Back to the Future Part II is a 1989 American science-fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Bob Gale. It is the sequel to the 1985 film Back to the Future and the second installment in the Back to the Future trilogy. The film stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, and Thomas F. Wilson. The film follows Marty McFly (Fox) and his friend Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown (Lloyd) as they travel from 1985 to 2015 to prevent Marty’s son from sabotaging the McFly family’s future; when their arch-nemesis Biff Tannen (Wilson) steals Doc’s DeLorean time machine and uses it to alter history for his benefit, the duo must return to 1955 to restore the timeline.
The film was produced on a $40-million budget and was filmed back to back with its sequel, Part III. Filming began in February 1989 after two years were spent building the sets and writing the scripts. Two actors from the first film, Crispin Glover and Claudia Wells, did not return; Wells’s character Jennifer Parker was recast with Elisabeth Shue in the role, while Glover’s character, George McFly, was not only minimized in the plot, but also was obscured and portrayed by Jeffrey Weissman in heavy make-up. Glover successfully sued Zemeckis and Gale, changing how producers can deal with the departure and replacement of actors in a role. Back to the Future Part II was also a ground-breaking project for visual effects studio Industrial Light & Magic (ILM): In addition to digital compositing, ILM used the VistaGlide motion control camera system, which allowed an actor to portray multiple characters simultaneously on-screen without sacrificing camera movement.
Back to the Future Part II was released by Universal Pictures on November 22, 1989. The film initially received mixed reviews from critics and grossed over $332 million worldwide in its initial run, making it the third highest-grossing film of 1989. Reception of the film has improved with time, as the performances, direction, cinematography, musical score and future predictions have been singled out for praise. Some critics have noted it as one of Zemeckis’ best films as well as one of the best sequels of all time.