“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
These are the last lines from the 80’s sci-fi film Back to the Future. The film is having its 30th anniversary this month and the main cast has reunited in London to celebrate it. But one question remains: does the film still hold up as a film classic after all this time or is it as dated as the time traveling tropes that the movie created?
Back to the Future is about a teenager named Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, and his eccentric scientist pal, Dr. Emmett Brown played by Christopher Lloyd, and Brown’s time machine, a DeLorean, which lands Marty in 1955 with seemingly no way to return to 1985. While in 1955, Marty encounters his teenage parents, Lorraine and George played by Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover respectively, and he has to make sure his parents get together or else he may cease to exist.
After its release on July 3rd 1985, the movie became a cultural icon and even the president at the time, Ronald Reagan, even quoted the film in his 1986 State of the Union address stating, “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” The film became the top grossing movie of 1985 and spawned two sequels, multiple video games, and helped the DeLorean gain its iconic status.
Back to the Future got everything right in terms of casting, script, and special effects. Fox and Lloyd had an undeniable chemistry and were able to play off each other in terms of comedic timing. Their characters were also believable in terms of actions and dialogue. The script was full of classic quotes, such as “I’m your density. I mean, your destiny.” and “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 mph… you’re gonna see some serious s#!t”
It didn’t feel as if the story was hard to follow or understand for traditional audiences. The special effects like the lighting hitting the clock tower and sending Marty back in time may feel dated for people accustomed to the CGI of today but for the time and what it was trying to accomplish, it worked beautifully. The movie doesn’t feel like a traditional sci-fi movie because it also has action, adventure and comedy. This allowed it appeal to a wider audience.
So Back to the Future still deserves its iconic status, even 30 years after its release because it can appeal to a wide audience and has the potential to bring in a new generation of fans because it has a unique story. It was also the forefather for the devices that time-travel films released after Back to the Future utilize like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Project Almanac. Therefore, Back to the Future deserves the praise and recognition it gets from critics and audiences alike.