Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Fun-loving, guitar-playing, history-flunking airheads Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esquire, first came on the scene in 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. A time-tripping romp, the movie had the appearance of a teen comedy, but its silly humor and good-natured charm won over kids of all ages.

San Dimas, California, residents Bill and Ted live a relatively happy life (ignorance is bliss, after all), but their dreams of garage band glory are threatened by the fact that they’re flunking history. Ted’s dad, a hard-nosed cop, has threatened to ship Ted off to an Alaskan military school if he doesn’t pass his classes, and the only way they’ll pass is if Bill and Ted ace their final oral history report the next day. There doesn’t seem to be much hope (the two still think Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife), but a surprise visitor from the future just might have the miracle they need.

Cool dude Rufus, who arrives in a time-traveling phone booth, tells the boys that one day their music will be the foundation of a peaceful, prosperous civilization, but none of that can happen if they don’t pass. Rufus loans them the booth, and they’re off to do a little hands-on research. Soon, however, they hit upon an even more ingenious solution: they decide to “borrow” a few famous faces from the past to liven up their presentation.

After several nearly disastrous stops, the phone booth is packed with everyone from Genghis Khan to Joan of Arc to Socrates (“So Crates”) to Abraham Lincoln. Everything points to an easy ‘A,’ but modern-day San Dimas is no place for a gaggle of historical luminaries. Before you can say, “Bogus!,” the gang is in a heap of trouble with the law, right before the big report.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure wasn’t exactly highbrow entertainment, but nobody seemed to care. The sight of Napoleon terrorizing a local water park and Genghis Khan skateboarding through a sporting goods store with a hockey stick for a club more than made up for any lack of educational content. Before long, wannabe Bills and Teds were spouting off “Excellent” and “Bogus” and playing air guitar wherever they went.

Made on a small budget, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was a clear hit, helping propel Keanu Reeves (Ted) and Alex Winter (Bill) to stardom. The underachieving twosome returned to the big screen two years later for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and the excellent adventures continued in both a Saturday morning cartoon and a prime time series. Most excellent!

If you count Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure among one of your favorite comedies, we welcome your thoughts and recollections in our comments section below.

One Response to “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”

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  1. Gina says:

    I loved the first film–hated the second. One of the worst sequels ever. In the first film, Bill and Ted didn’t even know how to drive yet–in the second they’re already getting married and having babies! I wanted them to always be just Bill and Ted, with no dumb princess chicks getting in the way of their friendship. At least the TV series didn’t feature the princesses, providing an alternate continuity for people like myself to choose over “Bogus Journey”.

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