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Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown facts for kids

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Race for Your Life,
Charlie Brown
Race for your life charlie brown movie poster.jpg
UK Promotional poster
Directed by
  • Bill Melendez
  • Phil Roman (co-director)
Produced by
Written by Charles M. Schulz
Starring
  • Duncan Watson
  • Stuart Brotman
  • Gail Davis
  • Liam Martin
  • Melanie Kohn
  • Jimmy Ahrens
  • Kirk Jue
  • Jordan Warren
  • Tom Muller
  • Greg Felton
  • Joseph Biter
  • Bill Melendez
  • Jackson Beck
  • Fred Van Amburg
Music by Ed Bogas
Judy Munsen (music supervisor)
Editing by
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) July 16, 1977 (1977-07-16) (Japan)
August 3, 1977 (1977-08-03) (New York)
August 24, 1977 (1977-08-24) (United States)
Running time 75 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Money made $3.2 million

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.

The film received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics and audiences, and came five years after Snoopy, Come Home, and three years before Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!).

Plot

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, along with resorting to every trick available 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 overconfident bullies 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; however, their brash over-confidence, infighting, and constant carelessness during the race has seen them become involved in numerous mishaps, causing their raft to suffer substantial damage. Just shy of the finish line, their raft finally gives out and sinks, leaving 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 is about to attack Woodstock, Snoopy punches him, and Woodstock wins the race. Conceding defeat, the bullies vow vengeance next year, but their threats 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 as the film comes to an end.

Voice cast

  • 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 Franklin, Bully #1
  • Kirk Jue as Bully #2
  • Jordan Warren as Bully #3
  • Fred Van Amburg as Radio Announcer

Violet, Patty, Pig-Pen, 5, Frieda, and Roy have silent roles.

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