|||
|Back to the Future Part III||May 25, 1990||$87,727,583||$156,800,000||$244,527,583||#509||#292||$40,000,000|||
|Overall||Cream of the Crop|
|Back to the Future||96% (45 reviews)||80% (5 reviews)|
|Back to the Future Part II||63% (38 reviews)||33% (6 reviews)|
|Back to the Future Part III||71% (35 reviews)||50% (6 reviews)|
In July 1997, Universal Studios announced that Back to the Future would be one of their first 10 releases to the new format, though it ended up being delayed for five years. It was finally released in 2002 in widescreen, with a black box. In the USA, a fullscreen version was also released.
In September 2002, when the DVD was released, the video of the widescreen version of Parts II and III contained many shots that had been framed incorrectly, either because the shots were too high or low to center the image correctly, or because they zoomed in on the image, eliminating portions of the image on all sides. One notable example is when Marty's futuristic jacket adjusts itself to fit him, the misframed version does not show the sleeves changing size, thus ruining the visual gag.
In May 2003, Universal corrected the problem and prepared "V2" (Version 2) DVDs, that could only be distinguished from the original, flawed DVDs by the mark of a small "V2" near the edge of the discs themselves (and, of course, by comparing the corrected video). In Region 2, the discs were called "R1" for revision 1.
However, Universal did not initially begin packaging the V2 discs with the trilogy box set that was being sent to retailers, and the original discs were not recalled. Instead, Universal set up a toll-free phone number which owners of the original DVDs could call, and ask for a postage-paid envelope to be sent to them. Owners would send their flawed discs to Universal in the envelope, and would soon thereafter receive the corrected "V2" discs by mail.
However, although Parts II and III now contained corrected framing, a new problem appeared with Part III, in that the video contrast was set incorrectly, resulting in scenes that were too dark. Universal then released a third version of the DVD for this film (known in Region 2 as "R2"), and this was sent out as described above.
In January 2005, Universal began a nationwide promotional campaign, announcing that they would reissue the DVDs of the trilogy at a special low price (about half the set's original retail price) on January 25, 2005, and then put the entire trilogy on moratorium a week later, on February 1, 2005, with new stickers on the box declaring "Lowest Price Ever: Own It Before Time Runs Out!" The discs in this release contained no new content or bonus features from the original release: even the packaging was almost identical, except for including the promotional sticker and excluding the multi-page, full color DVD menu booklet. No booklet or chapter insert is included in the revised release, but did finally contain the corrected V2 discs. Curiously, only the disc for Part II displays the "V2" marking on its edge; the Part III disc does not, but fans have analyzed its video carefully and concluded that, despite the lack of the "V2" marking, the Part III disc is the corrected one.
On October 21, 2008, BTTF.com broke the story that Universal will be releasing each of the "Back to the Future" films individually. The DVDs were released on February 10, 2009. "Back to the Future" became a 2-disc set featuring the documentary "Looking Back to the Future" and "Back to the Future: The Ride."
In June of 2008, a special screening of the trilogy was held in Celebration, Florida. Bob Gale told the crowd they were seeing the digitally remastered version that was going to be used for the Blu-ray version of the movies. Gale also spoke to potential supplemental features on a Blu-ray version of the trilogy, saying only that never-before-seen bonus materials may appear, though he stopped short of offering any specifics. No definite release date has yet been announced.
|Box||Audio||Scene Specific Commentary||Framing||Enhanced MJ Fox interview|
|1986 (Part I) CED||
Tan with Marty and DeLorean
|1986 (Part I) VHS||
Blue with Marty and DeLorean-
|1993 Japanese Laserdisc||Charcoal with logo||Stereo||No||Generous||No|
|VCD||Blue with Marty and DeLorean||Stereo||No||Correct Widescreen||No|
|2002 R1 DVD||Blue with Marty and Doc with DeLorean||Dolby 5.1||Yes||Incorrect Widescreen||Yes|
|2002 R2/R4 UK DVD||Black with DeLorean||Dolby 5.1 and DTS||No||Incorrect Widescreen||No|
|2002 R2 German DVD||Black with DeLorean||Dolby 5.1 and DTS||No||Incorrect Widescreen||?|
|2003 "V2" (Part II & Part III) DVD||No box||Dolby 5.1||Yes||Corrected Widescreen||Yes|
|2005 R1 DVD||Blue with Marty and Doc||Dolby 5.1||Yes||Corrected Widescreen||Yes|
|2005 R2/R4 UK DVD||Blue with DeLorean||Dolby 5.1 and DTS||Yes||Corrected Widescreen||Yes|
|2005 R2 German DVD||Blue with DeLorean||Dolby 5.1 and DTS||No||Corrected Widescreen||?|
|2005 R2 Japanese DVD||Blue with DeLorean||?||?||Corrected Widescreen||?|
|2006 R2 UK DVD||Blue with DeLorean||Dolby 5.1 and DTS||Yes||Corrected Widescreen||Yes|
|2008 R2 UK DVD||Black Steelbook Case with DeLorean||Dolby 5.1 and DTS||Yes||Corrected Widescreen||Yes|
|2009 R1 Individual DVDs||BTTF: Marty with DeLorean
BTTF II: Marty and Doc with DeLorean
BTTF III: Marty, Doc, and Clara with DeLorean
|Dolby 5.1||Yes||Corrected Widescreen||Yes|
The footage that was shot with Eric Stoltz in the role of Marty McFly before he was replaced with Michael J. Fox has never been officially released. This footage was not included in Universal's original DVD release in 2002 or in 2009, despite many fans hoping that Universal would include it.
All three posters were created by noted poster artist Drew Struzan, although the original concept poster of Marty looking at his watch by the car was by Wayne Coe. Each poster features a variation on the same pose, and has the same number of characters present as each movie is numbered.
A modified version of the Part I artwork, which added Doc Brown to the original image, was used on the cover of the trilogy's DVD release.
Back to the Future is a 1985 film about time travel. After traveling back to 1955, Marty McFly accidentally interferes with his parents' courtship and must make them fall in love... or else he will never be born.