1985 Oak Park Cemetery
OAK PARK CEMETERY Filming Location from Back to the Future part II
PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO VISITORS ALLOWED. SUUUUCKS
When they filmed Back to the Future part II, they filmed the cemetery scene down in Wilmington, California. If you’ve ever been to Wilmington, odds are you won’t want to go back. It’s full of oil refineries and there are times where the smell is overpowering. When you’re not surrounded by refineries, you’re probably surrounded by gangs, as the city is plagued by crime. I’m sure there’s probably a portion of wilmington that residents would describe as “nice” – but I’ve never seen it, and until I see it with my own eyes, I have to admit I’m plagued by doubt.
Marty has learned that in the alternate timeline, (1985a, or just ‘Alternate 1985’) his Father has been murdered. His mother tells him to go to Oak Park Cemetery. Filmed against a backdrop of refinery smokestacks, the setting of the scene made Marty’s discovery of his Father’s murder and Doc’s revelation of being committed to a mental asylum that much more intense.
In order to have a cemetery at a refinery, the location scouts traveled down to Wilmington, where the Ultramar refinery, in an early attempt to look “green,” had a landscaped duck pond on the property. Unfortunately, all the ducks died or found somewhere less disgusting to live, and after several phone calls I was informed by employees of Valero that the area was long since bulldozed and replaced with a large crude oil tank.
Still determined to stand where Marty and Doc stood, I visited the refinery office on numerous occasions, only to be rejected as a visitor. Not only are there serious safety concerns for visitors, but ever since 9-11, rigid and extreme security measures are in place as well. You wouldn’t think it’d be so hard to visit a refinery. As a matter of fact, on the old version of the site I had listed the GPS coordinates, and I literally received an email from the office of Homeland Security politely-but-firmly requesting that I remove the information. I did.
In the years since, I finally managed to get ahold of an employee who’s been there since the 80s. The area with the duck pond, he confirmed, was leveled and a good portion of the background scenery was rebuilt around the tanks. When I asked about getting a photo that would line up with the background of the shot, he looked around for me and let me know that it’s impossible. All hope gone. I feel almost as bad as Marty did standing in the cemetery itself, but I have to declare this location dead. Gone. Lost. All I could get from Valero was a link to a page about the history of their refinery;
Significant new construction and upgrades took place in the early 1980s and mid-1990s with the latter focused mainly on the addition of hydrotreating capacity
So, in the King’s English that means they basically demolished the duck pond area that helped them look environmentally savvy to become actually more environmentally friendly. Hydrotreating removes Sulfur dioxide emissions from fuels.
I’ve put the GPS coordinates and address back up, and I have some photos from the refinery. In an effort to be ‘transparent’ these companies are a lot friendlier to the public than they used to be, and a lot more open about these types of locations.
Sadly, theres little-to-no reason for a BTTF fan, however extreme, to visit this location. It’s far out of the way of the other sites, and like I said, it’s gone without a trace.
ADDRESS: 2402 E. Anaheim St. Wilmington, CA 90744
GPS COORDINATES: +33° 46′ 48.83″, -118° 14′ 12.94″
1955 RIVER ROAD TUNNEL
Tunnel Location from “Back to the Future part II”
Located in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, Ca
Editor’s Note: this text is from the old version of BTTF tour – we’re going to be revising these articles in the coming days. The photos and screenshots from these articles will all be down below for the time being, instead of thumbnails within the text. Thanks for your patience, and visit us again when everything’s tidied up!
We just added our photo archive of the tunnel. The East side was entered by Biff, which is also the side which he hits the Manure on. Interestingly the east side was also the entrance to “Toontown” in the movie Who framed Roger Rabbit, which was also directed by Robert Zemeckis just before BTTFII. The real life tunnel does not have lights along the side and is usually closed after sunset anyways. For as long as I’ve been visiting the lights connected to the cieling (also not the same as those seen in the film) have been long neglected and burnt out. The tunnel still sports the BTTF paint-job, but has more or less fallen into disrepair due to constant vandalism.
The real life tunnel is also NOWHERE near as long as the film leads you to believe. According to Bob Gale and Niel Canton, they built a large, forced-perspective backing that they could put on either end of the tunnel to extend it’s on-screen length. Also, they obviously used other, more simple tricks, such as wide angle lenses, and putting the lights at the far end of the tunnel progressively closer together, giving it the appearance of greater distance without actually having to lengthen it (which they did anyway.)
It’s still a great site to visit. Make sure you “hoverboard” through it on a Skateboard. It’s part of our tradition of “Skateboarding in the footsteps of Marty McFly!” Just watch out – there can be a lot of traffic coming through the tunnel! Might be safer not to attempt that bit unless it’s a weekday morning in the winter, or some other low traffic time.
Tip: The 1960’s Batman TV batcave is located in Griffith park, as well as the Griffith Park observatory, the BTTF Starting Line, and many other film locations!
ADDRESS: OBSERVATORY TUNNEL, MT HOLLYWOOD DRIVE AT VERMONT CANYON ROAD, GRIFFITH PARK, LOS ANGELES, CA
GPS COORDINATES: 34.12378,-118.300615