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A Boy Named Charlie Brown
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A Boy Named Charlie Brown More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

An animated film that would make Bergman proud!

10/10
Author: Preston-10 from Phoenix, Arizona
17 June 2001

The PEANUTS films, coming from a student of international cinema, have contained some of the truest statements I have borne witness to in my life. If you were to really sit down and listen to what these characters say to each other you would be surprised at how much you can truly relate to them. A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN is the best of them because it does the best job combining the artistic with the humanistic. Even though this is a movie that is defined through a series of seemingly unrelated moments (a fantasized hockey game, a spelling bee, a beautiful performance on piano by Schroeder, a baseball game) this only adds to the closeness we feel toward the characters. The tragic sequence in the Film where Linus expresses remorse for lending Charlie Brown his literal "security blanket" and seeks to find it is a sequence that would make Bergman proud! I rarely recommend movies that I truly like but I have to say that A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN is a film for everyone!

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Close to the spirit of the strip in terms of content and animation but also contains imaginative additions

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
30 July 2004

Charlie Brown is a young boy who cannot ever seem to do anything right. His baseball team always loses the first and last games of the season (as well as most of the ones in between) and he gets the blame. He never gets a moment's rest from his friends putting him down as the designated goat – even his dog gives him a rough ride. Determined to show that he is more than just a failure, Charlie enters the school spelling bee, aiming for victory – but can he stand up under the pressure that awaits him? Meanwhile Linus goes cold-turkey.

I have seen several of the Peanuts features and have enjoyed them as a fan but been the first to put my hands up and say that they are neither great films or totally captured the spirit of the strip. However with this feature I am pleased to report that it was pretty much spot on in both regards. The plot starts well and the first half of the film is an enjoyable collection of episodes that act like individual strips while still moving the film forward. The second half moves into more solid territory with the spelling-bee but even then it keeps it together and is well structured. The humour of the piece will appeal to those who enjoy the strip – not hilarious but it has some funny moments as well as the amusing philosophising that they all do. The film benefits from imaginative writing that adds humour in various ways – Snoopy drinking the water and Linus going cold-turkey are two such examples. Only the actual spelling bee final is a little slow as it is a couple of minutes of spelling!

The film isn't heavy with songs like other features I've seen and the animation is nicely close to the strip and pleased me as a fan. However, again an added bonus, the animation opens out every now and again to become something much more sublime (and that word is not an exaggeration). Snoopy taking to ice becomes a blur of colour, while Linus playing the piano becomes close to art! It may not be as polished as Disney but it is really cool and imaginative while still staying within the Peanuts style. The voice work is all good – a little flat at times but it suits the characters (of course I'm used to them by now so I didn't have the 'problem' of imagining them myself first).

Another reviewer has put this film on a par with Fantasia and, while I wouldn't say that, I can see what they mean. The plot moves the film forward but also manages to capture the spirit of the strip really well. Likewise the animation is very close to the strip and is pleasing to watch. Both these aspects are made better by a series of imaginative touches – in the writing it is funny little gags and the strips' usual philosophising while in the animation it is a series of imaginative fantasy sequences that really make the film feel like something special. The most pleasing Peanuts movie I have seen.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

The ultimate and epic Charlie Brown statement!

10/10
Author: John Cassidy (ryuuseipro@comcast.net) from Richmond, VA
15 September 2000

A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN has got to be the ultimate Peanuts animation ever made! It's so epic, and it does a great job of showcasing the original Peanuts characters, especially the central character, Charlie Brown! It told a tragic story of Charlie Brown, the milquetoast little boy who works hard to be the best (trying everything from kite-flying to baseball to even competing at a spelling bee), so that he can be loved and respected by his friends, when, of course, he usually loses and his friends berate him. And only his best friend Linus tries to help Charlie Brown succeed in life. There's also Snoopy, Charlie Brown's wonderful pet beagle, who does his usual crazy thing, from playing a WWI Flying Ace to skating on ice. Aside from creator Charles Schulz's screenplay, the great music score and songs by legendary jazz musician Vince Guaraldi, conductor John Scott Trotter, and gifted musician/poet/singer Rod McKuen really shines, and is the best score of any animated Peanuts project since the scores from all of the previous animated TV specials (only with more dimension)! It really needs a CD soundtrack! There's also some "artsy-fartsy" moments throughout the movie, including the Peanuts Gang saluting the National Anthem, Charlie Brown and Linus practicing "I before E, except after C," Schroeder playing Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata (2nd movt.) on his piano, and Snoopy skating at the Rockerfeller Center in NY, where Charlie Brown goes for the national spelling bee, but these are great images that make this movie all the more unusual! This movie made its premiere at the Radio City Music Hall in December of '69 (incidentally Rod McKuen performed one of the movie's songs months earlier at his birthday concert at Carnegie Hall, which can be purchased on a CD called "Rod McKuen: At Carnegie Hall"). There was also a documentary of the same name (the soundtrack of which is available on CD), which was transformed into CHARLIE BROWN AND CHARLES SCHULZ the same year this movie was released.

In summary, A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN is the best of the Peanuts movies, and the best Peanuts animated project since A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (the first Peanuts TV special)! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Charles Schultz at his comedic best

Author: Jay-231 (c3lornehop@aol.com) from Southern California
22 July 2000

This groundbreaking animated film brought the bittersweet and somewhat bleak humor of Schultz's "Peanuts" comic strip to the big screen, with beautiful, lush artwork that has probably never been duplicated. Memorable scenes include Schroeder's piano concert; Snoopy ice-skating in Central Park; the New York City spelling bee (where the famous "wah-wah-wah" voice approves or disapproves of contestants' spellings); and a showstopping rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," complete with psychedelic red, white, and blue imagery. A wonderful cult classic.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

What a film, Charlie Brown

10/10
Author: knoxvillian from Knoxville, TN
30 October 2002

This has got to be one of the most overlooked films in talking about classic stories. The storytelling of this film is wonderful, with a surprisingly insightful point for an animated film.

This film follows the fortunes of our title character, Charlie Brown, as he finally proves his worth by making it to the National Eliminations Spelling Bee, Second Grade. Along the way, we see his failures in baseball, his troubles with an overly imaginative dog, and his entanglements with his closest friends. All of the classic scenes from the comic are there as well. With only this mix of characters and the superb storytelling, the film would have been a classic.

But wait, there's more! The story is set against a beautiful backdrop of color and inventive imagery (Schroeder's concert of the "Adagio Cantabile" by Beethoven or the Snoopy's ice-skating interlude come to mind). In addition to all of this, there is the always transcendent score by Vincent Guaraldi as well as several fun songs sung by the characters and a title song by Rod McKuen that makes me wonder why one is unable to find a soundtrack to this movie anywhere.

If you haven't seen this movie, then I highly recommend that you do. Perhaps you'll see why this is easily on of the very best animated films out there.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Stress for Success

9/10
Author: bbethel66 from Buffalo, NY
8 January 2005

After scoring both an Emmy and a Peabody on television, the Peanuts gang heads to the big leagues, beginning with "A Boy Named Charlie Brown".

The first of four Peanuts films, this one is a basic layout of what the original Peanuts comic strip (1950-2000) was all about. Charlie Brown is a regular kid who's only asking for a little respect. But even when everybody else got the hang of it, he just can't seem to fly a kite, or win a baseball game. Doomed to be labeled a loser forever, he boldly volunteers to participate in the school's spelling bee. Too bad nobody told him it was a NATIONAL competition; the only way he can win now is thru persistence and hard study.

This film is listed for family and comedy. But it should also be listed for tragedy. It's just one example of how you can do EVERYTHING right (in this case, studying your brains out), and STILL lose.

I recall seeing this regularly on The Disney Channel, and each time, I kept watching to see if Charlie Brown would win that spelling bee...

...but he never did. :-(

Aside from the main plot, this movie is also a great piece of art. Even with its limited UPA-esquire animation, it still has the artistic flair of your basic Disney film. Parts of the story are interpreted thru split-screen action, extended background footage, catchy songs, and a hypnotic blend of colors and music. In spite of all that, I don't think that Charles Schulz was trying to compete with Disney in any way, thus avoiding a common error made among most non-Disney animation studios. But still, who would've thought that you can create music with the use of a dictionary?

The content is uniquely accessible for everyone. Children will love the fantasy sequences of Snoopy. Teens can relate to Charlie Brown and his never-ending quest for acceptance. Adults will love the intellectual undertones of the film. And animation/art fans will really appreciate the musical/fantasy sequences.

"A Boy Named Charlie Brown" is one of the better of the four Peanuts feature films. Most Peanuts fans will easily enjoy, but all are welcome to see it.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A good film

Author: newkidontheblock from Nowheresville
28 June 2004

A Boy Named Charlie Brown is a solid film in my opinion. Great music, a good plot, and real trippy animation and montages. Vince G. really out did himself for this one.

The basic concept of this movie is that Charlie Brown is fed up with his title as a loser, a failure and a wash-out, so he gets in the class spelling bee and wins. He's finally heralded as a winner, life is sweet.

Well, after chilling out for a while, he studies for the all state spelling bee with the help of his best friend Linus, who gives him his beloved blanket for good luck. Now for the sub-plot

Linus is slowly sinking in his own personal hell because of the absents of his blue blanket, so they (Snoopy and Linus) go to the location of the bee and catch up with Charlie who is sleeping at the time. Snoopy abandons Linus and goes ice skating with the song "skating" playing in the background. To find out the end of the film, you'll just have to rent it from your local video store

Like i said earlier, I very much enjoyed the Music in this film. Very 60's, but still staying true to the peanuts style of music. I very much enjoyed the theme song to the movie and there rendition of the national anthem. So bravo Boy Named Charlie Brown, you are truly a good film

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Charlie Brown in his first feature!

9/10
Author: Bruce McGee from Asheville, NC USA
26 June 2001

I saw this film first in 1969. I thought it was a cute little film then, as now.

This is the first Peanuts feature, and the last show using Peter Robbins as the voice of Charlie Brown.

In this film, Charlie Brown, our hero, has finally proved that he can do something right. He wins the spelling bee in his class. All the kids treat him with their usual lack of tact. He studies really hard and wins the championship at his school and gets to go to the "city" to be in the "National Elimination Spelling Bee" I will not spoil the ending.

Vince Guaraldi, the composer of the music for the six previous TV specials, is back for this one. There are new arrangements of the old music, plus several new songs by Rod McKuen. Guaraldi did not do the music for the next feature, Snoopy Come Home (1972) and that film suffers because of this.

Schroeder has a beautiful salute to Beethoven in this film. While the music plays, we see some beautiful abstract scenes and colors on the screen that look fantastic in Technicolor. Sadly, I have seen this sequence cut from TV showings.

Snoopy has a wonderful sequence while he and Linus are wandering around the city looking for his blanket that he sent with Charlie Brown for good luck. Snoopy discovers an ice skating rink and pretends that he is in a hockey match while he skates around the rink. He also has an encounter with the Red Baron that has some of the same animation that was used in "He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown! on TV.

One thing that I like about this film is when the closing credits are rolling, you get to see animated images of most of the principal creators of this film. Their names are on the right side of the screen, and their images appear on the left. Things like that entice me to sit through the credits instead of walking out as soon as they start.

If you have never seen this film, by all means rent it and see what you have been missing!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Fantasia for the Sixties.

Author: SanDiego
30 March 2000

Saw this film in a theater when it was first released and it has stuck with me all these years. Nothing like the Disney films of that period, it truly inspired most cutting edge animation that exists today (from "The Simpsons" to "South Park"). The TV specials had already animated the tiny Peanut kids who philosophized like ivy league psychologists, but the big screen dabbled in artistic compositions of color and abstract art. Simply a treat. A Fantasia for the Sixties! The sequels never got so gutsy.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The best of the Peanuts movies, a very honest feature (major spoilers)

9/10
Author: Jeremy Bristol from Plattsmouth, NE
27 June 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Basically, A Boy Named Charlie Brown falls into the genre of competition movies for children, such as Little Giants, The Mighty Ducks, and Angels in the Outfield. However, this movie is by far the most honest and felt movie to come out of the genre. Unlike all the others, which show haggard, underdog teams of non-atheletes defeating more skilled teams (most of whom are mean or cheaters), to supposedly prove that winning isn't everything and just have fun and heart (or worse, in the case of Angels, that God decides who wins in sporting events), Charlie Brown is simply involved in a spelling bee in which he, though an underdog according to his friends (they call him Failure Face), amazingly makes it to the final round in the national bee because he keeps getting words that have to do with "failure," something he is quite accustomed to! The ending is more honest than any victory celebration could have been, and leaves the viewer with a truer sense of the overall importance of these competitions.

The only real problem I have with the movie (which has some stiking animated sequences that reminded me of the Woodstock movie (the festival, not the bird)) is that the songs are pretty bad, which makes me ever so grateful that the filmmakers hired the Mary Poppins songwriters for Snoopy Come Home.

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