Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson
Runtime: 116 Minutes
Original UK Release: 1985
Following up his recent genre play of Romancing the Stone, Zemeckis’ next picture came from the simplest of origins. A beautifully simple premise and story that, under the right execution, became in itself a defining and influential point within pop culture, 80s cinema, Zemeckis’ career and Hollywood in general.
Back to the Future has just the right taste of edge in its mouth to carry it above any other high school teen comedy, but isn’t too coarse as to alienate its youngest viewers.
The major key to the film’s runaway and prevalent success is that it has one of the best screenplays ever written for a major Hollywood production. Nearly every single line, joke or reference mentioned by its characters in conversation will re-emerge later on with a swiftly reorganised purpose.
There’s little to no fat on its bones in regard to its content and subject matter, it’s as streamlined a tale as could possibly be told. Its visual presentation is utterly gorgeous, and its marvellously universal visual storytelling.
Dean Cundry displays some of his best work with an involving sense of space and flowing enthusiasm for everything on screen, a sensibility that manages to bring a newfound excitement to its period gaze while still feeling as light and nostalgic as it has too - juggling its Reaganite themes of American idealism and cannibalised popular culture seamlessly in its chronology warping storyline.
Everything else that works operates around its screenplay just reinforces its genius. Its performances are impeccable and career marking, in particular, Lloyd and Fox. Its characters are all well drawn and definable, with Wilson delivering one of the all-time great cinema villains. Silvestri’s score is amazing, its editing is tight and its production flawless.
In short; it’s a blockbusting, rip-roaring, heart-lifting masterpiece that will endure and outlive us all.