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Back To The Future Trilogy Filming Locations

Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly (Credit: Universal)

Back To The Future is now a timeless sci-fi trilogy that has captivated audiences across generations, spanning all sorts of pop culture elements: From predicting that the Cubs will eventually win the World Series, Nike shoes, memes, and other trends.

One of the reasons behind its long-lasting appeal is that apart from the trilogy’s appealing narrative, the filmmakers chose mesmerizing locations where it was filmed.

While the bulk of the movie’s many iconic scenes were shot in California, the cast and crew also went to a western state in the United States to film quite a few scenes. Utah also played a significant role in bringing this beloved film series to life, so today, we’re taking a look at some of these places.

Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown

Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown (Credit: Universal)

Back To The Future Filming Locations

Back To The Future was filmed between sunny California, Arizona, and the state of Utah’s most beautiful nature reserves. While the story tells us the lives and troubles of a weirdo scientist and his protegé in California, they are forced to travel across the west of the United States as the story unfolds. It’s these iconic natural wonders, with their graceful curves and imposing presence, that become the site of the time-traveling adventures in the DeLorean.

Time Travel

In the first Back to The Future, we were in California, where Doc and Marty test out the DeLorean at a mall parking lot, back in the times when most shopping was done in malls instead of Amazon. When the duo takes their trips back and to the future, they race against time to change the course of history and avoid time paradoxes.

Monument Valley, Utah

Located on the border of Utah and Arizona, Monument Valley is renowned for its awe-inspiring vistas and distinctive rock formations. This iconic location has graced the screens of numerous films, and Back To The Future Part III immortalized its beauty on the silver screen. It’s in this place where Marty drives to the screen of a drive-in theater and goes back in time to the 1800s with the DeLorean to face a group of charging Indians as he traverses through time.

Back to The Future

Did you know that BTTF’s script was rejected more than a dozen times? (Credit: Universal)

Arizona

Back To The Future Part III transports audiences to the Wild West, where Doc Brown and Marty McFly find themselves stranded in 1885 without any means to take the DeLorean up to 88 miles an hour to go back to the future.

The iconic scene where Marty travels from the 1950s to 1885 and finds himself right in the middle of a battle between Indians and American soldiers as the Western conquest takes place.

Monument Valley is a beautiful and famous place that sits on the border of Arizona and Utah. It includes a huge area of desert with majestic sandstone buttes, tall mesas, and wide plateaus. Monument Valley is known for its unique rock formations, which were shaped by wind and water erosion over millions of years.

Clash of Time Periods

The 1950s and the Wild West are at odds with each other, which gives the film’s visual story a lively contrast. Monument Valley’s timeless landscapes show how long history is and how it can connect different times and places.

During the course of the movie, Marty and Doc move the car to a mine, and some of the most important plot points involve the gravestones. Oak Park, California, was where that graveyard was.

Where Were The 1885 Hill Valley Scenes Filmed?

The natural wonders of Utah make for beautiful backgrounds, but the Hill Valley Train Station is also an important part of this movie. The movie might make you think that it is also in Utah, but the 1885 Hill Valley train station, railroad, and town were all filmed in Sonora, California, giving a glimpse of urban landscapes and historic charm.

Back to The Future

This town and train station were filmed in Sonora, California (Credit: Universal)

Back To The Future Part III was shot between Utah and Arizona’s Monument Valley, as well as different parts of California. Furthermore, these places were picked by the filmmakers because they have a wide range of landscapes that go well with the time-traveling storyline.

The adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown take place in a world where the past and the future meet. We see Utah’s natural beauty coupled with the ruggedness of the American Southwest, which makes for a stunning backdrop to tell the kind of story that Robert Zemeckis with Universal and Amblin Pictures meant to create with Back To The Future.

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