Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

  • Review Date: March 19, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1989
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Silly time-capsule comedy ideal for older tweens.
  • Review Date: March 19, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1989
  • Running Time: 90 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Bill and Ted are high school losers who don't pay attention in class and literally require divine intervention to save their grades. Ted's dad treats him badly and yells at him. They steal Ted's dad's keys and let people out of jail and generally disobey their parents. But overall, the message is to be good to one another.


Lots of comic violence and 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 Kidd 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.


Sparse salty language, including "dick," "dickweed," and "fag."


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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One fight in an old Western bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bill and Ted are slackers, have no respect for authority, and actively disobey their parents. But the tone is still very lighthearted and the characters seem to have the best intentions during their adventures through time. There is some comic violence and, appropriately, the Dark Ages is where the duo encounters the most life-threatening -- but still comic -- situations. Girls are treated as sex objects to the point that Rufus gives the boys two girls they met in Medieval England as a reward for passing their history test.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

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?


There are some movies that are irresistible junk food for the brain: they are short, sweet and so entertaining you want to watch them over and over again. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure 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 the film is that it's perfectly paced and perfectly acted. Say what you will about Keanu Reeve's wooden acting skills -- it takes a certain level of brilliance to come up with a character who is 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 Kidd 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 imminently watchable.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how to balance creative pursuits like music with good school work. 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 the film really would have reacted the way they did? Would Joan of Arc, for instance, become an aerobics instructor?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 17, 1989
DVD release date:December 4, 2001
Cast:Alex Winter, George Carlin, Keanu Reeves
Director:Stephen Herek
Topics:Adventures, Friendship, High school, History
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild violence and some sexuality

This review of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old November 29, 2009

a very good movie

one of my favorite movie ever.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Teen, 15 years old Written byOGORMAN February 3, 2011

Sparse language, but even then it's still fine for a wide variety of ages.

I loved this movie! I laughed all the way through the movie. Sure there's a few times where d--k and d--kweed are used, but otherwise there really isn't anything wrong with this movie. Two friends who are failing high school must complete a report to save their grades. So what do they do? Take a time machine into the past and bring important historical figures back with them... what could go wrong? Well... a lot can, and does. The way Bill and Ted solve every problem they come across will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. One last thing before I go: "Be excellent to each other!" Ha ha watch the movie you'll understand!
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byjal34 January 11, 2009
This is a dorcy non funny atempt to be funny. the comedy is dumb and kinda out dated and the acting is sloppy and the plot is just plain stuiped


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