Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown

Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown

The iconic group of characters from Charles M. Shulz’s beloved comic strip Peanuts were certainly no strangers to the big screen. In 1969, they reckoned with a National Spelling Bee in A Boy Called Charlie Brown and in 1972, searched far and wide for everyone’s favorite pooch in Snoopy, Come Home. It was time for a new adventure in 1977, as the gang tackled the perils of summer camp in the feature film, Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown.

The whole gang heads off for week of outdoorsy adventure as they accompany Charlie to Rogue River, Oregon to attend summer camp. Charlie immediately has the misfortune of being paired with an unfriendly bunkmate, while the ever-cool Snoopy is having a much better time dominating the entire gamut of camp sporting events.

Things go from bad to worse when the Peanuts gang is challenged to a river race by their camp rivals. While Charlie and crew struggle with a makeshift raft of questionable quality, their counterparts have the luxury of a professionally made vessel, complete with outboard motor, radar and sonar. Facing a barrage of wild animals, as well as unscrupulous tactics by their enemy rivals, only persistence and luck can save the day for the loveable Peanuts gang.

Shulz wrote the script himself, as he had with the two preceding films, as well as each of the popular television specials. Directed by Bill Melendez and Phil Roman, the film also contained a catchy, rustic musical score, thanks to composer, Ed Bogas.

The film was an immediate success and enjoyed many years of being re-released each summer as a popular matinee. It wouldn’t be the last of the Peanuts characters on the big screen, however, as 1980 would bring the whole gang back once again for Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back).

If you have fond memories of seeing this film as a kid, either in the theater or at home, we welcome you to share them in our comments section, as we tip our hats to yet another classic from the wonderful mind of Charles Schulz.

4 Responses to “Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown”

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  1. Rod Whitenack says:

    I love “Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown!”. I saw it during its original theatrical release, and I got the hardback picture book based on the movie for my 10th birthday in 1977. I still have it!

    For me, the Peanuts TV specials were a big part of my early childhood and they wormed their way into my life year ’round in the holiday specials. It just isn’t Christmas or Halloween without the Peanuts. We had Charlie Brown Christmas ornaments, for God’s sake!

    When “Race For Life, Charlie Brown!” came out, some of the summer camp adventures in the comics and TV specials were pumped up for the big screen. It’s “Meatballs” for kids. The movie was great, which later made me a little disappointed in the followup, “Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back)”, which I saw a few years later and probably a few years too old for the material.

    And Woodstock gets to win the big boat race! There is geniune emotion in this film, and some honestly funny moments. HOWEVER, for some reason that must involve copyright issues somewhere, this movie has never been released on DVD. I wish someone would rectify this problem because I would happily buy a copy the first day it is released.

  2. kapatsos says:

    to me this was by far the best Charlie Brown Movie or show ever. would love to find this of dvd

  3. God says:

    Well it is what some consider it the best of the last two Peanuts feature films distribution by Paramount Pictures though it has yet to see a digitally HD restored and remastered DVD and Blu-Ray release let’s hope the Schulz estate would contact CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment by releasing this and the lame Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown with nice extras behind them both would’ve been a perfect addition for your Peanuts DVD collection can’t wait for that.

  4. Drahken says:

    While generally a big fan of charlie brown & snoopy, I found race for your life & bon voyage to be very tedious experiences. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, they just seemed to move far too slow for peanuts material. Peanuts seems to work much better in a 30min or less format (the saturday morning show, which consisted entirely of ~minute shorts, was my favorite of all peanuts animation).

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