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Back To The Future facts: 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know

Jeff Goldblum as Doc Brown, anyone?

Back To The Future facts: 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know
Marc Chacksfield
21 October 2020

Back To The Future is one of the best family movies in history. Frankly, it's one of the best movies of any kind in history.

How about learning some things you never knew about Back To The Future? Unless you've already been ahead in time and read them, you little tinker.

The following are some great facts about Back To The Future that you (probably) didn't know about.

UPDATE:Back To The Future producer Bob Gale has revealed just why we won't be seeing a Back To The Future 4 anytime soon. The producer has always been adamant that there won't be a fourth film (or a remake) but in a recent podcast with Collider he revealed some more information:

“We told a complete story with the trilogy. If we went back and made another one, we’d have Michael J. Fox, who will be sixty next year, and he has Parkinson’s Disease," says Gale. "Do we want to see Marty McFly at age sixty with Parkinson’s Disease? Did we want to see him at age fifty with Parkinson’s Disease? I would say ‘No, you don’t want to see that.’ And you don’t want to see Back to the Future without Michael J. Fox."

And it's Gale's call, as he reveals in the podcast: "We have an understanding with Spielberg and Amblin that there would never be another Back to the Future movie without our blessing or being involved. So it’s not going to happen."


1. Father figure

Writer/Producer Bob Gale had the idea for the film after finding his father's yearbook in the basement, seeing that he was somewhat of a nerd and wondering if they would have been friends if they'd been at school together.

2. Freezing time

The time machine was originally conceived as a refrigerator rather than a car.

3. Pluto, no

Sid Sheinberg, head of Universal Pictures, suggested the movie's title be changed to Spaceman From Pluto as he thought the title Back To The Future would put people off. He was shamed into backing down when producer Steven Spielberg thanked him for his "joke memo".

Back To The Future facts: 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know

4. Bully for you

Biff Tannen was named after a Universal executive named Ned Tanen who had been particularly unpleasant to Zemeckis and Gale during a script meeting about the film I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

5. Bringing sexy back

Columbia Pictures originally rejected the movie because, according to Gale, they thought it was a cute idea but "not sexual enough" and suggested Zemeckis and Gale take it to Disney.

6. What's up, doc?

John Lithgow, Dudley Moore and Jeff Goldblum were all considered for the role of Doc Brown.

Back To The Future facts: 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know

7. Monkeying around

Einstein, Doc Brown's dog, was a chimpanzee in the original script.

8. Gives you wings

The DeLorean was chosen as the time-travelling car because the filmmakers felt that its wing doors meant it could conceivably be confused for a UFO.

9. Almost famous

One of Biff's goons is a pre-fame Billy Zane in his first screen role.

Back To The Future facts: 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know

10. A Shue in

Claudia Wells only plays Marty's girlfriend, Jennifer, in the first film and not the sequels because her mother became ill and she elected to spend time with her. Elisabeth Shue took over the role for the second and third movies.

11. Strange love

There's a nod to Stanley Kubrick in Doc's garage. The amplifier has a CRM114 label, which is the name of a piece of radio equipment in Doctor Strangelove.

12. coming of age

Michael J. Fox is three years older than screen dad Crispin Glover.

13. fast times

The time between completion of shooting and the film's release was just ten weeks.

14. special effect

Despite the sci-fi subject, there are only 32 effects shots in the whole movie.

Back To The Future facts: 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know

15. Another biff

Tim Robbins was in the running for the role of Biff Tannen.

16. little voice

Crispin Glover lost his voice during filming, so for some scenes he had to just mouth his lines and the dub the dialogue later.

17. judgments day

The judge at the band auditions who tells Marty he's "too darn loud" is actually Huey Lewis, who contributed two songs to the soundtrack.

Back To The Future facts: 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know

18. Karate kidding

Ralph Macchio turned down the role of Marty McFly.

19. tall guy

Doc Brown's notable hunch came about because at 6'1" Christopher Lloyd is considerably taller than Michael J. Fox, who is 5'5", and they needed to look closer in size.

20. time travel makeover

After the release of the film, DeLorean actually made body kits for their cars for people who wanted them to look more like the time machine in the movie.

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