Hill valley high school

Hill Valley High School in 1955.

Hill Valley High School 001

Hill Valley High School in 1985.

Burned-out High School

The burnt-out Hill Valley High School in 1985A, with what is possibly a H.V.P.D. helicopter (top right, partly obscured by the top of the fence) patrolling the area. This specific shot was only seen in a deleted scene, which was reinstated for the novelization.

"Having been built during the later years of the Great Depression, Hill Valley High wasn't new in 1955. Its worst days — the spray-can graffiti era of the late '60s and '70s — were still ahead, however, and it seemed clean and shiny to Marty as he drove up with Doc Brown on Monday morning. Dressed in his new outfit and with his hair slicked back, he barely resembled the young man from 1985, whom Stella Baines thought worked for the circus. / "Wow, they've really cleaned this place up," Marty said, whistling softly. "It looks brand-new." / "Maybe your generation didn't take very good care of it," Doc Brown remarked acidly. / Marty shrugged, recalling the times he had written on walls and desks."
—From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 140)
"They [Doc and Marty] entered the school that was familiar and yet so different in Marty's eyes. The halls and classrooms looked basically the same but the atmosphere was totally different — it resembled something from an old movie, except that it was in color."
—From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 141)

Hill Valley High School was an educational institution in Hill Valley.


The school was built during the later years of the Great Depression [1] and lasted in the original timeline at least up to 1985.

On October 25, 1985, Marty McFly and Jennifer Parker were caught arriving late by principal Stanford S. Strickland and were given tardy slips.

Goldie Wilson mentioned to George McFly on November 5, 1955 that he was taking classes at night school as he was determined to make something of himself. The classes Goldie attended were most probably held at the high school.

On November 7, 1955, while Marty and Dr. Emmett Brown were waiting in one of the school halls for George's class to end, Doc noticed that the clock there was ten seconds slow, muttering "You'd think a public school would at least have the correct time."[2]

It would appear that the school still existed in 2015, as CLASS OF 16 had been spray-painted on the wall in the alleyway where the DeLorean time machine landed.

In the altered 1985A timeline, the school burned down in 1979 and its burnt-out remains were surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbwire and bearing a NO TRESPASSING sign from the Hill Valley Police Department, while what was probably a police helicopter patrolled the area to make sure any would-be trespassers stayed well away.

In 1931, the school served as the location for the first Hill Valley Science Exposition.


The school gymnasium had a basketball court, as well as a stage. In 1985, the stage had a red, white and blue mural with the slogan "we the people", something that may have been a holdover from the American bicentennial in 1976.

The Enchantment Under the Sea dance was held in the school gymnasium on November 12, 1955. The school also hosted a Battle of the Bands with auditions on October 25, 1985.

The principal was Stanford S. Strickland, who had been working there since at least 1955 and into 1986. By 1991, he had resigned from this position to become a dean of Hill Valley College.


Bulldogs vs Indians

Poster for Bulldogs vs. Indians

  • The athletic teams at HVHS were called the Bulldogs. A poster in 1955 promoted an upcoming football game between the Bulldogs and the Indians, and George had a notebook with the Bulldogs logo on it. The colors for the team in 1955 were red and white, as seen on the school "letter jackets" worn by some of the students in 1955. However, by 1985, the colors had changed to maroon and white, as evidenced by a jacket that Jennifer had hanging in the closet of the McFly residence in 2015.
  • When Doc and Marty spotted the poster promoting the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, they passed a bulletin board that had a poster showing the Bulldogs' 1955 football schedule. Eight games were played, each on a Friday, starting with the September 24 game at Clayton High, a school that may have existed in 1955 near Clayton Ravine. Other teams were against Arwood, Patonville, Elmdale, Pine City, and Wilston. On Friday, November 11, the Hill Valley Bulldogs played an away game against Calahan High, the Indians referred to in the poster in the hallway on November 7.



Behind the scenes[]

  • Whittier High School in Whittier, California was used as the filming location of Hill Valley High School.
  • Filming was done on the weekends as well as during school breaks.
  • The Whittier High gymnasium was not a filming site. Although it appears that Marty is playing on the same stage in 1955 that he had been auditioning on in 1985, the commentary states that the 1985 audition was filmed in Burbank (at the McCambridge Park Recreation Center), and that the 1955 Enchantment Under the Sea dance was filmed at the Hollywood United Methodist Church.



Notes and references[]

  1. BTTF novel, page 140
  2. BTTF novel, page 141