You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown

Movie review by
Nancy Davis Kho, Common Sense Media
You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown Movie Poster Image
'70s TV special explains the political process with humor.
  • NR
  • 1972
  • 29 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 2+
Based on 3 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

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. 

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

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."

Consumerism

Based on the Peanuts comic strip, which has been used in extensive merchandising of toys, school supplies, and clothing featuring the characters. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe June 2, 2010
Charlie Brown is and always will be a classic! Watch with your kids, they will love this family friendly movie.
Kid, 11 years old November 25, 2009

linus

linus not good presdnt
Teen, 13 years old Written byThreeDaysGracesGirl November 1, 2010

What's the story?

Written by Charles Schulz in the year George McGovern was challenging incumbent Richard M. Nixon for the presidency, YOU'RE NOT ELECTED, CHARLIE BROWN shows that some things in politics never change. Despite the title, it's actually Linus van Pelt (voiced by Stephen Shea) who is running for student president at Birchwood School, with his pushy sister Lucy (Robin Kohn) as campaign manager. Between Lucy's intimidation techniques and some very funny help from Snoopy and Woodstock (in his first animated role), Linus has a chance to win the election. But even if he does, can he deliver on the promises he makes in his stump speech? The 2008 remastered edition also includes He's a Bully, Charlie Brown, a 2006 TV special that features Charlie Brown and the gang at summer camp. Joe Agate (Taylor Lautner), the camp bully, steals Reruns' (Jimmy Bennett) prize marble collection, and it's up to Charlie Brown to win it back.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Lucy's polling methodology in You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown. Do you think it swayed people's answers? How would you decide whom to vote for? How does the special compare to real life elections?

  • How do Charlie Brown and the gang handle the bully? How can you stand up to bullies?

  • Compare the first feature, made in 1972, with the second, made in 2006. Which similarities and differences do you see in the characters, their voices, the stories? Which one did you like better, and why? 

  • How do the characters in You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown demonstrate integrity? Why is this an important character strength?

Movie details

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