Released in 1989, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure follows the adventures of two school friends from San Dimas, California, who travel through time in a phone booth. They are Bill S. Preston Esq. (played by Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan, (Keanu Reeves).
The pair are not the brightest academically, spending most of their time practising for their rock band Wyld Stallyns, despite neither of them being particularly great musicians either. Unfortunately, their lack of book smarts means that unless they get an A+ in their history exam they will be forced to drop out of high school. If this were to happen, the pair would be split up as Ted’s father has threatened to send Ted to military school if he fails.
One evening, whilst sat outside a Circle K convenience store bemoaning their situation, a solution arrives in the form of Rufus, a man from the future who appears in a phone booth fitted with a time machine. He explains that the Wyld Stallyns must not be split up, as in the future they are the saviours of the Earth (though it is never really properly explained why, other than the fact that their motto “Be Excellent To Each Other” is actually a nice sentiment). Rufus lends them the time machine so they can go and research history in person, but whilst sceptical at first they are convinced when the future versions of themselves appear and are able to guess the number they are thinking of!
The duo set of on their travels and meet (and kidnap) various historical characters, getting most of their names wrong in the process. Figures they meet include Napoleon Bonaparte, Billy The Kid (who they initially call Mr. The Kid), Socrates (So-crates), Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan and Abrahan Lincoln. They also meet two medieval English princesses called Elizabeth and Joanna, who end up becoming their girlfriends and stay with them in the present, as revealed in the sequel Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.
Bill and Ted then present their history report in the school hall as more of a rock concert than a report, with each of the historical characters doing their bit to secure Bill and Ted’s final pass mark.
The film was loaded with that strange dialect of English that typifies California, with words like dude, triumphant, bogus and of course excellent used constantly, and putting “non” in front of another word to negate it’s meaning. For example, non non non non non triumphant. Also, most of the time when Bill and Ted say the word excellent, they follow it with a bout of air guitar, which is accompanied by a snatch of electric guitar played as incidental music.
As well as the afore mentioned sequel, Bill and Ted have also appeared in a cartoon series (the first series of which was voiced by Alex and Keanu), a live action series (with different actors) and a comic book. The characters have also appeared many times as part of Universal Studios Theme Parks Halloween Horror Nights line up, with a live show featuring other film characters from that year. For more information on the world of Bill and Ted, visit the most triumphant Bill and Ted’s Excellent Online Adventure website, which is now proud to say it’s the official source of all things Bill and Ted.