Bob Gale, screenwriter of the Back to the Future trilogy, is unhappy about a censored version of the second film. Back to the Future Part II is currently available to stream on Netflix, but with some doctored content.

The edit takes place in the second act of the film. Marty McFly discovers that Biff Tannen has replaced the infamous Sports Almanac with lewd magazine, Oh La La. Hidden within the dustcover, the original edit showed the front page of the magazine. This shot confirms Marty’s reaction, but in the censored version the shot has been removed.

Back to the Future Oh La La Magazine

A minor edit perhaps, but one that potentially distances the audience from a major reveal.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bob explained why Netflix shouldn’t be held accountable and it is instead the fault of Universal Studios. 

“The blame is on Universal who somehow furnished Netflix an edited version of the movie. I learned about it some 10 days ago from an eagle-eyed fan and had the studio rectify the error,”

Bob Gale

The altered version was brought to Gale’s attention by fans of the film. He insists that neither he nor franchise director Robert Zemeckis even knew such an edit existed. However, according to Gale the issue has now been resolved.

“Apparently, this was a foreign version – which neither director Robert Zemeckis nor I even knew existed – for some country that had a problem with the Oh La La magazine cover.

“I asked that the studio destroy this version. FYI, Netflix does not edit films — they only run the versions that are supplied to them. So they’re blameless.

Bob Gale
Back to the Future key art

Putting the blame squarely on Universal Studios, Gale has obviously taken such studio intervention to heart. Though they have heeded his request this time and replaced the version available to Netflix subscribers, only time will tell if a similar censored version will appear again in the future.

Of course this news is noteworthy as the Back to the Future films are some of the best sci-fi movies of all time. The films rank alongside the likes of Alien and The Terminator, though aimed at a much more family-orientated audience.

Categories: Culture Movies