Back to the Future: The Cultural Phenomenon.

How did this amazing trilogy come to be? What were the challenges and successes behind the scenes? How did it perform at the box office and what impact did it have on popular culture? In this blog post, we'll explore the fascinating history of the making of the Back to the Future franchise.

Back to the Future: The Cultural Phenomenon.
Back to The Future: Cultural Phenomenon

Back to the Future is one of the most beloved and iconic movie franchises of all time. It has entertained and inspired generations of fans with its thrilling adventures, hilarious comedy, and heartwarming characters.

The first Back to the Future movie was released in 1985 and became an instant hit. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by Steven Spielberg, who had worked together before on the movie Romancing the Stone in 1984. The script was written by Zemeckis and his good friend Bob Gale. They both really liked science fiction and comedy movies. The story idea came from when Gale found his father's old high school yearbook and wondered what his parents were like as teenagers.

Doc Brown and Marty


The movie is about Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox), a high school student who accidentally goes back in time to 1955. He time travels in a DeLorean car that was modified by his crazy scientist friend Doc Brown (played by Christopher Lloyd). When Marty goes back to 1955, he meets his teenage parents, but he has to make sure they still fall in love, or else he will never be born. So Marty has to get his parents together again to make sure he still exists!

"Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one." - Doc Brown

Casting the role of Marty McFly was really difficult. At first, the movie hired Eric Stoltz to play Marty. But after 6 weeks of filming, they decided he wasn't the right fit. So they replaced him with Michael J. Fox instead. Fox was already the star of the TV show Family Ties at the time. He had to work extremely hard, filming for both the movie and the TV show at the same time. His schedule was extremely tiring, going back and forth between the two projects.

The special effects were also ambitious for the era, like the flaming tyre tracks made by igniting gasoline under the DeLorean when it hit 88mph to time travel. Innovative makeup and prosthetics aged/de-aged the actors too.
Back to the Future Trilogy Box Office
Part 1 (1985) - $381 million
Part 2 (1989) - $332 million
Part 3 (1990) - $244 million

The franchise's enormous success spawned:

  • 2 sequels filmed back-to-back
  • An animated series
  • A theme park ride
  • Video games, comics, toys and endless merchandise

Michael J. Fox's Iconic Marty McFly

Marty McFly and Doc Brown

Michael J. Fox's portrayal of Marty McFly is one of the most iconic character performances in movie history. As the scrappy teen hero, Fox established Marty as funny, resourceful, and full of heart across the trilogy's 5 year span.

Originally, Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty until director Robert Zemeckis made the tough call to recast after 4 weeks. Fox was his first choice, but he was initially unavailable due to Family Ties. Once a schedule was worked out for the then-23-year-old to do both, he dove into defining the role.

From his first scene, Fox's Marty radiated sly humour, rebelliousness, and sweetness. The BTTF script was clever, but it was Fox's inspired, improvisational energy that truly brought Marty to vivid life.

Film Critic Roger Ebert wrote in 1985: "Fox has the understated comic timing that makes Marty seem to be a real person instead of a writer's conception."

Back to the Future Skateboard Scene

The first film was a surprise $380 million smash hit that made Fox an overnight movie star at 24. His portrayal stood out from typical 80s teen comedies; Marty was more than just a punchline, he was heroic and deeply likeable.

Fox captured the ultimate 80s teen vibe with Marty's feathered hair, puffy vest, stereo headphones, and guitar skills. He embodied the casual cool of the era. Marty's pimped out black Toyota truck in the finale was every teen's dream ride too.

"I always thought of Marty as funny and charming...someone you root for and want to hang out with." - Michael J. Fox on Marty McFly

The Legacy Lives On

By the trilogy's end, Fox had crafted a complete, compelling character arc for Marty over several years and timelines. From confident schemer to insecure family man, we saw Marty mature while staying true to his daredevil spirit.

The franchise maintains a passionate fanbase that deeply connects to Fox's Marty as an old friend. His infectious nostalgia fuels rewatches immensely for Gen X and older Millennials who re-experience their youth.

"No matter what, people want to talk about Back to the Future and Marty McFly. The fans' dedication keeps me grateful." - Fox

Now in his 60s and battling Parkinson's, Fox often attends BTTF events and remains eternally associated with Marty McFly. We'll always have that puffy-vested, wisecracking teen hero to enjoy forever thanks to Michael J. Fox's indelible performance.

Back To The Future (1985)

Watch On Amazon Prime

Rewind Zone Movie Rating: 85/100

Watching Back to the Future always feels like travelling back in time itself—to an era of unbridled imagination and whimsical storytelling. The trilogy taps into something primal in all of us—that youthful sense of adventure and belief that anything is possible.

When Marty McFly hops into the fluorescent-lit DeLorean time machine, hair perfectly feathered, we can't help but feel giddy anticipation. As Michael J. Fox's charismatic hero gets flung decades into the past, part of us goes along for the ride too. We're filled with excitement and nostalgia for the dreams of our younger selves.

That's the magic of these films and Fox's iconic performance. For 90 minutes, we crash-landed in 1955 as starry-eyed teenagers again. We rediscover that feeling of first falling for a movie star's cool factor and easy charm. Marty McFly makes us feel unstuck in time—gleefully unmoored from the constraints of adulthood.

The adventures of Doc Brown and Marty tapped into something universally human—the longing we all have to go back and re-live our most carefree moments. To catch a glimpse of our parents in their prime. To experience the thrill of first love, or school dances, or that first car.

In the era of ambient Walkman scores and Americana myth-making, Back to the Future lets us visit the idyllic postwar suburbs and diners of our nostalgic imaginings. The trilogy's playful spirit encapsulated the warm escapism of 1980s movie magic.

Michael J. Fox's iconic turn as Marty ensures we'll never stop having the endless rewind button to relive those youthful kick arounds in time eternally. With his winning smile and skateboard in hand, Fox's Marty McFly will never stop being our hilarious, time-travelling spirit guide to adventure and nostalgia. As Doc Brown would insist, making our futures whatever we crave them to be.