Election


1h 43m 1999

Brief Synopsis

A high school teacher meets his match in an over-achieving student politician.

Film Details

Also Known As
Arriviste, L', L' Arriviste
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Comedy
Adaptation
Political
Release Date
1999
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Location
Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 43m

Synopsis

A high school election goes awry when Jim McAllister, a popular teacher and student government advisor, determines to sabotage the campaign of Tracy Flick, the over-achieving student who ruined the life of his best friend, a fellow teacher, by getting him fired after they had an affair. McAllister encourages Paul Metzler, a sweet but dumb jock sidelined by a broken leg, to run for class president against Tracy. After Jim unwittingly steals his kid sister Tammy's girlfriend away from her, she also enters enters the race on the "I don't care" platform.

Crew

Matt Adler

Adr

Jon Ailetcher

Sound Mixer

Steve Alterman

Adr

Joey Altruda

Song

Andy Anderson

Camera Operator

Tyndall Arrasmith

Set Decorator

Antonio L Arroyo

Sound Mixer

Andrea Baker

Adr

Holly Balbinder

Production Coordinator

Randy N Barbee

Assistant Director

Mandy Barnett

Song Performer

Pamela Winn Barnett

Post-Production Supervisor

Dondi Bastone

Music Supervisor

Charles Bazaldua

Adr

Lisa Beach

Casting

Ron Bedrosian

Adr Mixer

Andy Bell

Song

Albert Berger

Producer

Alysse Bezahler

Production Coordinator

Elinor Blake

Song

Tony Blondal

Music Arranger

Jerry Bock

Song

Brian Bricklin

Song

Scott Bricklin

Song

Jim Burke

Coproducer

Lucia Burns

Assistant Director

Dave Burris

Song

Kate Carlin

Adr

Nathan Carlson

Graphic Artist

Tim Carroll

Song Performer

Tim Carroll

Song

Catherine Cavadini

Adr

Mark Hunshik Choi

Sound Effects Editor

Wendy Chuck

Costume Designer

Charlotte Corday

Costume Supervisor

Patrick Cyccone Jr.

Rerecording

Renee Davenport

Set Decorator

Deke Dickerson

Song

Holly Dorff

Adr

Katherine Dorrer

Location Manager

Bruce Dukov

Other

Kai Ephron

Other

Denise Fischer

Hair Stylist

Jeff Fischer

Adr

Eric Flickinger

Other

Richard Ford

Music Editor

Frank Gaeta

Sound Editor

David Gale

Producer

Marc Garland

Assistant Director

Nerses Gezalyan

Foley Mixer

James Glennon

Director Of Photography

Anneliese Goldman

Adr

Mack Gordon

Song

Neil Halstead

Song

Shari Hanger

Assistant Director

Sheldon Harnick

Song

Barbara Harris

Voice Casting

Barbara Harris

Adr

Laura Harris

Dialogue Editor

Laura Harris

Adr Editor

Jimi Hendrix

Song

Victor Ho

Production Coordinator

Casey Hotchkiss

Director Of Photography

Casey Hotchkiss

Camera Operator

Carrie Houk

Casting

Daniel S Irwin

Adr Editor

Daniel S Irwin

Dialogue Editor

Meghan Ivey

Song Performer

John Jackson

Casting

Craig Jaeger

Sound Effects Editor

Daniel James

Song

Bill Johnston

Other

Edgar Jones

Song

Milton Kellem

Song

Michael Keller

Rerecording

Rolfe Kent

Song

Rolfe Kent

Music

Tim Kirkpatrick

Art Director

Daamen Krall

Adr

David Kramer

Adr

Tom Kramer

Music Editor

John Latenser V

Location Manager

Nikki Ledermann

Makeup Artist

Donovan Leitch

Song

Donovan Leitch

Song Performer

Kimaree Long

Adr Editor

Kimaree Long

Dialogue Editor

April March

Song Performer

Sean Mccarron

Assistant Director

Ned Miller

Song

Sue Miller

Song

Douglas Moe

Production Coordinator

James Moriana

Foley Artist

Frank Morocco

Song Performer

Ennio Morricone

Song Performer

Ennio Morricone

Song

Andy Paley

Song

Kyra Panchenko

Hair Stylist

Ellen Parks

Casting

George Parra

Assistant Director

Alexander Payne

Screenplay

Tom Perrotta

Source Material (From Novel)

Radan Popovic

Director Of Photography

Dana Porter

Adr

David Randolph

Adr

Noreen Reardon

Adr

Harry Revel

Song

Lionel Richie

Song

Don Robertson

Song

Rebecca Robertson

Assistant Director

Rikke Rosbaek

Costume Supervisor

Jacobus Rose

Coproducer

James Ryder

Makeup Artist

Keith Samples

Producer

Scott Sanders

Sound Effects Editor

Vernon Scott

Adr

Momita Sengupta

Production

Horace Silver

Song

Jason Singh

Song

Frederick H Stahly

Dialogue Editor

Frederick H Stahly

Adr Editor

Lauren Stevens

Dialogue Editor

Lauren Stevens

Adr Editor

Jane Ann Stewart

Production Designer

Pat Stoltz

Other

Bill Stromberg

Music Conductor

Peggy Sutton

Assistant Director

Jill Tarlow

Set Costumer

Jim Taylor

Screenplay

Kevin Tent

Editor

Rich Toenes

Other

Van Toffler

Executive Producer

Victoria Vaus

Titles

John Vigran

Sound Mixer

Tim Watson

Song

Gary Wayton

Stunt Coordinator

Drew Webster

Other

Kerry Wikstrom

Original Music

Tim Wild

Song

Jeffrey Wilhoit

Foley Artist

Scott Wolf

Sound Editor

Ann Yamamoto

Location Manager

Ron Yerxa

Producer

Greg Zimmerman

Foley Recordist

Film Details

Also Known As
Arriviste, L', L' Arriviste
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Comedy
Adaptation
Political
Release Date
1999
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Location
Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 43m

Award Nominations

Best Adapted Screenplay

1999

Best Performace Actor

1999
Reese Witherspoon

Articles

Election (1999) - Election


Alexander Payne's Election (1999), a wicked satire of power and social politics, is the confident second feature from the director and his screenwriting partner, Jim Taylor. Coming off of the critical success of Citizen Ruth (1996), a savage and darkly satirical take on the politics surrounding the abortion debate, Payne found the story for his next film in the novel by Tom Perrotta; it satirized the election process through the overheated incubator of a high school campaign for student body president, where favoritism, manipulation and apathy trump democracy at every turn.

For the role of the passionately dedicated and somewhat patronizing civics teacher Jim McAllister, Payne cast Matthew Broderick. It was Broderick's earnestness and his straight-arrow quality that Payne found perfect for the part. While he had not actually seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) before making the film, Payne was well aware that his casting would reverberate off that beloved character, especially when it came to McAllister's idealism overcome by his frustrations and shortcomings.

For Tracy Flick, the high school overachiever who sees winning as merely an act of will, he chose rising young actress Reese Witherspoon, who had shown great range and ambition in such films as The Man in the Moon (1991), Freeway (1996) and Pleasantville (1998). Though over twenty at the time, she is completely convincing as both a chirpy, eager-to-please high school senior and as a fearsome, at times emotionally volcanic competitor. Her mix of innocence and drive makes the sexual component of the story (dialed back from the novel, according to Payne, but still a significant element of the plot) all the more startling.

These two actors are the only "names" in the cast. While Payne was able to secure a bigger budget than his first feature, Election was still, by Hollywood standards, a small production. "In a way, Citizen Ruth was a dry run for Election," Payne explained in his 1999 commentary for the DVD release of the film. He reunited the key members of his crew and shot the film in and around his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, using actual high schools and, for the most part, actual Omaha high school students in small roles. "I always tried to use real teachers in scenes that call for teachers and real students in scenes that call for students," explains Payne. "And I very much like mixing professional with non-professional actors. Often non-professional actors can make famous actors look more real and the presence of those professional actors can make those non-professionals look like they are acting better than they really are."

Payne's most significant local discovery was Chris Klein, a theater kid he met while scouting locations at an Omaha high school. It was Klein's first film -- his first professional acting job of any kind, in fact -- and the young actor gave arguably the most effective performance of his career as the sweet, generous, largely oblivious star athlete that Mr. McAllister talks into running against Tracy in the student body election. McAllister's manipulations don't end there, of course, which sets up the battle of wills between the not-so-benevolent teacher and the ruthlessly ambitious super-student who sees a student government office as her due.

Payne and Taylor are equal opportunity satirists and their sly wit dismantles everything from high school culture to suburban complacency. There's a savage wit to the bad behavior motivated by unchecked ambition, emotional need and simple human nature, and each of the characters is given room to justify their actions in self-serving monologues that reveal far more about the individual characters than the events they report. Even at their most extreme, these specimens of human frailty are awfully human and for all the satirical edges, Payne shows an affection for and understanding of all of his major characters.

With its lacerating satire, adult subject matter and smart writing and direction, Election became one of the best reviewed films of 1999 and a minor independent success story. It earned Payne and Taylor an Academy Award nomination (for Best Adapted Screenplay) and won three Independent Spirit Awards (including Best Feature and Best Director) and numerous awards from critics groups around the country. It also marked the arrival of Payne as a filmmaker who could maintain an independent, unconventional vision with complex characters and sophisticated wit within the Hollywood system.

Producer: Albert Berger, David Gale, Keith Samples, Ron Yerxa
Director: Alexander Payne
Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (screenplay); Tom Perrotta (novel)
Cinematography: James Glennon
Art Direction: Tim Kirkpatrick
Music: Rolfe Kent
Film Editing: Kevin Tent
Cast: Matthew Broderick (Jim McAllister), Reese Witherspoon (Tracy Flick), Chris Klein (Paul Metzler), Jessica Campbell (Tammy Metzler), Phil Reeves (Walt Hendricks), Molly Hagan (Diane McAllister), Delaney Driscoll (Linda Novotny), Mark Harelik (Dave Novotny), Colleen Camp (Judith R. Flick), Frankie Ingrassia (Lisa Flanagan)
C-103m.

by Sean Axmaker
Election (1999) - Election

Election (1999) - Election

Alexander Payne's Election (1999), a wicked satire of power and social politics, is the confident second feature from the director and his screenwriting partner, Jim Taylor. Coming off of the critical success of Citizen Ruth (1996), a savage and darkly satirical take on the politics surrounding the abortion debate, Payne found the story for his next film in the novel by Tom Perrotta; it satirized the election process through the overheated incubator of a high school campaign for student body president, where favoritism, manipulation and apathy trump democracy at every turn. For the role of the passionately dedicated and somewhat patronizing civics teacher Jim McAllister, Payne cast Matthew Broderick. It was Broderick's earnestness and his straight-arrow quality that Payne found perfect for the part. While he had not actually seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) before making the film, Payne was well aware that his casting would reverberate off that beloved character, especially when it came to McAllister's idealism overcome by his frustrations and shortcomings. For Tracy Flick, the high school overachiever who sees winning as merely an act of will, he chose rising young actress Reese Witherspoon, who had shown great range and ambition in such films as The Man in the Moon (1991), Freeway (1996) and Pleasantville (1998). Though over twenty at the time, she is completely convincing as both a chirpy, eager-to-please high school senior and as a fearsome, at times emotionally volcanic competitor. Her mix of innocence and drive makes the sexual component of the story (dialed back from the novel, according to Payne, but still a significant element of the plot) all the more startling. These two actors are the only "names" in the cast. While Payne was able to secure a bigger budget than his first feature, Election was still, by Hollywood standards, a small production. "In a way, Citizen Ruth was a dry run for Election," Payne explained in his 1999 commentary for the DVD release of the film. He reunited the key members of his crew and shot the film in and around his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, using actual high schools and, for the most part, actual Omaha high school students in small roles. "I always tried to use real teachers in scenes that call for teachers and real students in scenes that call for students," explains Payne. "And I very much like mixing professional with non-professional actors. Often non-professional actors can make famous actors look more real and the presence of those professional actors can make those non-professionals look like they are acting better than they really are." Payne's most significant local discovery was Chris Klein, a theater kid he met while scouting locations at an Omaha high school. It was Klein's first film -- his first professional acting job of any kind, in fact -- and the young actor gave arguably the most effective performance of his career as the sweet, generous, largely oblivious star athlete that Mr. McAllister talks into running against Tracy in the student body election. McAllister's manipulations don't end there, of course, which sets up the battle of wills between the not-so-benevolent teacher and the ruthlessly ambitious super-student who sees a student government office as her due. Payne and Taylor are equal opportunity satirists and their sly wit dismantles everything from high school culture to suburban complacency. There's a savage wit to the bad behavior motivated by unchecked ambition, emotional need and simple human nature, and each of the characters is given room to justify their actions in self-serving monologues that reveal far more about the individual characters than the events they report. Even at their most extreme, these specimens of human frailty are awfully human and for all the satirical edges, Payne shows an affection for and understanding of all of his major characters. With its lacerating satire, adult subject matter and smart writing and direction, Election became one of the best reviewed films of 1999 and a minor independent success story. It earned Payne and Taylor an Academy Award nomination (for Best Adapted Screenplay) and won three Independent Spirit Awards (including Best Feature and Best Director) and numerous awards from critics groups around the country. It also marked the arrival of Payne as a filmmaker who could maintain an independent, unconventional vision with complex characters and sophisticated wit within the Hollywood system. Producer: Albert Berger, David Gale, Keith Samples, Ron Yerxa Director: Alexander Payne Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (screenplay); Tom Perrotta (novel) Cinematography: James Glennon Art Direction: Tim Kirkpatrick Music: Rolfe Kent Film Editing: Kevin Tent Cast: Matthew Broderick (Jim McAllister), Reese Witherspoon (Tracy Flick), Chris Klein (Paul Metzler), Jessica Campbell (Tammy Metzler), Phil Reeves (Walt Hendricks), Molly Hagan (Diane McAllister), Delaney Driscoll (Linda Novotny), Mark Harelik (Dave Novotny), Colleen Camp (Judith R. Flick), Frankie Ingrassia (Lisa Flanagan) C-103m. by Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Nominated for the 1999 Golden Globe for Best Actress - Comedy or Musical (Reese Witherspoon).

Winner of the 1999 Artios Award for Feature Film - Comedy by the Casting Society of America (CSA).

Winner of the 1999 award for Best Actress (Reese Witherspoon) from the National Society of Film Critics.

Winner of the 1999 award for Best Screenplay (Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor) from the New York Film Critics Circle.

Winner of the 1999 award for Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor) from the Writers Guild of America.

Winner of two 1999 awards, including Best Actress (Reese Witherspoon) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor), from the Online Film Critics Society.

Expanded Release in United States April 30, 1999

Released in United States June 2009

Released in United States November 1999

Released in United States on Video October 19, 1999

Released in United States Spring April 23, 1999

Wide Release in United States May 7, 1999

Shown at Los Angeles Film Festival (Free Screenings) June 18-28, 2009.

Shown at Turin International Film Festival November 19-27, 1999.

Sophomore feature effort for Alexander Payne who previously directed "Citizen Ruth" (USA/1996).

Began shooting October 18, 1997.

Completed shooting December 1997.

Released in United States Spring April 23, 1999

Expanded Release in United States April 30, 1999

Wide Release in United States May 7, 1999

Released in United States June 2009 (Shown at Los Angeles Film Festival (Free Screenings) June 18-28, 2009.)

Released in United States on Video October 19, 1999

Released in United States November 1999 (Shown at Turin International Film Festival November 19-27, 1999.)