Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) is a 1980 animated film produced by United Feature Syndicate for Paramount Pictures and directed by Bill Melendez. It was the fourth full-length feature film to be based on Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts strip cartoon.
A sequel to the movie followed three years later, in the form of a 1983 television special What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? in which the gang visit memorials and places related to World War I and World War II.
It also uses the same voice cast that worked on the television specials, It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown (1977), You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown (1979), and She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown (1980).
This film contains a rare occurrence where the adults appear on screen, including having their faces entirely visible, as well as speaking comprehensible lines.
Paramount Home Entertainment released this film on VHS and Laserdisc in 1980 and 1995 in 4:3 format, and released it to DVD (cropped to original theatrical release widescreen format) on October 6, 2015.
The film received mostly positive reviews and grossed $2 million worldwide.
This film came three years after Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown and would be the last traditionally animated Peanuts film from the Bill Melendez studio. The characters would not return to film until 2015's computer-animated The Peanuts Movie.
The film begins in France, at a bar in a village where lively music is playing. A man departs the bar, getting into his car. As he drives home, it starts to rain and he passes some greenhouses. He arrives at a chateau, where a little girl (later revealed to be Violette Honfleur) begins writing a letter and is seen with a US Army satchel stenciled with the name "S. BROWN".
In the United States, Linus is introducing two French students, Babette and Jacques, who will be spending spending two weeks at Charlie Brown's school, while Charlie Brown, himself, Peppermint Patty, and Marcie go to France. At the airport, the children, Snoopy and Woodstock are seen off by their friends. Lucy, who was not selected for the program, tells Charlie Brown not to come back.
During the flight, Charlie Brown produces a letter he received that was written in French. Marcie, who has been studying French, translates it and says it is an invitation from a young girl, Violette Honfleur to stay at the Chateau du Mal Voisin (The Castle of the Bad Neighbour). Peppermint Patty asks who this Violette could be, Charlie Brown has no idea.
The group first arrive in London and go on a sightseeing tour downtown, while Snoopy and Woodstock play some tennis at Wimbledon. When Snoopy finds himself losing, he lashes out and gets thrown off the court. Snoopy and Woodstock head to the Victoria Railway Station and rejoin the rest of the group. The group looks at the English countryside while traveling to Dover, then finally arrive to briefly admire the White Cliffs of Dover before boarding a hovercraft that will cross the English Channel. They eventually arrive in France. Marcie uses her French skills to get a rental car for the group (and resulting in some humourous scenes where she curses out other drivers during a traffic jam), and Charlie Brown buys some French bread. They drive to a farmhouse where Peppermint Patty and Marcie will be staying with Pierre. Pierre is a gracious host who appreciates Marcie making an effort to learn his native tongue, but Peppermint Patty thinks he must have an obvious crush on her. Pierre then gets worried that Linus and Charlie Brown went to the Chateau Malvoisin, as it must be some mistake as no one has ever stayed at the Chateau. When Marcie asks about it, Pierre says the Chateau is owned by the Baron, a vile reclusive man who hates everybody, especially foreigners. Pierre makes some phone calls in an attempt to find Charlie Brown, but no one has seen him and Pierre says he is afraid he cannot help Linus or Charlie Brown until they meet up at school.
When Charlie Brown and Linus arrive at the Chateau, a thunderstorm forces them to spend the night in an empty stable. Later that night, Snoopy (in his "World War I Flying Ace" persona) and Woodstock head down to local pub to drink a few pints of root beer.
The next morning, Charlie Brown and Linus find that breakfast and warm blankets have been set up for them by some unknown benefactor. Meanwhile, at Pierre's farm, Marcie and Peppermint Patty help with Pierre's chores, while Peppermint Patty, oblivious to Pierre's attitude, tries to tell Marcie that he likes her. Peppermint Patty then experiences culture shock as Pierre's family eats soup and sausage for breakfast and that she and Marcie will have to wear a school uniform while back in the States she wore her own clothes to school. Marcie adopts a "When in Rome" attitude and simply tells Peppermint Patty than when one is a guest of a foreign land, one must respect their ways.
When the gang meets each other at school, Charlie Brown produces the letter from Violette. Pierre says that she is a niece of the baron who owns the chateau; since the Baron is antisocial to his guests, it clearly must have been Violette who invited them to the Chateau. In a reversal of the first scene where Babette and Jacques were introduced to school back in the States, the teacher at the French school introduces Marcie, Peppermint Patty, Linus and Charlie Brown to her class. The teacher is a nice woman who also says that while the four American kids are in class she will split the instruction between French and English to help teach her own class some English words and to accommodate the exchange students. The class sits at tables; and Charlie Brown is made to sit next to Peppermint Patty, resulting in a brief humourous scene, consisting of Charlie Brown being angry at Peppermint Patty for criticising him.
That night, the baron leaves the chateau to go to the pub and instructs Violette not to let Charlie Brown and Linus in, even though she protests that they must be hospitable as their family was many years ago, but the Baron is adamant that the new arrivals are not to come in. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown and Linus take turns to stand and watch to identify the mysterious benefactor. During Charlie Brown's watch, Linus wakes up to see Charlie Brown has fallen asleep. Linus then goes into the chateau to get to the bottom of this. Eventually, he finds Violette, who says her invitation was a mistake. Violette explains that her grandmother had told her the story of a wartime affair that she had with Silas Brown, Charlie Brown's grandfather, who was an infantryman stationed in France during World War I, and stayed at the chateau. When Silas received his marching orders, he promised to write letters which eventually stopped coming. Violette's grandmother moved on, though she never forgot him. Linus remarks that Silas looks like a full-grown version of Charlie Brown.
Meanwhile, at the pub, Snoopy and Woodstock are playing foosball and overhear the baron confide to the bartender that he knows about Charlie Brown and Linus and has tolerated them long enough, planning to do terrible things to them should they fail to leave by morning. The baron returns home to Violette's surprise, and in her rush to get Linus out of the room, she accidentally knocks over a candle which causes a fire throughout the chateau. Linus takes Violette toward a pair of casement windows, throws them open and shouts to Charlie Brown for help. Charlie Brown wakes up and runs to the pub to call Snoopy and Woodstock. Snoopy and Woodstock rush off to the Chateau and Charlie Brown continues running to the farmhouse to call Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Pierre. Pierre calls the fire department while Peppermint Patty and Marcie follow Charlie Brown to the flaming chateau.
When Snoopy and Woodstock arrive at the chateau, it is engulfed in flames. Snoopy immediately heads to a shed and brings out an old fashioned fire hose, while Linus throws his blanket down to Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Pierre, which they use to catch Violette when she jumps out the window. Snoopy arrives with a barrel of water under Linus who also jumps to safety, and later barks out instructions to work the hose, but the intense water pressure spins him around, splashing Charlie Brown. Woodstock pops out from the hose with a violin and begins playing along to the dramatic scene. While Snoopy is working with the hose, a fire truck with four shadowed firebrigades arrives and the fire is finally extinguished.
The baron, who is thankful that the group saved Violette and the chateau, promises he will never be inhospitable again, and now hosts Linus and Charlie Brown inside the chateau like a proper host. Charlie Brown learns the whole truth behind the mysterious letter he received. Many years ago, a friend of Violette's family was touring the United States and needed his hair cut at one point, and the barber was Charlie Brown's grandfather. This news about the location of the Brown family inspired Violette to write a letter inviting him to stay at the Chateau. As the group prepares to leave the chateau to return to America, Violette gives Silas' satchel to Charlie Brown. The film ends when the group say their goodbyes and get into their beat-up rental car.
The credits show pictures of the film's crew as a collage of designs show the flags of the United States, United Kingdom, and France, the three nations in which the film is set.
- Arrin Skelley – Charlie Brown
- Annalisa Bortolin – Sally Brown
- Daniel Anderson – Linus van Pelt
- Patricia Patts – Peppermint Patty
- Casey Carlson – Marcie
- Pascale de Barolet – Pierre
- Roseline Rubens – Violette/Violet/Patty/Sophie/Frieda
- Laura Planting – Lucy van Pelt
- Bill Melendez – Snoopy/Woodstock
- Debbie Muller – Flight Attendant
- Scott Beach – Waiter/Baron/Driver/Tennis Announcer/English Voice/American Male
- Mel Blanc – (uncredited) Linus' grunt (archive sound)
- Peter Robbins – (uncredited) Linus screams (archive sound)
- This is one of the briefest appearances of Lucy in any Peanuts film. She has only one line in the whole movie. When Schroeder, Sally, "Pig-Pen" and Violet say, "Bon voyage, Charlie Brown!", Lucy adds, "And don't come back!!!" After this scene, none of the characters listed above appear for the remainder of the movie.
- Snoopy's tantrum during the tennis match was inspired by former tennis champion John McEnroe, who was known for his fiery temper and confrontational behavior on-court during games.
- This is a rare time an adult is seen on screen. The teacher at the school in France is seen on screen, and is bilingual. She speaks in clear English as opposed to the infamous "wah wah wah" trombone effects. The English taxi driver's face is also shown.
- However, this is the second Peanuts movie in which the adults actually speak words rather than being represented with the plunger-muted trombone sounds.
- The theme music for the film which is romantic for the most part but gets darker when Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock must explore the supposedly abandoned chateau. The theme music is a variation of the James Bond theme.
- The songs that are heard when Snoopy and Woodstock first visit the café are "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Sentimental Journey." Later on Snoopy plays "Rum & Coca-Cola" on the jukebox.
- The school scene where Peppermint Patty is telling Charlie Brown what to do, then snoring in school was taken from a story arc from the comic strip which originally ran between January 13 and February 13, 1976 where Charlie Brown's school "committed suicide" and was merged with Peppermint Patty's while Charlie Brown's school was being rebuilt. Due to overcrowding, students were made to sit together at tables, and Charlie Brown was forced to put up with Peppermint Patty's bossiness.
- The theatrical and VHS releases have a Rated G MPAA rating screen after the closing Paramount logo. On further releases including the DVD, the rating screen is edited out, and the movie ends immediately.
- The Paramount logo appears in a film-within-the-film named Laughing Bunnies, at which Snoopy and Woodstock laugh out loud.
- On May 7, 1980, The Price Is Right taped a segment featuring a showcase saluting Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) to be broadcast while the movie was still in theatres later that month. After showing a short clip from the movie (the scene on the plane with Snoopy eating and listening to headphones while hiding Woodstock in the ashtray every time the airhostess walks by) the first item offered is a three piece set of American Tourister luggage. Following this, a week long trip to London is offered. Then, after mentioning that Snoopy visits Wimbledon in the movie, Johnny Olson offers a set of two tennis rackets, a supply of tennis balls and tennis outfits. Then, mentioning that the Peanuts gang goes to Paris on the last leg of their trip, a week long Paris trip for two is offered. Following that Olsen notes that in Paris the gang rent a car which Snoopy drives - 'being the only one qualified to drive he takes them on the ride of their lives...and you'll have the ride of YOUR life in this new car from France!' - a 1980 LeCar. To top off the showcase a pass for the contestant and 24 of his/her friends to see a screening of the movie on the Paramount lot is offered. The contestant bid $8600, the actual retail price was $10,907 and he won when the other contestant overbid.
- In the movie, we learn the name of Charlie Brown's grandfather: Silas Brown.
- This is the only Mendelson/Melendez Peanuts movie to not have a theme song that's named after the movie.
- After Linus introduces Babette and Jacques, the French students who will be studying in the United States while Charlie Brown and Linus go to France, the entire class goes up to welcome them. Peppermint Patty can be seen in the gaggle of children. Later on, she calls Charlie Brown to say that she is going with him to France as part of a joint effort with her school, implying that she and Marcie go to another school across town like in the strip cartoon.
- At the airport, when Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Snoopy walk to the security detector, Marcie is replaced by Lucy.
- A sign at Victoria Station reads "Travel Center"-considering that it is in the United Kingdom, it should read "Travel Centre”.
- When they get to London they go to Victoria Station to catch a train to France. However in real life the train to France departs out of St Pancras International Station not Victoria.
- Somehow, the car is still running when a piece of the new bread Charlie Brown bought is in the engine.
- When Linus says, "Wow, look at the time! We're going to be late for our first day of school," a watch appears on his wrist, but then a few seconds later, his watch disappears.
- When Charlie Brown sneezes while holding the broken bread, he throws the bread into the air but the pieces of the bread do not fall back down.
- At the end credits, the colors of the French tricolor flag are inverted, displaying vertical stripes of red, white and blue from left to right. In real life, the French tricolor flag is blue (left), white (centre), and red (right).
- Official Paramount Home Entertainment press release dated July 17, 2015
- It was released on Paramount+
- Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) on the Internet Movie Database.
- Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) on AllMovie.
- Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) on the Big Cartoon Database.
- Bon Voyage Charlie Brown on TV Tropes.
- Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) on Paramount+