|Directed by:||Bill Melendez and Phil Roman|
|Written by:||Charles M. Schulz|
|Release date:|| July 16, 1977 (Japan) |
August 3, 1977 (New York premiere)
August 24, 1977 (United States and Canada)
|Running time:||76 minutes|
|Preceded by:||Snoopy, Come Home|
|Followed by:||Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!)|
|Availability:||Released on VHS, Betamax and LaserDisc in the 1980s. Released on VHS in 1995. Not yet released on DVD or Blu-ray.|
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown is a 1977 animated film produced by United Feature Syndicate for Paramount Pictures, directed by Bill Meléndez. It was the third in a series of movies based on the Peanuts comic strip, and the first not to produced by Cinema Center Films. It was the first Peanuts feature-length film produced after the death of composer Vince Guaraldi and used the same voice cast as the 1975 TV special, You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown.
The Peanuts gang heads off to Camp Remote somewhere in the mountains where they ultimately compete in a river rafting race; Charlie Brown true to form, is accidentally left behind by the bus while at a desolate rest stop. He then is forced to ride on Snoopy's motorcycle in order to make the rest of the journey to camp, accompanied by rock guitar type riffs while he is shouting in fear at Snoopy's wild driving.
Upon their arrival, the children 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 schedeule is in military time (Franklin asks if "oh-five hundred" is noon, and Sally thinks "eighteen-hundred" is a year). Although they do their best to adjust to the rigors of camp at life, Snoopy, in a tent of his own, enjoys eating a banana split while watching TV on his portable set.
The gang must contend with a trio of ruthless bullies (and their cat, Brutus, vicious enough to intimidate even Snoopy) who openly boast of their having won the race every year they have competed. The only thing that keeps the bullies 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 "Sweet Babboo"). It is revealed that the bullies' success has always been through outright cheating, using a raft equipped with an outboat motor, direction finder, radar and sonar, and even resorting to every trick they could think of to hamper or destory everyone else's chance to even make it to the finish line, much less win the race.
The children are broken into three groups: the boys' group: (consisting of Charlie Brown, Linus, Schroeder and Franklin), the girl's group: (consisting of Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Lucy and Sally), and Snoopy and Woodstock. Charlie Brown is very reluctant leader of the boys' group, well-meaning but struggling with his insecurities. His foil is Peppermint Patty, the leader of the girl's group, who is very confident despite her incompetence as a leader (much of it due to her insistence on every decision, no matter how minor, being confirmed by a group vote).
The groups 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 seperates them; after a long search, they manage to find each other and are joyfully reunited. Charlie Brown starts to grows more into his leadership role, becoming leader of the boys' and girls' groups when the bullies sabotage both their rafts, forcing them to work together.
Thanks to Charlie Brown's growing self-confidence and leadership, the gang is about to win the race at the climax after overcoming considerable odds. Unfortunatley, Peppermint Patty incites the girls to celebrate too soon and they accidentally knock the boys overboard in their excitement; when they attempt to rescue them, the bullies seize the oppurtunity to pull ahead.
The bullies gloat about the apparently imminent victory, but since their raft has suffered numerous damages throughout the race, it sinks before the finish line. This leaves Snoopy and Woodstock as the contenders left. Brutus sinks Snoopy's inner tube by piercing it with a claw, but Woodstock builds a raft of twigs and continues toward victory. When Brutus tries to attack Woodstock, Snoopy decks him, and Woodstock wins the race. Conceding defeat, the bullies begin to vow vengeance next year, but their threats are humiliatingly cut short when Snoopy hands Brutus a rough beating after he threatens Woodstock again.
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, and as before, he is forced to hitch a ride with Snoopy again.
- Duncan Watson - Charlie Brown
- Gail Davis - Sally Brown
- Melanie Kohn - Lucy van Pelt
- Liam Martin - Linus van Pelt
- Greg Felton - Schroeder
- Stuart Brotman - Peppermint Patty
- Jimmy Ahrens - Marcie
- Kirk Jue - Bully
- Jordan Warren - Bully
- Tom Muller - Bully/Franklin
- Bill Melendez - Snoopy/Woodstock/Additional voices
- Fred van Amburg - Camp announcer