Small But Accurate Details In 'Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure'

Over 400 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Small But Accurate Details In 'Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure'
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Vote up the little details that 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure' got surprisingly right.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure may not be touted for its accuracy, but it offers a fun ride through history. Bill S. Preston, Esquire (Alex Winter) and Ted "Theodore" Logan (Keanu Reeves), with the help of Rufus (George Carlin) and his time-traveling phone booth, venture back to Ancient Greece, explore the Wild West, and offer up acts of chivalry in Medieval Europe.

While snagging major historical figures, causing a bit of trouble, and even taking a brief trip to the future, Bill and Ted actually impart more historical knowledge than even they would have realized. Numerous subtle and fascinating details in the comedy classic may actually make you reevaluate your overall assessment of Bill and Ted's historical accuracy.

Take a look - which detail is the most excellent? Vote up your favorites.

Photo: Orion Pictures

  • 1
    306 VOTES

    Abraham Lincoln Tells The Cops 'I Am A Lawyer, You Know' As He’s Being Taken To Jail

    When Sigmund Freud and Abraham Lincoln are taken into custody at the San Dimas Mall, Freud tells the officers he wants a lawyer. They reply, "Don't get smart!

    Freud didn't realize he had a lawyer with right behind him - Abraham Lincoln. The 16th President of the United States reminds Ted's dad, Captain Logan from the San Dimas police, about his legal training as he's being processed, although it doesn't prevent him from being placed in a cell. 

    Lincoln took up law as early as 1831, later teaching himself enough of the discipline to obtain a law license in 1836. Lincoln practiced law for more than two decades, arguing cases before the Illinois Supreme Court in 1840 and the US Supreme Court in 1849.

    306 votes
  • 2
    360 VOTES

    The Period Costumes In The Beethoven Parlor Scene Are Incredibly Accurate

    When Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure came out in 1989, it was criticized for its "sketchiest attempts to draw their historical characters," and for "reduc[ing] some of history's great minds" to the titular characters' intellectual level. In the midst of criticism for the film's presentation of historical figures, at least one observer saw a remarkable amount of accuracy in the film.

    Hilary Davidson, an Australian fashion historian and consultant, still uses Bill & Ted as her litmus test for Regency costuming. According to Davidson, the styles, fabrics, and overall presentation of Beethoven's audience during the parlor scene are "really, really good."

    360 votes
  • 3
    197 VOTES

    Joan Of Arc Almost Certainly Believes Bill & Ted Are The 'Angels' With Whom She Communicates

    Catholic devotee and supposed recipient of divine visions, Joan of Arc was an inspiration for French troops during the Hundred Years' War. She commanded French soldiers in 1429 and 1430, ultimately meeting her end as a condemned heretic in 1431.

    In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the young men arrive to retrieve Joan while she's praying. As a young woman who believed she had been visited by Saints Margaret, Catherine, and Michael as signs from God, she would have likely perceived Bill and Ted as additional sources of religious revelation - providing the impetus for her to accompany them on their journey.

    197 votes
  • 4
    331 VOTES

    Sigmund Freud Is Holding A Corn Dog At The Mall - A Nod To His Fixation On The Phallic Shape

    As Sigmund Freud watches on, Billy the Kid and Socrates flirt with two women at the San Dimas Mall. Freud, known for his theory of psychosexual development, holds a not-so-subtle phallus in his hand - in the form of a corn dog.

    Throughout Freud's work, a phallus represented internal conflicts related to desire. The third stage of Freud's theory of psychosexual development, called the "phallic stage," involved recognition of one's genitals as erogenous zones. Freud was convinced that the inability to effectively reconcile the sexual desires and castration anxiety that took place during the phallic stage could result in ongoing intimacy issues.

    It's worth noting that, as Freud diagnoses the giggling young women with a "mild form of hysteria" - another topic he wrote about extensively - the corn dog tilts forward.

    331 votes
  • 5
    273 VOTES

    Napoleon’s 'Waterslide' Military Strategy Foreshadows His Disastrous Russia Campaign

    When Napoleon Bonaparte visits the water park in San Dimas (an establishment appropriately named Waterloo), he shows his aggressive nature, moving children aside to get to his next descent down the slide. Bonaparte brings back the water park motif as part of Bill and Ted's final project, showing them his plan to invade Russia.

    Bill and Ted look at the French leader's mapped out plan to invade Russia, complete with waterslide-like directional arrows. After getting a glimpse of Napoleon's strategy, Ted tells him he doesn't think it's going to work - and it doesn't. It was ultimately a massive failure for Napoleon.

    273 votes
  • 6
    250 VOTES

    There Are Only Two Known Photos Of Billy The Kid, And He’s Playing Poker With Three Other Men In One Of Them

    Billy the Kid, whose given name was most likely Henry McCarty, was a gunfighter and rabble-rouser who was said to have liked a good game of poker. Stories about Billy the Kid revolve around the people he took out and his aggressive antics, but there are very few visual representations of the famed outlaw. Only two pictures of Billy the Kid have been authenticated, one of which shows him engaged in a poker game in 1877

    In the 1877 photo, Billy sits with three men at a table, cards in hand and liquor at the ready. In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Bill and Ted join in on a similar poker game, one that includes Billy and three saloon patrons. The movie accurately shows a real event in Billy's life, albeit with Bill and Ted crashing the contest.

    250 votes