Taglines: The story of a rebel and his bike.
Pee-wee Herman is a puer aeternus with a heavily accessorized bicycle that he treasures and that his neighbor, Francis Buxton, covets. A bike shop employee, Dottie, has a crush on Pee-wee, but he does not reciprocate it. Pee-wee’s bike is stolen while he is shopping at the mall. The police tell Pee-wee that they can’t help him find his bike. Pee-wee tells the police that a lot of people wanted to take the bike and thinks Francis took it.
He confronts Francis in his “bathtub”, an indoor swimming pool, in an underwater brawl, Francis’ father stops the brawl and tells Pee-wee that Francis didn’t steal the bike and Pee-wee must apologize to Francis for the attack and shake his hand. Pee-wee then offers a $10,000 reward for his bike. Francis, who did indeed pay to have someone steal the bike, is frightened by Pee-wee’s relentlessness and then pays to have it sent away.
After holding a meeting, Pee-wee angrily rejects Dottie’s offers of help, tells her off and says that he doesn’t need anybody. Desperate, he visits “Madam Ruby”, a phony psychic with an electric-powered “crystal ball”. After sneaking a glance out the window at the shop across the street, Al and Moe’s Bargain Basement, she tells Pee-wee that his bike is in the basement of the Alamo. Pee-wee hitchhikes to Texas, getting rides from a fugitive, Mickey, and from Large Marge (the ghost of a deceased truck driver).
At a truck stop, Pee-wee discovers his wallet is missing (stolen by Madam Ruby) and pays for his meal by washing dishes. He befriends Simone, a waitress who dreams of visiting Paris. As they watch the sun rise at a dinosaur museum, Pee-wee encourages her to follow her dreams, but Simone tells him about her jealous (and large!) boyfriend named Andy who doesn’t want her to go to Paris.
Meanwhile, Andy eavesdrops from outside and misconstrues their innocent conversation as sexual. (“I know you’re right, but…”, “Everyone I know has a big ‘but’. C’mon Simone, let’s talk about your big ‘but’.”) At sunrise, as Pee-wee and Simone leave the dinosaur, Andy tries to attack Pee-wee. Pee-wee escapes onto a moving train where he meets Hobo Jack, they have a sing along, but Jack’s whiskey breath makes Pee-wee jump from the train, coincidentally going through San Antonio.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is a 1985 adventure comedy film directed by Tim Burton in his full-length film directing debut and starring Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman with supporting roles provided by Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton, Diane Salinger, and Judd Omen. Reubens also co-wrote the script with Phil Hartman and Michael Varhol. Based on the 1948 Italian classic The Bicycle Thief, it is the tale of Pee-wee Herman embarking on a nationwide adventure in search for his stolen bicycle.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton, Diane Salinger, Judd Omen, Irving Hellman, Monte Landis, Damon Martin
Screenplay by: Phil Hartman, Paul Reubens
Production Design by: David L. Snyder
Cinematography by: Victor J. Kemper
Film Editing by: Billy Weber
Costume Design by: Aggie Guerard Rodgers
Set Decoration by: Thomas L. Roysden, Paul Reubens
Art Direction by: David L. Snyder
Music by: Danny Elfman
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: August 9, 1985