If one wanted to create a movie franchise, which would remain relevant for a long time, making it a timeless tale of time travel would be a good way to do it. Wait. Can a story about time travel be timeless? It’s about time. How can it be time-less? “Back to the Future” did exactly that. It tells the tale of Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, who travels back in time in a DeLorean with a little help from his pal Doc Brown. And yet, the story remains timelessly grounded in all-things Americana. It takes place in Hill Valley, A.K.A. Everywhere, U.S.A. Adding to that, the story rides less on the backbone of time as it does the backs of believable characters and solid character relationships. Audiences harbor strong feelings about the characters even to this day, about their lives imagined, and the way each one related to the other characters. As silent observers of their lives, we wanted either to be them or to hate them. Every character in “Back to the Future,” moved us. Here’s why…
25. Super Successful
The year the first “Back to the Future” (does BTTF work?) came out, it grossed over $210-million, the most of any movie that year. Although Robert Zemeckis, the writer and director, had already discussed sequels, the success of the first film cemented that possibility. In 1989 and 1990, Zemeckis brought audiences what they wanted: parts two and three. Unlike many sequels, they didn’t disappoint. Combined, the three movies landed the franchise in 13th place for highest grossing trilogies of all time.
24. 40 Bad Scripts
Every writer knows the editing process is the work [read: lame part] of writing. For screenplays, it’s about more than correcting grammar and spelling. It’s more like triage. Rewrites in Hollywood are common. For BTTF, the studios rejected 40 versions of the script. “It was always one of two things,” said co-writer Bob Gale to CNN. “It was, ‘Well, this is time travel, and those movies don’t make any money.’ We got that a lot. We also got, ‘There’s a lot of sweetness to this. It’s too nice, we want something raunchier like ‘Porky’s.’ Why don’t you take it to Disney?’”