Remember when the Back to the Future movies came to life and showed us a beautiful future? Hoverboards! Cars that can fly! Shoes that tie themselves! Jaws 19! Those gaudy, dazzling hats! And we nailed it, right? You can see it all right now if you go outside, and it’s all ready to be used! Despite the fact that we don’t have hoverboards, we’ve accomplished a lot, and it’s incredible to think back on this classic 1980s film franchise that defined a generation. This franchise, in our opinion, handled time travel better than any other film in the 30 years since. The Back to the Future movies are one of the few movie franchise that is, in a word, perfect. They are humorous and poignant, exhilarating and eternally unforgettable.
We took another look again at these incredible flicks, as well as all kinds of Back to the Future facts you may not have known. Huey Lewis, in addition to providing the theme song, had a cameo appearance in the first movie. Or how about the fact that both Ronald Reagan and Clint Eastwood were major fans? Or that Johnny Depp tried out for the role of Marty McFly? Below, you’ll find all of this and more! Start the flux capacitor and prepare to see the most fascinating behind-the-scenes details from the greatest time travel films of all time!
#1 In the whole franchise, Doc Brown and Lea Thompson only meet once.
Lorraine and Doc endure an uneasy meeting when Lorraine accompanies Marty back to Doc’s residence. Despite appearing together in five films and one television movie, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson have never spoken on-screen conversation.
#2 Technically, Marty throwing the Frisbee in 1885 is correct.
Marty uses a Frisbie pie dish to knock a pistol out of Mad Dog’s grasp in Part III. The Frisbie Pie Company was founded in Connecticut in 1871. Their pie pans were thrown on the Yale campus, leading to the development of Frisbees.
#3 Time travel is used in the third film to seamlessly tie into the first.
Doc informs Marty that he was inspired to invent the flux capacitor after hurting his head on the bathroom sink while attempting to hang a clock over his toilet in Back to the Future. When Doc hurries into the bathroom after seeing Marty at his house in Back to the Future III, you can barely make out the clock hanging over the toilet he slid on.
#4 The Story Behind the Franchise Is Very Touching
The films were primarily inspired by Bob Gale seeing his father’s high school yearbook and wondering if he and his father would have been friends as teenagers.
#5 Back to the Future: The Sequel’s Creative Writing May Have Aided a Plot Point
Biff is seen during the school dance “spiking” the punch with booze. George is depicted sipping the punch in Back to the Future before confronting Biff in the parking lot. Drinking Biff’s spiked punch may have contributed to George’s uncommon bravery in the initial scenario.
#6 Back to the Future II is the very first movie to feature the same actor playing two different characters on screen at the same time.
The VistaGlide is the most noticeable effect in Back to the Future II. The effect of the same performer conversing with oneself is used in three situations. The dinner sequence in 2015, 1955 Biff talking to 2015 Biff in the garage, and 1955 Doc talking to 1985 Doc were the three sequences that were shot. The camera had to be divided into thirds to make the dinner sequence with the VistaGlide, and Fox had to appear three times to portray his older self, Marty Jr., and his daughter Marlene. It’s the first movie to feature the same actor playing two separate roles on screen at the same time.
#7 Back to the Future III contains a fantastic Clint Eastwood joke.
When Marty mentions Clint Eastwood as Doc and Marty are at the drive-in prepping the DeLorean for the journey to 1885, Doc responds, “Clint who?” On the drive-wall in’s is a movie poster for Revenge of the Creature and Tarantula, two flicks in which a young, then-unknown Eastwood makes some of his earliest cinematic performances.
#8 Michael J. Fox was actually (accidentally) hanged.
When “Mad Dog” tried to lynch Marty in Back to the Future III, Michael J. Fox was unintentionally hung, putting him comatose for a brief while. In his book, Lucky Man, he discusses this.
#9 In Back to the Future II, Doc wears a shirt that alludes to the plot of Back to the Future III.
Doc wears a shirt with a pattern picturing cowboys on horseback and a train for the whole of the second film, anticipating the third film’s conclusion.
#10 Huey Lewis Appearance in the First Movie
Huey Lewis, whose songs “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time” are featured on the film’s soundtrack, rises to protest Marty is “just too dang loud” as he is being judged during the band tryouts. Marty’s audition song, a re-orchestrated version of “The Power of Love,” was also written by him.
#11 Because Michael J. Fox is just 5’4″ tall, Doc’s iconic hunch was created.
When the producers recognized the huge height disparity between Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox, they created Doc’s unique hunched-over image. Director Robert Zemeckis employed particular blocking to accommodate for the height disparity, with the two typically standing far apart at varying camera depths. Lloyd would have to lean over in close-ups to appear in frame with Fox.
#12 From the Past to the Future Wasn’t designed with sequels in mind from the start
Robert Zemeckis has stated that he had no intention of making a sequel and that the first film’s open ending was just intended as a joke. When the company announced plans for a sequel, he elected to be involved in the continuance of his work, even extending it to two sequels.
#13 The Franchise Cast Michael J. Fox, Lost Him to Scheduling Conflicts, Then Cast Him Again
Michael J. Fox has long been the front-runner for the role of Marty, but he couldn’t do it because of schedule difficulties with his work on Family Ties. Producers couldn’t afford to let Fox leave because he was carrying a larger portion of the program than normal. Based on his performance in Mask, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale cast Eric Stoltz as Marty.
Zemekis and Gale decided Stoltz wasn’t the perfect fit for the character after five weeks of filming, and Stoltz concurred. By this time, Baxter had returned to the show in full force, and the producers had agreed to let Fox go to make the picture. Fox devised a timetable to meet his commitments to both projects, driving directly to the movie site after filming the program each day and sleeping only a few hours a night. The cost of reshooting Stoltz’s sequences increased by $3 million.
#14 When it comes to time travel, the relation of 1:21 or 1.21 is cleverly employed.
When Doc Brown initially sends Einstein “one minute” into the future, the time between the DeLorean’s disappearance and return is really 1 minute 21 seconds, just as the reappearance took place at 1:21 a.m., and the flux capacitor used 1.21 gigawatts of power.
#15 In Back to the Future III, the Fateful Clock from the first film makes its (chronological) debut.
As Doc and Marty discuss the train’s speed with the conductor, the clock for the Hill Valley Clock Tower can be seen in the backdrop, being unloaded off the train
#16 Mom, Mom Is That You?
When 1985 Jennifer returns to her 2015 house, her daughter Marlene (Michael J. Fox) greets her at the top of the stairs, saying, “What’s up, Mom? Is that you, Mom?” When Marty (also portrayed by Fox) gets knocked out and wakes up in a new area, he says the same sentence in each film of the trilogy.
#17 The executives at Universal Pictures had some… interesting ideas for the title.
Sid Sheinberg, the head of Universal Pictures, was not fond of the title Back to the Future, claiming that no one would watch a film with the word “future” in the title. In a message to Robert Zemeckis, he recommended changing the title to Spaceman From Pluto, which would tie in with the film’s Marty-as-alien humor. He also suggested making other modifications, such as replacing the “I’m Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan” line with “I am a spaceman from Pluto!”
A return message from Steven Spielberg convinced Sheinberg to reconsider his mind, thanking him for sending a “humorous note” and stating that everyone enjoyed it. Sheinberg, who was too arrogant to acknowledge he was serious, agreed to keep the film’s title.
#18 The First Film Inadvertently Provided Excellent Preparation for the Sequel
“I’ll get to see who wins the next twenty-five World Series,” Doc informs Marty during his time machine demonstration, moments before he leaves into the future. No one expected a sequel when the scene was scripted and shot, let alone one where the hook would be Marty wanting to get his hands on a “sports almanac” so he could wager on games.
#19 For ’80s Teen Comedy Standards, the Idea of a Mother Falling in Love with Her Son Wasn’t Risqué Enough…
When Robert Zemeckis was pitching the movie, one of the studios he approached was Disney, who turned it down because they believed the narrative of a mother falling in love with her son (although with a time travel twist) was too risqué for a Disney picture. Disney was the only corporation that thought this was inappropriate. In comparison to other adolescent comedies at the period, all other studios decided the picture was not risqué enough (e.g. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Revenge of the Nerds, etc.).
#20 Marty’s Wardrobe in III Reflects I, much as Doc’s Wardrobe in II Reflects III.
The sign representing atomic energy is embroidered on Marty’s western clothing in Back to the Future III.
#21 The Culmination of the Entire Franchise Is The Flying Time Traveling Train
Doc’s flying time travel train combines technologies from all three films: the train (1885), time travel (started in 1955 and finished in 1985); hover conversion, and fusion (2015).
#22 Marty’s Girlfriend was played by three different actresses.
Marty McFly’s girlfriend, Jennifer, was played by Elisabeth Shue for the third time. When Eric Stoltz was Marty, Melora Hardin (not seen) portrayed Jennifer. Jennifer was played by Claudia Wells in Back to the Future, before being replaced by Elizabeth Shue.
#23 Back to the Future Was Not an Easy Sell
Before it was ultimately green-lit, the original Back to the Future script was reportedly rejected 40 times.
#24 Back to the Future II and III were originally intended to be an one film.
Originally, there was only going to be one sequel. The script for this sequel, dubbed Paradox, combined aspects from both Back to the Future II and Back to the Future III into a single film.
#25 Even the locations change in response to previous installments.
The “Cafe 80’s” restaurant in Back to the Future II is a combination of the storefront’s two prior appearances in Back to the Future. It was the home of “Lou’s Cafe” in 1955 and a health/workout club in 1985. While the “Cafe 80’s” is mostly a restaurant, customers may be seen working out on the exercise bikes, which Griff encourages them to do by telling them, “Keep pedaling, you two.”