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The 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies

12. Back to the Future (1985)

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson

The legacy of Back to the Future posits the silly yet intelligent romp as great popcorn entertainment, which is definitely accurate. But Robert Zemeckis' breakout film is also something more: It's arguably the best time travel movie ever made. Look past Michael J. Fox's performance (which is great, mind you), Christopher Lloyd's loony presence, and Lea Thompson's underrated charm and what stands out is the film's airtight script, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale. Time travel movies often turn the mind into sludge, yet somehow Back to the Future is coherent and easily digestible from end to end.

Now that we've gotten the analytical jargon out of the way, it's time to acknowledge just how much fun Zemeckis' family flick is, from the snappy dialogue exchanges between Fox and Lloyd to Crispin Glover's charmingly neurotic turn as the younger version of Fox's character's pops. 

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