"When this baby hits 88 MPH...you're gonna see some serious shit."

One of the most successful trilogies of all time, Back to the Future still has a loyal fan base after almost 20 years after its original release in 1985. Conceived by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis with the first draft completed in February 1981. In it, the setting is not California, but an unnamed Midwestern town. Marty McFly is an aspiring musician who also pirates videos, Doc Brown is a professor at a University in 1955 and the time machine is a refrigerator with the initial leap into time occurring at a nuclear test in Nevada! Gale and Zemecks had this draft rejected by every production studio in Hollywood, it would have been the end of the story had Steven Spielberg not become interested with this crazy movie.

By July 1984 the 4th and final draft of the script has been written...barring some adjustments. The script has become completely different from the initial idea 3 years ago. The Nevada nuclear test part has been eliminated, and instead of a Midwestern town (At one point this was called Elmdale) has become Hill Valley, and of course the time machine is now a DeLorean (Later it was revealed that Spielberg and Zemeckis were afraid that kids might start getting trapped in refrigerators). On November 12th, filming starts at Universal Studios. At this point however, Eric Stoltz is Marty McFly...he was dropped in the 6th week of filming because he was deemed "too intense." Zemecks' first choice, Michael J. Fox is brought in (Originally there were scheduling issues with Family Ties) and filming is completed in mid-April 1985...special effects are added by ILM in a 2 week period and the film is released in the United States on July 3rd.

Sometime after the original Back to the Future, Gale and Zemeckis decided to write a sequel dubbed, Paradox, Universal initially rejected it because it was too long. Eventually, it is negotiated that it be divided into 2 movies. This resulted in the "To be Continued..." portion at the end of the Part I to be added to the video release in May 1986.

Drafts for Part II and III were written simultaneously with Part II filming between February and June 1989. Later Part III was shot between August and December. Part II was released on November 22 and was the highest grossing film in history at the time. A few months later...Part III was released on May 25, 1990. Thus ending a wildly successful trilogy that was followed by a ride at Universal Studios Florida (Later at Hollywood) that opened May 2, 1991 and a wacky CBS animated series that kicked off the fall 1991 Saturday Morning line-up.

In the past few years, there have been considerations regarding a Part IV or even V. This seems unlikely as Steven Spielberg, Bob Gale, and Robert Zemeckis have stated that they are not interested in another Back to the Future at this point.

Back to the Future Trivia

  • Doc Brown's phone number is (916) 555-4385.
  • In Parts I and II, Biff crashes in to a "D. Jones Manure" truck. In Part III...Buford falls into an "A. Jones Manure" cart.
  • In the opening credits of Part I, the radio in Doc Brown's house has an ad for "Statler Toyota." In Part III there is Honest Joe Statler's Horses.
  • In Part III there is a Marshall Strickland...he tells his son, "Remember that word...discipline."
  • The license plate (OUTATIME -- This license cannot exist in California...maximum 7 characters!) falls off and spins around in Part I when Doc sends Einstein, his dog, 1 minute into the future. In Part III the futuristic license plate does the same after being smacked by the train.
  • The 1955 Roy's Cafe is an aerobics class in 1985. In 2015, it's the Cafe 80s.
  • There is a sign at the Biff Tannen Museum that says, "Smoking Required."
  • In Part II, Principal Strickland's office is labeled:
      S.S. Strickland
    The SS is a reference to his iron fist.

Back to the Future Sets

  • Dr. E. Brown's House (I): Okay, it's pretty obvious that Doc Brown lives (Street Number: 1646) in a garage when we see Marty McFly leaving for school. It doesn't exist obviously (Although it was actually built...for a time one could see the foundations after the garage was removed), but the Burger King and everything else sure does.
    • Address: 535 North Victory Blvd., Burbank, CA
  • Dr. E. Brown's House (II): Doc's original house (Street Address: 1640) burned down, and he sold the estate to finance his research. His real house however, is the Gamble House located right off Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena.
    • Address: 5 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, CA
  • Marty's Parents' and Biff's Houses: The houses of 3 of the main characters are located on the same street in South Pasadena. The 1920s homes were chosen because they looked better on screen then a Levittown house. It's also very likely that you've seen them on TV or another movie since the Pasadena area is often used as a set.
    • Addresses: Bushnell Avenue, South Pasadena, CA
  • Marty's House: Marty's house is supposed to be all suburban. I don't know really what to say. I suppose this is what the studio thought most people lived like in 1985.
    • Address: 9303 Roslyndale Ave., Arleta, CA
  • Hill Valley High School: The high school is real, it's Whittier High School (http://www.wuhsd.k12.ca.us/xwhi.asp) The school dance was not filmed here.
    • Address: 12417 Philadelphia St., Whittier, CA
  • Enchantment Under the Sea Dance: It was filmed here, in the gym of the Hollywood United Methodist Church.
    • Address: 6817 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, CA
  • Lyon Estates: One of major reasons Marty realizes he's in 1955. His neighborhood doesn't exist!
    • Address: Chino-Corona Road, Chino, CA
  • Twin Pines Ranch: Owned by Disney, this is where Marty drove into the barn and got shot by Old Man Peabody for being an "alien."
    • Address: Newhall, CA
  • Twin Pines Mall: It's the Puente Hills Mall!
  • Starting Line: Where Marty starts acceleration to meet the bolt of lightning is the road directly adjacent to the Greek Theater in Griffith Park
  • Battle of the Bands: At the start of the movie after Principal Strickland gives Marty and Jennifer their tardy slips, it moves on to the scene where Marty and his band try out for the school dance. It is located at the McCambridge Park Recreation Center.
    • Address: 1515 Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA

  • Taglines*

    Part I

    • Seventeen-year-old Marty McFly got home early last night. Thirty years early.
    • He was never in time for his classes...
      He wasn't in time for his dinner...
      Then one day...he wsn't in his time at all.
    • Meet Marty McFly. He's broken the time barrier. Busted his parents' first date. And maybe, botched his chances of ever being born.

    Part II

    • Getting back was only the beginning.
    • Synchronize your watches. The future's coming back.

    Part III

    • They've saved the best trip for last...
      But this time they may have gone too far.

    The Back to the Future Trilogy

    * Bold taglines indicate those found on the video releases.


    My terabytes of random information.
    Loosely Based on Wesley Treat's Back to the Future photologue (I just used the addresses)

    On December 17, 2002 the Back to the Future Trilogy was finally released on DVD in North America (Region 1) after a five year wait. The discs were announced in 1997 and were supposed to be one of Universal's first DVD releases. Instead the trilogy fell into copyright and ownership dispute hell, as producer Steven Speilberg was wary of his works appearing on DVD and former Marty McFly Eric Stoltz did not want his few scenes appearing on the set. As the years went by the various parties worked out their issues and the set was released in both widescreen and full frame formats.

    The trilogy is sold as a complete 3-disc set (one for each film). At this time it is not possible to buy the films individually, although they can be rented as such. Each disc includes the original theatrical release of the film (no edits, no "To Be Continued" at the end of the first film, and the end of Part 2 includes the Part 3 preview that was originally seen in theaters) plus outtakes, deleted scenes (including the mythical scenes of Old Biff Tannen being erased from 2015, the burned-out high school in 1985-A, and Buford Tannen shooting Marshal Strickland in the back in 1885), making-of material, new interviews, screen-specific commentary, non-screen-specific Q&A, pop-up videoesque facts during the film, music videos, screen tests, and much much more. At a MSRP of $49.95, these DVDs come packed with goodies.

    One minor downside to the set: apparently when Universal was preparing the films someone botched the widescreen formatting and placed those lovely black bars in the wrong place. In Part 2 and Part 3 the framing of the scenes are slightly off as there appears to be too much "dead space" above the action and the bottom part of the scene is cut off by the bars. Universal will be replacing these discs in Q1 of 2003, but in my opinion the problem is not the big deal that some home theater enthusiasts have made it out to be; the films are perfectly watchable and on the whole you won't be missing much at all.

    Fans of the Back to the Future series should not miss this DVD set. The trilogy almost never airs back-to-back-to-back on television - the first and only time it has thus far was on November 28, 2004 on TBS.

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