Back To The Future (1985) (Dir: Robert Zemeckis)
Setting The Scene
Back To The Future - made when crowd-pleasing wasn't a dirty (hyphenated) word. A gloriously fast, furious and fun romp featuring a star-making turn from Fox.
Marty McFly is a high-schooler in 1985 who is catapaulted 30 years back in time in his scientist friend Doc Emmett Brown's (Christopher Lloyd) souped up DeLorean. Back in 1955 he runs into his parents and accidentally gets in the way of them hooking up. Doc Brown (of that time) makes it clear that he must repair the damage or else disappear from history. Trouble is, his dad's a loser and his mum's got the hots for Marty.
Somehow, Marty must come up with a plan to get them together while avoiding Craig Bellamy lookalike, local bully Biff.
All paths converge at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance...
George McFly (Crispin Glover)
Biff Tannen (Thomas F Wilson)
Lorraine Baines (Lea Thompson)
Marty McFly (Michael J Fox)
One of cinema's great David and Goliath confrontations. George strikes a blow against bullies everywhere, but also manages to inject much-needed romance into the film.
Although we know that George and Lorraine must end up together, we see no chemistry - they are clearly an odd couple. As an audience, our only motivation for their union is to see Marty safe and sound back in 1985, but part of us almost wishes that some kind of magic would happen to allow Marty to end up with winsome spitfire Lorraine, however wrong it seems. He's our hero, isn't he? Shouldn't he get the girl?
It's also a beautifully constucted scene. What is the benefit of cutting away to Marty in the boot of the band's car? Well, we're expecting him to save the day, of course. For the rest of the film, Marty has been saving his dad's bacon and facing down Biff. It's time for him to come to the rescue again.
Up until this point, George is just nerdy comic relief. This scene elevates him to instant hero status and makes him a credible romantic character in one swing of his arm. He manages something even Marty couldn't: he knocks Biff out with one punch.
And, hey, don't we all feel it? This is wish fulfilment of the highest order. Who among us can say that we at one time didn't want to punch out the bad guy? This is, without doubt, one of the most satisfying scenes of all time.
Thomas F Wilson now makes a living as a stand-up comedian. The highlight of his act is
Scene Of Distinction #1 - George Decks Biff
Marty McFly's plan to get his parents together, by pretending to make a pass at his mother, Lorraine Baines, takes a turn for the worse as Biff Tannen and his gang pull him from his car. Biff gets into the car with Lorraine, while Marty is bundled into the boot of the band's car by Biff's gang (Hey! Is that Billy Zane?). When George McFly opens the door to confront Marty as part of the plan, he is surprised to see Biff there instead.
George: "Hey you, get your damn hands off of...ohhh!"
Biff: "I think you got the wrong car, McFly."
Lorraine (desperately): "George! Help me! Please-"
Biff: "Just turn around, McFly, and walk away."
Biff: "Are you deaf, McFly? Close the door and beat it."
George (steeling himself): "No, Biff. You leave her alone."
Biff: "All right, McFly," Biff gets out of the car and confronts George. "you're asking for it. And now you're gonna get it."
George weakly bats at Biff. Biff grabs George's hand an twists it behind his back.
Lorraine: "Don't, you'll break his arm!"
Cut to the band's car. Marvin Berry is trying to open the locked boot with a screwdriver.
Marvin: "Give me a hand there, Reginald."
The boot pops open, injuring Marvin.
Marvin: "Ow! Dammit, man, I sliced my hand."
Marty (brandishing the keys): "Whose are these?"
Marty tosses him the keys.
Marty: "Thanks! Thanks a lot!"
He sprints back to his car.
Cut back to Marty's car.
Lorraine: "You're gonna break his arm!"
She jumps out of the car.
Lorraine: "Biff! Biff, leave him alone!"
Lorraine leaps on Biff's back to make him stop.
Biff plants his hand in her face and pushes her onto the ground. She lets out a cry of pain and shock and looks at George. Biff starts laughing mockingly.
Anger slowly spreads over George's desperate face and his once lifeless left hand forms into a tight fist.
He looks up into Biff's laughing face and snaps his fist into his chin. With a thud Biff turns 360 degrees and slams into the car before sliding onto the ground, unconscious.
Marty arrives back just in time to see him fall.
George breathlessly stares at Biff and then his hand before turning to a shocked Lorraine. In a masterful display of self-control, he composes himself and and offers her his hand.
George: "Are you ok?"
Lorraine gazes up at him, spellbound.
She nods and takes his hand, silently. He pulls her up gently and they slowly walk off, arm in arm. Meanwhile a crowd is gathering around Biff.
Marty grins and looks at his photo.
Girl: "Who is that guy?"
Her date: "That's George McFly"
Girl: "That's George McFly?"