Pee-wee's Big Adventure  

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Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) was an American film directed by Tim Burton in his feature-film directing debut. It stars Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman, who also cowrote the screenplay. Described as a "parody" or "farce version" of the 1948 Italian classic Bicycle Thieves, it tells the story of Pee-wee's nationwide search for his stolen bicycle.


Pee-wee Herman has a heavily accessorized bicycle that he treasures and that his neighbor and enemy, Francis Buxton, covets. Dottie, a bike-shop employee, has a crush on Pee-wee, but he does not reciprocate. Pee-wee's bike is stolen while he is shopping at a mall, but the police tell Pee-wee that they cannot help him find it. Pee-wee thinks that Francis took it, and confronts him, but Francis' father convinces Pee-wee that Francis did not steal the bike. Pee-wee offers a $10,000 reward for the bike. Francis, who did indeed pay to have a friend steal the bike, is frightened by Pee-wee's relentlessness and pays to have the bike sent away. Pee-wee holds an unsuccessful meeting of friends and neighbors to find the bike, then angrily rejects Dottie's offers of help. He visits Madam Ruby, a phony psychic. Ruby, spying Al and Moe's Bargain Basement across the street, tells Pee-wee that his bike is in the basement of the Alamo Mission in San Antonio. He hitchhikes to Texas, getting rides from Mickey, a fugitive convict, and from Large Marge, the ghost of a storied truck driver.

At a truck stop, Pee-wee finds his wallet is missing, and pays for his meal by washing dishes. He befriends Simone, a waitress who dreams of visiting Paris. As they watch the sun rise from a dinosaur museum, he encourages her to follow her dreams, but Simone tells him about her possessive boyfriend, Andy, who disapproves. The lumbering, jealous Andy arrives and tries to attack Pee-wee, who escapes onto a moving train, where he meets Hobo Jack. Pee-wee eventually arrives at the Alamo, but learns at the end of a guided tour that the building does not have a basement. At a bus station, Pee-wee encounters Simone, who tells him that she broke up with Andy and that she is on her way to Paris. She tells Pee-wee not to give up finding his bike. Pee-wee calls Dottie at the bike shop and apologizes for his behavior. Andy spots Pee-wee and resumes chasing him. Pee-wee evades Andy at a rodeo by disguising himself as a bull rider. Forced to ride for real, Pee-wee does surprisingly well but receives a concussion.

Pee-wee enters a biker bar to make a phone call, but the outlaw motorcycle club threatens to kill him after he accidentally knocks over their motorcycles. He makes a last request, dancing to the song "Tequila" in a pair of super-high-heel boots. His energetic countertop performance wins over the bikers, who give him a motorcycle for his journey, which he crashes immediately. He awakens in a hospital and sees a television news report in which his bike is being used as a prop in a film starring a bratty child actor, Kevin Morton. Pee-wee sneaks into Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank and grabs the bike. Security guards chase him across the studio lot and through several active sets before he escapes.

Later, Pee-wee discovers a burning pet shop and rescues the animals. Although the firefighters declare Pee-wee a hero, the police arrest him for his disruption of the studio work. Warner Bros. president Terry Hawthorne drops the charges and return Pee-Wee's bike in exchange for the rights to adapt his story into a James Bond-style film starring James Brolin as "P.W. Herman" and Morgan Fairchild as Dottie. In the film, the characters must retrieve their stolen motorbike, which contains an important microfilm – from the Soviets. Pee-wee has a bit role as a hotel bellhop, though his voice has been dubbed.

Seeing the film at a drive-in theater, Pee-wee gives refreshments to all of the people whom he had met along his journey, then joins Dottie at their bikes. He also encounters Francis, who tells reporters that he is Pee-wee's best friend and that he taught Pee-wee how to ride. Francis claims to be knowledgeable about Pee-wee's bike, but accidentally sets off one of the bicycle's gadgets, catapulting himself into the air.

Pee-wee wants to leave the drive-in, and Dottie asks why he is not staying to watch the rest of the film. Pee-wee answers, "I don't have to see it, Dottie. I lived it." He and Dottie then ride off together, silhouetted against the screen.


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