Back to the Future is a 1985 American science-fiction comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Steven Spielberg, and starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, and Crispin Glover. The film tells the story of Marty McFly, a teenager who is accidentally sent back in time from 1985 to 1955. He meets his parents in high school, accidentally attracting his mother's romantic interest. Marty must repair the damage to history by causing his parents to fall in love, while finding a way to return to 1985. Zemeckis and Gale wrote the script after Gale mused upon whether he would have befriended his father if they attended school together. Various film studios rejected the script until the box office success of Zemeckis' Romancing the Stone, and the project was set up at Universal Pictures with Spielberg as an executive producer. Initially the role of Marty McFly was offered to singer Corey Hart but he declined and Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly when Michael J. Fox was busy filming the TV series Family Ties. However, during filming Stoltz and the filmmakers decided that Stoltz was miscast, so Fox was approached again and he managed to work out a timetable in which he could give enough time and commitment to both; the subsequent recasting meant the crew had to race through reshoots and post-production to complete the film for its July 3, 1985 release date. When released, Back to the Future became the most successful film of the year, grossing more than $380 million worldwide and receiving critical acclaim. It won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, as well as Academy Awards, and Golden Globe nominations among others. Ronald Reagan even quoted the film in the 1986 State of the Union Address. In 2007, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in June 2008 the American Film Institute's special AFI's 10 Top 10 acknowledged the film as the 10th best film in the science fiction genre. The film marked the beginning of a franchise, with Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III released back-to-back in 1989 and 1990, as well as an animated series and theme park ride.
Marty McFly is a teenager living with a grim and bleak family in Hill Valley, California. His father, George McFly, is constantly bullied by his supervisor, Biff Tannen, and his slobbish overweight mother, Lorraine Baines McFly, has a drinking problem. On the morning of October 25, 1985, his friend, scientist Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, calls him and asks to meet at 1:15 am the following morning at Twin Pines Mall. Marty and his band audition to perform at the school dance, but are rejected. Marty's girlfriend, Jennifer Parker, encourages him to pursue the dream of being a rock musician. At dinner that night, Lorraine recounts how she and George first fell in love when her father hit him with his car. The McFly house Marty meets Doc as planned. Doc reveals a DeLorean DMC-12 which he has modified into a time machine, powered by plutonium which generates 1.21 gigawatts of power into a device he calls the "flux capacitor". Doc also explains that the car travels to a programmed date upon reaching 88 miles per hour. However, before Doc can make a trip twenty five years into the future, the Libyan terrorists he stole the plutonium from show up and gun him down. Marty attempts to escape in the DeLorean but, in the process, reaches the speed of 88 miles per hour and is transported back to November 5, 1955, a date Dr. Emmett Brown entered as an example to Marty as the date he invented his flux capacitor. In 1955, Marty runs into his father, George, as a teenager who is being bullied by Biff. As George is about to be hit by Lorraine's father's car, Marty pushes him out of the way and takes the impact. As a result, Lorraine becomes infatuated with Marty instead of George. Marty is disturbed by her flirtations and leaves to find Doc. Marty convinces Doc that he is from the future and asks him to help him return to 1985. Doc is aghast by the fact the time machine requires 1.21 gigawatts of power, telling Marty that the only possible source of that amount of power is a bolt of lightning. Marty remembers that lightning will strike the courthouse clocktower the following Saturday at 10:04 PM. Doc also deduces that Marty has prevented his parents from meeting. He tells Marty he must find a way to get them together or he will never exist. Marty plans to have George appear to rescue Lorraine from Marty's overt sexual advances on the night of the school's "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance. However, a drunk Biff unexpectedly shows up, pulls Marty from the car, and forces himself on Lorraine. George arrives as planned to rescue Lorraine from Marty, but finds Biff instead. Biff subjugates George, but George punches Biff in the face, knocking him out. A smitten Lorraine follows George to the dance floor where they kiss for the first time, assuring Marty's existence. Meanwhile, Marty writes Doc a letter to warn him of his murder in 1985, but Doc indignantly tears up the letter without reading it, for fear he will alter the future. The lightning strike at 10:04 PM successfully sends Marty back to 1985, but he is too late to prevent Doc from being shot. However, Doc reveals he was wearing a bulletproof vest and confesses that he taped the letter back together. Doc drops Marty off at home and leaves in the time machine for the future. Marty awakens the next morning to find his home and family significantly improved and happier. Lorraine is physically fit, George has become a self-confident and successful science fiction author, Marty's brother Dave is now a businessman and his sister Linda no longer has troubles finding boyfriends. Most notably, George and Lorraine now have the close relationship they never had. Biff has become an auto-detailer and is now very deferential towards George. Just as Marty reunites with Jennifer, Doc arrives, insisting that they accompany him to the future to sort out his children. They enter the updated time machine, now a hovercar and powered by fusion of trash, and blast into the future.