Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure follows the journey of Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves), a pair of high school students on the verge of failing out of San Dimas High School in San Dimas California. To graduate, they must pass their upcoming history report or they will be separated as a result of Ted's father sending him to military school. But, what Bill and Ted do not know is that their efforts in their yet-to-be-created most excellent rock band ever, Wyld Stallions, will be the basis of world peace and harmony through the universe. Should they be separated it could mean the end to the future of the earth, the universe, and even time itself.
Released in 1989, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was the first film co-written by Chris Matheson, son of the great television and film writer Richard Matheson (of Duel, The Omega Man, and Star Trek fame) with Ed Solomon. It was also only the second film to be directed by Stephen Herek (who would later direct other classics such as Mr. Holland's Opus, Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, and The Mighty Ducks).
It was also the first film in George Carlin's career that was really able to use all of his talents as a comedian and actor with his portrayal of Rufus the wizened time traveller from the future who implores Bill and Ted to embark upon the most excellent adventure through time to save the universe. Their time travel vehicle of choice? A telephone booth that can make more than domestic and long distance calls.
Along the way the two study the implications of manifest destiny in the wild west with Billy the Kid, pyschology with Freud, faith with Joan of Arc, dictatorship with Ghengis Khan, philosophy with Socrates, and even the fledgling frailty of a young American nation with Abraham Lincoln.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure touches on more serious subjects than just two excellent surfer dudes who want to spend their time rocking out with their band Wyld Stallions. The subtext in this film is that if you know thyself you can indeed help the world. It is a concept that is at the heart of many of the classics such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or even the more dramatic classics such as Orson Welles' Citzen Kane. It makes this film much more than the silly slapstick comedy romp that is has been portrayed.
Give it a try, I'm confident it will surprise you.