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A Boy Named Charlie Brown is a 1969 American animated film, produced by Cinema Center Films and Lee Mendelson Films for National General Pictures and directed by Bill Melendez, it is the first feature film based on the Peanuts comic strip. It was also the final time that Peter Robbins voiced the character of Charlie Brown. (Robbins had voiced the role for all the Peanuts television specials up to that point, starting with the debut of the specials, 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas.)

Plot

Prior to the credits, Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy look at some clouds on a hill. After hearing Linus' educated description of the detailed scenes he envisions, Charlie Brown has second thoughts about seeing a "ducky and a horsie".

Then, after the credits, we first see Charlie Brown flying a kite into the air. However, no sooner does he get it in the air than it crashes. He angrily decries his obtained bad luck, and throws it to Lucy who is passing by. "Anyone who can fly this kite is a genius," he angrily proclaims. As she carries it off, Lucy tosses it to Snoopy, and no sooner does the kite string touch his paw than it is carried aloft.

Soon afterward, Charlie's first Little League baseball game of the season approaches, and Charlie Brown eagerly goes to the local baseball field, only to find the pitcher's mound covered with dandelions. The girls on the team demand that he not cut them down, proclaiming that the dandelions have a right to live and they also make Charlie look cute. Soon, the game starts, and the team loses the first game of the season. Charlie Brown walks home musing that they always lose the first and last games of the season - and all the ones in between. While taking a bath afterwards and still thinking about the loss, he places a toy sailboat in the bathtub, which promptly capsizes.

Later on that day, Linus shows up, and plays tic-tac-toe in the dirt by the front porch of Charlie Brown's house. Linus tries to cheer Charlie Brown up, stating that people learn more from losing than from winning. "I guess that makes me the smartest person in the whole world," Charlie replies, sarcastically. Linus takes the tone of voice, and tells Charlie Brown that if he keeps thinking he's a loser, it won't help. Positively, Linus tells Charlie Brown that he [Linus] is sure that someday he [Charlie Brown] will win. Unfortunately, just as he says this, Linus wins the tic-tac-toe game and sheepishly grins as Charlie Brown glares at him.

The next day, Charlie Brown stops by Lucy's Psychiatry Booth. Lucy tells Charlie Brown that she can help him point out his faults better than anyone else. Taking him to her place, Lucy reveals a slide projector and a screen, onto which slides showing Charlie's myriad faults will be displayed. However, the 'evidence' doesn't help Charlie Brown at all, and makes him feel even more miserable. Walking off, Lucy mutters, "Wait until you get my bill."

On the way to school the next day, Linus encounters Charlie Brown, who tells him about the slide show that Lucy showed. As they near the playground, Lucy jokingly comes up to Charlie Brown, and explains that the school is having a spelling bee, and laughs at the thought of him volunteering. Linus, however, thinks that entering the spelling bee is a good idea. His opinion is met by more laughter by Lucy, Patty & Violet. Later in class, Charlie Brown nervously volunteers, and manages to beat the other kids in the class. The next day, he will be going up against the other kids in the school. Filled with determination, he, Linus & Snoopy go home and study through the dictionary. As they study, they sing a song about "'I' before 'E,' except after 'C'".

As the school-wide spelling bee kicks off, Charlie's mind is filled with all sorts of words. It soon comes down to Charlie Brown, but just when it seems he won't get it, the 'I' before 'E' song enters his head, (thanks to Snoopy playing the song on his Jew's harp outside the school) and he wins the Bee. The kids cheerfully follow him home, singing a song titled "Champion Charlie Brown".

Later on, at Charlie Brown's house, Lucy proclaims that Charlie Brown (with his new found fame) must have an agent, to which she feels she should be most suited for. The others recommend that Charlie Brown should start studying again, which confuses him, given that he just won the spelling bee. The others tell him his victory in the school spelling bee has given him the privilege to take part in the nationwide spelling bee. Charlie's feelings about his victory slowly subside, as he finds himself once again reading the dictionary, his feelings about his bad luck once again eating away at him.

Soon afterward, Charlie Brown boards the bus for the trip to New York City. Linus wishes him luck, but then mercifully hands Charlie his blanket for good luck. The kids cheer Charlie on as the bus pulls away.

Back at home, Linus is beginning to suffer terribly from withdrawal after giving his blanket to Charlie Brown. Finally unable to take it anymore, he pleads with Snoopy to help him go to New York to find Charlie Brown and get his blanket back.

Soon afterward, Charlie Brown hears a knock on his door. When he opens it, he is greeted by an enthusiastic Snoopy. Linus, however, passes out. As he comes back to consciousness, he explains to Charlie Brown that he keeps passing out from being without his blanket. Charlie tells him that he isn't sure where the blanket could be. One possibility could be that he left it at the New York Public Library. Linus and Snoopy then take off through the streets of New York, with Linus looking here and there, painfully muttering "It isn't here!" at every turn. As he continues walking, Snoopy gets distracted, and ends up ice-skating at the Rockefeller Center ice rink. Soon, he catches up to Linus at the library, who, after peering through the front doors of the closed structure, is convinced it isn't here either. Angrily, he storms back to Charlie Brown's hotel room to tell him.

Back at the room, Charlie Brown is half-asleep from studying the dictionary. Every sentence he says, he ends up spelling the last word in that sentence ("Good morning, Linus and Snoopy. Snoopy -- S-N-O-O-P-Y. Snoopy."). As Linus continues to suffer from being separated from his blanket, he sees Charlie Brown getting ready for the contest. As Charlie Brown shines his dress shoes, Linus stares in shock: the cloth he's using is Linus' blanket, Linus greedily grabs it, very relieved to have it back. The three then set off for the spelling bee.

Charlie Brown goes backstage while Linus & Snoopy take their seats at Radio City Music Hall where the spelling bee is to be held. Back at home, the rest of the gang are tuning into the spelling bee, which is being broadcast on television. One-by-one, the losing contestants leave the spelling bee, until it's just Charlie Brown and one other boy, (who for some reason looked exactly like Schroeder.) Charlie Brown is then eliminated for misspelling beagle as "B-E-A-G-E-L". Everyone lets out a scream; besides it being a relatively simple word, Snoopy is himself a beagle. Sadly, Charlie Brown returns home, along with Linus and Snoopy. When they get home in the nighttime, no one is there to greet them.

As they go their separate ways, Linus tells Charlie Brown good night, but he doesn't respond. The next day, Linus goes to Charlie Brown's house, where he meets Sally. She tells him that her brother has been in his room all day with the shades down. As Linus knocks on the door, Charlie Brown asks who it is. When Linus asks if he can come in, Charlie Brown replies morosely, "I don't care." Linus opens one of the shades, and sees Charlie Brown lying in bed. When Linus mentions that the other kids missed him at school, he replies that he isn't going back to school again. Linus tries to mention that they had a baseball game as well, and won. Charlie Brown rolls his eyes at this: his team won a game, and he wasn't even there. Linus tells him that he must feel that he let everyone down, by losing the Spelling Bee. As he turns to go, he looks back. "But did you notice something, Charlie Brown? The world didn't come to an end."

As Linus shuts the door, Charlie Brown thinks for a moment, gets dressed, and then goes outside. Just as Linus said, he still has his whole life ahead of him to prove he's a winner. Outside, there are kids jumping rope and more. As he walks through a field, he sees Lucy playing with a football. As he watches, she holds it as if waiting for someone to kick it. Charlie Brown begins to sneak toward the ball, and just as he's about to kick it, she pulls it away, causing him to land flat on his back. As she walks over to him, she smiles and says, "Welcome home, Charlie Brown."

Tropes

  • Covers Always Lie: The DVD cover shows Lucy clutching Charlie Brown's arm and staring up at him adoringly. Not only is the whole movie about the ways in which she ruins his life (and no Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments, either), this also makes no sense if you know a thing about Lucy.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: A lot of the musical numbers fall under this.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Near the end of the movie, Sally wants to know whether Linus is going to take her to an R-rated movie. "For mature audiences only."
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Poor Charlie Brown, yet again...he was so close!
  • Written Sound Effect: When Lucy shows Charlie Brown a slideshow of his flaws, she somehow captured the word "POW" on the slide showing his lack of style.
  • X Must Not Win: Where X equals - who else? - Charlie Brown; he screws up spelling "beagle" due to a combination of Snoopy (who is a beagle) following him along and worry over Linus getting angry at Charlie Brown for a trivial reason.
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