Movie Trivia: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

I have a feeling I’m going to get mixed responses to this movie trivia post – either you love the stupidity (genius?) of Bill and Ted or you hate it. Me... I love it. I had a massive crush on Keanu Reeves back in his Ted days (which I then revived during his Speed days). Anyway, enjoy the trivia. San Dimas High School Football Rules!

Bill and Ted were originally "Bill, Ted and Bob." The writers of the movie, UCLA students Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, used to do improv comedy and one of their bits was about a trio of stoners who talked about current events even though they really had no idea what was going on. The third comedian who played Bob lost interest in the whole thing, and thus Wyld Stallyns were born.

In one of the early scripts, Rufus was a 28-year-old sophomore in high school whose van traveled through time. The van idea was thought to be too similar to the DeLorean in Back to the Future, so the phone booth concept was used instead.

The phone booth was given away in a Nintendo Power magazine contest. A kid in Mississippi became the proud owner. Photo from

Before the actors were chosen, Bill and Ted were supposed to be kind of unpopular guys who got made fun of in school. But the director loved Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves and knew they were perfect for the parts, so the roles were adjusted a little bit to make them regular guys who were pretty likable.

At first, the idea was for Keanu Reeves to play Bill and Alex Winter to play Ted. Neither one of them had a problem with switching roles. The writers didn't meet the actors who were going to play the title characters until the first day of filming. Right before filming started, Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon went to eat at a McDonald's near location and saw a couple of guys eating there and remarked to each other that those guys should have played Bill and Ted. When they showed up to the set later, they discovered that "those guys" were playing Bill and Ted - it had been Winter and Reeves at McDonald's.

Originally, the characters Bill and Ted went back and "borrowed" were a little bit different: they included Charlemagne ("Charlie Mangay) and Babe Ruth. Apparently some scenes were actually filmed of Bill and Ted going to prehistoric San Dimas and meeting some cavemen.

The director wanted ZZ Top to play The Three Most Important People in the World, but ultimately decided that rock stars were too hard to work with.

At one point, Bill reads the history assignment to Ted, explaining that the point was to figure out how historical figures would feel about San Dimas, 1988. Do a little lip-reading in this part: Alex WInter actually says "1987," because that's when it was filmed. But by the time the film was released (there was a bit of a delay when the film's first distributor went bankrupt), it was 1989. The line had to be redubbed.

If you've ever wondered what's on Bill's t-shirt under that vest, here you go: it's the cover for Van Halen's "Why Can't This Be Love" single.

Photo from

Joan of Arc was played by Jane Wiedlin, the rhythm guitarist for the Go-Go's.

Most of the movie was filmed in Arizona, including the exteriors of the high school, the Circle K scene and the scene were Napoleon goes down the waterslides at Waterloo. The mall scenes were filled overnight at the Metrocenter in Phoenix.

Maybe Ted isn't as dumb as he appears to be - at the end, after Napoleon finishes up his talk about how much he supposedly loved the waterslides at Waterloo, Ted says, "I don't think it's gonna work." If you check out the maps Napoleon was gesturing to, you'll see that Napoleon was mapping the Russian invasion, which ended terrible for the little guy.

Photo from BacktotheEighties.Net.

In the movie, Bill and Ted say that Eddie Van Halen would compete Wyld Stallyns. After it was released, Eddie said he would have gladly joined if asked.

A scene was cut near the end where the guys attend prom with the princesses. That's how the film was supposed to end, but it was decided that the garage ending would keep the focus on Bill and Ted's music and Wyld Stallyns instead of on the prom.

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More trivia: Roger Ebert didn't review Excellent Adventure and regretted it upon reviewing the sequel Bogus Journey.

"I missed the enormously popular movie that introduced these characters, 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure,' and felt myself blessed at the time. But now I'm not so sure. Their 'Bogus Journey' is a riot of visual invention and weird humor that works on its chosen sub-moronic level, and on several others as well, including some fairly sophisticated ones. It's the kind of movie where you start out snickering in spite of yourself, and end up actually admiring the originality that went into creating this hallucinatory slapstick."
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"The mall scenes were filled overnight at the Metrocenter in Phoenix." There's a typo there, too.

And I've been to that Circle K for the sole reason that it's THE Circle K.

By the way, what number am I thinking of?
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