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Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Children should love the film and adults will be dismayed by the light brushstrokes with which Paul Reubens (one of three credited screenwriters, but star-billed under his stage name, Pee-wee Herman) suggests touches of Buster Keaton and Eddie Cantor.

Children should love the film and adults will be dismayed by the light brushstrokes with which Paul Reubens (one of three credited screenwriters, but star-billed under his stage name, Pee-wee Herman) suggests touches of Buster Keaton and Eddie Cantor.

Pee-wee wakes up in a children’s bedroom full of incredible toys, slides down a fire station-like brass pole, materializing in his trademark tight suit with white shoes and red bow-tie, proceeds to make a breakfast a la Rube Goldberg, and winds up in a front yard that looks like a children’s farm.

It’s a delicious bit, with Reubens making noises like a child, walking something like Chaplin, and remarkably drawing for adult viewers the joys and frustrations of being a kid. Rest of narrative deals with Pee-wee’s unstoppable pursuit of his prized lost bicycle, a rambling kidvid-like spoof.

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

  • Production: Aspen/Shapiro. Director Tim Burton; Producer Robert Shapiro, Richard Gilbert Abramson; Screenplay Phil Hartman, Paul Reubens, Michael Varhol; Camera Victor J. Kemper; Editor Billy Weber; Music Danny Elfman; Art Director David L. Snyder
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1985. Running time: 90 MIN.
  • With: Pee-wee Herman [= Paul Reubens] Elizabeth Daily Mark Holton Diane Salinger Judd Omen Jon Harris