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We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy
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We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,493 ratings  ·  231 reviews
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the wildly successful and beloved Back to the Future trilogy, just in time for the 30th anniversary

Long before Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled through time in a flying DeLorean, director Robert Zemeckis, and his friend and writing partner Bob Gale, worked tirelessly to break into the industry with a hit. During their journey to
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 23rd 2015 by Plume
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Start your review of We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy
A wonderful way to invest time!


I am fan of Back to the Future film trilogy, so it wasn’t hard (at all) to decide to read this book.

It’s a book describing all the behind-the-scenes process implied to present to audience the wonderful trilogy of Back to the Future since even before that the production got a green light to begin.

Caseen Gaines, the author, not only have read several research books about the topic, but also he was able to make direct interviews with many peo
Honestly the book read very dryly. There's a lot of information about casting, and filming, and production of the movie - which is interesting - but it's put together haphazardly. There's little cohesiveness to how the story is told, with backstory being dropped in at random places, and jumping around within the singular storyline.

I ended up skimming quite a lot of it because I just couldn't read through page by page. Perhaps this is a case of 'it's me, not you,' but I can't say that I was happy
Beth Cato
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

If you grew up on the Back to the Future trilogy, you must read this book. I'm usually pretty slow to read through nonfiction books, but I blazed through this in a couple days. It reads as fast as a novel and is absolutely fascinating.

Much of the book focuses on the first movie: the background of "the Bobs," Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, and the dilemma with the leading man. They wanted Michael J. Fox but he was engaged with F
Emily Matview
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf
Great Scott, this book featured tidbits about the best trilogy ever that even I didn’t know!

The book itself is pretty straight forward – I don’t think it would hold the attention of a casual fan as it runs down behind the scenes info in chronological order.

If you knew that Eric Stoltz filmed quite a bit of scenes as Marty McFly:

And that George McFly was killed off in BTTF 2 due to actor Crispin Glover's failed contract negotiations:

Then this is the book for you! (and if you guys aren't ready
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting book that made me want to rewatch the trilogy again. I haven't been all that diligent in reading BTTF tidbits, so most of the information was new to me. One thing I did know was the original casting of Eric Stoltz; even then, though, I still learned a lot more about why they replaced him and how that impacted other aspects of the production.

I would have loved it if the book were even longer, and covered some other aspects of the movie. Although the soundtrack is mentioned, I
Brandon Forsyth
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
A fun, if slight, look at everything to do with 'Back to the Future'. I love the films and have heard a lot of these stories before, so it is to Gaines' credit that I did learn a thing or two. As a story, though, this leaves something to be desired; there is a little too much emphasis placed on things like the merchandising and/or lawsuits arising from the film, which come at the expense of a larger narrative. There's no great insight into the people, system or culture that produced these films, ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really want to give this book three stars, but I give it four because of my love for BTTF.

It has nothing to do with the author, nor does it have nothing to do with the people interviewed. It all has to do with the people the author didn't get to interview (or chose not to be interviewed) and the films it didn't focus on (part II and part III).

The interviews he did get were great and it was nice getting a lot of clarification on how people felt when it came to the Eric Stoltz incident and the
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a book about Bob Gale and Bob Zemeckis and their films, Back to the Future. The author interviewed them and several cast members. The majority of the book is about the first film, though the trilogy and aftermath (including the bttf 2015 party) are covered.

Incidents an anecdotes are the primary means to tell the story, and all of the major ones are covered here. I most enjoyed reading how the Huey Lewis songs came together and all the details about Marty Eric Stoltz.
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
‘Back to the Future’ hit theaters in late summer of 1985 and was massive blockbuster hit that spawns two sequels while made fans for life to many children, teenagers, and adults. In “We Don’t Need Roads”, popular culture history author Caseen Gaines gives the backstory of the entire film trilogy with information for both super fans and those who just love watching the films.

Gaines jumps right into the biggest storm that ‘Back to the Future’ weathered as his jumping off point in the book. Gaines
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: film-history
Fun and light read.
Sean O'Hara
I was looking forward to this book but came away mostly disappointed. I was thinking this was going to be akin to Rinzler's The Making of Star Wars books, full of details culled from production notes, script drafts, storyboards, and interviews, but while there's some of that, it's nowhere near as extensive. While Gaines managed to get most of the major behind-the-scenes players to talk with him, including Robert Zemeckis (though Gaines admits in his introduction he only got a half hour to interv ...more
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: film, making-of
This takes a relatively thorough look at the behind-the-scenes of the Back To The Future Trilogy and proves to be an interesting read, if a little dry at times. Gaines interviews a lot of the key crew - from Robert Zemeckis, the director and Bob Gale (who co-wrote and co-produced the original, wrote and produced the rest and doesn’t appear to have done much since) down to special effects technicians - and there are some good insights into the process and personalities involved in the filming. Ni ...more
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in part to celebrate "Back to the Future Day," October 21, 2015--the date that Marty McFly and Doc Brown took the flying DeLorean time machine to the future to "do something about" Marty's future kids, as it was put at the end of the first "Back to the Future" movie.
The first movie was never intended to be the start of a trilogy, but its phenomenal success made the sequels almost mandatory.
I’m a long-time megafan of the movies, directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Zemeckis
If you're an 80s child like me, you probably love the movie series BACK TO THE FUTURE (personally, my favorite is III, but I like them all), and this book will tickle all your nostalgic feels. I vaguely knew that Eric Stoltz had been cast as Marty because of scheduling conflicts with Michael J. Fox, but this book will tell you the whole story. And who knew BTTF was so big in Japan? If you like movie trivia and you didn't know that Mattel actually sold hoverboards (prop replica hoverboards that p ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Look, I'm not going to mince words here. This book was SO MUCH FUN that I regretted not being able to read it while sitting on the beach, burning to a crisp in the sun because I couldn't put it down. It's the literary equivalent of the Back to the Future movies: not necessarily deep or life-changing, but good old-fashioned summer movie fun, best served with a barrel of popcorn.

If you, like me, saw the first Back to the Future movie as a teenager and fell in love with its charming cast and story,
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a road trip listen and a good one. About half of the book seemed to be about the making of the first film, and all of the ups and downs associated with that, and the second and third films followed. We heard more details about Eric Stoltz's aborted stint as Marty McFly and about Crispin Glover's antics and ensuing lawsuit. There were a lot of details I'd never known about (the stunt woman nearly dying in Part II, the reasons for the Jennifer recast, and the fact that Parts II and III we ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For someone who's both interested in filmmaking and a fan of Back to the Future this was gold!! A good structure, interesting facts etc! (I would recommend you to listen to the audiobook since the narrator is awesome!)

I do believe though that you have to have seen all three movies and know some names of the actors to fully appreciate this.
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A short, but interesting, read. The glimpses into the early creations of the series are fascinating, but relatively little focus is given to the later two movies (Part 2 doesn't come up until more than halfway through the book). ...more
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I did a module on film and television history for my degree and once got into a standing-up argument with another student about what constitutes a good film. His argument was that Citizen Kane was the best film ever made. I argued that anyone who thought Citizen Kane or Das Boot or Battleship Potemkin was the best film ever made had clearly never watched Back To The Future.

I got shouted down by everyone in the class, but I stand by my argument. BTTF is the best film ever made.

This book was great
William Bevill
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-read
Once this book hits 88 pages per hour....

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I was about 10 when I saw "Back to the Future" for the first time and like many it has been a lifelong impact. I profess to not being quite obsessed about it to the point of knowing every detail about the film so it was with this that I pleasantly dived into the book to learn a few things, but wound up reading it cover to cover. Great Scott! I learned a lot not just about this franchise but the stars and crew behind it, and
J. Singleton
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Much of it seems culled from movie trivia sites. (I have done the same, but this was a major publication, and not one of my independently published tomes.) Truly original content is minimum.

The reader gets a thorough recounting of the development and the original process of shooting with Eric Schultz. Back to the Future has the dubious distinction of being mostly reshot with a new actor. Why? The old one wasn't working out. The dedicated Schultz would also not perform a stage punch on Tom Wilson
Michael Stango
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I somehow missed this when it was released a couple years ago, in time for the 30th anniversary of the release of BTTF. It was a quick, enjoyable read, and even though I knew a lot of minutiae around the trilogy the book still managed to cover some things that were new to me.
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
4.5 stars. Any fan of the movies will like this book, and there are new stories and tidbits throughout. My only qualm is the writing style, which can be a bit clunky or overdramatic at times.
Julie Cardinal
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
As the book aptly points out, Back to the Future was one of the first movies to combine comedy, sci-fi and social commentary into one great film.

There were plenty of great, fun anecdotes about how the film was made. For example, the producers had a partnership with Nike, and it was Nike that designed the self lacing shoes in the sequel. Also, the book details the somewhat painful process of firing the original actor who played Marty and ultimately hiring Michael J. Fox.

The most interesting parts
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fun read. A sizable chunk of the book goes into exacting detail about the creation of the first film (perhaps unsurprisingly since BTTF is the prize jewel of the trilogy), but does a good job of touching upon multiple aspects of the franchise. I came to this book not being well-versed in the series lore, so I can’t speak to how much information is novel...but it seems pretty in-depth. The author is clearly a fan and tried to provide an exploration of events that was kind to all ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Second time reading this, still as great as the first time. This is the only non fiction book I will read so I just want to say thank you to the author Caseen Gaines for making such a great book that, in my humble opinion, no one else could make except him.
Matt Fiedler
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was a good read, but I read this after finishing the Back to the Future Ultimate Visual History, which I enjoyed more, but the two books compliment each other well, with each one having some information that the other book doesn’t have. Still great for any BTTF fan, such as myself...
Stefan Bugryn
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The bottom line is, this book is worth reading. Having said that, I feel books like this suffer when you don’t have much input from the major players of the story, which this does. There is minimal input from Robert Zemeckis, and none from Michael J Fox. I would have loved to hear their anecdotes!

BUT, it’s still a great book, especially for fans of the trilogy. Give it a go, eat that book monster. Om nom nom
M. Roberts
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I am a sucker for any kind of "insider" or "behind the scenes" story about almost anything so when I saw this book, I decided to take a chance on it. I was never a huge BTTF fan. I was a teenager when the first movie came out and enjoyed it a lot but never got into the sequels. However, this book was very good.

I think one thing that really comes out in the book and that makes it a very enjoyable book to read is the authors apparent enthusiasm for the BTTF movies. He obviously did a lot of resear
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was both really fun, and way too detailed. Sometimes I loved the details, and sometimes I just found it way too specific to be interested. It certainly changed my thinking on these movies, and gives me a whole new perspective. But it also makes me slightly nervous to see them again - what if the spoilers actually spoil it?? But really a fun and easy read.
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