Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Silly time-capsule comedy ideal for older tweens.
  • PG
  • 1989
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 59 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Overall, the message is to "be excellent to each other." It's important to work together for a goal (in this case, to save the world).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bill and Ted don't pay attention in class and literally require divine intervention to save their grades -- but they're also sincere and well-meaning, and they try to be decent guys. Ted's dad treats him badly and yells at him. The boys steal Ted's dad's keys,  let people out of jail, and generally disobey their parents. Girls are treated as sex objects (two are "given" to Bill and Ted as a reward for passing their history test).


Lots of comic violence; no one gets hurt. Ted falls down the stairs of a medieval castle, and Bill thinks Ted has been stabbed and killed. Bill is almost stabbed as well, but Ted knocks the assailant out. Bill and Ted are almost decapitated. Billy the Kid causes a barroom brawl and later shoots a light out in modern-day San Dimas. Genghis Khan destroys a sporting goods store with a bat.


Lots of lighthearted sexual innuendo. Bill and Ted refer to all women as "babes" and take turns staring at Bill's mom's cleavage. Missy and Bill's dad make out in Bill's bedroom. Bill's dad is married to a much-younger trophy wife. Genghis Khan stops eating and starts making out with a servant girl. Sigmund Freud points his corndog suggestively.


Language isn't frequent but includes "d--k," "d--kweed," and "f-g."


Circle K, and the duo introduces historical figures to the delights of "mall culture."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One fight in an old Western bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is about two Southern California teens (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) who have little respect for authority and actively disobey their parents. But the tone is very lighthearted, and the characters seem to have the best intentions ("be excellent to each other") during their adventures through time. Expect some comic violence; appropriately, the Dark Ages is where the duo encounters the most life-threatening -- but still comic -- situations. On the iffier side, girls are treated as sex objects to the point that mentor/guide Rufus (George Carlin) "gives" the boys two girls they met in Medieval England as a reward for passing their history test.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byNojEsco September 25, 2020

A Positive Comedy that All Ages Can Enjoy, in Different Ways

I saw this movie in theaters when I was 7 and pretty much loved it as it was a high-energy and high-spirited movie about two dim but likable central protagonist... Continue reading
Adult Written byRealDioBrando6969 August 26, 2020
Teen, 14 years old Written byA random black ... December 19, 2020

Really funny but really close to PG-13

For a PG film, this is full of not PG content. There is a lot of language for a PG movie, including fag(short for faggot a derogatory term for gay men), dick, d... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDeetz July 29, 2021

This movie was most excellent dudes

This movie was super funny. There was some language. Bill’s dad is with a woman way younger than him. There was some jokes that aren’t appropriate for younger k... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, slacker teens Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are more intent on landing Eddie Van Halen for their band Wyld Stallions than making it through high school. But if the boys don't get an A+ on their history report, they'll flunk out of school, and Ted will be on his way to military school in Alaska. Knowing only that Napoleon is "a short, dead dude" and guessing that Joan of Arc is "Noah's wife," the boys seem to be lost -- until a visitor from the future, Rufus (the perfectly cool George Carlin), appears in a magical phone booth to allow them to experience history first hand. They hatch a plan: Bring historical figures back and let them experience San Dimas -- and then take them to class. The plan goes perfectly, including a run-in at the mall, arrests, and other ensuing silliness.

Is it any good?

Some movies are irresistible junk food for the brain -- short, sweet, and so entertaining you want to watch them over and over again; this is one of those. It's a bonbon of a film, full of good looking, sweet scenes that make you feel giddy.

The great thing about Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is that it's perfectly paced and perfectly acted. Say what you will about Reeves' wooden-feeling delivery -- it takes a certain level of brilliance to come up with a character who's both maddeningly dumb and completely lovable. And there are other great scenes. Released on a modern mall, the historical characters act out. Joan of Arc rallies the troupes of an aerobics class. Billy the Kid turns out to be a bad flirt. And with one tilt of his corndog, Sigmund Freud is proven to be a perv. It's delightfully silly and eminently watchable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the "slacker" stereotype. What does that mean to you? Do you consider Bill and Ted to be slackers? Are they role models?

  • The "dudes" shred on guitar, and the "babes" are treated like prizes. Are those stereotypes? If so, what message does that send to viewers?

  • If you had a time machine, what time periods would you visit? Who would you want to visit, and why? Do you think the historical figures in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure really would have reacted the way they did? Would Joan of Arc, for instance, become an aerobics instructor?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

Themes & Topics

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