I have probably seen this movie (and the two sequels) hundreds of times and every time I find something new. I think this is why I love these movie so much. The production team including Director Robert Zemeckis and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg cared so much about the story and focused on so many details that many do not even know existed in the first few viewings. For example in its sequel they used actual sport statistics from 1955 so Biff Tannen, the antagonist of the films, could bet on these events and create an alternate future with this information he stole from 2015. They also use music from the time period and dress the sets with movie posters of movies that came out during the 1950s. Huey Lewis, a popular musician in the 1980s even makes a cameo in the first film as a teacher who tells Marty’s band that they are “too loud” to play at the school dance. It’s funny that he says that because Marty’s band is playing his own song!One of the coolest details involves the sign for Twin (and later Lone) Pine Mall. The mall in town is explained by Doc to be named after old man Peabody, who used to own the land and had a “crazy idea” about breeding pine trees. Well when Marty travels back in time he crashes into Peabody’s barn and accidentally runs over one of his pine trees. Later in the movie when we return to the present day mall the sign has been changed to affect Marty’s time travel adventure. In my last viewing I also noticed that Marty’s house prominently has a set of electricity poles behind it perhaps foreshadowing the movie’s climax where a single lighting bolt hitting the clock tower will be what is necessary for Marty to make it back home to 1985.
The script is also great and was written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis. There is tons of set-up especially in the first film to events later in the movie. For example in the beginning of the film at the dinner table his sister brings up Marty’s parents first meeting. Later in the film you will actually see Marty accidentally take his father’s place thus altering history. I guess somebody should have paid attention at dinner! Also in the first few minutes of the film a lady downtown gives Marty a flyer to “Save the Clocktower!” and Marty just throws it into his pocket thinking nothing of it. However later it will help give Doc Brown the information about the lighting storm that helps Marty get home.
Finally throughout the trilogy Gale and Zemeckis convey the theme that history repeats itself. In every movie Marty experiences ironically similar events, whether it is waking up in a bed next to his mom thinking his adventures were all a dream, being chased by a Tannen family member around the courthouse, or seeing a Tannen get covered in a pile of manure. The writers use these similar yet different scenes to show that it is true history does in fact repeat itself. If only Marty and Doc realized this they would have a lot easier time traveling through time.
See the Back to the Future Poster
See the Mall Screenshot
See the Manure screenshots