ByAllanah Faherty, writer at
Senior staff writer | Twitter: @allanahfaherty | Email: [email protected]
Allanah Faherty

32 years ago one director did the unthinkable and jumped the space-time continuum to bring us the 1985 classic Back to the Future. The movie had it all: time travel, great tunes, brilliant characters, time travel, an awkward mother-son incest storyline, an amazingly satisfying underdog moment; oh, and did I mention the freakin' time travel?!

One of the most interesting parts of Back to the Future were the scenes set in 1985. Because a large majority of the film is set in 1955, the actors were cast to best fit the ages the characters would have been during that time frame — around 17 or 18. This meant that Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson and Thomas F. Wilson (who played George, Lorraine and Biff) all needed a lot of makeup when they appeared in the scenes set in 1985, so it appeared convincing that they were all now in their late 40s.

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
[Credit: Universal Pictures]

With Back to the Future now over 30 years old (time flies!), I thought it was only fitting that we go back and see how closely the aged-up actors in Back to the Future look compared to how the actors actually look today. Did the makeup artists actually get it right all those years ago? Only one way to find out:

Note: The character images are from the 1985 scene at the end of Back to the Future.

George McFly (Crispin Glover)

[Credit: Universal Pictures/Starz]
[Credit: Universal Pictures/Starz]

Crispin Glover was just 21-years-old when he appeared in Back to the Future, and while his age worked perfectly for portraying the 17-year-old George McFly of 1955, the makeup artists had to work some magic to age him into 47-year-old George McFly of 1985. However, judging by what Glover looks like now (he's 53!) and what he looked like at the end of the film, those makeup artists may have been part psychic!

Lorraine Baines-McFly (Lea Thompson)

[Credit: Universal Pictures & Instagram/leakthompson]
[Credit: Universal Pictures & Instagram/leakthompson]

Here's a fun fact: It took over three hours to turn a then 23-year-old Lea Thompson into a 47-year-old version of herself for the original film! While Thompson ended up looking pretty damn good for a 47-year-old mother of three in 1985 in Back to the Future, it's undeniable that the now 56-year-old Lea Thompson (who is a mom of two) looks even more amazing. I do wonder what she would look like with the big '80s blowout hairstyle, though! Not to mention the pleated pants...

Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson)

[Credit: Universal Pictures & YouTube/Tom Wilson]
[Credit: Universal Pictures & YouTube/Tom Wilson]

Biff got his just deserts at the end of Back to the Future when it was revealed that instead of becoming George McFly's boss, he actually worked for the McFlys detailing their cars (though admittedly he did own the detailing business...)! In real-life, a now 58-year-old Wilson looks quite a bit different than his 48-year-old character at the end of Back to the Future — something his hairline is probably thankful for! However much like Biff, he still enjoys cracking jokes - Thomas F. Wilson now works as a stand-up comedian, when he can fit it around his busy voice acting, musical and art careers that is! Seriously, he is one talented dude.

Bonus: Marty McFly (Michael J Fox)

[Credit: Universal Pictures & Twitter/@realmikefox]
[Credit: Universal Pictures & [email protected]]

While Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson and Thomas F. Wilson were aged up in the first Back to the Future film, I also couldn't resist including Michael J Fox's character, Marty McFly from Back to the Future Part II when Marty travels to 2015.

When Fox starred in Back to the Future Part II he was 28-years-old, so definitely needed some time in the makeup chair to age him up to 47. While the makeup did a great job of aging the actor appropriately, I have to assume that Michael J Fox is pretty pleased that he didn't end up with the bad hair, heavily furrowed brow and bad fashion sense that his character did in 2015! Seriously though, I'm so glad the weird double tie look never actually eventuated.

What was your favorite part of the Back to the Future trilogy?

Source: IMDB, Big Pop Fun


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