Passion Blog #9: When This Soundtrack Hits 88 MPH…

For my last entry on this page, I wanted to tie together my love for ’80s movies and the music that accompanies them.  Since I was about eleven years old, my favorite movie has been Robert Zemeckis’s ‘Back to the Future.’  From the characters to the soundtrack, the movie completely captivated me.  So, what better way to end this portion of my blog than looking at iconic hits from my favorite movie? Let’s dive into the Back to the Future soundtrack!

Movie poster. Art courtesy of Pinterest.

With its release in 1985, Back to the Future solidified itself as a family and box office hit.  The franchise would go on to add two more movies, an animated TV series, and several lines and scenes from the movie are referenced throughout other cinematic works.  Outside of the stellar cast, this movie truly excels thanks to its music.

Right out of the gates, fans are greeted with Huey Lewis and the News singing “The Power of Love,” which kicks off the film with a bang.  Lewis wrote the song specifically for the movie, and everyone immediately fell in love with the song that “felt organic, screamed 1985, and could carry our first real moments alongside Marty” (Melis, 2020).  While this song plays in the background, fans get to really meet Marty McFly, following him on his skateboard journey to school (25 min late, of course). Not only does the song kick the movie off perfectly, but it also gives fans the perfect introduction to Marty’s personality, swagger, and lifestyle. As soon as I hear the opening notes of this song, I am IMMEDIATELY singing along and dancing around. 

In addition to the songs curated for the film, the overall score is incredibly iconic and perfect for the movie.  Zanobard Reviews does a deep-dive into the instrumental works, writing that the score “manages to achieve so much in so comparatively little time (only around 45 minutes total)” (2020).  Strings and brass work together to create moments of tension during the DeLorean’s reveal, love and affection during the important ‘Enchantment Under the Sea’ dance, and excitement during Marty’s race against time back to 1985. 

I have grown so fond of this movie over the last decade, I have had friends continue to fuel my love when I’m not actively watching the film.  One of my friends gave me the instrumental score for the first film on vinyl, and I can place myself into the exact scenes of the movie while the music plays.  It’s almost crazy how much this movie has shaped my childhood and film-watching experiences.

Vinyl art. Image courtesy of Amazon.

Speaking of shaping my childhood, I actually got the chance to experience a handful of surreal BTTF moments over the last few years.  For the film’s 25th anniversary, my family managed to snag tickets to a theater in PA that was re-releasing the movie for a limited time.  Watching the movie play out on the big screen has pretty much become a core memory for me.  A few years later, I went with one of my hometown friends to go see the movie played at Radio City Music Hall with a LIVE ORCHESTRA.  Ever since that event, no re-watch has ever felt the same.  Just hearing the iconic theme song played right in front of me made me want to live in that moment forever.  Talk about being a movie nerd!

While I was interning in LA, I also managed to visit the Petersen Automotive Museum and see the “A Car” DeLorean fully restored and on display (The “A Car” is the one that was primarily used during BTTF 1 and received the most screen-time).  As a 20-year-old, I felt like I was eleven again looking at all the features, the lights, and even the classic “OUTATIME” license plate on the back of the DeLorean. 

With its pop culture following and drastic impact on my life, Back to the Future will go down as my favorite film of all time.  I’m just happy my favorite movie has one of the best soundtracks to accompany it, because it only makes each re-watch that much more enjoyable!

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