What are you looking at butthead

"What're you lookin' at, butthead?"

"What are you looking at, butthead?"
—Biff to Marty on several encounters

"Butthead" was a word used by Biff Tannen repeatedly to describe anyone that he disliked.


Marty McFly heard this expression used a total of 11 times. Biff inflicted the insult on Marty in 1985 and 1955 in parallel situations when asking what he was looking at. Then, 2015 Biff used that word three times, once when addressing his younger self in 1955. In 1985A, Biff used that expression once. Biff used that word three more times in 1955, twice when protesting his older self's use of that expression. Finally, on Marty's return to 1985, Biff used that word once, before realizing that it was Marty who approached him.

In 1986, Marty is about to play his guitar only for Biff to interrupt and calls him Chuck Butthead.

Upon Marty's arrival to the 1986F timeline, Biff and his brother Riff call him a butthead once.

In the 1986G timeline, a brainwashed Biff tells Marty that he used to be a real butthead.

After preventing the Palace Saloon from being burnt down in 1876, Marty calls Beauregard Tannen a butthead, just before he's knocked out by Doc.

While in 1864, Verne Brown noticed Beauregard Tannen's use of "buttocks brains" and corrected him with the more proper "butthead". Tannen liked how it sounded and so his family lineage began its usage of the term.

In a similar fashion, Tannensaurus referred to other dinosaurs as "tailhead".

Behind the scenes[]

  • In the first draft screenplay for Back to the Future, Biff's favorite insult was "A-hole" instead of "butthead".[1]
  • Animator Mike Judge, who created the series Beavis and Butt-head in 1993, stated in a 1994 interview that he had based the character's name, not on Biff's expression, but on two persons whom he knew in college at the University of California at San Diego, one of whom was nicknamed "Butt Head". Judge graduated in 1985, prior to the release of Back to the Future.
  • The adjective "butt-headed" was applied to goats (who would butt heads when fighting), as well as to rams and cows whose horns were curled back over their head. In the 1950s, "butt-headed" was used as a synonym for "stubborn".[2] Less commonly, a "butt-headed" cow would sometimes be described as a "butthead",[3] although it is more likely that Biff meant the expression as a synonym for a "butthole" or "asshole".
  • In the edited for television airing of Back to the Future Part III, Marty's response to Jennifer about Needles was recorded twice. On TV, he says "Do you think I'm stupid enough to race that butthead?", rather than asshole as in the original theatrical screening.
  • Jason Hervey, who played Milton Baines, the younger brother of Lorraine, would later become famous for portraying Wayne Arnold, the bullying older brother of Kevin Arnold on the TV Series, The Wonder Years, and would frequently call him "butthead".



  1. KristenSheley.com
  2. Robert C. Ruark, "Butt-Headed Loyalty", Tucson Daily Citizen, January 28, 1950; Ruark was referring to President Truman's continued support for disgraced aide Harry Vaughn
  3. The Bee (Danville, Va.), November 23, 1933, p13