Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
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Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown is a 1977 American animated adventure comedy film produced by United Feature Syndicate for Paramount Pictures, directed by Bill Melendez and Phil Roman, and the third in a series of films based on the Peanuts comic strip. It was the first Peanuts feature-length film produced after the death of composer Vince Guaraldi and used the same voice cast from the 1975 and 1976 TV specials, You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown, Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown, and It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown, and the same voice cast member from the 1974 TV special, It's a Mystery, Charlie Brown. However, Liam Martin voiced Linus van Pelt for the last time in the movie, and went on to voice Charlie Brown in the 1978 TV special, What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown.
|Race for Your Life,|
|Written by||Charles M. Schulz|
|Music by||Ed Bogas|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$3.2 million|
The Peanuts gang heads off to Camp Remote somewhere in the mountains. Charlie Brown is accidentally left behind by the bus while at a desolate rest stop. He is then forced to hitch a harrowing ride on Snoopy's motorcycle in order to make the rest of the journey to the camp, accompanied by rock guitar type riffs while he is shouting in fear at Snoopy's wild driving.
Upon their arrival, the kids are immediately exposed to the regimentation and squalor of camp life which is a stark contrast to their comfortable residences back home. They are unfamiliar with the concept that the camp schedule is in the 24-hour clock (Franklin asks if "oh-five-hundred" [5:00 AM] is noon, and Sally thinks "eighteen-hundred" [6:00 PM] is a year). Although they do their best to adjust to the rigors of camp life, Snoopy, in a tent of his own, enjoys an ice cream sundae while watching a Western film on his portable TV set.
The gang must contend with a trio of ruthless bullies (and their cat, Brutus, vicious enough to intimidate even Snoopy and Woodstock) who openly boast of them having won a raft race every year they have competed. The only thing that keeps them at bay is Linus using his security blanket like a whip (which also gets him unwanted attention from Sally due to her praising the courage of her self-proclaimed "Sweet Babboo"). It is revealed that they have only "won" through outright cheating — using a raft equipped with an outboard motor, direction finder, radar and sonar. They also resort to every trick they could think of to hamper or destroy everyone else's chance to even make it to the finish line, much less win the race.
The kids are broken into three groups: the boys' group (consisting of Charlie Brown, Linus, Schroeder, and Franklin), the girls' group (consisting of Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Sally, and Lucy), and Snoopy and Woodstock. Charlie Brown is the reluctant leader of the boys' group, struggling with insecurity but doing what he can to work things out and implement his decisions. His antithesis is Peppermint Patty, the leader of the girls' group who is very confident despite her ineptitude as a leader, doing little more than stand around and give orders. Moreover, she insists on every decision - no matter how inconsequential - being confirmed by a vote of secret ballots. Predictably, when the voting is tied or she disagrees with the outcome, she often overrules the decision, to the disdain of the other girls. The bullies are overconfident; they use their cheating to burst ahead, but in their boasting they fail to watch where they are going and crash into a dock, which costs them a lot of time and effort to dislodge their boat while the others sail past.
The groups see many unique sights along the river race, such as mountains, forests, and a riparian logging community of houses built on docks. However, they also run into different obstacles: getting lost, stranded, storms, blizzards, and sabotage from the bullies. Snoopy abandons the race to search tirelessly for Woodstock when a storm separates them; after a long search, they manage to find each other and are joyfully reunited. Snoopy and Woodstock reunite with the gang by running into them at an abandoned cabin. Charlie Brown grows increasingly into his leadership role; ultimately, after the bullies sabotage everyone else's rafts, the boys' and girls' teams merge. Although treated as a scapegoat for problems, Charlie Brown handles it well, such as when the team is trapped on a water wheel; he decides that it is incumbent upon him as the leader to remove the obstacle.
Thanks to Charlie Brown's growing self-confidence and leadership, the gang has a good chance of winning the race at its climax, after overcoming considerable odds. Unfortunately, Peppermint Patty incites the girls to celebrate too soon; they accidentally knock the boys overboard in their excitement. The girls attempt to rescue the boys, only to fall overboard themselves. The bullies seize the opportunity to pull ahead.
The bullies gloat about their apparently imminent victory, yet their brash over-confidence, infighting, and constant carelessness during the race has seen them become involved in numerous mishaps, causing them to suffer substantial damage to their raft. Just shy of the finish line, their raft finally gives out and sinks. This leaves Snoopy and Woodstock as the only contenders left. Brutus slashes Snoopy's inner tube with a claw, but Woodstock promptly builds a raft of twigs (with a leaf for a sail) and continues toward victory. When Brutus attacks Woodstock, Snoopy decks him, and Woodstock wins the race. (It is never explained how or why an individual, rather than the whole team, would receive credit for winning what was supposed to be a team event.) Conceding defeat, the bullies vow vengeance next year. Their threats, however, are humiliatingly cut short when Snoopy roughly beats up Brutus for threatening Woodstock again; this sends Brutus scampering away, now terrified of Snoopy's wrath.
As the gang boards the bus to depart for home, Charlie Brown decides aloud to use the experience as a lesson to be more confident and assertive, and to believe in himself. Unfortunately, right after he finishes speaking, the bus leaves without him for the second time. He is forced to hitch another ride with Snoopy.
- Duncan Watson as Charlie Brown
- Bill Melendez as Snoopy, Woodstock
- Gail Davis as Sally Brown
- Melanie Kohn as Lucy van Pelt
- Liam Martin as Linus van Pelt
- Stuart Brotman as Peppermint Patty
- Jimmy Ahrens as Marcie
- Greg Felton as Schroeder, Camp Announcer
- Tom Muller as Bully #1
- Kirk Jue as Bully #2
- Jordan Warren as Bully #3
- Michelle Stacy as Patty
- Joseph Biter as Franklin
- Fred Van Amburg as Radio Announcer
- Jackson Beck as Brutus the cat (uncredited)
- Peter Robbins as Vocal Effects (uncredited)
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown received a mixed review in The New York Times from Janet Maslin, who wrote: "The film runs an hour and quarter and has a rambling plot about a regatta, but it seems less like a continuous story than a series of droll blackout sketches, many of them ending with the obligatory 'Good Grief!' ... The net effect is that of having read the comic strip for an unusually long spell, which can amount to either a delightful experience or a pleasant but slightly wearing one, depending upon the intensity of one's fascination with the basic 'Peanuts' mystique."
The film was released on VHS in 1979, Betamax the same year and LaserDisc in the early 1980s and was also the very first release in 1981 on RCA's now defunct CED format. It was released on DVD on Feb 10, 2015.
- "Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (U)". British Board of Film Classification. August 17, 1977. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Janet Maslin (August 4, 1977). "Screen: Charlie Brown as Before". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- "Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown - The First RCA VideoDisc Title". CEDMagic.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- David Lambert (November 10, 2014). "Charlie Brown/Peanuts Specials DVD news: Announcement of Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on December 29, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- David Lambert (November 11, 2014). "Charlie Brown/Peanuts Specials DVD news: Box Art for Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on December 29, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
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Co-Director Phil Roman
Music Ed Bogas
Animators Don Lusk Bob Matz Hank Smith Rod Scribner Ken O’Brien Al Pabian Joe Roman Jeff Hall Sam Jaimes Bob Bachman George Singer Bill Littlejohn Bob Carlson Patricia Joy Terry Lennon Larry Leichliter