12

At the end of Back to the Future, we see

an altered present, with a nice Biff, who no longer bullies George.

But then in Back to the Future 2, old Biff is his evil old self. Shouldn't his status at the end of BttF1 have prevented that from happening?

Why is old Biff evil?

  • 15
    Because new/George has spent a lifetime mocking him. – Valorum Oct 30 '15 at 19:01
  • 2
    Seems he was just pissed from all the years long oppression and bullying by George McFly. – TARS Oct 30 '15 at 19:01
  • 1
    I don't know that Old-Biff is necessarily evil or even mean. He comes across an opportunity that he takes advantage of. The only person he is ever remotely mean towards is young-Biff. – phantom42 Oct 30 '15 at 19:03
  • @phantom42 "Hello, hello, anybody home?" – Moyli Oct 30 '15 at 20:33
  • 3
    Biff is clearly a psychopath. He attempted to rape Elaine. What more proof do you need that he puts his own desires above the well-being of others? In the future, due to his wealth, his psychopathy is given a chance to manifest itself. Just because he had a shitty job in 1985 doesn't mean he wasn't still a psychopath then either. – Darth Egregious Oct 31 '15 at 0:42
32

The reason that middle-age Biff is no longer mean is because he's basically been beaten into submission by George. Although it's presented to us as a "happy ending", with Biff getting what he deserved etc., from the perspective of Biff and George's characters, their roles have simply been reversed. But Biff's underlying villainy is always there, and it comes out at every opportunity.

In Back to the Future I, Biff is still the same personality he always was. He's just now scared of George, and had his reputation ruined by it, and it obviously ruined his life as a result. He's stuck working for the guy that beat him up at prom, with no way out. George, for his part, doesn't seem to have many qualms about treating Biff poorly.

In the beginning of Back to the Future II, future-Biff has now spent a lifetime being abused by George McFly. In 1985, he saw Marty and Doc fly off in the DeLorean, so when he sees them again in 2015, he knew something was up. Once he figured out about the time travel, and heard Marty's plan to use the almanac, he saw a way to get revenge on his tormentor. There's also a decent chance that future-Biff had started putting all the pieces together: he's now seen the same guy -- Marty McFly -- in three different years looking exactly the same. However cranky he was before, figuring out that Marty was responsible for all his problems is only going to escalate his evilness.

Future-biff then goes into the past to provide past-Biff with the means to escape from that destiny. By allowing past-Biff to get rich, he no longer needs to grovel to George. Biff once more has power over "lesser" people; only now, he's been embarrassed by someone he used to consider insignificant. So he's gone from a moderately-dangerous high school bully, to a filthy rich, vindictive high school bully.

  • 10
    I'm puzzled by the suggestion that George was "treating Biff poorly" or that future-Biff "spent a lifetime being abused by George". I've just rewatched that scene, and all George did was insist that Biff do his job properly. – Harry Johnston Oct 30 '15 at 21:04
  • 9
    To me, it was obvious from the way that Biff reacted to George's berating him that it was something of a routine, and that Biff was almost scared of upsetting George. That's not a normal employee/employer relationship. – KutuluMike Oct 30 '15 at 21:55
  • 6
    I think the scene at the end of the first movie just demonstrates how Biff is is still inclined toward being lazy and dishonest, but George keeps him in check. In 2015, there's no indication he still associates with the McFly's. – Josh Oct 30 '15 at 22:07
  • 3
    I feel calling Biff a 'vindictive' high school bully is understating it. In BtF 2, it is heavily implied Biff had George killed ("Marty tears out the page of the newspaper that reports his father was shot dead in an alleyway while on his way to receive a book award"). It seems highly improbable that in this reality George just happened to walk into some bullets after Biff changed history without Biff ordering such. He's got the character, the money, the motivation and the time. – Ben Oct 30 '15 at 23:03
  • 7
    @Ben It's more than "heavily implied", Biff explicitly admits to killing him. – Moyli Oct 31 '15 at 8:35
-1

Just the other day (on Back to the Future Day, to be exact) I re-watched the first half of BttF2, and I had the same question in my mind. I think a very unambiguous answer is provided by future-Biff, who is royally pissed off at future-Marty for destroying his own life. "Must be rough being named after a complete butthead," he says when he encounters young Marty (whom he mistakes for Marty Jr.) about 15 minutes into the movie. "Your old man? Mr. Loser? That's right. Loser with a capital 'L'. [...] The man who took his life and flushed it completely down the toilet."

I think that explains, well, not necessarily why Biff is evil in general, but why he has an almost pathological hatred for the McFlys in particular.

  • 1
    Why would Biff be pissed off at Marty for failing in life? Wouldn't that be good for Biff because it indirectly hurts George as well? – Moyli Oct 31 '15 at 8:30
  • I think the opposite is true. In altered-1985 after the first movie, old Biff submitted to George McFly. George became the alpha male, if you wish. So for Biff, Marty's failure in life is a personal insult; instead of continuing to earn his respect by being successful like his father, Marty threw it all away. For Biff, that's as bad as it gets: He doesn't care if Marty is happy or not, but when Marty flushes his life down the toilet, he flushes Biff's respect down, too. Well, that's the impression I was getting anyway. – Viktor Toth Oct 31 '15 at 12:26

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