A Closer Look...BTTF

I sat down and watched Back to the Future (Part I) and found all the mistakes and things unnoticed to the casual audience. I'm sure a lot of these things are review for the fanatics out there, but for everyone else, here's what makes the movie so neat.

- When the shelf falls on Marty, there are boxes and plastic bottles, etc that fall on him. But in the close-up shot its all papers.

- Marty and Jennifer begin walking a second too late from behind the tree, making it look unnatural.

- When Biff gets some candy, Marty is standing nearby, visibly angry. Biff smirks at him, and surprisingly Marty smiles back. I thought he was angry? Could there be an inside joke?

- When Einstein and the Delorean jump through time, the fire trails go between Doc and Marty's feet, but in the next shot, they are only through Marty's.

- When Marty arrives in 1955, its roughly 6AM and night-dark. (You can catch it on the time circuits in one shot) The whole alien misunderstanding/escaping Old Man Peabody took at most 5 minutes, yet when Marty pulled out of the property, it was almost light. As he's driving, its fully light out. In 5 minutes?

- On Mayor Red Thomas's campaign car there are 2 speakers (back & front), yet when it turns the corner, the rear one is missing.

- When Marty awakes after being hit, it is totally dark in the room. Lorraine turns on the bedside light, but when the camera swings back to Marty, we see another lamp behind the bed thats also on, yet we only heard one click of a lamp.

- The comment about Jane Wyman being First Lady is controversial to make. Reagan divorced her in 1948 and remarried to Nancy Davis in 1952. But, as submitted by John Cooper, "Reagan was such a ladies man back then, who knew he would stay married to Nancy. He might just as likely divorced her and remarried Jane Wyman." A good argument indeed. Thanks John!

- The Darth Vader scene. When Marty inserts the tape, the hair dryer is on his left hip. Then he stands over George and its on his right hip, then disappears, then reappears back on his right hip.

- After Goldie reaches the manure truck ("Wooo"), you hear the people talking and someone distinctively says "Marty".

- When Lorraine enters Doc's garage, she seems to have the sniffles. When she says "Marty this may seem a little forward" her lips don't move! She is walking out of the shot so you almost miss it. When she asks Marty to ask her to the dance, her lips are moving, and her cold is gone! Obviously this scene was continued at a later time.

- When Match (Billy Zane, far left in the shot) holds Marty he has a bottle of beer he is drinking, but in the next shot of them the bottle is gone.

- The guitar Marty plays is a Gibson ES-355 which didn't come out till around 1959.

- Marty actually changes the time 11 minutes instead of 10. Maybe he wasn't too good in math...

- If you look closely when Marty is changing the time, we see him press a Zero and an Eight, yet nothing on the circuits reflected those numbers.

- Marty arrives in 1985, according to the bank, at 1:23. Maybe the Delorean's clock is off.

- When Marty reaches Lone Pine Mall too late to save Doc, the clock reads 1:33. Doc was originally shot at least five minutes earlier than this in the beginning. The car chase itself lasted roughly 5 minutes, and Marty left at 1:35.

- Marty's signature is different on the restored letter than the one we saw him write in 1955.

Did You Notice?
- Look closely at the clocks during the opening credits. There's one with a man hanging from the minute hand. It symbolizes Doc when at one point he is hanging onto the clock while trying to reach the plug.

- Doc's garage address is 1646. In 1955, the mansion is 1640 Riverside Drive, and when Same Baines tells Marty where it is, he says John F. Kennedy Drive. It's presumed that the name was changed at some point in the next decade, so Doc's address in 1985 was probably 1646 JFK Drive.

- Steven Spielberg (who was one of the producers in BTTF) was driving the blue jeep that Marty was hitching a ride on.

- Marty plays "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis for the auditions. Huey Lewis is the guy that says "I'm afraid you're just too darn loud".

- Did you notice the green car with the liscense plate "FOR MARY"?

- Linda is drinking a Bud Light at the table. We assume she's either 18 or 19 because the drinking age was still 18 at the time, and she just graduated the year before from high school.

- Marty arrives at Twin Pines Mall at 1:16AM

- We never see Doc set the time circuits for Einstein's trip. If you look inside after Einstein gets in, you can see them lit, signifying that he put them on beforehand. This is important to add suspense to what this experiment is.

- When the Delorean returns, there's no ice in the first shot of it, but in the next one it's frozen over.

- Right after Marty jumps in the Delorean, the circuits are off. Yet in the close-up of Marty switching to 1st gear, the bottom display is lit, then Marty switches to 2nd gear and accidently turns the circuits on.

- There's a mystery about the mileage on the Delorean. Marty says "Come on move" and the odometer reads 330612, next shot 330618. Then when he makes that big turn, it reads 329914. Then when he hits 88MPH, its back up to 330627. Obviously this scene was done a couple times, and there was cut'n'paste I think as well.

- Marty arrives in Hill Valley Square at roughly 9:30. By the time he changed and hid the Delorean it must've been 6:30-6:45, so it took him almost 3 hours to walk there.

- When Marty looks up Doc Brown's address, you can see there are a lot of fingernail marks present around his name.

- It's kind of ironic that George was "peeping" on Lorraine, the girl he'd eventually marry. Apparently he knew her better than she knew him.

- Toby Baines watches and listens to Marty and Lorraine at the dinner table the whole time.

- When Doc says he hasn't invented any time machine, he touches his bruise, recalling his vision.

- When Marty first shows Doc the picture to convince him he was from the future, we see that Dave's hair is gone, which Doc also comments on. (Mediocre photographic paper...) The ripple effect has already begun.

- There's a controversy over the replaying of the video tape. For one thing the camera is pointed down and off when Doc says "Nevermind, nevermind..." yet we see it replayed on the TV. Also, Doc delivers all his lines differently in the replaying than at the beginning of the film.
1)"I'm standing here on the (he pauses here on the tape, but originally he sailed right through these lines) parking lot...."
2)"..this is temporal experiment number one. Come on Einie." This line on the tape was delivered blandly and not very enthusiastic. Like there was no care put into it. Listen carefully to it as Marty and Doc are talking over it.
3)"I need a nuclear reaction to (stutter) to generate..." Originally in this line he delivered it directly with no stutters.
Michael J. Fox just held the camera, it never really recorded, but the filmakers obviously want the audience to think he taped everything. They planned to retape that scene separately for Doc to see it in 1955.

- Marty crumbles the flyer, then hands it to Doc and its not very wrinkled. When Doc jumps up, its very wrinkled.

- The red-haired boy kicking George in the hall steals Lorraine briefly on the dance floor.

- Strickland looks the same in 1955 and 1985, so its extremely difficult to guess his age.

- George has a thing for chocolate milk, as he drinks it in the school cafeteria as well as at Lou's Cafe.

- There are lots of white skid marks on the sidewalk when Marty turns the corner on the "board with wheels". You see him add another, but there are others already present. Has Marty been there before, or has skateboarding already become popular? Just kidding, another scene that left traces of multiple takes.

- Marty's grip on the truck changes before he passes the cafe, as well as when Biff's car bumps the truck and Marty is on the side.

- Back to the video. Doc delivers these lines differently as well.

- Submitted by Craig Hopkins "When the video is played back in Doc's Mansion, the time travel experiment is never seen. Only the parts before and after it were shown."

- When Marty starts to tell Doc "About the future..." and he yells "No!", you see a bike rider with a hat and black trenchcoat ride by. Who knows if Gale and Zemekicks meant this to foreshadow anything, but it symbolizes BTTF2 when the future Doc rides by, wearing the same thing.

- Marty and Lorraine arrive at the dance at about 8:50, giving Marty only five minutes to "take advantage of her".

- After Marty plays Johnny B. Goode, in the first shot of the stunned crowd, you can see Strickland uncovering his ears far left mid-screen. Then a close-up shows him doing it again.

- Doc slips the torn letter into his pocket after the tree falls.

- The white line way over there wasn't very far. The lampposts were actually descending shorter. The white line was actually filmed on Vermont Avenue in Hollywood.

- As the Delorean is accelerating to 70, a brief screen shot shows the mileage as 330516, and after he hits 88, you can see 33044x. The last number was blocked by the needle. A good way to see that movies aren't filmed in the order you watch them.

- When Marty gets back to 1985 he sees the town bum, Red, who bears a strong resemblance to Red Thomas, mayor of Hill Valley in the 1950's. I have concluded that Mayor Thomas faced a scandal of some sort and became very unpopular, and very poor. I have gotten emails in which people are informing me that the bum and the mayor are the same actor. Well, no one physically played Mayor Thomas as a character in the movie; he was only seen on a poster. But they are the same person.

- Submitted by Ariel Leviathan When Marty returns to 1985, the Libyans pass him with their lights on. But in the beginning of the movie when Einstein barks, they turn their lights on. "Maybe they turned them off for the elemnt of surprise?" ----Thanks Ariel!

- When Marty arrives to save Doc, Twin Pines Mall is now named Lone Pine Mall because Marty had run over one of Peabody's pines.

- Submitted by Craig Hopkins "When the Doc arrives in 1985 from 2015, he knocks a bin over and the contensts spill. In the next camera shot, the contents disappear." ----Thanks Craig!

Above were all my observations. Here are some more that I've gathered from The Internet Movie Database and The Hill Valley Telegraph Online (The Official Page).

Cut/Altered Scenes
- Doc investigates his 1985 counterpart's suitcase, discovering a hairdryer and a copy of Playboy. This was only seen in a 1990 TV showing of the movie.

- The dialogue where Lorraine says that when she grows up she'll let her kids do anything they want was cut and put in BTTF2.

- Marty peeks in on a class in 1955 and seeis his mother cheating on a test.

- The scene where Marty asks if he and Jennifer become "assholes" in the future was reshot for television.

The Internet Movie Database
- The date Marty travels back in time to, November 5, is the same date of time travel in Time After Time (1979), which ironically Mary Steenburgen starred in.

- Originally a refridgerator was the device used for time travel. Director Robert Zemeckis said in an interview that the idea was scrapped because he and Steven Spielberg did not want children to start climbing into refrigerators and getting trapped inside.

- Eric Stoltz was the original Marty, but he was too intense and insisted people call him "Marty" all the time. Finally Zemekicks got Michael J. Fox, his first choice. The wardrobe was totally redone.

- The main street is the same one used in "Gremlins" (1984), which Stephen Spielberg also produced.

- The device in Doc Brown's lab that Marty plugs his guitar into is labeled "CRM-114", which was the name of the message decoder on the B-52 in Dr. Strangelove(1963), and the serial number of the Jupiter explorer in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), both directed by Stanley Kubrick.

- Doc Brown's dog is named Einstein. This may be a vague reference to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), where the inventor of a miracle car owned a dog named Edison.

- Farmer Peabody's son is named Sherman. Sherman was the name of the little boy time traveller in one segment of Jay Ward's cartoon show, "The Bullwinkle Show" (1961). The dog who owned his time machine was named Mr. Peabody.

- The newscaster on TV in the opening sequence is Deborah Harmon who appeared in director Robert Zemeckis' Used Cars (1980).

- The radio in Marty's room plays "Back in Time", by Huey Lewis and the News, who wrote and performed some songs for the film. Also, a poster for their "Sports" album is visible on the wall of Marty's bedroom when Doc calls and wakes him.

- The "Mr. Fusion Home Energy Converter", which is sitting on the DeLorean when Doc returns from the future, is made from (among other things) a Krups coffee grinder.

- The script never called for Marty to repeatedly bang his head on the gull-wing door of the Delorean, this was improvised during filming as the door mechanism became faulty.

- Signs show US highway 8 running south, and US 395 east, from Hill Valley. Actually, odd-numbered US highways are north-south; even-numbered ones are east-west. Also, the real US 8 goes nowhere near California, and never did.

- The scarecrow that Marty hits flips over the Delorean twice.

- This one's interesting. In the dinner there's a Wurlitzer 1015 juke box playing, yet the wall boxes (remote selections on the jukebox) near the table are the Seeburg brand.. The two can never work together since the Seeburg wall box was made for their 45 rpm juke boxes (100 selections) and the Wurlitzer 1015 uses 78 rpm records (24 selections).

- The episode of "The Honeymooners" (1955) that Lorraine's family watch wasn't shown until 31st December, 1955, yet is seen in November 1955.

- The JVC camcorder requires constant pressure to operate the rewind feature, not just a single push and release.

- When talking to George at the clothesline, both of Marty's shirt pocket flaps are out, but in the next shot one of them is tucked in.

- Marty's skateboard suddenly gains modern wheels and trucks.

- Right after Marty returns to 1985, the yellow readout (the one that shows when you just left) should read "November 12, 1955". Instead, it says "October", which is the month in 1985.
v - When the tower clock is running, it advances in 1-minute steps, so the time it stops at specifies the time of the lightning strike only to the nearest minute. Doc Brown is intimately familiar with clocks and yet his plan to use the lightning assumes that the time is known exactly.

- The character Marty McFly is credited as a performer on the song "Johnny B. Goode".

Hill Valley Telegraph Online (The Official Site)
- All the scenes at the high school - both interior and exterior - were filmed over the Thanksgiving Weekend, when the school was closed for vacation.

- The Tales from Space comic book Sherman Peabody is holding was created for the film by Andy Probert, who also storyboarded the chase scene at Twin Pines Mall.
- The tree branch George is lying on is a fake, but Lorraine's house is there, including that big window where she's being peeped by George.

- Doc Brown's magnificent mansion was actually known as "The Gamble House," the early 1900's summer home of the latter half of Proctor and Gamble. Nothing was filmed at the Gamble House except for the scene where Marty approaches the house, and as Doc runs from the house to the garage. Even the door Marty knocks on is not at the Gamble House; it's at a private residence about a mile away. And the close-ups of the exterior of Doc's garage were shot on a soundstage.

- The copy of Fantastic Story Magazine lying on George's bed that night is real, and was purchased by the set decorator from the Collector's Book Store in Hollywood.

- The backyard of George's house, where Marty plans George's big fight. The clothesline and grass were added by the filmmakers, in a spot where the homeowners were trying to grow a vegetable garden.

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