Election (1999)



Critic Consensus: Election successfully combines dark humor and intelligent writing in this very witty and enjoyable film.

Movie Info

In this satirical comedy, a hotly contested high school election becomes a metaphor for the current state of American politics. Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) is a popular and well-respected instructor at George Washington Carver High School in Omaha, Nebraska, but lately he's been unhappy in both his personal and professional life, and his anxieties finally come to a head with the school's student elections. Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is running for student body president, and she … More

Rating: R (strong sexuality, sex related dialogue amd language, and a scene of drug use.)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Jim Taylor, Alexander Payne
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 19, 1999
Paramount Pictures. - Official Site


as Jim McAllister

as Tracy Flick

as Paul Metzler

as Tammy Metzler

as Judith R. Flick

as Lisa Flanagan

as Linda Novotny

as Dave Novotny

as Dick Metzler

as Jo Metzler

as Lisa Flanagan

as Walt Hendricks

as Custodian

as Jerry Slavin

as Vice Principal Ron B...

as Chemistry Teacher

as Diane McAllister

as "Eat Me" Boy

as "Eat Me" Boy's Buddy

as Adult Video Actor

as Adult Video Actress

as Tracy's Friend Eric

as Carver Office Lady

as Faculty Ballot-Giver

as Motel Clerk

as Spanish Teacher

as Kid in Georgetown Ha...

as Girl in Crisis

as Classroom Student Er...

as Kid in Georgetown Ha...

as Classroom Student Mi...

as Kid in Georgetown Ha...

as Larry Fouch
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Election

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Critic Reviews for Election

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (23)

The treatment of this touchy material is impressive, neither gratuitous nor mincing, but this 1999 satirical comedy doesn't really go anywhere.

Full Review… | August 24, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An instant classic, Alexander Payne's 1999 high school comedy seems even more scathing now that we're losing control of our own election machinery.

Full Review… | August 24, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Election at first has the feel of a simple work. But don't let that fool you; it's a complex, deep tale.

Full Review… | August 24, 2010
Associated Press
Top Critic

You've got to laugh at Witherspoon's tightly wound Little Miss Perfect, rising at dawn to do her hair and encase herself in a preppy look before baking cupcakes to pass out at school as vote-getters in her campaign for student council president.

Full Review… | August 25, 2007
Boston Globe
Top Critic

A dark, insidiously funny satire on the self-involved ways otherwise rational people can allow narrow personal agendas to lead them astray to the point of self-destruction.

Full Review… | February 18, 2006
Top Critic

This remarkable film may be set in high school, but its satiric take on moral corruption, political chicanery, adultery and seduction is anything but juvenile.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Election


An amusing satirical film that may take more than one viewing for us to grasp its subtle, dark humor and the sharp irony of what it wants to say involving ethics and morality - and it benefits immensely from some very nuanced characters played by the actors in excellent performances.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer


*Sigh* If only more high school films could be of the same quality as this. Calling it a "high school" film though, is a litle tricky, as that terms seems to have some unfavorable connotations around it. I use it because it is set at a high school, and involves students and teachers, but it really transcends that arena, and thus shouldn't be compared to something like, Not Another Teen Movie, which, while funny at times, is just a poor mess...it also happens to spoof this movie.

The story here concerns a nice and popular teacher named Jim McAllister who tries to be really enthusiastic about his job as a way of hiding his frustrations and feelings of dissatisfaction with other parts of his life. Mr. McAllister is bound and determined to stop Tracy Flick from winning the election for student body president. Tracy is the classic Type A overachiever who will stop at nothing to find success and happiness. She can be nice and friendly, but is deep down hiding a dark side of vindictiveness and manipulation.

McAllister convinces a popular ex-jock to run against Tracy, hoping that she will lose, and learn a nice lesson in humility. What ends up happening though is a nutty story about finding out that trying to stop someone like Tracy is something one would be better off just avoiding.

This is a wickedly funny and darkly satiric film that just feels right with Alexander Payne as co-writer and director. The film is adapted from a novel I haven't read, but the script is really sharp and really nails the world of overly ambitious overachievers and the people who can't stand them. This isn't quite as dark as I was thinking it might be, but despite the quirky tone, this is still a film with a lot of bite to it.

I just loved the little details to the characters and they way it was all edited together. There's a lot of voice over, but it works just fine, and I liked that the start followed multiple characters, even if it mostly focused on just McAllister and Tracy. In a way, this reminded me of Rushmore, but I think this is a better film, and the quirkiness isn't overwhelming. It's used as an exclamation point. Not that Rushmore isn't good, I just find it to be a tad overrated.

The casting is just dynamite. Matthew Broderick, who is more off than on with his acting, is quite good here, and this ties with Ferris Bueller as his best work. He really nails the everyday schlub who you want to like, but can't totally get on board with. That's how it is with Tracy too. You want to like her, but even she is hard to fully sympathize with. That's what makes this all so much fun and entertaining though. Apparently Thora Birch was supposed to be in, but left due to creative differences. I figure she was supposed to play Tracy (or possibly Tammy), and even though I love her, Reese totally owns as Tracy and is brilliant. So too is Jessica Campbell a burn out lesbian who joins the election race in order to expose elections as the sham they really are. She comes close to stealing the show and I'd love to see her in more productions.

Payne has become one of my favorite filmmakers, and so far, he's not had a miss yet. Give this one a watch, it's some great stuff.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

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