Election Movie Poster Image


Dark high school comedy is best for older teens.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Pretty much everyone in film serves as a negative role model. Characters are driven to unethical acts by greed, jealousy, and lust. This film makes it difficult to divide characters into "good" and "bad." Even the "good" characters make choices that throw their status into question.


Humorous skiing accident and bee sting incident.


Inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student, infidelity by the main character, main character watches porn, teen sex (including oral), semi-graphic sex.


Sexually explicit language.


Coke and Pepsi placement.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brief moments of teen drinking and pot.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that almost everyone in this dark comedy engages in extremely iffy behavior as they set out to win at all costs. Election also includes questionable sexual situations (statutory rape, extramarital affairs, and teenage sex), foul language, and an irreverent attitude toward religion. All in all, both teens and adults appear untrustworthy and unethical, but older teens may be mature enough to watch this film.

What's the story?

After years of joyfully teaching high school, Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) -- every kid's favorite guy -- finds his professional and personal lives spinning out of control. After the school over-achiever Tracey Flick (Reese Witherspoon) raises her hand one too many times, McAllister sets out to foil her plan to win the position of student council president. Challenged (at the behest of McAllister) by a clueless yet lovable jock (Chris Klein) and his antisocial lesbian sister (Jessica Campbell), Flick will stop at nothing to win her student council seat. Both teacher and success-craving student make suspect choices as the plot speeds toward an end that will decide the fates of its dueling leads.

Is it any good?


Quirky and dark, ELECTION is simply one in a line of comedies directed by Alexander Payne (Citizen Ruth [1996], About Schmidt [2004], and Sideways [2004]). Like his other contributions, this one combines fascinating character types, tragic life events, and dark humor to produce painfully poignant images of contemporary life. The film does a fine job of presenting high school though the jaded eyes of both teacher and student, while throwing in a selection of stereotypes for good measure.

A turning point in the careers of three of its main performers, Election transformed Broderick's career as he shed Ferris Bueller's sweater vest for the shirt and tie of the "man." Additionally, this film launched Witherspoon into A-list stardom and catapulted the career of Klein, whose portrayal of the lovable jock led to leading roles in such high profile films as American Pie (1999) and 2 (2001) and We Were Soldiers (2002).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about issues relating to ethics. Throughout this movie, characters make unethical choices. Parents may want to ask their kids to identify those actions. They may also want to use this time to discuss issues related to school. Does this film remind teens of their own school experiences? Do they know people like the characters? What are politics like at their schools?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1999
DVD/Streaming release date:October 19, 1999
Cast:Chris Klein, Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon
Director:Alexander Payne
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong sexuality, sex-related dialogue and language, and a scene of drug use

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Teen, 13 years old Written bynnowgoo April 9, 2008

good movie, but NOT FOR KIDS

I rented this with my dad, and watched it a few weeks ago. It is a very good film, great style of film-making, and amazing acting and writing, but it is ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR KIDS. This movie has a sex scene almost every 2 minutes. They discuss it, Tracy Flick (Witherspoon) has a sexual affair with a teacher... Great movie but a LOT of sex.
Adult Written byshayup April 9, 2008

Dark, but funny

Good movie, good acting and interesting concept of student vs teacher.
Kid, 12 years old May 27, 2011

No way!

I think it would be a good film BUT I am twelve and I read a review and instantly changed the channel. I think the plot and film would of been good, don't get me wrong, but it is a bit too.... rude.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking