5.1/10
8,673
55 user 20 critic

Big Top Pee-wee (1988)

Pee-wee Herman is now a small-town farmer with a fiancée, but when a traveling circus comes to town, he finds himself falling for the trapeze artist.

Director:

Randal Kleiser
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Reubens ... Pee-wee Herman (as Pee-wee Herman)
Penelope Ann Miller ... Winnie
Kris Kristofferson ... Mace Montana
Valeria Golino ... Gina Piccolapupula
Wayne White ... Vance the Pig (voice)
Susan Tyrrell ... Midge Montana
Albert Henderson Albert Henderson ... Mr. Ryan
Jack Murdock ... Otis
David Byrd ... Deke
Mary Jackson ... Mrs. Dill
Frances Bay ... Mrs. Haynes
Leo Gordon ... Joe - Blacksmith (as Leo V. Gordon)
Anne Seymour ... Pearl
Kenneth Tobey ... Sheriff
Jay Robinson ... Cook
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Storyline

In the sequel to "Pee Wee's Big Adventure", Pee-Wee Herman has had enough with the fame and constant media attention he received after the events of the first movie, so he's now a simple farmer living quietly in a small town. But after a big storm blows their way, a circus ends up at Pee Wee's farm. So he lets the circus stay at his farm for a while. The circus decides to put on a show with one lovable star, Pee-Wee! Also, a love triangle develops between Pee-Wee, his nice fiancée Winnie, who's the local schoolteacher, and mysterious loner Gina, the circus' attractive trapeze artist. The outcome of this subplot is somewhat unexpected. Written by James Preston

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hero. Lover. Legend.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Piccolapupa - the acrobat family - name literally translates to "little doll" See more »

Goofs

When the Sheriff enters Mr. Ryan's Store to tell everyone about the Storm, Otis switches from standing next to the Sheriff and Mr. Ryan between shots. See more »

Quotes

Pee-wee: Good morning, Vance!
Vance: Morning, Pee Wee.
Pee-wee: Hah! Beautiful day, huh? Mm-mm!
Vance: Mm... It's okay.
Pee-wee: [singing] Mm mm mm mm... Ah! Doo doo... Doo-doo. Mm mm mm, mm... Mm. Mm-mm-mm... Mm mm-mm-mm... La-la la-la... Ah! Pkhh!
Vance: My, we are certainly in a good mood this morning.
Pee-wee: That, my dear Vance, is the understatement of the year. Everything seems completely different to me today. The air smells so fresh. The sky seems a brand-new shade of blue. I don't think I've ever noticed the beauty of this leaf. And Vance! Have ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The film opens with the late 1950's Paramount logo. See more »

Connections

References Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Rimprovero
Written by Gioachino Rossini (uncredited)
Performed by Paul Reubens (as Pee-Wee Herman)
See more »

User Reviews

Unique and bizarre experience
22 October 2013 | by rooprectSee all my reviews

This is a very difficult movie to appreciate. Or it may be a very simple movie to appreciate, depending on who you are.

Have a look at the following movies, and if you see at least 1 that you really like from EACH category, then you'll probably enjoy "Big Top Pee-Wee".

CATEGORY A ----------------------------

Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Edward Scissorhands

The Fall

Labyrinth

CATEGORY B ----------------------------

Free Willy

E.T.

Anything by Walt Disney

The Muppet Movie

Category A movies are fairy tales for adults. Category B movies are straightforward kid's movies. In order to appreciate "Big Top Pee-wee" you have to be ready for either. You have to expect some jokes & gags that only adults will recognize (mildly sexual, cynical or taboo: such as the cranky old lady's hilarious reference to bulimia), but overall the film takes the format of a kid's movie, with lots of cute animals, predictable slapstick and a cheerful approach, right down to the cheezy sing-song finale.

I think it's the latter--the category B "kid" content--that threw off a lot of fans. The original "Pee-wee" was an adult film packaged in a kid's presentation. But this is the opposite: a kid's film in adult clothing.

As such, the gags aren't as subtle & witty as adult comedies usually are. Like a Saturday morning kids show, "Big Top Pee-wee" comes on strong with exaggerated and hyper-enthusiastic dialogue, overt sight gags & corny action. This may turn off a lot of adults expecting the more biting, tongue-in-cheek comedy of the original Pee-wee.

All the same, there are some classic comedic moments that adults & kids alike will enjoy. The whole "I just wanted a cheese sandwich!" scene had me rolling. I also liked the 1st picnic with Winnie which could easily have been a deleted scene in the original Pee-wee. The creepy townsfolk in general, contrasted against Pee-wee's oblivious optimism, provided great entertainment. But be forewarned, these acidic gags are sparsely presented. Most of the film is straightforward silliness, suitable for kids & young minds.

Being a die-hard fan of the original film, and being a fan of adult fairy tales in general, I have a love-hate relationship with this movie and that's why I can't rate it. But I've seen it 4 times if that's any indication of how compelling it is. My gut says I shouldn't recommend it to everyone, but all the same, there will be a few of you out there who will really enjoy this flick. If you're a kid at heart, don't hesitate.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

22 July 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Big Top Pee-wee See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,625,004, 24 July 1988

Gross USA:

$15,122,324

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,122,324
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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