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Going back to the future, Hill Valley, California
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For Back to the Future, the producers considered filming the town square scenes in the real city of ...
For Back to the Future, the producers considered filming the town square scenes in the real city of Petaluma, California, but soon realized it would be prohibitively expensive and impractical to alter a real place to suit the different eras. Instead they filmed it on the Universal Studios backlot, where they had more control. The main location, known as Courthouse Square, already existed and had been previously used for many films and television shows. The Hill Valley courthouse can also be found in the movies Bruce Almighty, Gremlins, Bye Bye Birdie, Sneakers, The Offspring's music video Why Don't You Get a Job? and even in an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The clock tower itself, however, was a removable addition to the existing Courthouse building, one of many ways in which the structure has been redressed over the years to suit the needs of a production. Prior to Back to the Future, the backlot location was called Mockingbird Square, a reference to the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. The Universal Studios Backlot location: google maps, Live Local Many of the cars that appear in the 2015 scenes are either modified for the film or concept cars. Examples include Ford Probe, Saab EV-1, Citroën DS 21, Pontiac Banshee Concept, Pontiac Fiero and VW Beetle Bug. Cars reused from other science fiction films include the Star Car from The Last Starfighter (1984) and a Spinner from Bladerunner (1982). Griff's car is a modified BMW convertible. For Back to the Future Part III, Hill Valley 1885 was filmed in Sonora, California. The producers were able to use the land rent free as long as they left the buildings there. They agreed to leave everything except the Clock Tower. Interestingly, on August 10, 1996, a lightning bolt struck the town and it burned down. An arson fire on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot on November 6, 1990 had previously destroyed much of Courthouse Square, the setting in which all the other time periods were filmed. However, the Courthouse itself survived the devastation. Another backlot fire on September 6, 1997 again damaged Courthouse Square. In both cases, the backlot facades were then rebuilt. The Sonora location was not rebuilt. In addition, a February 14, 1999 fire at Whittier High School, California, where some (mostly exterior) scenes were filmed, destroyed the old men's gym there. On June 1, 2008, yet another fire destroyed part of the rebuilt Courthouse Square backlot and damaged the clock tower. Other real-life shooting locations of Hill Valley landmarks include the following:
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