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The Best Scenes From Back To The Future | Best Scenes Seen On Screen

Welcome to LRM Scenes. In each installment of this collaborative column, we will present our favorite scenes from a particular movie, from a notable director’s catalog, or the theme may be something different altogether. These may be scenes that are pivotal to the film, or simply ones that stuck out to us.

This week, we’ve turned our attention to one of, if not these best time travel adventure to ever grace the screen, Back to the Future. Well written, well paced, and accented by the tension building of director Robert Zemeckis, the film is one hell of a ride, and accompanied by an epic film score written by Alan Silvestri, that is arguably one of the best film scores not composed by John Williams.

Joining us this week is our fearless leader, the Editor-n-Chief of LRM, Joseph Medina, better known as Jammer. He is going to get this fanboy fiesta started.

Jammer: So the scene I’m picking is a bit different from what I think most of you would pick, and I hasten to add that it’s not added as much for its greatness as much as its shock value. Imagine a young kid used to watching plenty of cartoons and kids movies. Sure, he’s seen his fair share of PG-13 and R-rated fare, but in his little mind, there was a real separation between what was allowed in a PG movie and what was allowed in an R-rated film.

We have that amazing scene with Doc Brown testing out the DeLorean with Einstein (though that’s not the part I’m about to talk about) and it’s immediately followed by the scene where Doc gets discovered by the Libyan terrorists. Not only is he found by these guys, but less than a minute after he realizes his, he’s turned into swiss cheese in a scene that I remember being surprisingly violent for what I’d deemed a “kids movie.” All in all, between that and the numerous “holy shits” strewn about the movie, it goes to show the difference between family films then and now.

As far as its overall effectiveness as a scene, though, it really ramps up the stakes and makes his return to the story in the past, and his eventual survival in the present, that much more impactful.

Cam: Ok, so my favorite scene has to be the skateboard chase scene set in the middle of Hill Valley. It’s a scene so iconic that they copied it in each of the sequel movies and as I’m sure you aware involves Marty standing up to Biff and his cronies and being chased around the town square. Marty rips the bottom section off of a little boys play cart, (thing?) and turns it into a crude skateboard. Biff and his guys give chase only to be foiled by Marty as he skips about on his board and gets towed by various vehicles. Biff and the gang get in his car and give chase, and end up pinning Mary against the front fender as they drive towards a manure truck. Marty jumps over the car and lands on the board at the other side while Biff smashes his car into the manure truck. This scene is set to echo throughout time itself as Biff and his ancestors develop an affinity for manure.

It’s just such a well-paced and relatively short little action scene, which of course is the absolute opposite of what Marty should be doing in the past, he should be trying to get his father and mother to fall in love. Instead, Marty’s bravado has his mother exclaiming to all the girls about what a dreamboat Marty is and George shuffling off out of sight. The music is fantastic, which to be fair it is throughout the movie and remains one of the most iconic film scores of all time.

I think for me it was the fact that as kids, this was so cool, we stupidly and dangerously tried to copy it, by getting towed off of vehicles on our skateboards. Crazy dangerous stuff for kids to copy in all honesty, but? You wanted to be as cool as Marty McFly growing up, and since we couldn’t drive a DeLorean, we made do with grabbing onto the back of the ice cream truck and waving at your friends as it dragged you down the street. Alas, there were no Lorraine’s swooning and saying “He’s an absolute dream.” on my street.

ALSO SEE: The Best Scenes From Raiders Of The Lost Ark | The Best Scenes Seen On Screen

DollFace: What is there to say about Back to the Future that Seth has not said already in his wonderful introduction?

Let’s jump right into my favorite scene from the film, the “Clock Tower” sequence that begins when Marty McFly meets up with Doc Brown following the Enchantment Under The Sea dance, and ending with Marty’s successful trip back to the future. There are many other scenes I could have picked, but this is always the scene, or track on Silvestri’s score, that I often jump to if I don’t have time to watch the whole film. It is a masterclass in tension, with everything seeming to go wrong at the most inopportune moments.

Before we even get to the action, there is the time-travel morality question of Doc refusing Marty’s letter and verbal warning of the very situation Jammer discussed. Not only that, but Doc and Marty’s relationship is at its best here, during this extremely stressful, time-sensitive matter of sending Marty McFly back to the future.

Great Scott! Just after the thunderstorm causes a tree to break Doc’s cable that is key to Marty’s voyage home, Doc Brown sends Marty down the street so he can reach 88 miles per hour the exact moment he comes into contact with said cable, the second the clock tower is struck by lightning. Already a tricky feat to time correctly, the tension ramps as Marty cannot start the Delorean and Doc’s attempt to connect the cable becomes more and more dangerous. Doc must do whatever it takes to get the cable back in place, or Marty will be trapped in the ’50s forever! Dangling from the tower as the storm roars overhead, I still get nervous as Doc tries to get everything just right so that Marty can make it home to 1985, even though I know the outcome.

It is sequences like these, that still get my heart beating and leave me on the edge of my seat, that makes a film like Back to the Future so unforgettable and timeless. They simply don’t make movies quite like this anymore. What a finale!

Kyle: Back to the Future is the closest thing to a perfect film that I think you can find. It has a great story, great cast, great dialogue, great pacing… it’s GREAT! There are so many great scenes, as described by my fellow contributors, and it was hard to pick one. However, I had to go with the one Jammer breezed by: the first test.

Marty shows up to Twin Pines Mall to help Doc with an experiment, one he doesn’t know deals with time travel. We get a great music cue when the back of a trailer opens up and reveals the DeLorean in a puff of smoke. Some of that great dialogue I mentioned happens in this scene with lines like “When this baby hits 88 miles an hour, you’re going to see some serious shit.” Doc uses Einstein, his dog, to do the first test and controls the time machine with a remote control. He pulls Marty directly into line with the car, so Marty can film it, and he starts the car driving towards them. One of the funniest things in all of cinema comes when Marty starts to sidestep away from the line of danger, and Doc looks over at him like “what are you doing, get back over here.” It is an amazing use of body language and facial expressions. Showing that there’s more to acting than just words. The time machine comes roaring at the two men and just as it hits 88mph, you get to see some serious shit.

Mac: I had a difficult time deciding on what scene to geek out over. Of course, we all wanted the ending clock tower sequence, and to be fair, we all entered a fighting pit, with Nick Doll using some moves he learned watching the Mission: Impossible films to emerge victorious, and winning the right to discuss that oh so famous sequence.

Anyway, I decided to go with what I refer to as the “Ronald Reagan” scene. Where Marty McFly first meets the Doc Brown from 1955. After finding the Doc’s house, Marty begins his mission of convincing Doc that he’s from the future.

In my opinion, this scene does much to add depth to Doc’s character. We see him living alone, except for his dog Copernicus, and struggling as an inventor. From the way he answers the door, we can see the Doc has always been, well, eccentric, and at this time in his life, extremely paranoid.

He then does a complete 180 going from sheepishly peeking out the door to grabbing and pulling Marty into his house. Using him as a subject in mind reading experiment. Doc’s invention fails to read Marty’s thoughts, and Doc’s reaction tells us this isn’t his only recent failure.

Marty, who knows Doc is his only hope to get home, doesn’t hold back with the time travel talk. After refusing to believe any evidence presented to him by Marty, Doc begins to humor Marty, asking him questions about the future, one being who was president of the United States in 1985?, Marty’s now famous answer of Ronald Reagan, of course, sounded absurd to Doc at the time, (Legend has it that while watching the movie, Ronald Reagan loved the joke and had the projectionist rewind the film so he could watch the scene again). Doc scoffs at the idea of an actor being president and runs out of his house with Marty chasing him. Doc takes refuge in his garage (The Doc has an amazing piece of property, doesn’t he?).

At this point Marty gives one last attempt to convince Dr. Brown that he is from the future, explaining to Doc how he got the bruise on his head when he had the vision for the flux capacitor. Doc knows he is the only one who knows how the injury happened and what came of it, and finally believes Marty is a time traveler.

There were many memorable scenes in this film we weren’t able to get to, did we cover your favorite scene? Let us know in the comments down below!

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