Book Review: We Don’t Need Roads

Book Review: We Don’t Need Roads

In the early 1980’s two Bobs, Zemeckis and Gale, set out to make a film about time travel. Little did they know of the cultural impact this film would have thirty years later.

2015 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the classic 1985 film, ‘Back to the Future’. To help mark the occasion author Caseen Gaines has spent the last two years interviewing many participants involved with the making of the time travelling adventures.

There’s talk from Robert Zemeckis (Director), Bob Gale and Neil Canton (Producers), Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown), Lea Thompson (Lorraine Baines) and many more including editors, cameramen, special effects and stunt crew. Almost no stone is left unturned.

Casees has then compiled these interviews together for the book, ‘We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy’ but this is not just a cash-in collection of dry interviews. He has skilfully written the story behind the trilogy using snippets of information from the relevant cast or crew member where needed.

What he has created is a compelling insight of what went on behind the scenes of the classic trilogy of films. You’ll learn how nearly all the major US studios originally turned the first script down and how Michael J. Fox had to film the television show ‘Family Ties’ during the day and then ‘Back to the Future’ through most of the night.

I remember watching the first film on BBC One on Christmas Day 1988 at 3:10pm (Thanks BBC Genome!) and ever since then I have been a massive fan of these films. I was a little worried that this was simply going to be a rehash of various stories and pieces of trivia that I had heard and read about many times before. If you feel the same way, worry not.

This is an engrossing read and Yes, I had heard most of the stories before but now thanks to the new interviews, these tales were fleshed out with more details. In some cases stories were debunked as myth, started by people trying to latch on the popularity of these films.

There was new information that I hadn’t heard before, for example, Crispin Glover may have been described as an eccentric genius but apparently he was a problem to work with on the set.

He didn’t agree with George McFly’s look for the end of the original film and tried to change it by asking all the crew members to vote what was better, his vision or the directors. He soon had a talking down to by one of the producers to get him under control.

More problems arose when everyone was called back for the first sequel and it’s amazing to read about the demands he was making for his return. He felt that he should be paid more than his co-stars due to the huge success of the first film!

There are some notable absences from the book such as Marty himself, Michael J. Fox and Biff played by Thomas F. Wilson, but I’m sure they had their reasons for declining and there is still plenty of quotes from them by the way of archival material.

I read through this book in less than a day as I was completely engrossed.

‘We Don’t Need Roads’ is Simply a must have for any ‘Back to the Future’ fan!


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John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves the movies and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990's. Whilst the web page idea became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. Now he's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.

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