Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

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

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 29 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Overall, the message is to be good to one another.

Positive Role Models & Representations

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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

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

Consumerism

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 slackers who 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.

User Reviews

Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byMattmchugh April 15, 2012

Best moments are the most inappropriate

For the most part, this is a harmlessly goofy comedy with enough small references to history that a 4th grader would feel smart for catching them. That's... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bythaliapearce June 28, 2009

Be excellent to each other - watch this movie together!

Dude - this movie is most excellent! We have been watching both movies in the B&T's series with our kids for years. Yes, we do have to tell them no... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 9, 2010

HALIRIOUS!!!!!

a very funny movie. some minor language such as the s-word f*g is once used napolen says the s-word about 7 times as comdy effect. some very mild sexual reffren... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMarioMii October 9, 2010

You really need to be iffy because of curse words.

When Bill and Ted were going in a loop de loop, the said a curse word called s--t. I really should not use words like that in school or else I'll get in h... 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 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.

Talk to your kids 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 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure really would have reacted the way they did? Would Joan of Arc, for instance, become an aerobics instructor?

  • Do you think Bill and Ted are good role models? Why or why not?

Movie details

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