BFI Classics: Back to the Future

Author: Andrew Shail & Robin Stoate

The Reagan era, time travel, American family values and Robert Zemeckis’ career are the order of the day for this BFI Classic.

‘New Hollywood’ is discussed in the opening which covers the likes of Ivan Reitman and Spielberg, charting some of the bigger blockbuster hits. Of course Spielberg was an exec on this film so expect his name to get dropped from time to time. But Robert Zemeckis is given more of the focus as this was his baby. We also see how a Hollywood production came together, from the “treatment” and the backing of the power players, to the grand score Alan Silvestri gave it.

The analysis of films from Zemeckis and others from before and after BTTF is fascinating – there’s also discussion of the time length of shots, genre and the different genre climaxes of the film; and all this before you’re even halfway through the book. It also looks at modern culture, and culture in different eras all of which adds depth to an already rich blockbuster.

This is also one of the BFI Classics that breaks out beyond the usual 100 page mark.  The books are sometimes way under this page limit (see The Wizard of Oz for that), but this book goes beyond this mark. But with two authors at the helm naturally they together have more to say, and so much the better.

Steven Hurst

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