Back to the Future turned 25 today. A look at the trilogy’s finest moment.


By Scott Mendelson

“Did you say seventy years?”

Has there ever been a cooler cliffhanger in modern film history? The idea of splitting a long film into two pieces and releasing them relative closely to each other was a new idea back in 1989.

But of all the split-in-two franchise pictures, Back to the Future II has by-far the most satisfying finale of them all. To this day, I still get chills when the Western Union guy drives in from the torrential rainstorm.

The wonderful logic of it, the way it bridges the way from part II to part III while completely closing the book on the narrative of the first two films; it’s just perfect. The modern ‘split in two’ franchises (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Matrix, Harry Potter and Twilight) are basically one film split into two parts.

The Matrix Revolutions and the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End may be different in tone and structure from their respective predecessors, but both are primarily concerned with wrapping up unfinished business from the first sequels. Back to the Future II and Back to the Future III, like the earlier Richard Lester accidents (Superman, The Three Musketeers, and their respective sequels) completely stand on their own as complete adventures. And, really, has their ever been a cooler cliffhanger?

To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos

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One Comment

  • July 5, 2010 | Permalink |

    ‘Chills’? Seriously dude?

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