On December 17, 2002 the Back to the Future
Trilogy was finally released on DVD
in North America
(Region 1) after a five year wait. The discs were announced in 1997 and were supposed to be one of Universal
's first DVD releases. Instead the trilogy fell into copyright and ownership dispute hell, as producer Steven Speilberg
was wary of his works appearing on DVD
and former Marty McFly Eric Stoltz
did not want his few scenes appearing on the set. As the years went by the various parties worked out their issues and the set was released in both widescreen
and full frame
The trilogy is sold as a complete 3-disc set (one for each film). At this time it is not possible to buy the films individually, although they can be rented as such. Each disc includes the original theatrical release of the film (no edits, no "To Be Continued" at the end of the first film, and the end of Part 2 includes the Part 3 preview that was originally seen in theaters) plus outtakes, deleted scenes (including the mythical scenes of Old Biff Tannen being erased from 2015, the burned-out high school in 1985-A, and Buford Tannen shooting Marshal Strickland in the back in 1885), making-of material, new interviews, screen-specific commentary, non-screen-specific Q&A, pop-up videoesque facts during the film, music videos, screen tests, and much much more. At a MSRP of $49.95, these DVDs come packed with goodies.
One minor downside to the set: apparently when Universal was preparing the films someone botched the widescreen formatting and placed those lovely black bars in the wrong place. In Part 2 and Part 3 the framing of the scenes are slightly off as there appears to be too much "dead space" above the action and the bottom part of the scene is cut off by the bars. Universal will be replacing these discs in Q1 of 2003, but in my opinion the problem is not the big deal that some home theater enthusiasts have made it out to be; the films are perfectly watchable and on the whole you won't be missing much at all.
Fans of the Back to the Future series should not miss this DVD set. The trilogy almost never airs back-to-back-to-back on television - the first and only time it has thus far was on November 28, 2004 on TBS.