Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure Throwback Movie Review

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There are some movies from the past that can show you what the culture was of that time. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is one of those movies. Set in 1988 and released February 17, 1989, it shows what life in the 80’s was like, including the horrible hairstyles and the bad fashion. The movie goes so far as to have a rock band that replaces the I with a Y, which was common in the 80’s.

Now considered a cult classic, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure grossed $40.4 million domestically on a budget of about $10 million. Receiving poor to mixed reviews at the time, it currently sits at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. While it was able to get it a sequel in 1991, there is still enough love for the characters that there is discussion, at the time of this writing, about making a third film.

Outrageous Idea

The basic idea behind Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a pretty simple one. To avoid possible separation, the two friends team up to pass their history class. After some studying, they meet a man who gives them a way to travel in time for their history report. While traveling back in time, they inadvertently capture a historical figure. This accidental kidnapping inspires them to capture more famous people from history to use in their presentation.

Though it is a crazy idea to begin with, the movie shines where its characters are concerned. Bill and Ted are a couple of friends who only care about music, but will do anything for their friendship. While they are the stereotypical stoner type, their reactions to historical people are always amusing. And the people from history never understand what’s going on, making it an entertaining story and situation.


The titular Bill and Ted are played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, respectively. Today, Keanu Reeves is most well known for his roles in John Wick and The Matrix, this is one of his first staring rolls.

There are a handful of other characters that originate from the same time period as Bill and Ted. These would include Ted’s dad, played by Hal Landon, Jr., and his younger brother, played by Fraizer Brain.

Rounding out the cast from the 80’s is Bill’s father, played by J. Patrick McNamara, and his Step-Mom Missy, played by Amy Stock-Poynton.

The plot centers around Bill and Ted going to the past for a history report. The bulk of the main cast contains historical people from their adventure. Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Terry Camilleri, Billy the Kid, played by Dan Shor, Socrates, Socrates, played by Tony Steedman, and Abraham Lincoln played by Robbert Barron are the most prominent of the historical figures.

Rod Loomis’ Sigmond Freud, Al Leong’s Genghis Khan, Jane Wiedlin’s Joan of Arc, and Clifford David’s Beethoven are not as prominent but each character is just as important to Bill and Ted’s report.

Last but not least, we have George Carlin who plays Rufus, the man who sets them on their journey. During Bill and Ted’s journey, they meet Princesses that they fall in love with, played by Diane Franklin and Kimberly LaBelle.

Final Thoughts

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a movie with problems. Most noticeably the story does not spend the same amount of time with each historical figure. But if you can turn your mind off to that, and the paradoxes that would come from time travel, it is a fun time.

This film is a film I remember with glee from my younger years, and is one I revisit every few years. With a short 90 minute runtime, it is a film that is enjoyed at almost any time. While there are some suggestive scenes that are used for laughs, older audiences will enjoy this film. It is one I would recommend them to watch for laughs.

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