We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy, Caseen Gaines (Plume)

we dont need roads

It’s been 30 years since Back to the Future was released, and this enthusiastic book celebrates that anniversary with a collection of entertaining stories about the making of the movie and its two sequels. Author Gaines, who’s clearly a fan of the time-travel trilogy, doesn’t provide the kind of detailed, day-by-day coverage that some readers might prefer (don’t expect something like J. W. Rinzler’s encyclopedic books about the making of the Star Wars movies), but he does offer enough behind-the-scenes lore to satisfy most fans. Gaines interviewed numerous people involved with the production of the three movies, from special-effects experts to on-screen performers to the films’ director, Robert Zemeckis, to Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd. Much has been written about the movies over the years, but Gaines does a nice job of expanding on common-knowledge stories to reveal new details: most BTF fans know, for example, that Eric Stoltz was initially cast as Marty McFly and that he was replaced by Michael J. Fox about a month into filming, but how many know the Marty recasting caused another important role to be recast, too? For all but hardcore BTF junkies, this book will do very nicely.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, May 2015.

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