Back to the Future celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Robert Zemeckis’ sci-fi cult classic, Back to the Future, opened in American theatres on July 3, 1985, and almost instantly established itself as the biggest hit of the year, minting a whopping $383 million worldwide and receiving widespread critical acclaim. After its release, the Washington Post wrote of Zemeckis’ inventiveness.
“It’s a wildly pleasurable sci-fi comedy, filled with enchantment and sweetness and zip as only a bona fide summer hit can be … Zemeckis brings energy to every scene — the way he brings the world right up against short, distorting lenses makes the screen seem like a windshield, and he has a flair for big-canvas cliff-hangers.”
— E! Online (@eonline) July 4, 2015
Today, in honor of one of the greatest sci-fi adventure flicks of all time, we look back at the stars who made Back to the Future what it is, and find out what they are up to now.
Michael J. Fox — Marty McFly
Fox was the first choice for the role of Marty McFly in Back to the Future, an accident-prone teenager who flies back thirty years to the school where his parents studied. But due to Fox’s commitments with a TV series he was doing at the time, Eric Stoltz was cast in the role. After five weeks of shooting, however, Zemeckis decided to re-cast the character, and Fox came on board.
After the Back to the Future trilogy was complete in 1990, Michael J. Fox went on to star as Mike Flaherty in Spin City (1996-2001). He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, and has since become an advocate for research toward finding a cure.
Christopher Lloyd — Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown
Lloyd played the iconic Doc Brown in Back to the Future, who came up with the design of the flux capacitor after accidentally hitting his head against a toilet seat. So much for science.
He went on to reprise his role as Doc Brown several times, lending his voice to video games and several spin-offs. He also starred as Judge Doom in Zemeckis’ other classic film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Lea Thomson — Lorraine Baines-McFly
Thomas played Marty McFly’s mother, Lorraine, who unwittingly develops a crush on her future son, jeopardizing his very existence in the process. Some Oedipal complex, this.
Thomson went on to become a successful TV producer, while she continued to act in films post-Back to the Future.
Crispin Glover — George McFly
Glover played Marty’s father, who needs the assistance of his son to begin a relationship with Lorraine.
He was replaced by Jeffrey Weissman in the Back to the Future sequels, while Glover went on to launch a production company called Volcanic Eruptions.
Tom Wilson — Biff Tannen
Wilson played Biff, the bully who loved to pick on Marty’s father. He becomes a major hurdle as Marty tries to unite his parents.
Of all the actors, Wilson has perhaps had the most versatile career after Back to the Future. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, he went on to host his own podcast and have a successful stand-up comedy career, while continuing to act in films and television.
Claudia Wells — Jennifer Parker
Wells played Marty’s girlfriend, Jennifer, who does not have many scenes in the film, except in the beginning and toward the end.
Parker was replaced by Elisabeth Shue in the Back to the Future sequels, though she did reprise her role as Jennifer in a 2011 video game.
Marc McClure — Dave McFly
McClure played the oldest of the McFly siblings, Dave, whose existence is also at stake in Back to the Future.
McClure has featured in several small roles on television shows, including The Shield and Smallville.
James Tolkan — Mr. Strickland
Appearing at the end of the list is Tolkan, who played the authoritarian Mr. Strickland in Back to the Future.
He appeared in a number of television dramas after the film, most notably in HBO’s Phil Spector.
That’s it, then, folks! Now if you continue to feel nostalgic about Back to the Future, why don’t you give yourself a ride by going in to the past? Here’s the original trailer from 1985 to whet your appetite.
[Photo: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images]