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Election (1999)

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2:29 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Alexander Payne

Writers:

Tom Perrotta (novel), Alexander Payne (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,762 ( 42)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Broderick ... Jim McAllister
Reese Witherspoon ... Tracy Flick
Chris Klein ... Paul Metzler
Jessica Campbell ... Tammy Metzler
Mark Harelik ... Dave Novotny
Phil Reeves ... Walt Hendricks
Molly Hagan ... Diane McAllister
Delaney Driscoll ... Linda Novotny
Colleen Camp ... Judith R. Flick
Frankie Ingrassia ... Lisa Flanagan
Matt Malloy ... Vice-Principal Ron Bell
Jeanine Jackson ... Jo Metzler
Holmes Osborne ... Dick Metzler
Loren Nelson ... Custodian
Emily Martin Emily Martin ... Girl in Crisis
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Storyline

The high school Class President election is approaching and it looks like Tracy Flick is going to win, unopposed. However, teacher Jim McAllister has other plans. He convinces jock Paul Metzler to run, sparking off an interesting chain of events. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Reading, Writing, Revenge.

Genres:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

7 May 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Election See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$119,080, 25 April 1999

Gross USA:

$14,902,041

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,902,041
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

G.W. Carver High School is actually Papillion-La Vista Senior High School, located in Papillion, Nebraska. Director Alexander Payne wanted to use Omaha North High School, an older, more traditional-looking school building, but the Omaha Public School's superintendent refused after reading the script and deeming it inappropriate. See more »

Goofs

(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 »

Quotes

[Dave's affair with Tracy has been discovered]
Dave Novotny: [tearfully] Tracy's mom, she doesn't understand.
Walt Hendricks: No, I'd say she doesn't. The fact is I have never seen a mother so upset. All right, I know what Tracy told her mother, what her mother told me, I need to hear this from you, because I have a legal responsibility here. Let me ask you this... Did you cross the line with this girl?
Dave Novotny: I... We... We're in love.
[he sobs helplessly]
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 »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood's Top Ten: All About Politics (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Drown in Small Cowgirl Boots
Written by David Burris
Performed by Jolene
Courtesy of Sire Records Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Flick for President?
5 December 2005 | by evanston_dadSee 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


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