Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)

In director Tim Burton's garish first major feature film - a road film:

  • the normal outfit of the quirky and nerdy man-child Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) character (tight and small gray flannel suit, white shoes, a large red bow tie, with lipstick, etc.)
  • the cartoon-like toy/contraption-filled environment of Pee Wee's home and the Rube-Goldberg breakfast routine he had created - in which he woke up and had breakfast completely made for him (pancakes, two eggs and bacon shaped like a happy face), topped off with Mr. T cereal
Pee Wee's Rube-Goldberg Breakfast Devices
  • Pee-Wee's worship of his ridiculously over-gadgeted, over-decorated beloved bicycle (customized and complete with plastic lion's head on the handle-bar)
Bicycle with Plastic Lion Head on Handle-Bar
  • the scene of Pee Wee's argument with his covetous neighbor Francis Buxton (Mark Holton): ("I know you are but what am I?"), and "PeeWee!" ("That's my name, don't wear it out!")
  • his famous remark after tumbling when he attempted to perform too many tricks on his bike, and told a group of young male onlookers: "I meant to do that!"
  • his Rebel Without a Cause (1955)-inspired warning to love interest Dottie (Elizabeth Daily), a bicycle shop employee: "There's things about me you don't know, Dottie. Things you wouldn't understand. Things you couldn't understand. Things you shouldn't understand...You don't want to get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel"
  • his delighted perusal of Mario's Magic Shop (trying on X-Ray Spex, and at one point putting on an oversized ear and yelling, "WHAT? WHAT?")
  • his anguished realization that his overly-chained red bike had been stolen - and collapsing in a bike store - causing a row of bikes to topple over
  • his feverish questioning of Francis in an oversized bathtub - and PeeWee's offer of gum - that turned out to be "trick gum," and then his long over 3-hour meeting with his friends to discuss the loss of his bike, including a large detailed map and scaled model, and exhibits to look at
  • Pee Wee's search for his bicycle during a tour of America after a sham fortune-telling gypsy named Madam Ruby (Erica Yohn) told him it was in the Alamo's basement, in San Antonio Texas
  • while hitchhiking across the country from LA to Texas, Pee-Wee's helping of a fugitive con Mickey (Judd Omen) to escape the law by pretending to be his wife, and telling an officer when asked to step out of the car: ("Why don't you take a picture? It will last longer")
  • his crashing the car and strolling around in total darkness (cartoonishly, only his eyes were seen)
  • Pee-Wee's startling and hysterical encounter with the ghost of deceased fat trucker Large Marge (Alice Nunn); she was transformed into a bug-eyed ghostly victim of a horrendous auto accident
  • Pee-Wee's nightmares about the fate of his bike (e.g., eaten by a T-Rex, destroyed by clown surgeons)
  • Pee-Wee proving over the phone that he was in Texas (he shouted "The stars at night are big and bright...", and a crowd sang back: "...deep in the heart of Texas!")
  • Pee-Wee's visit to the Alamo, the tour, and his question to the guide: "Where's the basement?...Aren't we gonna see the basement?" and his astonishment when informed: "There's no basement at the Alamo"
  • in a movie being filmed at the Warner Bros. studio (using Pee Wee's bike as a prop), bratty and spoiled child actor Kevin Morton (Jason Hervey) growled at his director: ("Doesn't it look like I'm ready? I am always ready! I have been ready since first call! I am ready! ROLL!")
  • Pee-Wee's escape from the Warner Bros. studio lot - ensnaring Santa Claus, Godzilla, and swinging across a ravine on a bike and yodeling like Tarzan
Pee Wee's Role in a Film of His Bike Retrieval Story as a Bell-Hop
Pee Wee: "Come on, Dottie. Let's go."
Dottie: "Let's go? Don't you wanna see the rest of the movie?"
Pee Wee: "I don't have to see it, Dottie. I lived it."
  • appearing in a Hollywood movie about his own bike-retrieval story (a James Bond-style film with James Brolin as PW Herman and Morgan Fairchild as Dottie), Pee Wee took a role (a small cameo) as a red-uniformed bell-hop; he delivered a PA announcement, with an hilarious deep voice that was dubbed: ("Paging Mr. Herman, Mr. Herman, you have a telephone call"); with his friends, Pee Wee watched his own big screen debut at a drive-in theater
  • the evocative closing shot as the silhouettes of Pee-Wee and Dottie bicycled sedately in front of the silhouetted, kissing Hollywood versions of themselves on the drive-in theater screen; as he departed, Pee Wee quipped to Dottie: "I don't have to see it, Dottie. I lived it."

Pee Wee's Outfit

Pee-Wee's Argument with Neighbor Francis: "I know you are but what am I?"

"There's things about me you don't know, Dottie"

In Mario's Magic Shop

Pretense of Being the Wife of a Fugitive Con

Ghost of Large Marge

At the Alamo: "Aren't we gonna see the basement?" The reply: "There's no basement at the Alamo"

Tarzan Swing on Bike,
With Yodel Yell as He Escaped Warner Bros. Studio


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