‘Back To The Future Day’ — From Biff Tannen To Donald Trump
Marking the occasion Wednesday of “Back to the Future Day” — marking the date in 2015 to which the characters traveled in Back to the Future Part II (1989) — one of that film’s screenwriters has confirmed that the movie’s main villain, the evil and powerful Biff Tannen, who lords over a dystopian 1985 from a splinter timeline, was, in fact, based on Donald Trump.
In the movie, the character of Biff — the immature schoolyard bully, played by Thomas F. Wilson, who was always calling people “butthead” — is empowered by a sports almanac he receives from a mysterious old man (his future self from 2015, who had become a total loser) to make millions of dollars betting on athletic events, winning every time because he knows the outcomes.
From there, he builds a corporate empire with its hands in all sorts of dirty corners — nuclear power and toxic waste disposal are directly depicted, with Biff’s name proudly displayed at all times — and cultivates a media personality as “America’s Greatest Folk Hero.”
And in his master stroke of political influence-peddling, he even gets gambling legalized in Hill Valley (the fictional California town where all the Back to the Future films take place) and erects a massive casino atop the historic courthouse and clocktower, from which he virtually controls the police and local government, threatening and even murdering adversaries with impunity.
But something as awful as the political boss Biff Tannen could never happen in real life, right?
“I just want to say one thing,” the golden-coiffed Biff tells a gaggle of reporters. “God bless America.”
“We thought about it when we made the movie! Are you kidding?” screenwriter Bob Gale told The Daily Beast. “You watch Part II again and there’s a scene where Marty confronts Biff in his office and there’s a huge portrait of Biff on the wall behind Biff, and there’s one moment where Biff kind of stands up and he takes exactly the same pose as the portrait?”
Here’s that scene:
There is, however, one major character discrepancy between the dystopian Biff and The Donald: In the movie, Biff is always seen with a drink and/or cigar in hand. In real life, Donald Trump does not drink or smoke, a decision he made after watching the struggles of his late brother Fred’s alcoholism. (Though perhaps this side of Trump was not yet public knowledge when the movie was made.)
So make like a tree — and get out of here.