On this day, an cinematic phenomenon will reach a significant milestone. It was on July 3, 1985 when the world was introduced to a kid named Marty McFly, his scientific genius mentor Dr. Emmett Brown and a very fast Delorean with custom-made features such as a flux-capacitor. This summer, the sci-fi adventure Back to the Future, will celebrate its 30th anniversary. To highlight this milestone, let’s shed light on 30 fun facts about Back to the Future.
- The script was rejected by every major studio at least 40 times before it was green-lit
Michael J. Fox was the studios’ first choice to play Marty McFly but he was initially unavailable for production due to scheduling conflicts with his show Family Ties.
- Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty because Fox was unavailable, but director Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale felt that he wasn’t right for the part after four weeks of shooting. Stoltz mutually agreed that he wasn’t right for the role either.
Disney wanted no part of the movie because of the scene where Marty and his teenage mother were in the car together. They believed that the scene suggested incest.
- Thomas F. Wilson improvised Biff’s catchphrases such as “make like a tree and get out of here” and “butthead”
Sid Sheinberg, head of Universal Pictures at the time, wanted the title changed to “Spaceman from Pluto” because he insisted that no one would want to see a movie with the word “future” in the title.
In the early drafts of Back to the Future, the time machine was made out of an old refrigerator.
Also, Doc Brown had a pet chimpanzee in the early drafts of Back to the Future.
Ronald Reagan made a reference to Back to the Future in his 1986 Presidential Address. He was amused by Doc Brown’s disbelief that an actor, such as him, couldn’t become President of the United States.
When the movie was previewed for a test audience, the final scene where the DeLorean takes off and flies wasn’t finished. Industrial Light and Magic wasn’t finished with that particular sequence, so the final few minutes was seen in black and white, but it made no difference; the test audience gave it a standing ovation anyway.
- Ralph Macchio declined the role of Marty McFly.
- Princess Diana attended the premiere in London in 1985.
- Bob Gale was inspired to write this movie when he found his father’s high school yearbook and wondered if he and his dad could have been friends with his teenage dad if he went back in time.
- The school that served as High Valley High School was Whittier High, Richard Nixon’s alma-mater.
- Marty McFly was credited for singing in the film, when actually Mark Campbell was singing for Michael J. Fox.
- When Marty is writing the letter to Doc before he goes into the future, the word “disaster” is the only word in the last line. Yet when Doc shows Marty the letter when it has been all taped up, “terrible disaster” is the last line. Also, the handwritring in each letter is different (i.e. Marty’s signature). They are two different letters.
- Marty and Doc’s relationship goes back to when Marty was around 13. He snuck into Doc Brown’s lab and wound up getting a part-time job.
- When Marty chases after Biff on the borrowed ‘skateboard’, Marty is wearing a dark grey belt and a red/blue print shirt under his red/beige jacket. However, when Marty is hanging on to the front of Biff’s car as they turn a corner (and in another shot), Marty (stunt double) is wearing a light brown belt and solid tan shirt.
- Back to the Future was nominated for four Academy Awards but won for Best Effects, Sound Editing.
- Back to the Future was the highest grossing release of 1985.
- The DeLorean was deliberately selected for its general appearance and gull-wing doors, in order to convince the citizens of 1955 that the car was in fact an alien spacecraft.
- The electric guitar Marty plays at the “Enchantment Under the Sea Dance” is a Gibson ES345. This guitar model debuted between 1957 and 1958 yet he’s supposedly playing it in 1955. It would have been more accurate to have him using a Fender Telecaster (1950) or Stratocaster (1954). The Gibson 345 was not made until 1958.
- The picture’s production actually ended up using three DeLoreans.
- According to Bob Dale, Johnny Depp auditioned for the role of Marty McFly.
- Christopher Lloyd originally turned down the role of Doc Brown when he was offered the role by producer Neil Canton, but his wife changed his mind and convinced him to take the part.
- Michael J. Fox improvised the scenes of Marty repeatedly hitting his head on the DeLorean’s door because the door mechanism was faulty.
- In the original script, Marty and Doc sold bootleg videos in order to fund the time machine, but Universal ordered that changed because they didn’t want to promote movie piracy.
- In one of the early drafts of the script, Marty’s last name was to be McDermott but it was thought to have too many syllables. Director Robert Zemeckis came up with the idea to change his name to McFly.
- John Lithgow, Dudley Moore and Jeff Goldblum were considered for the role of Doc Brown.
- After the film’s release, Bob Dale and Robert Zemeckis received a fan letter from John DeLorean, thanking them for using his car in the movie