Back to the Future Trivia: 11 Facts That’ll Make You Shout ‘Great Scot!’

Back to the Future - Doc Brown and Marty


In 1985, Robert Zemeckis took us on a time-travelling adventure we would never forget! Back to the Future follows the story of Marty McFly as he’s catapulted into the year 1955, interrupts the meeting of his parents, and has to make them fall in love before he vanishes from existence.

Here are 11 facts about the film…

1) Spaceman from Pluto

The head of Universal Pictures, Sid Sheinberg, was not keen on the title Back to the Future, stating that nobody would want to go and see a film with ‘future’ in the title. He suggested changing it to ‘Spaceman from Pluto.’ To quash this suggestion, producer Steven Spielberg thanked him for his ‘joke memo’ and said it gave everyone in the crew a good laugh. Sheinberg didn’t want to admit he was being serious, and backed off.

2) Ronald Reagan loved his mention in Back to the Future

When Marty goes back to 1955 and tells Doc Brown that Ronald Reagan is his current president, Doc Brown is staggered – ‘The actor?’ Ronald Reagan enjoyed this part of the movie so much, he had the projectionist rewind and play the scene again.

3) Six weeks of filming with Eric Stoltz

Although Michael J Fox was the actor the production team wanted for Marty McFly, he was very busy filming Family Ties. One of his co-stars was pregnant at the time, so much more of the show’s focus was on him. So, Zemeckis decided to move ahead with actor Eric Stoltz in the role of Marty. However, after six weeks of filming, both the director and the actor decided he wasn’t right for the part. By that time, Fox’s co-star had returned to Family Ties, and so he was free to play the part of Marty. Stoltz remained on-screen twice in the final cut – when Marty punches Biff in the cafeteria, and when the Libyans are chasing the DeLorean.

4) No reboots or remakes whilst Zemeckis is alive

A lot of our favourite movies are being re-made lately, and they almost never live up to the charm and character of the original; often staining the name altogether. Well, there are no chances or a remake for Back to the Future any time soon. The rights are owned by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, who have said they won’t allow reboots to be made whilst they’re alive.

Crispin Glover as George McFly in Back to the Future

5) John Delorean wrote to the director

After the film’s release, John DeLorean, who founded the DeLorean Motor Company, wrote to Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale to send his personal thanks for immortalizing his car. The car was chosen because its gull-wing doors and general appearance might deem it to be a spacecraft by the 1950s characters.

6) The Back to the Future script was rejected a lot of times

Going on to be such a huge commercial success, it’s hard to imagine that such a great script would get rejected a bunch of times before finally being green-lit. However, it was rejected a whopping 44 times before being picked up.

7) Crispin Glover lost his voice

Crispin Glover (who played George McFly in the film) said that he lost his voice during some of his scenes, due to nervousness. To save time, they had him mouth the words silently in the scenes, so that he could go back and record his lines over the footage later on.

Biff Tannen in Back to the Future

8) Biff’s catchphrases were improvised

Think of Biff Tannen, and you’ll probably think of him mouthing the famous line, ‘make like a tree and get out of here,’ or his famous insult, ‘butthead.’ They’re synonymous with the character. However, they weren’t in the script. The actor, Thomas F Wilson, ad-libbed them on set.

9) Eric Stoltz insisted on being called Marty McFly

Eric Stoltz, who is a method actor, insisted that everybody on set call him Marty McFly, and he wouldn’t answer to any other name. When Christopher Lloyd was told that Eric had been fired, he replied, ‘Who’s Eric?’ And thought the actor genuinely was named Marty.

10) The concept came from a school yearbook

The concept for Back to the Future came from Bob Gale, who co-wrote the screenplay with Robert Zemeckis, discovering his father’s school yearbook. Bob got to wondering whether or not he would have been friends with his father, if he’d been a teenage back then.

11) Eric Stoltz almost broke Biff’s collarbone filming Back to the Future

For the scene where Marty is about to fight Biff outside the cafeteria, Eric Stoltz was consistently very rough and aggressive with Thomas F Wilson, who played Biff. Wilson asked him a few times not to be so rough, but Stoltz kept on, and at one point almost broke Wilson’s collarbone. During the later confrontation in the car scene, Wilson had planned to ‘return the favour,’ but Stoltz was fired before they could get to that scene.

There you have it – 11 pieces of Back to the Future trivia. Check out the theatrical trailer below…

Back to the Future trailer

Back to the Future Gift Guide

If you’re a fan of Back to the Future or you know someone who is, treat yourself or your friend to one of the awesome BTTF goodies in our gift guide!

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