Back to the Future: the hoverboard prop used in the movie by Michael J. Fox was sold in 2021 for more than $500,000

"Back to the Future" is a timeless masterpiece. Interestingly, the franchise features several famous skateboard-related appearances.

There are not many movies like "Back to the Future."

The 1985 film, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, debuted a new dimension of time perception, imagination, and dreams about time traveling.

Will we ever be able to go back in time and visit our ancestors? Is it possible to travel to the future and witness the impact of our actions?

The intertwined concepts of past, present, and future couldn't be put more simply in the screenplay written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale.

Madrid Valterra: the real skateboard model used by Marty McFly in 'Back to the Future'

The Influence of Skateboarding in "Back to the Future"

In the mid-1980s, skateboarding was living its golden age with several groundbreaking technical innovations, such as urethane wheels and the boom of skateparks across the world.

Skate culture was also blooming and penetrating the mainstream audiences via video games, magazines, movies, and TV features.

The first stars emerge.

Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, and Rodney Mullen lead the way as sidewalk surfers increasingly choose the streets as their main playground.

Hollywood perceives skateboarding's growing popularity as an opportunity to reach younger audiences.

"Back to the Future" is the perfect stage for skateboards to shine because they're youth's cool means of transportation and an item that fits the movie's narrative.

The skateboard represents the past, present, and futuristic human-powered form of transport available through time.

Actually, in the "Back to the Future" trilogy, the skateboard travels very well in time:

  • In the 1950s, as a soapbox or crate scooter with metal wheels;
  • In the 1980s, as a classic skateboard with side rails and a bent, back kicktail;
  • In 2015, as the hoverboard ("Back to the Future Part II");

The iconic movie went on to become a huge commercial success and helped spread the word about skateboarding as a proper and healthy sport with a unique urban culture.

Marty McFly, the Skateboarder

The biographical story of Marty McFly shows us how skateboards and skateboarding were important in his life.

The spectator meets him as a 17-year-old high school student, but when he was only 12, he got a scar on his left knee from skateboarding down the courthouse steps.

The skateboard is McFly's constant company.

When he enters Doc Brown's garage, he puts down his skateboard, but it eventually rolls along the floor and hits a hidden box of plutonium.

Later, he leaves the lab garage and skates his way to Hill Valley High School, hitching rides by holding onto a pickup truck and a Jeep.

Later, the intrepid skater grabs a police car's rear bumper on his way to his home neighborhood, Lyon Estates.

The thrilling skateboard chase scene involving Marty, George, Lorraine, and Biff highlights Marty's skateboarding skills and his ability to think on his feet in intense situations.

Marty's actions during the chase are full of improvisation, including turning a soapbox scooter into a makeshift skateboard.

In "Back to the Future Part II," the scene with the hoverboard occurs during Marty McFly's adventures in the futuristic setting of 2015.

In this scene, Marty's teenage future self, Marty McFly Jr., finds himself in trouble with Griff Tannen, the grandson of Biff Tannen.

Griff and his gang confront Marty Jr. and pressure him into participating in a robbery at the Hill Valley Payroll Substation.

Meanwhile, the real Marty McFly, along with Doc Brown and Jennifer Parker, arrive in 2015 to prevent a series of events that could jeopardize their futures.

They witness the confrontation between Griff and Marty Jr. and decide to intervene to prevent Marty Jr. from getting involved in the robbery.

During the confrontation, Griff and his gang chase Marty Jr. on their hoverboards.

Marty intervenes, causing Griff to crash into the Courthouse Mall. As Griff and his gang are arrested, Marty Jr. is safe, and the future is preserved.

'Back to the Future': skateboarding is Marty McFly's favorite means of transportation

Fun Facts

The "Back to the Future" franchise features many skateboarding sequences.

Here are some curious things you might not know about them:

  • Mentored by Pro Skaters: The movie writer and producer, Bob Gale, hired Per Welinder and Robert Schmelzer to choreograph the skate scenes and teach Eric Stoltz (who initially played the role of Marty McFly), Michael J. Fox and the stuntmen the basic skateboarding routines;
  • Switching Stunts: In the re-filming, Charlie Croughwell ended up performing Marty's skateboard stunts because Fox was six inches shorter than Stoltz.
  • The Rumor: There was a rumor going on for a while that Tony Hawy designed the skateboard sequences, but that is not right. He was 16 years old at the time of the shooting;
  • Stance: Marty McFly is a regular footer;
  • A Real Skateboard Model: The 1985 concave skateboard that appears in the first movie is a Madrid Valterra with Tracker ExtraX trucks;
  • Relearn to Skate: Fox had to relearn the fundamental skateboarding skills for "Part II" because he had forgotten them. He needed them for the hoverboard sequences;
  • Riding Hoverboards: To make it look like the actors were riding hoverboards, they were lifted by wires (which were removed later with computers) and had the hoverboard props strapped to their feet. The actors acted like they were standing on the board, but really, they were being lifted up by the wires. In some scenes, the hoverboard was put on a pole connected to a truck while the actor wore a harness;
  • The Real Hoverboard: In 2015, just like in the movie, Tony Hawk tested a real hoverboard developed by Hendo using magnetic levitation technology;
  • Hoverboard Auction: In 2021, the Mattel Hoverboard used by McFly in "Back to the Future Part II" sold at auction for 501,200;

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"Back to the Future" is a timeless masterpiece. Interestingly, the franchise features several famous skateboard-related appearances.