100

Salon.com

By Stephanie Zacharek
Everything about Pee-wee's Big Adventure, from its toy-box colors to its superb, hyperanimated Danny Elfman score to the butch-waxed hairdo and wooden-puppet walk of its star and mastermind, Pee-wee Herman, is pure pleasure.
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88

TV Guide Magazine

Inspired lunacy, Pee-wee's big adventure is one of the most inventive films in recent memory. This clever and wholly original work incorporates a wide variety of cinematic tools with a fresh and unique sense of style.
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88

TV Guide

Inspired lunacy, Pee-wee's big adventure is one of the most inventive films in recent memory. This clever and wholly original work incorporates a wide variety of cinematic tools with a fresh and unique sense of style.
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80

Empire

Burton's first feature revels in the weird, the unpredictable, the infantile and the absurd. A dazzling debut.
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75

San Francisco Chronicle

By Peter Stack
I'm completely unsure what else Pee-Wee's Big Adventure is about. I can tell you that 70 percent of moviegoers in their 20s and 30s will likely find this crazy production to be a barrel of fun, and frequently a barrel of laughs. A certain intelligence peeks through it all. [9 Aug 1985, p.68]
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75

Consequence of Sound

By Michael Roffman
It’s not exactly the repeat masterpiece of yesteryear, but that was never going to happen. Instead, it’s a proper and agreeable reunion for fans who grew up, but still have that hungry desire to toss aside reality and enjoy a little unadulterated fun.
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75

Boston Globe

By Jay Carr
Pee- wee's Big Adventure is a shrewdly observed, deftly executed looney tune. [9 Aug 1985, p.42]
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75

Chicago Sun-Times

Pee-wee's Big Adventure goes up and down the hills of Pee-wee shtick, without much concern for things like cohesiveness and consistency. What makes it wear so well is the balance achieved between Pee-wee's nitwit nervousness and his pathetic optimism. [12 Aug 1985, p.35]
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70

Chicago Reader

By Dave Kehr
With all these safety features built in, this 1985 film is too well padded to qualify as genuinely radical wit, but in an even-toned, TV sort of way it's mildly amusing and inventive throughout.
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70

Los Angeles Times

By Michael Wilmington
The wrong crowd will find these antics infantile and offensive. The right one will have a howling good time.
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47 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.