32 Timeless Facts About Back to the Future.

February 23, 2017 | Sammy Tran

32 Timeless Facts About Back to the Future.

Marty McFly: Whoa, this is heavy.
Dr. Emmett Brown: There’s that word again, “heavy.” Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth’s gravitational pull?

Back to the Future is a cinematic icon for a reason. Here are our favorite facts about the movie!

32. Eye on the clock!

In the opening sequence, all of Doc’s clocks read 7:53 (25 minutes slow) except for one. The clock sitting on the floor next to the case of plutonium reads 8:20.

Opening Scene

31. The mall that started it all…

The exterior shots of the Twin Pines Mall were shot at the Puente Hills Mall in City of Industry, California. Many of the scenes at Hill Valley High School were filmed at Whittier High School in Whittier, California.

DeLorean at Twin Pines

30. DeLorean details!

The DeLorean time machine Marty uses to travel back to the future was the brainchild of automotive engineer John Z. DeLorean, a former executive at General Motors. The car consisted of stainless steel body panels, a rear-mounted V-6 engine, and stylish gullwing doors. Approximately 9,200 were built.

Back to the Future Wallpaper DeLorean

29. Making the grade.

In early drafts of Back to the Future, Doc had a pet chimpanzee. The head of Universal was anti-chimpanzee: "I looked it up. No movie with a chimpanzee ever made any money."


28. Deleted scenes.

Terence McGovern filmed a scene in which his character forces George McFly to buy an entire case of his daughter’s peanut brittle. The scene was later deleted. Another scene in which Marty peeked into a class in 1955 and saw his mother cheating on a test was edited out of the final cut.

Back to the Future Deleted Scene

27. Thank you, Academy.

Back to the Future won one Oscar, for sound effects editing.

Twin Pines Back to the Future

26. Goodbye DeLorean…

 In the original script, the time machine was made out of an old refrigerator.

Old Refrigerator

25. Back-to-Back to the Future.

The two sequels weren’t nearly as successful as the original. The original film (1985) grossed $285M, while Back to the Future II and Back to the Future III grossed only $118M and $87M respectively.

"Back to the Future II" (1989)

24. But not back again.

Director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale own the rights to the film and all of its sequels. In a 2015 interview, Zemeckis declared that there would never be a reboot or remake of the series authorized during his or Gale’s lifetime.

Back to the Future FInal Scene

23. The roar of childhood.

The lion statues that guard the front of the Lyon Estates subdivisions were reportedly inspired by two similar statues that you can see to this day in the University Cit Loop in St. Louis, where writer Bob Gale grew up.

Lyon Estates

22. Presidential praise.

When Ronald Reagan first watched Back to the Future at the movie theater in the White House, he reportedly was so amused that Emmett Brown could not believe an actor like him could become president, he had the projectionist stop and rewind the film to replay the scene.

He later referred to the movie in his 1986 State of the Union address when he said, "Never has there been a more exciting time to be alive, a time of rousing wonder and heroic achievement. As they said in the film Back to the Future, 'Where we're going, we don't need roads.' "

Ronald Reagan

21. A young Mr. Frodo…

 Elijah Wood, who would later famously play Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, made his film debut in Back to the Future II. He played a kid playing an arcade in an 80s Café.

Elijah Wood Back to the Future

20. The time to transform.

It took 23-year-old Lea Thompson a full three hours in the makeup chair to be turned into the 47-year-old Lorraine.

Lea Thompson

19. Group gathering.

In October of 1985, a group of people flocked to the mall used to film the Twin Pines Mall to see if Marty would arrive in the DeLorean. Alas, he was a no-show.


18. Thank you, Bob.

John DeLorean wrote Bob gale a letter thanking him. “Thank you for keeping my dream alive. Probably half of the people who own DeLoreans today own them because they saw Back to the Future."

DeLorean Highway

17. Into the annals.

In December 2007, the Library of Congress selected Back to the Future for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Back to the Future Wallpaper Lightening

16. A rose by any other name…

Allegedly, Universal Pictures bigwig Sid Sheinberg was averse to the title “Back to the Future,” insisting that no one would want to see a movie with “future” in the title. His preference, expressed in a memo to Robert Zemeckis, was “Spaceman from Pluto.” Thankfully, Sheinberg lost the argument.

Back to the Future Wallpaper

15. Adhering to convention.

Doc’s phone number in 1955 is Klondike 54385. Given the longstanding tradition of films and TV shows employing the 555 prefix for all quoted phone numbers to indicate that they’re fictional, this might seem an exceptive choice. In fact, the letters K and L are both on the digit 5, and so the 555 standard is adhered to.

Back to the Future Phone

14. Lost in translation…

In the French version of the movie, Marty McFly’s character is actually called Pierre Cardin in 1955, instead of Calvin Klein. And in the Spanish translation, the lead character is called Levi Strauss in 1955 instead of Calvin Klein.

Back to the Future Spanish

13. First choice, second try.

While Michael J. Fox was always the producers’ first choice for Marty, scheduling conflicts with his popular TV show Family Ties initially prevented him from filming. After six weeks shooting with Eric Stoltz as Marty, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale reconsidered and returned to Fox. By his point, Fox’s television responsibilities had let up somewhat, and he was able to accommodate both production schedules.

Michael J Fox

12. Time travel!

Though Doc Brown was an adult in the 1955 scenes of the film, but the actor who played the role—Christopher Lloyd—would actually have been a 17-year-old high school senior that year.

Christopher Lloyd as a high-school senior.

Christopher Lloyd as a high-school senior.

11. Shadows from the past.

After Stoltz’s role went to Fox, all images of him were eradicated from the film. All images, that is, but one. One scene in the 1950s diner features a close-up of Biff’s face as Marty lobs a punch at him. In it, you can see Stoltz’s hand and arm and even his head on the left side of the screen, for a few sloppily edited frames.

Stoltz Back to the Future

10. China says “no.”

The film is banned in China, a country that considers the notion of time travel one that “disrespects history.”

Back to the Future Meme

9. Another anniversary.

On November 5, 2010, a group of ardent fans got together at the Puente Hills Mall to kick off a week-long series of events in celebration of the film’s twenty-fifth anniversary. So enthusiastic was this civic group about the movie that the mayor declared October 26, 2010, “Back to the Future Day” for his city.

Back to the Future Dog GIF

8. Insurance claim.

The 1985 version of Doc’s home has garage that Marty and Doc hide the DeLorean in. In the opening scene, we see an article explaining that the mansion burned down years before, either for insurance money or due to an explosive experiment. The presence of the commercial development also implies that Doc sold the land surrounding the house for more money to fund his project. It’s a plausible explanation: after all, Doc does say that it took “many years and his entire family fortune” to build the time machine.

Garage Back to the Future

7. Insurance, part 2.

Near the beginning of the movie, Biff apparently gets into an accident while driving George’s car. George asks for Biff’s insurance to cover the damage, but Biff refuses. He tells George his insurance should pay for the work because there was a blind spot. Technically, Biff is in the right with this argument, but not for the reasons he proposes. In fact, George’s insurance should pay for the damage because coverage follows the car, not the driver.

George's Car Back to the Future

6. Messing with the age.

Actor Michael J. Fox is actually only 10 days younger than Lea Thompson, who plays his mother. He is almost three years older than the man who plays his dad, Crispin Glover. Actors were cast to match their younger self’s ages.

Michael J Fox and Lea Thompson

5. Big bucks!

Back to the Future was the top grossing release of 1985. In all, the film brought in US$210,609,762.

Time Machine Test

4. On wheels…

While it was widely rumored that Fox didn’t tackle any of the film’s skateboarding scenes, he actually did most of his own stunts. For the most difficult skateboard shots, Per Welinder acted as a double.

Back to the Future Hoverboard

3. Family ties.

In both 1955 and 1985, the movie cameras pan over a Texaco gas station. Actor Christopher Lloyd’s maternal grandfather was actually among the founders of the Texaco oil company.

Back to the Future Texaco

2. Borrowing from rock stars!

Marty McFly pays tribute to a number of famous rock stars during the heavy-metal quotient of his performance at the school dance. He mimics The Who by kicking in speakers, Pete Townshend and Bruce Springsteen when performing the full-circle guitar strum, AC/DC when lying down to play the guitar and Chuck Berry when he hops across the stage with one leg up.

Rock Scene Back to the Future

1. If at first you don’t succeed…

When Disney was approached with the script, they rejected it outright because they were weirded out by the relationship between Marty and his mother. They simply considered it too risqué to produce a film in which a mother falls in love with her son. The script for Back to the Future was rejected 40 times before it was finally approved for production.

Back to the Future Internal Thumnail Unedited

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

If you share this with your friends by clicking below, it’ll help keep this article alive on the internet for the people of the future!

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.