Biff Tannen chases down a hoverboarding Marty through the River Road Tunnel.

The River Road Tunnel was a tunnel along River Road, and going through Deacon's Hill.


Biff Tannen took the River Road Tunnel from his house to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance at Hill Valley High School. While going through the tunnel, he almost heard Marty McFly in back of his car talking to Dr. Emmett Brown as the tunnel shielded radio signals from reaching the car radio and Marty's walkie talkie.

Driving back home from the dance through the tunnel, Biff realized Marty was following him on a strange hovering board, and fought with him for the Grays Sports Almanac he was given by his older self, attempting to smear Marty McFly off the side of the car onto the wall. After several attempts, Marty rebounded off the wall of the tunnel and grabbed the almanac. Biff performed a quick u-turn at the far end of the tunnel and charged at him. Marty was nearly run over at the school end when Doc came to the rescue with a string of pennants hanging out the door of the DeLorean time machine.

As Biff looked up in disbelief, he did not see the manure truck that he had passed in the tunnel before turning around, and crashed into it. Both Biff and the car were engulfed in manure for a second time.

Behind the scenes[]

  • RiverRoadTunnelTruck

    The backdrop placed at the far end of the tunnel can be clearly seen in this shot, based on where the pattern of lights on the ceiling changes.

    In Craig Shaw Gardner's novelization, the tunnel is referred to as Deacon's Hill Tunnel (page 197).
  • The tunnel scenes were filmed at Observatory Tunnel, in Griffith Park, Hollywood. Forced perspective tricks, including a wide-angle lens, unevenly spaced lights, and a painted backdrop placed at the far end of the tunnel, made the tunnel look much longer on-screen than it is in reality.
  • The same tunnel was used as the entrance to Toontown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which featured Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom, also directed by Robert Zemeckis.[1]
  • The tunnel also appeared in the 1983 film WarGames, which featured James Tolkan in the minor role of Wigan. In this film, the tunnel appeared as the entrance to NORAD.
  • The tunnel also appeared in the 2018 film Bumblebee, in a sequence where the titular character is being chased by a police car. In this scene, "I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar plays on Bumblebee's radio. Also in the film, the tunnel is made to look longer than it really is, just like in Back to the Future Part II.


See also[]