Back to the Future
Back to the Future Poster
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Produced by Neil Canton
Bob Gale
Written by Robert Zemeckis
Bob Gale

Michael J. Fox
Christopher Lloyd
Lea Thompson
Crispin Glover

Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Dean Cundey
Editing by Harry Keramidas
Arthur Schmidt
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release July 3, 1985
Running time 116 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $19 million
Gross revenue $383,874,862
Followed by Back to the Future Part II

Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction comedy film. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Steven Spielberg, and stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson. Fox plays Marty McFly, a teenager who is accidentally sent back in time to 1955. He meets his future parents in high school and accidentally attracts his mother's romantic interest. Marty must repair the damage to history by causing his parents-to-be to fall in love, and with the help of scientist Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown (Lloyd), he must find a way to return to 1985.

Zemeckis and Gale wrote the script after Gale mused upon whether he would have befriended his father if they attended school together. Various film studios rejected the script until the financial success of Zemeckis' Romancing the Stone. Zemeckis approached Spielberg and the project was planned to be financed and released through Universal Pictures. The first choice for the role of Marty McFly was Michael J. Fox. He was busy filming his TV series Family Ties and the show's producers would not allow him to star in the film. Consequently, Eric Stoltz was cast in the role. During filming, Stoltz and the filmmakers decided that he was miscast, and Fox was approached for the part. Now with more flexibility in his schedule and the blessing of his show's producers, Fox managed to work out a timetable in which he could give enough time and commitment to both.

Back to the Future was released on July 3, 1985 and became the most successful film of the year, grossing more than $383 million worldwide and receiving critical acclaim. It won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, as well as an Academy Award, and Golden Globe nominations among others. Ronald Reagan even quoted the film in his 1986 State of the Union Address. In 2007, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in June 2008 the American Film Institute's special AFI's 10 Top 10 designated the film as the 10th-best film in the science fiction genre. The film marked the beginning of a franchise, with sequels Back to the Future Parts II and III released in 1989 and 1990, as well as an animated series, theme park ride and several video games.


Marty McFly lives with his unambitious family in Hill Valley, California. His father, George McFly, is bullied by his supervisor, Biff Tannen, while his mother, Lorraine Baines McFly, is an out-of-shape drinker. Marty's underachieving older siblings, Dave and Linda, also live in the household. At dinner, Lorraine recalls how she and George first fell in love when her father accidentally hit George with his car.

Marty meets his friend, scientist Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, late at night in the parking lot of a deserted shopping mall, where Doc reveals a time machine made from a modified DeLorean DMC-12. The vehicle's time displacement is powered by plutonium, which supplies 1.21 gigawatts of power to a device Doc calls the "flux capacitor." Doc explains that the car travels to a programmed date upon reaching 88 miles per hour; as an example, he enters the date November 5, 1955, the date he came up with the concept of the flux capacitor. Before Doc can make his first trip, Libyan terrorists, from whom he stole the plutonium, arrive in a van and shoot him. Marty attempts to escape using the DeLorean and inadvertently activates the time machine. He is transported back to 1955 and finds himself without the plutonium needed for the return trip.

While exploring the 1955 version of Hill Valley, Marty meets his father who is being bullied by Biff and is secretly writing science fiction stories. As George is about to be hit by Lorraine's father's car, Marty pushes him out of the way and is knocked out by the impact. Consequently, Lorraine becomes infatuated with Marty instead of George. Marty leaves to find Doc telling him he is from the future seeking help for returning to 1985.

Doc explains that the only available power source capable of generating 1.21 gigawatts of energy is a bolt of lightning. Marty shows Doc a flyer he received in 1985, which states that lightning will strike the courthouse clock tower the following Saturday at 10:04 pm. Doc makes plans to harness the lightning strike to power the DeLorean's flux capacitor. When they examine a fading photograph of Marty with his siblings, they determine that Marty has prevented his parents from meeting, jeopardizing his family's existence.

Marty makes several attempts to set George up with Lorraine. When Lorraine makes a date with Marty for the upcoming school dance, Marty plans to have George "rescue" Lorraine from Marty's inappropriate advances in a car on the night of the dance. A drunken Biff unexpectedly shows up, pulls Marty from the car, and attempts to force himself on Lorraine. George arrives to rescue her from Marty but instead finds Biff. Standing up to him for the first time, George knocks Biff out and a smitten Lorraine follows George to the dance floor where they kiss for the first time ensuring Marty's existence.

Marty arrives at the clock tower where Doc is making final preparations. Doc discovers a letter Marty had written to warn him of his impending 1985 murder and tears it up, fearing it will lead to altering the future. The original plan is executed as expected and, although Marty arrives ten minutes earlier than his original departure to warn Doc, he does not get to the mall in time to prevent him from being shot. Doc, still alive thanks to a bulletproof vest, reveals that he had repaired the letter and read it.

Doc drops Marty off at his house and travels 30 years into the future. Marty awakens the next morning to find his family changed; Lorraine is physically fit, a self-confident George is a successful science fiction author, Dave is a white-collar worker, and Linda no longer has trouble finding boyfriends. George and Lorraine now have a closer relationship while Biff has become an auto detailer who is on good terms with the McFly family. As Marty reunites with his girlfriend Jennifer Parker, Doc arrives insisting they accompany him to the future to sort out a problem with their future children. Marty and Jennifer enter the DeLorean with Doc and go into the future.



External links

BTTF favicon

Back to the Future
Back to the FutureBack to the Future Part IIBack to the Future Part III

Marty McFlyEmmett BrownBiff TannenGeorge McFlyLorraine Baines McFlyJennifer Parker

Christopher Lloyd films

Back to the Future (1985)  · Back to the Future Part II (1999)  · Back to the Future Part III (1990)  · Suburban Commando (1991)  · Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)  ·

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