Why Back To The Future’s Doc Brown Is Actually An Evil Genius

Marty McFly’s time-travelling partner-in-crime may actually just be a straight up criminal.

Christopher Lloyd and Michael J Fox in Back to the Future
88 mph Christopher Lloyd and Michael J Fox in Back to the Future. Image Picture Universal

Revisiting the films you loved growing up is never advisable and that’s certainly the case when it comes to Back to the Future and the rather concerning portrait the film paints of Doctor Emmett Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd.

Sidekick to Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly, the fact of the matter is that the seemingly once loveable Doc Brown is guilty of a multitude of movie-based crimes and deserves locking up for a very long time. Here are just a few of his dastardly deeds – some were simply too distressing to return to.


He’s An Arms Dealer

Back To The Future DeLorean
Great Scott! The DeLorean Image Picture Universal

Let’s start with the obvious one here, namely that Doc Brown is basically an arms dealer. With the DeLorean requiring an electronic surge of 1.21 gigawatts to shoot through time, Doc does the obvious thing to find that kind of power – he strikes up a deal with Libyan freedom fighters.

Promising to build them a bomb using the plutonium they provide for him, he not only transports a toxic and deadly substance around the US but sends them a fake bomb made out of pinball machine parts. That might sound funny but actually makes him more of a criminal in some ways. And did you ever stop to wonder how he tracked these guys down in the first place? How he earned their trust? How he came up with this scheme? This guy is bad news from the off.


His Relationship To Marty

Marty McFly from Back to the Future Part II with a hoverboard.
Marty McFly Whatever you do, don't call this guy a chicken Image Universal Pictures

Marty seems like one of the coolest kids on the block, skateboarding to school, playing guitar, listening to Huey Lewis & The News and kissing the hottest looking ladies in class. So why the hell is he hanging around with some old guy in a broken down house that looks like something out of a show about hoarders from hell? More importantly, Marty appears only too happy to answer the phone in Doc’s – when the did that start happening?

Then there’s the whole thing of these two meeting in some pretty dodgy locations at random times of the day. Like a car park at 1:15am. Nothing normal has ever be sorted with a meeting in a car park at 1:15am.


Cruelty To Animals

Cruelty to animals is never cool, so let’s not forget that the Doc also puts his dog, Einstein, at risk by sending him off alone in the first time travel test drive, showing an incredible lack of care for his beloved pet.

What would have happened if the dog had come back turned inside out? Would Marty have shopped his old Doc buddy to the cops? Seems doubtful. Maybe that’s what Doc wanted anyway – they do say a lot of psycho murderers start out by torturing animals. He’s basically that dude from Making A Murderer.


He’s A Full-Blown Arsonist

In 1955, Doc Brown is living in a pretty swanky looking mansion, yet by 1985 he’s downgraded to a garage just off a branch of Burger King. Viewers are told he went bankrupt after selling the family estate and spent all the money building a time machine, but a newspaper cutting dated 1962 suggests something altogether different.

It turns out the Brown Mansion was burned to the ground in a move that could have seen Doc Brown cash in on any insurance policy. Pretty handy. And who set the fire? Oh, perhaps another young teen he befriended as part of some nefarious scheme at the time. A teen who is now dead. Okay, that last bit is conjecture, but we wouldn’t put anything past this guy.


The E Z Sleep Debacle

Say you had just travelled to the future and were looking to get a few cool new bits of technology to use and show off to your friends about. What would be your first purchase? Would it be a special pen capable of sending people to sleep using a “sleep-inducing alpha rhythm generator”? If the answer is yes, then go directly to jail because you sir are a psychopath or, as in the case of Back to the Future, Doc Brown.

Not only is it weird that he immediately uses it on Marty’s girlfriend in the second movie but, by the time he gets round to using it on Marty’s son – the specific reason he apparently bought the damn thing in the first place – it’s run out of juice. Why has it run out of juice, Doc? Who have you been using it on? Someone get the police on the phone. No, wait, don’t. This isn’t real, is it? Jesus, I’m tired.

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