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Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) Poster

Trivia

In the original script, the time machine was a 1969 Chevy Van, but the filmmakers thought that it would be a rip-off of Back to the Future (1985). So, they changed it to a phone booth (apparently unconcerned that Doctor Who (1963) uses a police telephone box as its time machine). Also, when they used the van, Bill and Ted picked up more historical figures than they did in the final film.
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The phone booth time machine in the film was given away as a contest prize in Nintendo Power magazine, as the magazine was promoting a then-new Bill and Ted game for the NES.
Bill and Ted began as a stand-up act in which the characters would discuss current events without knowing what they were talking about. Originally there was a third character named Bob, but the comedian who played him lost interest after a few performances.
When Bill reads the assignment to Ted, he says, "Express to the class how an important historical figure from each of your time periods would view the world of San Dimas, 1988." His lips are actually saying, "San Dimas, 1987"; the "1988" was dubbed later because of a delay in the movie's release.
When Napoleon finishes his "waterslide" presentation at the end of the movie, Ted looks up and says, "I don't think it's gonna work." If you look closely at the maps, you can see that Napoleon is actually diagramming the French invasion of Russia, Napoleon's most disastrous defeat.
In the film, Bill and Ted claim that they need Edward Van Halen in their band to make it better. After the film was released, he jokingly said he would have joined their band if they had asked.
The original ending had Bill and Ted delivering their history report in class, with all of the historical figures displaying their views via blackboard.
Principal photography was completed in 1987, but the release was delayed because the film's original financiers, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, went bankrupt. The film was in danger of being dumped onto cable television, until Nelson Entertainment bought the rights to the movie in 1988, and it was released in 1989.
The mall scene was filmed at Metrocenter Mall in Phoenix, Arizona in 1987. Some of the extras in the scene were kids from a local high school, Cortez, while they were there on their lunch break.
During the report at the end, Bill mentions that he has an Oedipus Complex. This is a term first used by Freud to describe a child's desire to possess the parent of the opposite sex. This is a reference to Bill's confused sexual desire over his new stepmom, Missy.
On the cover of the British VHS re-release of the film (by BMG Entertainment International U.K. and Ireland Ltd. by Canal+ distribution) in 1997, there is a picture of Bill and Ted wearing tuxedos, linking arms with the Princess Babes. This is clearly from a deleted high school prom scene, which would have appeared near the end of the film.
Stevie Salas is the "guitar hand double" for Rufus during the jam session at the end of the movie.
Originally, Alex Winter auditioned for the role of Ted and Keanu Reeves auditioned for the role of Bill.
Alex Winter claimed that he gets two different letters from teachers - positive ones from history teachers for encouraging children to learn about history and the figures, and negative ones from English teachers for affecting the way students speak.
For years, Keanu Reeves lamented that his epitaph would be "Here lies Keanu Reeves. He played Ted."
Originally the plot was to have Bill and Ted visit, and therefore accidentally cause, all of history's greatest tragedies (the sinking of the Titanic, the crash of the Hindenburg, the Black Plague...).
The rescue scene of Bill and Ted (their comrades pretending to be executioners and escaping on a horse-drawn carriage) is the same way that D'Artagnan is rescued in The Three Musketeers (1993), which was also directed by Stephen Herek.
Napoleon "pigs out" on a Neapolitan sundae at Ziggy Piggy's that he refers to as "La glacé". Even though there are similarities between the ice cream and his name, the dessert originated from Naples, Italy. Historically, Napoleon Bonaparte did in fact have a fondness for it, when he arrived in that country.
All of the figures that Bill and Ted pick up through history are shown on the blackboard on the opening scene.
Edward Van Halen said that he would have been glad to appear in the movie, but nobody asked him.
The "Ziggy Pig" dish in the ice-cream restaurant is a reference to a comic book character put out by Timely Comics (later Marvel) during World War II. By the time this movie was made, it and its image (which appears on the badge they place on Napoleon's chest) were public domain. The award itself is based on the ribbon that could be won at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor restaurants upon completion of their "Pig Trough," a double-sized banana split. Farrell's was a large restaurant chain in the 1970s, but few remained by 1988.
The band Extreme's song Play With Me is featured in the film. Appropriately, not long after the film, Alex Winter directed the video for Extreme's follow-up hit, Decadence Dance.
In April 2013, Alex Winter commented on George Carlin's casting: "He was a very happy accident. They were going after serious people first. Like Sean Connery. And someone had the idea, way after we started shooting, of George. That whole movie was a happy accident. No one thought it would ever see the light of day."
In the book "The Producers: Profiles in Frustration," producer Scott Kroopf recalled pitching the idea of "Bill & Ted" to Dino De Laurentiis. Quoted Kroopf: "Dino had no idea what the film was about. He didn't understand what dudes were until someone said to him that 'dudes' meant guys who had big dicks. Then he said 'Oh, great, now I get it.'"
Though the film is PG, almost no cursing is heard in it, except for one quick spot that can easily be missed, and it's a whopper of a curse. At the end of the scene where Ted is enticing Genghis Khan into the phone booth with the Twinkie, right after Genghis walks off screen, you hear him yell, "You mother fucker" (with the last word sounding muffled). One of the other being when Ted asks Bill if they know where they're going, and after responding he doesn't know, Bill yells, "Shit!" while Ted just shouts.
In the original outline for the movie, Rufus was a 28-year-old high school sophomore who befriended Bill and Ted. There was also a character named John the Serf, whom Bill and Ted picked up in medieval England.
Bill's "philosophy" to Socrates, "All we are is dust in the wind, dude", is a line from Dust in the Wind' by Kansas.
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This is one of four productions in which Genghis Khan and Abraham Lincoln appear together as characters, in spite of the fact that Lincoln was born 582 years after the Khan's death. The others are Star Trek: The Savage Curtain (1969), Clone High (2002) and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009).
Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson wrote the script over the course of just four days. They wrote it by hand, on note paper, during a series of meetings at a couple of local coffee shops. The 2005 box set, Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Collection, features some of their handwritten notes.
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Rufus never introduces himself to Bill or Ted. The future Bill and Ted introduce him to their past selves at the Circle K.
Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson discovered Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves when they were messing around in a queue outside McDonald's in front of them.
The picture on Ted's T-shirt is the cover photo for Van Halen's 'Why Can't This Be Love' single, for sale during the Van Halen 5150 tour and very commonly seen on Van Halen fans in the late 1980s. This was Sammy Hagar's first tour with Van Halen after replacing David Lee Roth.
The cruelest irony of this film, although never mentioned within the movie itself, is that every one of the historical figures Bill and Ted brought back with them all died horrifically. Several characters, including Socrates, Joan of Arc, Billy the Kid and Abraham Lincoln, were either executed or assassinated.
The scene when Napoleon slides down the water slides at "Waterloo" was filmed at the Golfland/Sunsplash water park in Mesa, Arizona.
The punk band The Ataris wrote a song based on Ox's report. The song is titled "San Dimas High School Football Rules!" but has nothing to do with the film.
In 2010, the city of San Dimas celebrated 50 years of incorporation. The celebration's slogan was San Dimas, 1960-2010 - An Excellent Adventure.
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The Circle K is in San Dimas at the corner of Walnut and Bonita Ave. The scenes at the convenience store were at least partially filmed at the Circle K at the northwest corner of Southern and Hardy in Tempe, Arizona.
Abraham Lincoln's speech at the end is a paraphrase of his own Gettysburg Address.
In the original script, among the abducted historical figures were Babe Ruth.
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At the beginning, Mr. Ryan asks Ted who was Joan of Arc (answer: Noah's wife). In the German dubbed version, he asks who was Hannibal (answer: the uncle of Football).
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The exterior shots of Bill and Ted's high school are of Coronado High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. The striking mosaic is featured on the school's auditorium facade and was designed by art teacher Mr. Gatti and the students in the early 1960s.
Despite playing high school students, the lead actors were in their mid-twenties during production.
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In a 1991 interview, co-writer Ed Solomon said the characters of Bill and Ted were originally envisaged as "14-year-old skinny guys, with low-rider bell-bottoms and heavy metal T-shirts" who were despised by the popular kids at school. Casting Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter changed the filmmakers' images of the characters because "...once you cast Alex and Keanu, who look like pretty cool guys, that was hard to believe."
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Footage from War and Peace (1956) is used in the scene when Bill & Ted first spot Napoleon
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The number that Rufus dials to take Bill and Ted to Austria in 1805 is 1-323-459-4303.
At the time some of the German dubbed catch phrases (ie. "Volle Kanne, Hoschi") became so popular that they were adapted by many people and used as common language.
Pauly Shore and Josh Richman auditioned for the role of Ted.
There are 70 uses of "dude" throughout the movie, as well as 30 of "excellent".
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Chris Matheson didn't intend for this to be a science-fiction movie. "I try to consciously fight it, out of a desire to break away, but maybe I have a predilection toward that because of my dad," Matheson told Starlog Magazine of the inevitable fantasy elements that emerged. "He's a great writer and craftsman, and always has suggestions." In fact, it was his father Richard Matheson's idea that the time travel story be its own movie. "We were going to write a sketch film, with this as one of the skits, but my dad said, 'That sounds like a whole movie,'" Matheson recalled, "And he was right!"
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Australian band "Space Desert" have an EP called "Forrest Gump II", but none of the songs are about Forrest Gump (1994). It is in fact about Bill and Ted, and even quote lines from the film, and include a snippet of an interview with Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter explaining the meaning of the word "Bodacious".
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Coronado High School's auditorium was torn down during 2005-07 renovations, but its unique roof and intricate exterior mosaic, seen in an opening scene when Bill and Ted leave school in a red Mustang, was saved and moved, piece by piece, to the new auditorium.
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According to Alex Winter, he and Keanu Reeves nicknamed the phone booth 'The Box Box', because filming in it was so unpleasant.
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The film was originally going to end with Bill and Ted taking the princesses to the prom. When they first meet, Ted asks them to the prom.
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The film takes place in 2688, May 1988, 1805, 1879, 410 BC, the 15th Century, 1901, 1810, 1429, 1209, 1863 and 1000000 BC.
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Keanu Reeves' character (in the script) addresses himself as Theodore Logan, III. Meaning his father's full name was Captain Theodore Logan Jr.
In the scene where Bill & Ted leave Napoleon with Deacon there is a balloon in the background that says "Party On Dude".
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The mall was Phoenix Metrocenter, between Peoria and Dunlap Avenues at Interstate 17. It has since been renovated and no longer looks as it did in the film.
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During filming, Dan Shor (Billy the Kid) and Jane Wiedlin (Joan of Arc) were 31 and 29 years old, respectively. The real Billy the Kid and Joan of Arc were 21 and 19, respectively, when they were killed.
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Socrates' philosophy, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives", is actually the tagline to Days of Our Lives (1965).
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Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq.), Keanu Reeves (Ted "Theodore" Logan), George Carlin (Rufus), Hal Landon Jr. (Captain John Logan), Amy Stoch (Missy) and J. Patrick McNamara (Mr. Preston) are the only actors to reprise their roles in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991).
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Bill says, "Let's reach out and touch someone" before they use the booth for the first time, an old slogan for Bell System Phone Company.
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After Missy drives Bill & Ted to Ted's house to get his books, Missy pulls the February 16th, 1987 issue of People Magazine out of the groceries and begins reading the article: "Could They Get Away with Murder?"
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During the scene where Bill & Ted first see the castle that contains the princesses, you can week a lighting rod on the castle. Lightning rods were not invented until 1749 by Benjamin Franklin.
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The historical figures Bill & Ted pick up for their presentation are: Napoleon, Billy the Kid, Socrates, Sigmund Freud, Genghis Kahn, Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln, and Beethoven.
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The bowling alley was a Fair Lanes-branded alley at that time but is now the AMF Tempe Village Lanes on Rural Road at US 60, three miles south of Arizona State University.
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One of the few profanity words spoken in the movie are by Ted's younger brother Deacon. When confronted about ditching Napoleon, Deacon states, "He was a dick!"
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When Bill and Ted get Ludwig van Beethoven, the film shows they are in Kassel, Germany, 1810. At that time, Kassel was the seat of the court of Jérôme Bonaparte - the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.
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The bar fight scene is parallel to the girl scout fight scene in Airplane! (1980). Both begin over a poker cheat (extra ace), have the same punches and bar stool hit, and end with one being slid across the bar until breaking through a wall or juke box.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

During the scene where Bill & Ted are leaving Napoleon in Ted's younger brother Deacon's care, you can see an electric football game in the background. Assuming Ted grew up playing the game, it helps explain why Bill & Ted are good at it and can best the Grim Reaper when they play in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991).

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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