Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
is a 1977 animated film produced by United Feature Syndicate for Paramount
Pictures, directed by Bill Meléndez, and the third in a series of movies based on the Peanuts
The Peanuts gang head off to Camp Remote in the Rocky Mountains, where they ultimately compete in a river rafting race downriver against a group of bullies who cheat every step of the way.
Their camp life is much like boot camp sans drill instructor, with very early morning exercise followed by a chow line and then activities culminating with the river race with some pretty treacherous obstacles. Peppermint Patty is in charge of the girls' raft and has the drive to be leader, though every little decision is met with a vote, no matter how petty. Charlie Brown heads the boys' raft and slowly but surely must take action if either team is going to win.
Known mostly as the most action-filled Peanuts
adventure with some scary kids' stuff, like being separated in the wild and the many hazards kids alone in the woods along a river would face. Some consider it the best Peanuts
movie, though it has yet to see a DVD release. (It was
one of the first videodiscs released in the early 1980s.)
- Bill Meléndez - Snoopy
- Loretta Longnote - Woodstock
- Duncan Watson - Charlie Brown
- Kirk Jue - Bully
- Greg Felton - Schroeder/Camp Announcer
- Jordan Warren - Bully
- Stuart Brotman - Peppermint Patty
- Jimmy Ahrens - Marcie
- Gail Davis - Sally Brown
- Melanie Kohn - Lucy van Pelt
- Liam Martin - Linus van Pelt
- Tom Muller - Franklin/Bully
- Jackson Beck - Evil Cat
- Bill Meléndez - Snoopy & Woodstock
- Adults Are Useless: Aside from an unseen bus driver and the radio reporter, there are no adults at all. Wonder whether the kids planned the dangerous raft race.
- Not only that, but the fact that the bullies' cheating never gets them in trouble proves either this trope or the fact that there are no adults at the camp, or no kind of rules enforcement (unless the bullies themselves have assumed that role).
- Artistic License - Physics: Rafts going high-speed down a slide wouldn't suddenly stop on a dime atop a waterwheel.
- The Big Race
- Black Comedy: As always, in Peanuts style.
- Boot Camp Episode: The early camp scenes.
- Catch-22 Dilemma: Discussed during the initial organization of the girls' tent in a "democratic fashion". Peppermint Patty wants to prepare ballots, but the girls have to decide first on who passes out ballots.
Lucy Van Pelt: Wait a minute! You can't vote unless we have ballots!
Marcie: If we can't vote to see who will pass the ballots, how can we have ballots to vote?
- Cats Are Mean: Brutus is a prime example.
- Cheaters Never Prosper
- The Chew Toy: Short of finding the cabin, the whole Peanuts gang in this one, really.
- Collective Groan: Many times in the movie.
- Comedic Sociopathy: The Peanuts gang face some pretty ugly opposition downriver with the waterfalls and the construction site among the bigger ones. A few more feet and the Peanuts gang could have been killed. And it's a yearly event—the river race!
- Creative Closing Credits: A very psychedelic one as Charlie Brown has to hitch a ride with Snoopy on his motorcycle after missing the camp bus (again).
- Dark Horse Victory: Neither the bullies nor the Peanuts gang win the race. Not even Snoopy wins; it's actually Woodstock who wins. Didn't see that one coming, did you?
- Darker and Edgier: The scarier moments of this movie push it into this territory and make it a little more harsh over other Peanuts entries. The only animated TV special that came close is What A Nightmare Charlie Brown.
- Drives Like Crazy: Snoopy on his motorcycle when Charlie Brown needs to hitch a ride.
- Free-Range Children: The Peanuts gang, despite being between the ages of 6 and 8, survive being alone in the woods with no adults.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Snoopy comes into the girls' tent to kiss them all good night. When he jumps on Peppermint Patty's waterbed, the resulting waves send both Patty and Snoopy bouncing uncontrollably, making a great deal of noise.
Marcie: Sir, you're making too much noise. Can't you just kiss him good night and let it go at that?
- Hypocritical Humor: Peppermint Patty and her ballots. When Charlie Brown protests that the girls unanimously voted to throw the boys out of the cabin, she yells at him because he "doesn't believe in democracy." Note that they didn't give the boys a chance to vote and they'd found the cabin in the first place.
- Jerkass: The bullies, definitely, with Lucy and Peppermint Patty to a lesser extent than usual.
- Kids Wilderness Epic: Charlie Brown learns some leadership skills and gets some self-confidence after leading the team home.
- Logo Joke: The Paramount "Blue Mountain" logo is on a pink background.
- No Name Given: The bullies have no names and are often just referred to as such. That or villains.
- The Price Is Right: A showcase was built around the events in the movie, ending in free tickets for a private screening of the film on its premire date.
- Road Sign Reversal: The bullies do this during the raft race.
- Schmuck Bait: Sort of.
- Shout-Out: Snoopy's Captain America bike.
- Straw Feminist/Boys Have Cooties: The fact that Peppermint Patty and the other girls never give the boys a chance to vote and always rule against them in their "elections" could be taken as this.
- Summer Campy
- Token Minority: Franklin. He has few lines in the movie before the race and isn't on the cover of the recent artwork for the movie since he basically gets forgotten about.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Snoopy with his sweet motorcycle, enormous pop-up sail and (utterly expensive back in '77) a portable TV in his own tent
- X Must Not Win: Where X equals – who else? – Charlie Brown; his team is set to win the river race, but the girls get a little excited and knock the boys out of the raft before they can cross the finish line. Snoopy? The bullies sabotage his boat, allowing Woodstock to win.
- You Bastard: The audience, after really enjoying the good clean fun of a dangerous raft race with kids not even 10, even if it's a cartoon.