School of Rock

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This article is about the film. For the academic music program, see School of Rock (company). For the Broadway musical, see School of Rock (musical). For other uses, see School of Rock (disambiguation).
School of Rock
School of Rock Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Linklater
Produced by Scott Rudin
Written by Mike White
Starring Jack Black
Joan Cusack
Mike White
Sarah Silverman
Miranda Cosgrove
Joey Gaydos Jr.
Kevin Clark
Music by Craig Wedren
Cinematography Rogier Stoffers
Edited by Sandra Adair
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • October 3, 2003 (2003-10-03)
Running time
109 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $35 million
Box office $131.3 million[2]

School of Rock is a 2003 American comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, written by Mike White, and starring Jack Black. The main plot follows struggling rock singer and guitarist, Dewey Finn (portrayed by Black), who is kicked out of his band and subsequently disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. After witnessing the musical talent in his students, Dewey forms a band of fourth-graders to attempt to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands and pay off his rent. The picture's supporting cast features Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, and Mike White.

A stage musical adaption is planned to open on Broadway in late 2015,[3] with a television adaption also planned.


Guitarist Dewey Finn is voted out from the band No Vacancy, when his on-stage antics unnerve the other band members. Dewey's roommate, Ned Schneebly, pressured by his girlfriend Patty Di Marco, threatens to evict Dewey without a job as he has been paying his rent. The next day, while attempting to sell guitars for rent money, Dewey takes a call for Ned from Horace Green, a nearby prestigious private preparatory school, who are looking for an immediate short-term substitute teacher. On hearing how much the teaching job pays, and desperate for money to pay off his rent, Dewey poses as Ned and takes the job.

Dewey meets Principal Rosalie "Roz" Mullins, and is introduced to the class. Inexperienced in teaching, Dewey instructs the class to do "recess" for free time rather than other studies. However, the next day, Dewey overhears the class in their music studies and observes that they are competent performers, and hatches a plan to recruit the students as part of his new band as to compete against No Vacancy at an upcoming battle of the bands event. Secretly, he starts teaching many of the students on various instruments and the methods of classic rock, while having other members of the class act as groupies and roadies to help maintain the illusion that Dewey is actually teaching them for real. Through this, he helps several of the students gain confidence in their musical, soundproofing, and stage lighting skills. He also befriends Rosalie, so as to help secure the band's performance under the guise of a school field trip. At the audition for the battle, Dewey has to chase down and talk to two students when Tomika (Maryam Hassan) gets stage fright and Freddie (Kevin Clark) accepts an invitation to come to another band's van, causing them to miss the audition period. However, Summer (Miranda Cosgrove) comes up with a plan to convince the judging panel to let them in: the kids are all a terminal disease called "Stick-it-to-da-man-neosis" (despite the fact that they actually fake it). Soon after, Dewey is almost exposed when Rosalie gets a complaint from another teacher saying she hears music playing from his class room, Rosalie decides to sit in and see how his teaching methods are, forcing him to teach the real material.

Dewey learns that parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for the night before the battle of the bands. On the night of the conference, Dewey's big secret is finally out when the real Ned discovers a check addressed to him from the school, and attempts to call, forcing Dewey to explain the situation what happened. He then urges Ned not to tell Patty, and then leaves, but she walks in, pressures Ned to tell what happened, and calls the police on Dewey. At the conference, Dewey is convincingly telling the parents about their students' performance in class until the police arrive, alerted by Patty. Dewey is immediately dismissed from the school and goes home to drown his sorrows.

The next day, Principal Rosalie does not want to let the field trip go to waste as planned, and prepares to send Dewey's class to a fine arts performance as a show of good will to the upset parents. The students are able to convince the bus driver to take them to get Dewey before Rosalie and the other parent chaperons get on the bus. They wake Dewey and collect their instruments and set off for the show. Ned, also interested in seeing Dewey perform and recalling his own music past, breaks up with Patty. Rosalie and the parents then discover the students missing and race to the Battle of the Bands as well.

Dewey and the students take the stage as the band "School of Rock" as the parents file into the venue. They play a song that is well received by the crowd, with Rosalie and the parents recognizing the talent in their children. Though No Vacancy wins the battle, the audience cheers for School of Rock for an encore. A few weeks later, Dewey and Ned have worked together to open an after-school program to continue to teach rock music to the students as well as newer students just starting on instruments.


  • Jack Black as Dewey Finn (lead singer, guitar)
  • Joan Cusack as Principal Rosalie "Roz" Mullins
  • Mike White as Ned Schneebly
  • Sarah Silverman as Patty Di Marco
  • Miranda Cosgrove as Summer "Tinkerbell" Hathaway (band manager)
  • Joey Gaydos Jr. as Zack "Zack-Attack" Mooneyham (lead guitar)
  • Kevin Clark as Freddy "Spazzy McGee" Jones (drums)
  • Rebecca Brown as Katie "Posh Spice" (bass)
  • Robert Tsai as Lawrence "Mr. Cool" (keyboard)
  • Maryam Hassan as Tomika "Songbird", "Turkey Sub" (second voice, lead choir)
  • Caitlin Hale as Marta "Blondie" (choir)
  • Aleisha Allen as Alicia "Brace Face" (choir)
  • Brian Falduto as Billy "Fancy Pants" (stylist)
  • Zachary Infante as Gordon "Roadrunner" (assistant, lights)
  • James Hosey as Marco "Carrot Top" (assistant, special effects)
  • Angelo Massagli as Frankie "Tough Guy" (security)
  • Cole Hawkins as Leonard "Short Stop" (security)
  • Jordan-Claire Green as Michelle (groupie)
  • Veronica Afflerbach as Eleni (groupie)
  • Adam Pascal as Theo
  • Lucas Babin as Spider
  • Lucas Papaelias as Neil
  • Shawn Rodney as Shawn


Screenwriter Mike White's concept for the film was inspired by the Langley Schools Music Project.[4]

A stage dive gone wrong incident involving Ian Astbury of rock band The Cult was witnessed by Jack Black, and was used as inspiration for a scene in School of Rock, in which the character Dewey Finn, stage dives and hits the floor; "I went to see a reunion, in Los Angeles, of The Cult; they were playing and Ian Astbury, the lead singer, took a dive. It was at The Viper Room, and it was just a bunch of jaded Los Angelinos out there, and they didn't catch him and he plummeted straight to the ground. Later I thought it was so hilarious. So that was put into the script."[5]

Many scenes from the movie were shot around the New York City area. The school portrayed in School of Rock is actually Main Hall at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York.[6] In the commentary, the kids say that every hallway scene in the movie was shot in exactly the same hallway. The tag lines are references to famous rock songs: "We Don't Need No Education" is a famous line from "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II" by Pink Floyd and "Come On Feel the Noize" is taken from "Cum On Feel the Noize" by Slade. One of the theaters used in many of the shots was at Union County Performing Arts Center located in Rahway, New Jersey.



A soundtrack album of the same name was released on September 30, 2003. The film's director, Richard Linklater, scouted the country for talented 13-year-old musicians to play the rock-and-roll music that features on the soundtrack and in the film.

The soundtrack includes "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin, a band that historically has not allowed their songs to be used for commercial purposes, and rarely give permission for anyone to use their songs, one noted exception being filmmaker Cameron Crowe, who was the only person to write about them favorably while he was a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. To get permission, Richard Linklater came up with the idea to shoot a video on the stage used at the end of the film, with Jack Black begging the band for permission and the crowd cheering and chanting behind him. The video was sent directly to Led Zeppelin, and permission was granted for the song. The video can be seen on the DVD extras.

Music featured within the film[edit]

* Featured on the Soundtrack album


School of Rock has received critical acclaim, with Black's performance being praised by many critics. It received a "Certified Fresh" rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 192 reviews with an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Black's exuberant, gleeful performance turns School of Rock into a hilarious, rocking good time."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 81 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[8]

Box office performance[edit]

School of Rock opened at #1 with a weekend gross of $19,622,714 from 2,614 theaters for an average of $7,507 per venue. In its second weekend, the film declined just 21 percent, earning another $15,487,832 after expanding to 2,929 theaters, averaging $5,288 per venue, and bringing the 10-day gross to $39,671,396. In its third weekend, it dropped only 28 percent, making another $11,006,233 after expanding once again to 2,951 theaters, averaging $3,730 per venue, and bringing the 17-day gross to $54,898,025. It spent a total of six weeks among the Top 10 films and eventually grossed $81,261,177 in the United States and Canada and another $50,015,772 in international territories for a total gross of $131,282,949 worldwide, almost four times its budget of $35 million.

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film was nominated for several awards, including Black receiving Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Comedy or Musical (which he lost to Bill Murray for Lost in Translation), and winning an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.


Potential sequel[edit]

In 2008, Jack Black stated a sequel was being considered.[9] It was later reported that director Richard Linklater and producer Scott Rudin would return.[10] Mike White was returning as screenwriter, titled School of Rock 2: America Rocks, which picks up with Finn leading a group of summer school students on a cross-country field trip that delves into the history of rock 'n' roll.[11]

In 2012, Jack Black stated a sequel was unlikely, "I tried really hard to get all the pieces together. I wouldn't want to do it without the original writer and director, and we never all got together and saw eye-to-eye on what the script would be. It was not meant to be, unfortunately", but added, "never say never".[12]

Stage adaptation[edit]

On April 5, 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he has bought the rights to School of Rock to a stage musical.[13][14][15] On 18 December 2014, the musical was officially confirmed and it was announced that the show would receive its world premiere on Broadway in autumn 2015, at the Winter Garden Theatre.[16] The musical has a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.[17] and is directed by Laurence Connor,[18] with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter,[19] set and costume design by Anna Louizos[20] and lighting by Natasha Katz.[21] The musical features an original score composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and sound design by Mick Potter,[22] in addition to music from the original film. School of Rock will be Andrew Lloyd Webber's first show opening on Broadway since Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971.[23]

10-year reunion[edit]

On August 29, 2013, a 10-year anniversary screening of the film was held in Austin, Texas at The Paramount Theatre. Those in attendance included director Richard Linklater, Jack Black, Mike White, Miranda Cosgrove and the rest of the young cast members except for Cole Hawkins (who played Leonard).[24]

The event, hosted by The Austin Film Society and Cirrus Logic, included a red carpet, a full cast and crew Q&A after the screening, where the now-grown child stars discussed their current pursuits in life, and a VIP after-party performance by the School of Rock band during which "School of Rock" and "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" were played.[25]

Television adaptation[edit]

On August 4, 2014, Nickelodeon had announced that they are working with Paramount Television on a television show adaptation of the movie and it would be produced by the director and writer of the film. Production started in the fall and it is scheduled to premiere in 2015. Richard Linklater was the director.[26] It will star Ricardo Hurtado, Lance Lim, Aidan Miner, Jade Pettyjohn, Breanna Yde and Tony Cavalero.[27]


  1. ^ "SCHOOL OF ROCK (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. October 8, 2003. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ "School of Rock (2003)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ "'School of Rock' musical opening on Broadway in 2015". Los Angeles Times. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  4. ^ High Fidelity: Jack Black stays true to his 'School,' Jim DeRogatis, 28 September 2003
  5. ^ "Jack Black Interview, indielondon, Q and A". Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ Balsamini, Dean (September 7, 2008). "Wagner College to celebrate 125th anniversary". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved December 9, 2009. 
  7. ^ "School of Rock (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  8. ^ "School of Rock (2003)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Jack Black to return to class for School of Rock sequel". July 14, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  10. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (July 13, 2008). "Paramount goes back to School". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  11. ^ Tyler, Josh (July 14, 2008). "Jack Black Set for School of Rock 2". Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  12. ^ "JACK BLACK PLANNING SCHOOL OF ROCK REUNION". October 3, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber to stage School of Rock musical". (BBC News). April 10, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber to stage School of Rock". The Guardian. April 8, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber To Bring SCHOOL OF ROCK To The Stage". Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  16. ^ "‘School of Rock’ Will Rock Broadway with Andrew Lloyd Webber". Variety. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber kicks out the jams with School of Rock musical". The Guardian. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock Will Shake Up Broadway Next Fall". Playbill. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "‘The School of Rock’ to be adapted into Broadway musical". Daily News. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock to open on Broadway next December". The Stage. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  21. ^ "School of Rock Musical To Have World Premiere On Broadway!". Really Useful Group. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  22. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber Will Pen Tunes for School of Rock Musical". Time Magazine. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock will open on Broadway this year". London Box Office. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  24. ^ Matthew, Jacobs (August 30, 2013). "'School Of Rock' Reunion Brings Jack Black, Miranda Cosgrove, Richard Linklater And More Together 10 Years Later". Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  25. ^ "'School of Rock' cast including Jack Black, Miranda Cosgrove reunites for 10 year anniversary". New York: NY Daily News. August 30, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  26. ^ "'School of Rock TV Series Coming to Nickelodeon". August 4, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  27. ^

External links[edit]