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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown is a 1975 Emmy Award-winning Peanuts movie that is funny and entertaining and reinforces important lessons about trying your best even when the competition is intimidating. A bonus episode included on the DVD is also sports-focused. The story features a few historical sports references that may go over kids' heads -- including references to Bruce Jenner in the context of being a Gold-medal athlete instead of what Jenner is known for today -- but otherwise Charlie Brown's sporting efforts have stood the test of time. There is some mild bullying; Charlie Brown is frequently called "pumpkinhead," and Marcie is called "squirt" by an overly competitive and cocky kid from a rival school, but his actions are shown to be negative, especially in contrast to the good sportsmanship consistently on display from Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty. Also, in a brief scene in a hospital, Snoopy is shown recuperating in bed while reading Playdog magazine.
What's the story?
In YOU'RE A GOOD SPORT, CHARLIE BROWN, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz took inspiration from his son's lifelong love of dirt biking to write a funny TV special reinforcing the merits of good sportsmanship. Charlie Brown (voiced by Duncan Watson) is invited by Peppermint Patty (Stuart Brotman) to participate in a charity motocross event. Despite his inexperience and broken-down equipment, Charlie Brown enters and finds himself pitted against mysterious competitor the Masked Marvel, who has every advantage to win the race. In the second episode entitled "You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown," the Marvel and Charlie Brown meet again, this time at a school track meet.
Is it any good?
The Peanuts movies are family favorites for the very attributes that characterize these two stories: funny, slapstick animation paired with a hapless hero to teach positives messages. The fact that Charlie Brown isn't a sure bet to be the winner of any contest he undertakes makes him accessible to children who are gaining confidence only as they gain skills. At the same time, Charlie Brown has a few solid friends who encourage him, love him despite his faults, and help him keep both wins and losses in perspective.
There may be a need for explanation from parents on scoring for tennis and decathlons, as well as on references to the big names in track from 1975 such as Bruce Jenner and Dick Fosbury. Even without that, kids should be able to follow You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown just fine, entertained by Snoopy at every turn.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the examples of good and bad sportsmanship in You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown. What do you think it takes to be a good sport?
Have you ever competed with someone whom you thought was a great competitor, the way Marcy considers Charlie Brown? What made that person a good sport? How can you support teammates?
How is bullying shown during the decathlon, and what are the consequences of the bully's behavior?
How is Snoopy used as "comic relief" in both specials?
- In theaters: October 28, 1975
- On DVD or streaming: January 27, 2009
- Cast: Duncan Watson, Melanie Kohn, Stuart Brotman
- Director: Phil Roman
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Brothers and Sisters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character Strengths: Integrity, Teamwork
- Run time: 24 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
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