A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Though intended to entertain, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown uses a student election between Linus and a rival classmate as a way to talk about elections, campaigning, and the promises politicians make to their constituents. In He's a Bully, Charlie Brown, a bully who beats kids at marbles through lying and intimidation doesn't win in the end, and his negative behavior is not rewarded.
In the main story, subtle and not-so-subtle jabs are taken at the political process. Lucy bullies the school electorate to win votes for her brother, and each member of the campaign team appoints an assistant who has to do the real work. In the second feature, He's a Bully, Charlie Brown, the message is more overt -- a mean kid gets his comeuppance.
Positive Role Models
In You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, Linus' rival in a school election demonstrates integrity by nobly casting a tie-breaking vote for Linus, saying he believes he's the best man for the job. In He's a Bully, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown stands up for himself and his friends when the bully of a summer camp steals other kids' marbles through nefarious means. He also doesn't lower himself to the bully's behavior when he wins by allowing the bully to have his own marbles back so long as he returns the ones he stole from other kids.
Violence & Scariness
In the second feature, Snoopy is knocked over and shoved by a mean kid. In the titular feature, Lucy asks fellow students to vote for her brother, and if they don't immediately agree to this suggestion, she makes a mean face at them and makes a fist, scaring the students into saying they'll vote for Linus.
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Classic Peanuts name-calling such as "blockhead." In the second feature, a bully thinks Snoopy is a boy and calls him "funny-looking" and "weird."
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Products & Purchases
Based on the Peanuts comic strip, which has been used in extensive merchandising of toys, school supplies, and clothing featuring the characters.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, written by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz in the early 1970s, highlights the perils and pitfalls of the election cycle that continue to be relevant. It's a mostly cynical view of politics, wrapped in the dependable humor and entertaining characters that make up the Peanuts gang. Neither pedantic nor silly, the DVD is a good choice for young kids interested in politics. The second feature is a 2006 short called He's a Bully, Charlie Brown. In this one, a mean kid misleads other kids into losing their marble collections, and he trips Snoopy and shoves him to the ground. When Charlie Brown sees what's happening, he behaves in ways that might be seen as out of character: He learns from a certain beagle named "Joe Cool" all about winning at marbles, stands up to the bully, and wins. Both features contain name-calling. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite a mostly satirical tone, Schulz includes one moment of real integrity in the plot, and that is the one that lingers in the viewer's mind. As is true with most of Schulz's work, the DVD works on two levels: One is pure humor; even kids who don't care about the intricacies of polling and voting will be entertained by Snoopy in his "Joe Cool" persona or by Schroeder (Brian Kazanjian) turning a nominating speech into an ode to his hero Beethoven. But for older kids, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown represents a chance to talk about whether there is any honesty left in the political process.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.