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Film Talk: Looking Back... to the Future!

Ladies and gentlemen, I begin with an apology.

Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox in 1985's Back to the Future
Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox in 1985's Back to the Future

For some time now it has been my privilege to trawl the archives, delighting each week in bringing you a cinematic classic to unpick and get misty-eyed over. In doing so – like my forebears before me – I have dedicated myself to ensuring that here, the most hallowed flicks in Christendom are all paid the appropriate homage, and that no sparkling, shining movie gem of yesteryear is left on the shelf or falls through the proverbial cracks.

In this folks, I am ashamed to say I have failed spectacularly, for I realised with the utmost horror this week that such a gem (indeed, nothing less than a crown jewel), has been forgotten, never to have been rightly honoured by these humble hands.

I beg for your forgiveness, and propose we immediately put things right by taking a long-overdue journey. Set the cruise control to 88 miles per hour. Where we're going, we don't need roads...

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, 1985's Back to the Future stands as one of the most iconic, celebrated and beloved movies ever to have been made.

Written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, this classic of no mistaking stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in a tale of a daring duo with a dishevelled DeLorean that leads them on a time travel-tastic adventure.

Gale and Zemeckis reportedly conceived the idea for the flick in 1980. After numerous collaborative failures the duo were anxious to create a successful movie together, but the project was rejected over 40 times by various studios because it was not considered to be 'raunchy' enough to compete with the successful comedies of the time.

However, following Zemeckis's success with 1984's Romancing the Stone, a deal was eventually secured with Universal Pictures.

Though Fox was the first choice for the lead, unavailability meant that he was not the first chap cast for the part. Method actor Eric Stoltz was given the opportunity to step into Marty's now-trademark Nikes, though was ultimately deemed not to be right for the role. Concessions necessary to hiring Fox were made, Stoltz's scenes were re-shot, and the Back To The Future we know and love began to come into being.

With a cast completed by Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson and Claudia Wells, the board was set for one of the greatest stories ever told to delight cinema audiences. But even though the flick has since achieved huge cult status, would the crowds of the time lap it up, and would that box office bank come rolling in?

The year is 1985, but for Marty McFly, it won't be for long.

When his eccentric scientist friend Dr. Emmett 'Doc' Brown (Lloyd) reveals an invention he has been conceiving for 30 years, Marty ends up being thrown three decades into the past, where he is forced not only to save Doc from a terrible future fate, but also make sure his own existence comes to pass.

Between getting his parents together and battling the bullies, will Marty ever manage to get back to the future? There's certainly a lot more at stake than the high school dance...

Earning $381.1 million at the box office and becoming the highest-grossing film of 1985 worldwide, Back to the Future was a commercial success and was praised by critics of the time.

The flick received multiple award nominations, winning an Oscar, three Saturn Awards, and a Hugo Award. Its theme song, 'The Power of Love' by Huey Lewis and the News, was also a success, and today retains similar cult popularity to the movie itself.

Back to the Future is widely considered to be one of the greatest science-fiction films ever made, and rightly so. I would argue that it is indeed such an irresistible classic that it would be hard to trust any soul that was not melted by it at least a little, and its place on cinema's highest altar should be beyond contestation.

Having spawned a pair of back-to-back sequels, Back to the Future kicked off a sci-fi trilogy that showcased both Fox and Lloyd at their absolute finest, and took us on an adventure the likes of which cinema was simply made for.

They don't stand the test of time a lot better than this one folks, and as we did before them... your kids are gonna love it.

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