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

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

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.

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Comedy
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

About our rating system

  • 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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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK 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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Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byMattmchugh April 15, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

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 all fine. However, the sharpest jokes are the ones that are the iffiest for the young kids who would enjoy most of the movie. For example, one kid refers to Napoleon as a "d**k" -- which I'm sure he was. Funny, but something you may not want your kids to repeat. There are also references to the Oedipal Complex and the number 69 that curious-minded tweens may ask about, so be prepared to explain or deflect. The best inappropriate gag is when one character thinks another has been killed. Upon finding him alive, both hug spontaneously then, a second later, they push back from each other and simultaneously, with disgust, call the other "F-g!" This is hilarious. This is a sharp comment on a prejudice ingrained in our culture, particularly strong in teenage boys, and it's laid out in a joke that underscores its ridiculousness. That's a clever moment, but too subtle for tweens. They'll just think it's funny to say that word -- so, again, be prepared to handle that as you think best. All in all, this is pretty OK for over 10, save for some adult jokes to be aware of. -- mm
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bythaliapearce June 28, 2009
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

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 not to repeat a few words but other than that, there is little to be offended by. I see so much more offensive objectification of women in today's movies than exists in this movie. Just be aware of the difference in our eras - it is from the eighties after-all. Not only are the movies very entertaining, there are even some non-heinous messages in both stories. For example, non-violence, "Dude, we couldn't possible fight you, were like totally weak!" and overall, "Be excellent to each other!" So watch the movies and, "Party on dudes"!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old December 24, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 
There is a scene where Nepolion says the s-word multiple times.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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