PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE Guest Artistic Director


Screening introduced by AFI FEST Guest Artistic Director Greta Gerwig

Paul Reubens made the leap from cabaret theater to major studio movie with his iconic Pee-wee Herman character in this inventive 1985 comedy, along with Pee-wee’s toys, gadgets and colorful friends. The theft of his treasured bike sets Pee-wee on a cross-country quest, ending on the Warner Bros. studio lot. Co-scripted by Reubens, his fellow Groundlings alum Phil Hartman and Michael Varhol, the zany adventure was the feature directorial debut of Tim Burton, then just 26 years old, marking the beginning of his idiosyncratic career. Reubens’ performance, blending child-like antics, slapstick comedy and knowing sarcasm, drew comparisons to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in reviews.


Country: USA

Year: 1985

Director: Tim Burton

Screenwriters: Phil Hartman, Paul Reubens, Michael Varhol

Producers: Robert Shapiro, Richard Gilbert Abramson

Executive Producer: William E. McEuen

Director of Photography: Victor J. Kemper

Editor: Billy Weber

Production Designer: David L. Snyder

Costume Designer: Aggie Guerard Rodgers

Music: Aggie Guerard Rodgers

Cast/Featuring: Pee-Wee Herman, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton, Diane Salinger, Judd Omen

Running Time (minutes): 90