In Back To The Future Part 2, Old Biff steals the DeLorean, gives the sports almanac to his younger self - and then helpfully returns the DeLorean to the same spot as he took it from, just a few seconds after he left. Why did he bother? Why didn't he just keep it for himself?

Alternatively, what did he need the almanac for, when he could have simply given his younger self the time machine (almost certainly without realising the paradoxical outcome of what would happen to his older self)?

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    He didn't want to give his younger self the time machine because his younger self is an idiot. Not sure about the first part though. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 15:16

4 Answers 4


I think the main point is that Biff is not smart. I doubt he would have any curiosity or interest in the time machine itself. And in no way he would come up with any idea to capitalize on it. The whole almanac thing was implanted by him overhearing Marty.

But old Biff may have been wise enough to realize his stupidity. So he would realize he wouldn't come up with a better plan, and he would try to not mess anything up. From this perspective the best thing would be to straight return it without leaving traces.

Turns out he was quite right. If Doc and Marty would have lost the DeLorean they would probably quickly constructed a replacement and would come after the time machine prepared. This way they were caught by surprise in a time they were at a disadvantage.


I was always under the impression that Biff doesn't really understand how time travel (in his universe) works, and returned expecting to find himself living a life of wealth. This was the easiest job- drop off an almanac with your younger self, come home to find your house much, much nicer.

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    And if, on returning to the future, Old Biff finds nothing changes, he can always blame his younger self for being such an idiot.
    – Kaz
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 8:11

In order to make the money and not get caught, Biff would have to provide the almanac to his younger self and then return the time machine to where he found it without getting caught. In his mind, he didn't realize giving the almanac to his younger self would create an alternate timeline that would erase his existence, as he knows it in 2015. So he wanted to make it a clean crime. He would get the time machine, go back in time, give the alamanc to his younger self, and then return the Delorean to where he found it, with Marty and the Doc not knowing any different.

Had he also given his younger self the time machine it would have been a dead giveaway when the time machine never returned. Again, he's trying to cover his tracks (though I wouldn't have minded a spinoff of "Time Travels with Biff and Old Biff").


It's clear Biff figured out how the time machine operates as he used it to travel to 1955, I mean he couldn't have left it with his younger self for one reason: The older Biff would be stuck in the younger Biff's timeline/universe, secondly, as @Broklynite mentioned Biff wouldn't know how to maintain the time machine over time, no one else does except for Doc.

Thirdly, If Biff would have decided to leave the time machine with his younger self, then Doc and Marty would've noticed as they eventually did and redeem the situation by travelling back to when the older Biff had stolen the sports almanac as they also eventually did.

My view, Biff should have found an additional copy of the sports almanac, with two copies, one for his younger self and the other to replace the one he had stolen from Marty inside the time-machine, it would've been much harder if not impossible for Doc and Marty to figure out that it had ever been stolen from the time machine nor it was by Biff .

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