|Directed by:||Bill Melendez, Phil Roman|
|Written by:||Charles M. Schulz|
|Release date:||May 30, 1980|
|Running time:||77 minutes|
|Preceded by:||Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown|
|Followed by:||Peanuts (to be released in 2015)|
|Availability:||Released on VHS in 1995. Not yet released on DVD or Blu-ray.|
Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) is a 1980 animated film produced by United Feature Syndicate for Paramount Pictures, directed by Bill Melendez. It was the fourth full-length feature film to be based on Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts comic strip and the last one to be released to date until the upcoming Peanuts film in 2015.
A sequel to the movie followed three years later, in the form of a 1983 television special What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? in which the gang visit memorials and places related to World War I and World War II.
The film begins in France, at a bar in a village where lively music is playing. A man departs the bar, getting into his car. As he drives home, it starts to rain and he passes some greenhouses. He arrives at a chateau, where a little girl begins writing a letter and is seen with a US Army stachel stenciled with the name "S. BROWN".
In the United States, Linus is introducing two French students, Babette and Jacques, who will be spending spending two weeks at Charlie Brown's school, while Charlie Brown, himself, Peppermint Patty, and Marcie go to France. At the airport, the children, Snoopy and Woodstock are seen off by their friends. Lucy, who was not selected for the program, tells Charlie Brown not to come back.
During the flight, Charlie Brown produces a letter he received that was written in French. Marcie, who has been studying French, translates it and says it is an invitation from a young girl, Violette Honfleur to stay at the Chateau du Mal Voisin (The Castle of the Bad Neighbor). Peppermint Patty asks who this Violette could be, Charlie Brown has no idea.
The group first arrive in London and go on a sightseeing tour downtown, while Snoopy and Woodstock play some tennis at Wimbledon. When Snoopy finds himself losing, he lashes out and gets thrown off the court. Snoopy and Woodstock head to the Victoria Railway Station and rejoin the rest of the group. The group looks at the English countryside while traveling to Dover, then finally arrive to briefly admire the White Cliffs of Dover before boarding a hovercraft that will cross the English Channel. They eventually arrive in France. Marcie uses her French skills to get a rental car for the group (and resulting in some humorous scenes where she curses out other drivers during a traffic jam), and Charlie Brown buys some French bread. They drive to a farmhouse where Peppermint Patty and Marcie will be staying with Pierre. Pierre is a gracious host who appreciates Marcie making an effort to learn his native tongue, but Peppermint Patty thinks he must have an obvious crush on him. Pierre then gets worried that Linus and Charlie Brown went to the Chateau Malvoisin, as it must be some mistake as no one has ever stayed at the Chateau. When Marcy asks about it, Pierre says the Chateau is owned by the Baron, a vile recluse who hates everybody, especially foreigners. Pierre makes some phone calls in an attempt to find Charlie Brown, but no one has seen him and Pierre says he is afraid he cannot help Linus or Charlie Brown until they meet up at school.
When Charlie Brown and Linus arrive at the Chateau, a thunderstorm forces them to spend the night in an empty stable. Later that night, Snoopy (in his "World War I Flying Ace" persona) and Woodstock head down to local pub to drink a few pints of root beer.
The next morning, Charlie Brown and Linus find that breakfast and warm blankets have been set up for them by some unknown benefactor. Meanwhile at Pierre's farm, Marcie and Peppermint Patty help with Pierre's chores, while Peppermint Patty, oblivious to Pierre's attitude, tries to tell Marcie that he likes her. Peppermint Patty then experiences culture shock as Pierre's family eats soup and sausage for breakfast and that she and Marcie will have to wear a school uniform while back in the States she wore her own clothes to school. Marcie adopts a "when in Rome" attitude and simply tells Peppermint Patty than when one is a guest of a foreign land, one must respect their ways.
When the gang meets each other at school, Charlie Brown produces the letter from Violette. Pierre says that Violette is a niece of the baron who owns the chateau; since the Baron is antisocial, it clearly must have been Violette who invited them to the Chateau. In a reversal of the first scene where Babette and Jacques were introduced to school back in the States, the teacher at the French school introduces Marcie, Peppermint Patty, Linus and Charlie Brown to her class. The teacher is a nice woman who also says that while the four American kids are in class she will split the instruction between French and English to help teach her own class some English words and to accomodate the exchange students. The class sits at tables; and Charlie Brown is made to sit next to Peppermint Patty, resulting in a brief humorous scene.
That night, the baron leaves the chateau to go to the pub and instructs Violette not to let Charlie Brown and Linus in, despite Violette protests that they must be hospitable as their family was many years ago, but the Baron is adamant they are not to come in. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown and Linus take turns to stand and watch to identify the mysterious benefactor. During Charlie Brown's watch, Linus wakes up to see Charlie Brown has fallen asleep. Linus then goes into the chateau to get to the bottom of this. Eventually, he finds Violette, who says her invitation was a mistake. Violette explains that her grandmother had told her the story of a wartime affair that she had with Silas Brown, Charlie Brown's grandfather, who was an infantryman stationed in France during World War I, and stayed at the chateau. When Silas received his marching orders, he promised to write letters which eventually stopped coming. Violette's grandmother moved on, though she never forgot him. Linus remarks that Silas looks like a full-grown version of Charlie Brown.
Meanwhile at the pub, Snoopy and Woodstock are playing foosball and overhear the baron confide to the bartender that he knows about Charlie Brown and Linus and has tolerated them long enough, planning to do terrible things to them should they fail to leave by morning. The baron returns home to Violette's surprise, and in her rush to get Linus out of the room, Violette accidentally knocks over a candle which causes a fire throughout the chateau. Linus takes Violette towards a pair of casement windows, throws them open and shouts to Charlie Brown for help. Charlie Brown wakes up and runs to the pub to call Snoopy and Woodstock. Snoopy and Woodstock rush off to the Chateau and Charlie Brown continues running to the farmhouse to call Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Pierre. Pierre calls the fire department while Peppermint Patty and Marcie follow Charlie Brown to the flaming chateau.
When Snoopy and Woodstock arrive at the chateau, it is engulfed in flames. Snoopy immediately heads to a shed and brings out an old fashioned fire hose, while Linus throws his blanket down to Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Pierre, which they use to catch Violette when she jumps out the window. Snoopy arrives with a barrel of water under Linus who also jumps to safety, and later barks out instructions to work the hose, but the intense water pressure spins him around, splashing Charlie Brown. Woodstock pops out from the hose with a violin and begins playing along to the dramatic scene. While Snoopy is working with the hose, a fire truck with three shadowed fire fighters arrives and the fire is finally extinguished.
The baron, who is thankful that the group saved Violette and the chateau, promises he will never be inhospitable again, and now hosts Linus and Charlie Brown inside the chateau like a proper host. Charlie Brown learns the whole truth behind the mysterious letter he received. Many years ago, an friend of Violette's family was touring the United States and needed his hair cut at one point, and the barber was Charlie Brown's father. This news about the location of the Brown family inspired Violette to write a letter inviting him to stay at the Chateau. As the group prepares to leave the chateau to return to America, Violette gives Silas' satchel to Charlie Brown. The film ends when the group say their goodbyes and get into their beat-up rental car.
The credits show pictures of the film's crew as a collage of designs show the flags of the United States, United Kingdom, and France, the three nations in which the film is set.
- Arrin Skelley - Charlie Brown
- Annalisa Bortolin - Sally Brown
- Daniel Anderson - Linus van Pelt
- Patricia Patts - Peppermint Patty
- Casey Carlson - Marcie
- Pascal de Barolet - Pierre
- Roseline Rubens - Violette/Patty/Sophie/Frieda/Violet
- Laura Planting - Lucy van Pelt
- Bill Melendez - Snoopy/Woodstock
- Scott Beach - Additional voices
- This is one of the scantiest appearances of Lucy in any Peanuts film. She has only one line in the whole movie. Schroeder, Sally, "Pig-Pen" and Violet say, "Bon voyage, Charlie Brown!" and Lucy adds, "And don't come back!!!" After this scene, none of the characters listed above appear for the remainder of the movie.
- This is a rare time an adult is seen on screen. The teacher at the school in France is seen on screen, and is bilingual. She speaks in clear English as opposed to the infamous "wah wah wah" trombone effects.
- The theme music for the film which is romantic for the most part but gets darker when Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock must explore the supposedly abandoned chateau. The theme music is a variation of the James Bond theme.
- The songs that are heard when Snoopy and Woodstock first visit the cafe are "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Sentimental Journey." Later on Snoopy plays "Rum & Coca-Cola" on the jukebox.
- The school scene where Peppermint Patty is telling Charlie Brown what to do, then snoring in school was taken from a 1975 story arc from the comic strip where Peppermint Patty's school burned down and was merged with Charlie Brown's. Due to overcrowding, students were made to sit together at tables, and Charlie Brown was made to put up with Peppermint Patty's bossiness.
- After Linus introduces Babette and Jacques, the French students who will be studying in the United States while Charlie Brown and Linus go to France, the entire class goes up to welcome them. Peppermint Patty can be seen in the gaggle of children. Later on, she calls Charlie Brown to say that she is going with him to France as part of a joint effort with her school, implying that she and Marcie go to another school across town like in the comic strip.
- At the airport, when Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Snoopy walk to the security detector, Marcie is replaced by Lucy.
- Somehow, the car is still running when a piece of the new bread Charlie Brown bought is in the engine.
- When Linus says, "Wow, look at the time were going to be late for our first day of school," a watch appears on his wrist, but then a few seconds later, his watch disappears.
- When Charlie Brown sneezes while holding the broken bread, he throws the bread into the air but the pieces of the bread do not fall back down.