Kindergarten Cop

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Kindergarten Cop
Kindergarten Cop film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Produced by Ivan Reitman
Brian Grazer
Screenplay by Murray Salem
Herschel Weingrod
Timothy Harris
Story by Murray Salem
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Penelope Ann Miller
Pamela Reed
Linda Hunt
Carroll Baker
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Edited by Wendy Greene Bricmont
Sheldon Kahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
December 21, 1990
Running time
111 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $202 million[1][2]

Kindergarten Cop is a 1990 American comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger[3] as John Kimble, a tough police detective, who must go undercover and pose as a kindergarten teacher to catch drug dealer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson), before he can get to his former wife and son.

Along the way, he discovers his passion for teaching and considers changing his profession to become an educator. Pamela Reed plays his partner, Phoebe O'Hara, and Penelope Ann Miller plays Joyce, the teacher who becomes his love interest. The original music score was composed by Randy Edelman.


Detective John Kimble and O'Hara in the classroom (after she has recovered)

After years of pursuing drug lord Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson), Los Angeles Police detective John Kimble (Schwarzenegger) has him on a murder charge after Crisp shot and killed an informant (Tom Kurlander) who has given him information regarding the whereabouts of his former wife, Rachel Myatt Crisp, and his son Cullen, Jr. However, the informant's girlfriend (Alix Koromzay) is unwilling to testify in court.

Kimble, accompanied by detective and former teacher Phoebe O'Hara (Pamela Reed), go undercover in Astoria, Oregon, to find Crisp's ex-wife. It is believed that Rachel stole millions of dollars from Crisp before fleeing. The detectives are going to offer her a deal to testify against Cullen in exchange for immunity. O'Hara is to act as the substitute teacher in the son's kindergarten class at Astoria Elementary School. Kimble will discover the identity of the mother.

Unfortunately, O'Hara, who is hypoglycemic, gets a terrible case of the stomach flu and falls ill at the last moment, so Kimble takes the teacher's job. The suspicious school principal, Miss Schlowski (Linda Hunt), is convinced he will not last long before quitting. Kimble adapts progressively to his new status even though he has no formal teaching experience. Using his pet ferret as a class mascot, his police training as a model for structure of the classes, his past experience as a father, and positive reinforcement, he becomes a much-admired and cherished figure to the children.

In turn, Kimble begins to like his cover job and his young charges, and is considering changing his career. He also deals with a case of child abuse. Miss Schlowski witnesses his actions and assures him that even though she didn't agree with his methods, she can see that he is a good teacher.

Kimble becomes fond of Dominic's mother Joyce Palmieri (Penelope Ann Miller), who also works at the school. Joyce, like many other of the students' mothers, is on terms of estrangement from her husband, so that she will not speak of him. This excites the suspicions of Kimble. In a series of conversations with the gradually more trusting Joyce, Kimble slowly deduces that she has to be Rachel Crisp and that Dominic is Crisp's son.

Meanwhile, back in California, the murder witness dies after using spiked cocaine provided by Eleanor Crisp (Carroll Baker). The case is over because the prosecution has no further evidence. Crisp is freed from prison and immediately heads to Astoria.

Crisp and his mother arrive in the town and immediately begin looking for the child, after which Crisp starts a fire in the school library in order to get the boy. Upon being witnessed, he takes his own son hostage. Kimble fatally shoots Crisp before he can hurt Dominic. Crisp's mother then discovers her dead son but before she can shoot Kimble, O'Hara arrives and knocks her unconscious with a baseball bat.

Eleanor is arrested, while the unconscious Kimble (much to the sadness of the children) is hospitalized. During Kimble's recovery, O'Hara and her chef fiancé (Bob Nelson) announce their marriage, inviting him to attend. After Kimble recovers, he visits the school, and Joyce kisses him in front of all the kids.


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as Detective John Kimble: a tough and divorced Austrian born LAPD street cop who's forced to take an undercover assignment as a kindergarten teacher.
  • Penelope Ann Miller as Joyce Palmieri/Rachel Myatt Crisp: a teacher whom Kimble falls for but who is also Crisp's former wife. Has a young son, Dominic, who is in Kimble's kindergarten class.
  • Pamela Reed as Detective Phoebe O'Hara: Kimble's partner and a former schoolteacher who gets food poisoning, forcing him to cover for her on the assignment. She briefly poses as his sister, "Ursula Kimble". O'Hara and Kimble each initially resent of being paired with each other, but ultimately they become good friends.
  • Linda Hunt as Miss Schlowski: the school principal. Though initially suspicious of Kimble, she eventually grows to respect him after seeing his compassion towards the children and the excellent results of his teachings.
  • Richard Tyson as Cullen Crisp, Sr.: a drug kingpin who is obsessed with tracking down his former wife and son.
  • Carroll Baker as Eleanor Crisp: Crisp's overbearing mother and assistant in his criminal empire who is just as obsessed with seeing her grandson again.
  • Christian and Joseph Cousins as Dominic Palmieri/Cullen Crisp, Jr.: Joyce and Crisp's son who becomes close to Kimble.
  • Andrew Dimarco as Zach Sullivan: a shy student in the class and the first one who Kimble suspects is Cullen Jr., though he later learns that his parents are still married and dealing with domestic violence. Being both a police officer and a teacher, Kimble confronts Zach's parents and pressed charges against his father for child abuse.
  • Jayne Brook as Zach's mother
  • Cathy Moriarty as Jillian, a divorced mother whose husband left her and their young son Sylvester for his male romantic partner; she fears that her son may share his father's homosexuality.
  • Ben Diskin as Sylvester, Jillian's son, who likes looking under girls' skirts using their dolls, which Jillian approves due to Sylvester's father's sexuality.
  • Miko Hughes as Joseph, who enjoys telling people of the anatomical differences between boys and girls which he apparently learned from his father who is a gynecologist.
  • Sarah Rose Karr as Emma, one of Kimble's students
  • Richard Portnow as Captain Salazar, Kimble and O'Hara's boss
  • Tom Kurlander as Danny, a drug runner and Crisp's informant, as well as his murder victim
  • Alix Koromzay as Cindy, Danny's drug-addict girlfriend and the only witness to his murder, which helps lead to her demise.
  • Bob Nelson as Henry Shoop: O'Hara's fiancé who also befriends Kimble.
  • Tom Dugan as Crisp's lawyer
  • Emily Eby as Julie
  • Odette Yustman as Rosa
  • Angela Bassett as Flight Attendant

Brian Bruney was an extra in the film. He was 8 years old at the time.

Bill Murray,[4] Patrick Swayze, and Danny DeVito were all approached to play the role of John Kimble.

In addition to the Cousins twins, a second set of identical ones were cast to play part of Kimble's class. The difference was that Tiffany and Krystle Mataras, who later went on to star as the daughters of one of the antagonists in Problem Child 2, actually played a set of identical ones named Tina and Rina.

Filming locations[edit]

Exterior scenes at Astoria Elementary School were filmed at John Jacob Astor Elementary School, located at 3550 Franklin Ave. in Astoria, Oregon.[5]

At Astoria, Universal Studios hired local artists Judith Niland & Carl Lyle Jenkins to paint murals on the walls, provided new playground equipment, fenced the playground, and laid a new lawn and hedges around the school building. Most of the filming was completed after school was out in June 1990,[6] therefore many of the students and staff were able to be in the movie as extras.[7] Students' artwork was also used.

Teachers and neighbors, as well as students, were used in filming; viewers see the custodian, "Mr. John" raising the flag for an early morning scene.[citation needed] Of note, Schwarzenegger's contract required that a private studio (for daily workouts and weightlifting) be provided for the actor and his personal staff; a suitable studio was located but when an agreement could not be reached, the actor threatened to pull out of the production. An Astoria business owner stepped in and donated unused commercial space deemed suitable and the shoot went on.

Also filmed in or near Astoria:

  • John and Phoebe stayed at the Bayview Motel, 783 W. Marine Drive, Astoria. The vintage lodging facility "played itself" in the film.
  • Scenes involving John and Phoebe walking to dinner, and Crisp and his mother shopping, were filmed on Commercial Street in downtown Astoria.
  • The exterior portions of the restaurant scene were filmed outside the Seafare Restaurant at the Red Lion Inn, 400 Industry St., in Astoria.
  • Scenes at Joyce and Dominic's house (interior and exterior) were filmed at a private residence located at 414 Exchange St., Astoria.
  • Highway scenes were filmed on U.S. 26 east of Seaside, Oregon, 20 miles from Astoria.
  • The school picnic was filmed at Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach, Oregon, 25 miles south of Astoria.

Information on Astoria-area locations are courtesy of the Astoria & Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce.[8]

Interior school scenes were shot at Universal Studios in Hollywood.[5] The film's opening scene was filmed at the Westfield MainPlace in Santa Ana, California and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA.[5]


The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 51%, based on 35 reviews.[9] On Metacritic, it has a score of 61 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10] Reviewer Caryn James of The New York Times has said, "Like Twins, which was also directed by Ivan Reitman, nothing in the film is as funny as the idea of it."[11]

In Kim Newman's review for Empire he said "with a heart of purest mush, the film still manages to be generally entertaining" and gave it 3 stars out of 5.[12] In a review for, it was said at the time of release that "the movie never quite gels" and it is not going to generate quite the mega-hit business their producers are counting on", and gave the movie a 'C' grade.[13] Roger Ebert said it is made up of two parts that shouldn't fit, but somehow they do, making a slick entertainment out of the improbable, the impossible and Arnold Schwarzenegger" and awarded the film three stars.[14]

On April Fool's Day 2012, as a prank, it was announced that the film was selected for a release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, as part of the Criterion Collection, a video-distribution company dedicated to the release of "important classic and contemporary films." It was said to be selected as important in part because of its genre-revisionist use of both the policier and family comedy genres in the same film.[15] It was officially released on Blu-ray on July 1, 2014.

Box office[edit]

Despite the mixed reviews, the film was a box office success, has grossed $91.4 million in North America and $110.5 in other territories for a worldwide total of $202 million worldwide.[1][2]


Kindergarten Cop: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Kindergarten Cop (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).jpg
Film score (Digital download / Audio CD) by Randy Edelman
Released August 31, 1993
Label Varese Sarabande
  1. "Astoria School Theme" [1:06]
  2. "Children's Montage" [3:21]
  3. "Love Theme (Joyce)" [2:30]
  4. "Stalking Crisp" [3:40]
  5. "Dominic's Theme/A Rough Day" [1:54]
  6. "The Line Up/Fireside Chat" [2:57]
  7. "Rain Ride" [1:55]
  8. "The Kindergarten Cop" [1:27]
  9. "Poor Cindy/Gettysburg Address" [2:06]
  10. "A Dinner Invitation" [0:47]
  11. "Love Theme Reprise" [1:25]
  12. "A Magic Place" [2:54]
  13. "Kimball Reveals the Truth" [1:45]
  14. "The Tower/Everything Is OK" [2:29]
  15. "Fire at the School" [5:38]
  16. "Closing" [2:14]


In June 2015, Showbiz 411 announced that the studio's 1440 division are development a sequel of the film, with Don Michael Paul directing the movie, with David H. Steinberg as scriptwriter. The protagonist will have an Indian sidekick named Sanjit and they will be searching for a flash drive that has been stolen from the United States Federal Witness Protection Program. The antagonists will be Albanian.

Showbiz 411 also speculated that a television series may be being considered.[16] Dolph Lundgren was seen shooting scenes for the film.[17] The sequel is called Kindergarten Cop 2.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Broeske, Pat H. (January 8, 1991). "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : Moviegoers Go for the Laughs". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Kindergarten Cop". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ King, Susan (December 21, 1990). "Ivan Reitman, 'Kindergarten Cop's' Top Sergeant : Movies: The director of 'Ghostbusters' and 'Twins' faces his biggest challenge yet: a room full of tykes. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger was cowed.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ Evans, Bradford (17 February 2011). "The Lost Roles of Bill Murray". Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Filming locations for Kindergarten Cop". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Schwarzenegger film scenes set in Astoria". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. May 25, 1990. p. 13D. 
  7. ^ "An Oregon principal is the real Kindergarten Cop". People 35 (2). January 21, 1991. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  8. ^ Astoria & Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce
  9. ^ "Kindergarten Cop". Rotten Tomatoes (Flixster). 
  10. ^ "Kindergarten Cop". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  11. ^ James, Caryn (December 21, 1990). "Kindergarten Cop (1990)". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Kindergarten Cop". Empire. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  13. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (December 21, 1990). "Kindergarten Cop (1990)". Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 21, 1990). "Kindergarten Cop (PG-13)". Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  15. ^ Collection, Criterion. "Kindergarten Cop Ivan Reitman". Criterion Collection Site. Retrieved 2 April 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)[dead link]
  16. ^ Friedman, Roger (June 9, 2015). "Reboot: “KIndergarten Cop” (Without Arnold) Headed Back to Big Screen With Indian Sidekick". Show Biz 411. 

External links[edit]