When it comes to sci-fi movies, I've never seen one better than Back to the Future. The 1985 time travel classic has humor, heart, and iconic scenes that will stay with us forever. And as a little tribute to my favorite movie of all time, I'm gonna tell you ten fun facts about Back to the Future.
1. The role of Marty McFly was originally portrayed by Eric Stoltz.
I already highlighted this in one of my past articles, but it really is a fun piece of trivia. Basically, the producers wanted Michael J. Fox in the role of Marty McFly, but he was committed to filming Family Ties. So, they had to go with the next best option, Eric Stoltz.
However, Stoltz ended up immediately becoming a problem on set, annoying his cast and crew with his commitment to method acting, and not getting along with co-star Thomas F. Wilson. They also believed his acting style was too dark for the lighthearted character of Marty McFly.
After a couple weeks of filming with Stoltz, they decided to fire him. Just then, Fox's Family Ties co-star, Meredith Baxter, had to take maternity leave, delaying production on the show, leaving Fox available to film his role as Marty.
2. The film was almost called "Space Man From Pluto."
Not believing that a time travel movie would be successful in the 1980s, Universal Studios president, Sid Sheinberg, sent a memo to Robert Zemeckis, suggesting that the movie be renamed Space Man From Pluto.
He also proposed multiple minor script changes to accommodate the title change, including changing the line, "Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan" to "Space Man from Pluto." Zemeckis responded by thanking Sheinberg for the joke memo. The memo is here:
3. Doc was originally going to own a pet chimp.
In early drafts, Doc's animal assistant was a chimpanzee named Shemp. However, Sheinberg rejected this as well, claiming that no movie with a chimpanzee had ever made any money.
As a result, they changed it to a dog named Einstein.
4. Thomas F. Wilson improvised some of Biff's signature catchphrases.
Tom Wilson, the actor who portrayed Biff, did some improvisation for his role. He improvised the term, "butthead," famously used by Biff, and also improvised the line, "Why don't you make like a tree and get out of here?"
Both these improvisations ended up in the two sequels, as well.
5. Ronald Reagan LOVED the movie.
Not only did then-president of the United States Ronald Reagan love the movie, but he also reportedly got a huge kick out of the line, "Ronald Reagan? The actor?!" laughing at Doc's reaction to how improbable it seemed that a 1950s actor would become president.
He loved the line so much that he had the projectionist go back and play it again. Reagan would later go on to quote the film during his 1986 State of the Union address.
6. Huey Lewis made a small cameo appearance in the film.
Huey Lewis, lead singer of Huey Lewis & the News, originally didn't want to appear in the movie, but eventually decided to do it, so long as they didn't credit his acting role. Lewis appears as the teacher who criticizes Marty's band for being "too darn loud."
Lewis's band also performs "The Power of Love" and "Back In Time," songs featured in the film.
7. Christopher Lloyd had to hunch over in order to play Doc.
Michael J. Fox, who plays Marty, is 5'4", and Christopher Lloyd, who plays Doc, is 6'1". As they wanted to decrease the height difference between the actors, they had Lloyd hunch over while playing Doc in order to make the two look closer in height.
8. The iconic DeLorean time machine was almost a Ford Mustang.
During production of the movie, Universal was offered $40,000 to change the time machine from a DeLorean DMC-12 to a Ford Mustang. Writer Bob Gale responded to the offer by saying, "Doc Brown doesn't drive a f**king Mustang!"
They wanted to keep the DeLorean due to the fact that its gull-wing doors made the machine look futuristic, and would play a role in the joke in which the Peabodys believe the time machine is a UFO.
9. Doc hanging from the clock tower is foreshadowed at the beginning.
There's a famous scene in the film where Doc hangs on the minute hand of the clock tower. This scene is actually foreshadowed in the opening scene when we see a large number of clocks in Doc's garage.
We can see one of them has a man hanging from a clock.
This, in and of itself, is a reference to a scene from the 1923 silent film, Safety Last!, in which Harold Lloyd's character does the same.
10. In early drafts, the time machine was a refrigerator.
Before writers Gale and Zemeckis decided to turn the time machine into a vehicle, they considered making the time machine in the film a refrigerator. However, they decided against it as they were worried that children who watched the movie would begin locking themselves in refrigerators to imitate the film.
The concept was later used in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, when Indiana gets into a refrigerator in order to survive an explosion.
And that's it! Who else loves this scene as much as I do?