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 Meléndez, and the fourth and final (to date) in a series of movies based on the Peanuts
comic strip. A sequel was made as the 1983 TV special What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?
with the gang visiting WWI and WWII memorials on their way back to London from France. The special earned a Peabody Award.
Charlie Brown's school has accepted two French exchange students, and Linus and Charlie Brown will be going over to France as foreign exchange students, with Snoopy and Woodstock in tow, along with Peppermint Patty and Marcie from their school. The same day, Charlie Brown gets a letter from France that Marcie reads as an invitation to stay at a chateau: the Chateau du Mal Voisin, or "The House of the Bad Neighbor".
They initially arrive in London, where Snoopy breaks off from the group to have his own adventures at Wimbledon to do his John McEnroe impression while the rest of the Peanuts do sightseeing before heading off to France.
Upon arriving in France, Marcie and Peppermint Patty stay at a farm with another student, and Charlie Brown and Linus continue to the chateau, where there are no lights on and no answer at the door, so they must stay outside. Food and blankets are sneaked outside by Violette, the young girl who invited Charlie Brown and is defying her uncle, known as "The Baron", to be hospitable to Charlie Brown and Linus. Before long, Violette is able to explain her secret and The Baron even mellows his inhospitable attitude.
- The Alleged Car: The blue Citroën 2CV that the Peanuts gang gets isn't exactly a dreamboat.
- Apathetic Citizens: Snoopy abandons his guard duties immediately after Charlie Brown asks him to stand watch so in order to hang out at the café all night. He also overhears The Baron the next night threatening Charlie Brown and Linus, and he....still sits at the café.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Charlie Brown does his best to order bread from a French bakery and it isn't meant to be offending. Marcie speaks French, though, many times in the movie.
- Bilingual Bonus: The insults Marcie hurls at the other drivers.
- Contrived Coincidence: Violette just happens to invite Charlie Brown to stay at the chateau at the same time he was chosen as an exchange student in France (and the same part of it, no less).
- Dinner Order Flub: Played With. Charlie Brown, Linus, Marcie, and Peppermint Patty stop to eat in a British pub while en route to France. However, being Americans, they're clearly not familiar with British cuisine as they are forced to ask the waiter for help in deciding what to eat. This doesn't help, either, as not one of them can understand the waiter's British English.
Charlie Brown: What did he say?
Marcie: Perhaps I should have studied English, not French.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Violette's uncle is known only as "The Baron".
- The Faceless: The Baron, and he talks, which is rare for an adult in Charlie Brown's world.
- Foreign Exchange Student: The premise. Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and Marcie go to France for two weeks as students. In the meantime, Babette and Jacques come to the United States to Charlie Brown's school.
- Free-Range Children: As usual, there is no adult accompaniment, even as the kids board a plane and fly to another continent. At least, no human adults; Snoopy is the only one of them who can drive.
- French Jerk: The Baron.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: The mug Snoopy drinks out of is clearly labeled "ROOT BEER".
- Gay Paree: Averted; half the movie is in France but not Paris.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- Patty is talking about Pierre as they are saying goodbye: "Too bad I can't give the kid a tumble."
- Snoopy's hand gestures at the other drivers when the car gets rear-ended.
- Haunted House: The Chateau.
- It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The opening of the movie.
- Mood Motif: Snoopy's many jukebox songs quickly change his moods.
- The Reveal: Violette tells Linus that Charlie Brown's Grandfather Silas stayed at the chateau during World War II and fell in love with Violette's grandmother. After Silas was sent home, he wrote to her grandmother and even after letters stopped coming, "she never forgot the charming American".
- Shown Their Work: While the US is glossed over just like in the comic, once they're in Europe, everything changes. Everything is portrayed in surprising detail, from the buses, trains and road signs in London to the little villages they pass through in Normandy, all of which are real. The chateau itself is real; Malvoisine is indeed near Le Héron, and looks just like it does in the movie. Even the greenhouses they mention are still there and still in operation.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Snoopy whistles the movie theme and even plays it on a jukebox in the cafe.
- Title Drop
Kids: Bon voyage, Charlie Brown!
Lucy: And don't come back!
- Unintentional Period Piece: One gag has Woodstock getting stuck in the ashtray of Snoopy's seat on the plane and coming out all sooty. Yes, kids, smoking on planes was once OK, and those apparently useless metal lids on the armrests had a purpose.
- The Voiceless: Averted, along with He Who Must Not Be Seen. Almost every adult in this film talks, is shown or both.
- Would Hurt a Child: It's implied that the Baron would've "gotten rid of" Charlie Brown and his friends himself had the fire not broken out at the chateau. Since he mellows after they save his niece and all it may qualify as a Heel-Face Turn.