A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Loren Nelson ...
Emily Martin ...
Girl in Crisis


Tracy Flick is running unopposed for this year's high school student election. But school civics teacher Jim McAllister has a different plan. Partly to establish a more democratic election, and partly to satisfy some deep personal anger toward Tracy, Jim talks popular varsity football player Paul Metzler to run for president as well. Chaos ensues. Written by R. P. Falvey <falvey@scf.usc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Reading, Writing, Revenge.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, sex-related dialogue and language, and a scene of drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

7 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eleição  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$119,080 (USA) (23 April 1999)


$14,879,556 (USA) (6 August 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ranked at #9 on Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies (2006) See more »


(at around 20 mins) Mr. McAllister gets into his car and shuts the door. The car is old and the loose weatherstripping gets caught on the outside of his car. Tracy is speaking to him and has her hand on the car door. A couple of seconds later, the black rubber weatherstripping is now in its proper place and not showing on the outside of the car. See more »


[as the winner of the election is about to be announced]
Tracy Flick: [voiceover] Act surprised. Walk slowly to the podium. Be modest. Thank them for this incredible honour.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end titles include four "The producers wish to thank the following:" cards, one "Very Special Thanks to:" card, and one "Extra Very Special Thanks to:" card. See more »


Featured in Best! Movies! Ever!: Hot for Teacher (2007) See more »


Three Times a Lady
Written by Lionel Richie
Performed by The Commodores
Courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P.
Under License from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

Flick for President?
5 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Academy Award attention heaped on "Sideways" helped to make Alexander Payne a mainstream name among casual film goers, but many of us knew about his talent as a film maker long before. And his two more recent films--"Sideways" and "About Schmidt"--have been much gentler (thought still terrific) than his earlier efforts. Before "Election," Payne had already made "Citizen Ruth," a caustic, bracing satire of the abortion issue, and "Election" continued his penchant for harsh, uncomfortable comedy. I mean that in a good way, though. Payne's movies are funny, but they make you uneasy for laughing at them, and they have sharp, intelligent insights into the attitudes that drive American values.

In "Election," Payne uses a high school class presidential election as an opportunity to lampoon everything that's goofy about the American political system. Just as in our national elections for president, the winner is not necessarily the person with the most integrity, and honesty is a liability, not a virtue. The person who is willing to play dirtiest comes out on top, and elections aren't about who is most qualified but rather about who is most popular. And, the best part about the movie is its acknowledgement of voter apathy. Most Americans don't really give a damn, something that makes them not so different from the majority of high schoolers who don't even understand the point of having a class president to begin with. In fact, in the film's best scene, the assembly at which each candidate gives her/his campaign speech, one of the candidates (who joins the race out of spite) gets the best reception from the crowd when she encourages everyone not to vote at all.

Reese Witherspoon gives a wonderful performance as Tracy Flick, the school's most likely to succeed, whose goodie-goodie exterior hides the fact that she's willing to do just about anything to get ahead. Matthew Broderick is refreshingly unlikable as a social studies teacher who would like to see Tracy fail just once, until the fact that his own life is falling apart turns this wish into an obsession. And Chris Klein has some fun as the dopey, Jesus-following popular guy who becomes Tracy's arch rival, but never really even knows it.

Payne doesn't tidy up his film's moral messages. On the one hand, Tracy is obnoxious, and we want to see her fail as much as Broderick's character does. But she does know how to play the game, and isn't that part of what makes someone a good leader? We sympathize with Broderick up to a point, but his motives really are driven by a personal vendetta, not by any altruistic ideal of right vs. wrong. So if you normally need someone to root for in order to enjoy a movie, you're probably not going to like this one.

But who expects a hero?...I mean, come on, we're talking about American politics here.

Grade: A

50 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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