Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)



Critic Consensus: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure brings Paul Reubens' famous character to the big screen intact, along with enough inspired silliness to dazzle children of all ages.

Pee-wee's Big Adventure Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Co-written by Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman, Pee Wee's Big Adventure marks the debut of director Tim Burton, who stamps the entire film with his quirky trademark style. The premise: Pee Wee (Reubens), an overgrown pre-pubescent boy sporting a molded Princeton cut, blush, lipstick, and a shrunken gray flannel suit, lives an idyllic life in his bizarre home (some have compared the remarkable set design to the expressionistic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) until someone nabs his most prized … More

Rating: PG (violence)
Genre: Comedy, Kids & Family
Directed By:
Written By: Phil Hartman, Paul Reubens, Michael Varhol
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 2, 2000
Warner Home Video


as Pee-Wee Herman

as Francis

as Mickey

as Tina

as Hobo Jack

as Sergeant Hunter

as BMX Kid

as Policeman

as Policeman

as Mr. Buxton

as Francis' Accomplice

as Amazing Larry

as Gang Member

as Mme. Ruby

as Highway Patrolman

as Large Marge

as Trucker

as Man in Diner

as Bus Clerk

as Cowboy

as Biker Mama

as Kevin Morton

as Studio Guard

as Movie Lot Actor

as Movie Lot Actress

as Mother Superior

as Japanese Director

as Fireman

as Policeman at Pet Sho...

as Reporter

as Photographer

as `Dottie'

as Himself [uncredited]

as Terry Hawthorne

as Themselves
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Pee-wee's Big Adventure

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (5)

Reubens always lets us feel superior to his creation, and when his character slips, as it does more than once in this first feature outing, his own condescension shows through.

Full Review… | February 9, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Fair warning: this movie could induce terminal boredom in adults and rot the minds of the young.

Full Review… | February 9, 2010
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Children should love the film and adults will be dismayed by the light brushstrokes with which Paul Reubens (one of three credited screenwriters, but star-billed under his stage name, Pee-wee Herman) suggests touches of Buster Keaton and Eddie Cantor.

Full Review… | February 9, 2010
Top Critic

Fed by comic tributaries perhaps, but Pee-Wee Herman comes over as a delightful original.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

You have been warned.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

It's a true original -- a comedy maverick that looks and feels like no other movie I know.

Full Review… | July 31, 2015
Christian Science Monitor

Audience Reviews for Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Often too juvenile to bear, but for the other moments it's mostly just pure, exuberant fun. Full review later.

Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer


Tim Burton's "Peewee's Big Adventure" is arguably scarier than it is funny, blending the darkness and lightness together, and I absolutely loved that contrast. The odd visuals and the bubbly soundtrack make this film a joy to watch, even though sometimes it forgets what kind of film it is trying to be, throwing in random jump scares. The story is simple, Peewee's bike is stolen and the film is his journey to bring it back. It is a very fun tale that many films after have clearly been influenced by. Some people may be turned off by it's two-sidedness, but I loved that about it. The art direction is really commendable and is what I'll remember this film most for, and of course, the Peewee character. This is an extremely fun movie!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


The start of Tim Burton's great directing career. "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" is odd, funny, and entertaining. So many iconic moments, from the Alamo to Large Marge to Pee-wee's trek through Hollywood. I also love how Danny Elfman's score perfectly syncs to the film. The screenwriters did a great job with the script by creating truly memorable characters and scenes. Add Burton's quirky directing skills and what we get is one humorous adventure.

Mickey: Well, I lost my temper and I took a knife and I uh-. Do you know those "Do Not Remove Under the Penalty of Law" labels they put on mattresses?
Pee-wee: Yeah.
Mickey: Well I CUT one of them off!

Market Man
Eric Shankle

Super Reviewer

Pee-wee's Big Adventure Quotes

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– Submitted by Jazen H (13 months ago)
– Submitted by Michael W (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Michael W (2 years ago)

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