Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Critics Consensus

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are just charming, goofy, and silly enough to make this fluffy time-travel Adventure work.

81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 52

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 376,329

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Movie Info

Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school buddies starting a band. However, they are about to fail their history class, which means Ted would be sent to military school. They receive help from Rufus (George Carlin), a traveler from a future where their band is the foundation for a perfect society. With the use of Rufus' time machine, Bill and Ted travel to various points in history, returning with important figures to help them complete their final history presentation.

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Critic Reviews for Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (10)

  • Though its one-liners elicit the occasional chortle -- when Bill and Ted don medieval armor, there's an obligatory heavy-metal joke -- the film doesn't engage, because its heroes don't engage with the historical characters.

    October 22, 2014 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Make no mistake, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is not a satire of mindlessness; it's unabashed glorification of dumbness for dumbness' sake.

    October 22, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Reeves, with his beguilingly blank face and loose-limbed, happy-go-lucky physical vocabulary, and Winter, with his golden curls, gleefully good vibes and 'bodacious' vocabulary, propel this adventure as long as they can.

    May 30, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • This is extremely silly, good natured, superficial stuff; a lot depends on whether you take to Bill and Ted's unique lingo (which contorts surfers' expressions) and their gormless behaviour.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Colette Maude

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • A painfully inept comedy.

    May 20, 2003 | Full Review…
  • More than anything, the picture looks paltry and undernourished. Even the warts on Lincoln's face look slapped on.

    January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

  • Sep 14, 2014
    I was clearly in the mood for something goofy and silly when I picked this one. It's impressive to see how utterly expressive Keanu Reeves actually was in this movie. Perhaps expressive isn't really even the right term to describe it, but he put in a lot more effort into this role, one that doesn't really require him to do much anyway, in comparison to some of his later roles. I like Keanu a lot actually, but there's no denying that he's not a particularly good actor. Perhaps being a goofball, which is what both Bill and Ted are, just came more naturally to him than other roles. Maybe that's just me. His delivery is still wooden, but there's a little more life behind his performance. This movie definitely had a bit of a rough start, but it eventually settled down into a silly and fun way to spend 90 minutes. I'm not gonna say this film is the best time travel film that is out there, hell there were better time travel movies released in the same decade, Back to the Future, as if you hadn't guessed that already. But there's a certain effort and cleverness about the time travel aspect that adds something to the film. I can't explain what that something else, but it makes it more than just your average teen comedy. It also has a pretty positive message all things considered about, essentially, being kind to each other. Of course this message is delivered in the most 80s way possible with the phrase 'Be excellent to each other and party on dudes' being the big point of emphasis of this theme. Wouldn't surprise me if some form of hippies wrote and directed this movie. Some movies will have this same type of message shoehorned into a film full of negative gender, or racial, stereotypes and mean spirited jokes. See Grown Ups 2, or any Sandler movie for that matter. This film, as far as I can tell, while dealing in stereotypes for the most part, it doesn't do so in a negative way whatsoever. At least I don't think it does. Perhaps I'm wrong about that. I mean, really, this is exactly what a goofy teen comedy about time travel from the 80s would look like. I don't count BTTF in that list because there's so much more going on there than just goofy time travel teen comedy. It's silly and it's fun and that's really all it needed to be. Don't expect to be impressed by this film's experimental artistry or examination of the human condition. It's a film about two goofy idiots travelling through time in order to ace their oral report, it's not Citizen Kane.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2013
    One of the greatest comedies of the '80s, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is most triumphant. The story follows two high school seniors who are about to fail their history class, until they receive a time machine from the future to help them pass their final. Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, and George Carlin lead the cast, and give great performances. Additionally, the comedy is irresistibly hilarious and over-the-top. And, the soundtrack is wickedly awesome. A wyld and crazy goofball comedy, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is outrageously funny. "Party on dudes!"
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2013
    It's fun and goofy but quite frankly not a great film. Nonetheless, it is a creative way to view historical figures and what their reaction might be to the world of the eighties. Kudos to Carlin for his depiction of Rufus.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2012
    The film is a genuine cult classic and with the third film in post production, I just thought, what better time to revisit the series. Bill and Ted is one of those films that you can flick on and watch without thinking too much about it. Strong emphasis on fun and the plot is quirky and original. The cast is great, and they managed to include some strong support characters. I honestly thought I had outgrown this film, but it's actually intelligently plotted. The writers and filmmaker are the key here and they ensure this film was one of a kind. This worth an addition to your library or if you want to save some room, revisit the film. Incredibly guilty pleasure film that succeeds at becoming exactly what it wanted to be. 08/01/2020
    Brendan N Super Reviewer

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