Kindergarten Cop

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Edited by Wendy Greene Bricmont
Sheldon Kahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • December 21, 1990 (1990-12-21)
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, released to cinemas in the United States on December 21, 1990,[2] directed by Ivan Reitman, distributed by Universal Pictures.[2] Arnold Schwarzenegger[3] stars as John Kimble, a tough police detective working undercover as a kindergarten teacher to apprehend the vicious drug dealer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson) before Crisp can get to his former wife and son.

While undercover, Kimble 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. The film was released in the United Kingdom on February 1, 1991, and topped the country's box office that weekend.[4]


After years of pursuing drug lord Cullen Crisp, LAPD Detective John Kimble finally has him on a murder charge after Crisp kills an informant who gives him information regarding the whereabouts of his former wife Rachel Myatt Crisp and son Cullen, Jr.

Accompanied by detective and former teacher Phoebe O'Hara, Kimble goes undercover in Astoria, Oregon, to find Crisp's former wife who allegedly stole millions of dollars from Crisp before fleeing. The detectives plan to offer her immunity in exchange for testifying against Crisp in court. To find Crisp's former wife, O'Hara must act as the substitute teacher in Cullen Jr.'s kindergarten class at Astoria Elementary School.

Unfortunately, the hypoglycemic O'Hara gets a terrible case of stomach flu and falls ill at the last moment, so Kimble takes the teacher's job. The suspicious school principal Miss Schlowski is convinced Kimble will not last long before quitting. Though overwhelmed at first, Kimble adapts to his new status, despite not having any formal teaching experience or training. Using Kimble's pet ferret as a class mascot, his police training as a model for structure of the classes, his experience as a father, and positive reinforcement, he becomes a much-admired and cherished figure to the children.

In turn, Kimble begins to enjoy his undercover role. He also deals with a case of child abuse, eventually punishing Zach Sullivan's father for abusing his son and winning Schlowski's favor. She witnesses Kimble's teaching style throughout and assures him that though she does not agree with his methods, she can see that he is a good teacher. Kimble becomes fond of his student Dominic's mother, Joyce Palmieri, who also works at the school. Joyce is estranged from her husband and will not speak of him, and she tells Dominic that he lives in France.

After a series of conversations with the gradually more trusting Joyce, Kimble slowly deduces that she is Rachel Crisp and that Dominic is Cullen Jr. Back in California, the witness to the informant's murder dies after using spiked cocaine provided by Crisp's mother, Eleanor, closing the case because the prosecution has no further evidence. Crisp is liberated from prison and immediately travels to Astoria with his mother to search for Dominic. When Kimble learns Cullen has been released, he confronts Joyce about her identity, saying he can protect her if she cooperates. She is angry he has lied to her and admits Cullen lied about her stealing money to convince drug dealers he knows to help him, when the real reason he sought out help from the informant was to find his son, as he was angry that his wife disappeared with him.

Once at the school, Crisp starts a fire in the school library to cause a distraction allowing him to find Dominic though once John discovers him, Crisp uses Dominic as a hostage. Luckily, Kimble's ferret bites Crisp on the neck, allowing Dominic to escape. Crisp shoots Kimble in the leg, then Kimble fatally shoots Crisp in the chest three times, killing him. Eleanor also wounds Kimble in the shoulder and discovers her dead son, but an enraged O'Hara (having been run over previously by Eleanor) vengefully attacks and beats her unconscious with a baseball bat before she can kill Kimble.

Eleanor is arrested, while the unconscious Kimble is hospitalized with O'Hara, both making a full recovery. O'Hara returns to the police force in California, while Kimble decides to retire and returns to Astoria to become a teacher for the kindergarteners at the school. With that, Joyce joins Kimble and kisses him while everyone cheers.


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as Detective John Kimble: a tough and divorced Austrian-born LAPD street cop who is forced to take an undercover assignment as a kindergarten teacher, leading him to consider changing his profession once he discovers his passion for teaching. In contrast with his partner, Kimble hates his career as a police officer, as it has ruined his relationship with his son and caused his divorce.
  • Penelope Ann Miller as Joyce Palmieri/Rachel Myatt Crisp: a teacher whom Kimble falls for, but who is also Crisp's former wife. She 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 school teacher who gets food poisoning, forcing Kimble to cover for her on the assignment. She briefly poses as his sister, Ursula Kimble. O'Hara and Kimble resent being paired with each other initially, but ultimately become good friends. In contrast with Kimble, O'Hara hates teaching, which is why she changed her profession and became a policewoman.
  • 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 teaching.
  • 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 accomplice.
  • Christian and Joseph Cousins as Dominic Palmieri/Cullen Crisp, Jr.: Joyce and Crisp's son who grows close to Kimble.
  • 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.
  • Jayne Brook as Zach's mother: Kimble first suspects Zach might be Cullen Jr. before learning that both his parents are present, but in a domestic violence situation. Kimble confronts them and threatens to press charges against the father for child abuse if he sees any further signs.
  • Park Overall as Samantha's Mother
  • Richard Portnow as Captain Salazar: Kimble and O'Hara's boss.
  • Bob Nelson as Henry Shoop: O'Hara's fiancé who also befriends Kimble.

Angela Bassett appears as a flight attendant in the airplane.

Kimble's class[edit]

Along with the Cousin twins, who played Dominic Palmieri/Cullen Crisp, Jr., the child actors in the kindergarten class included:

Director Reitman's daughter, Catherine Reitman, played a third grade student, while his teenage son, future director Jason Reitman, played the kissing boy, who stayed in the school during the climatic fire scene.[citation needed] Brian Bruney appeared as an extra in a fire drill scene.[5]

Bill Murray,[6] Patrick Swayze, and Danny DeVito were all approached to play the role of John Kimble.

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.[7]

Universal Studios hired local artists Judith Niland and Carl Lyle Jenkins to paint murals on the walls at Astoria, and provided new playground equipment, a fenced playground, and a new lawn and hedges around the school building. Most of the filming was completed after school was out in June 1990[8] allowing many of the students and staff to be extras in the movie.[9] Students' artwork was also used.

Schwarzenegger's contract stipulated 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 for Schwarzenegger and the shoot continued.

Also filmed in or near Astoria:

  • John and Phoebe stayed at the Bayview Motel, 783 W. Marine Drive. 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.
  • Scenes at Joyce and Dominic's house were filmed at a private residence located at 414 Exchange St.
  • Highway scenes were filmed on U.S. 26 east of Seaside, Oregon, twenty miles from Astoria.
  • The school picnic was filmed at Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach, Oregon, twenty five miles south of Astoria.

Information on Astoria area locations are courtesy of the Astoria & Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce.[10]

Interior school scenes were shot at Universal Studios in Hollywood.[7] The film's opening scene was filmed at the Westfield MainPlace in Santa Ana, California, and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California.[7]


The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 51%, based on 35 reviews.[11] On Metacritic, it has a score of 61 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[12] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[13]

Reviewer Caryn James of The New York Times said, "Like Twins, which was also directed by Ivan Reitman, nothing in the film is as funny as the idea of it."[14]

In Kim Newman's review for Empire, he wrote, "with a heart of purest mush, the film still manages to be generally entertaining" and gave it 3 stars out of 5.[15] An review at the time of release notes that: "the movie never quite gels and it is not going to generate quite the mega-hit business their producers are counting on," giving the movie a 'C' grade.[16] Roger Ebert said the movie: "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.[17]

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.[18] It was officially released on Blu-ray, though not by Criterion, on July 1, 2014.

Box office[edit]

Despite the mixed reviews, the film was a box office success and has grossed $91.4 million in North America, $110.5 in other territories, and $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

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
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. "Kimble Reveals the Truth" 1:45
14. "The Tower/Everything Is OK" 2:29
15. "Fire at the School" 5:38
16. "Closing" 2:14
Total length: 34:48


In June 2015, Showbiz 411 announced that Universal Studios' 1440 division was developing a sequel, with Don Michael Paul as director and David H. Steinberg as scriptwriter. The protagonist has an Indian sidekick named Sanjit, and they are searching for a flash drive stolen from the United States Federal Witness Protection Program. The antagonists are now Albanians.

Showbiz 411 suggested a television series was also under consideration.[19] Dolph Lundgren was seen shooting scenes for the film.[20] The sequel, Kindergarten Cop 2, was released direct-to-DVD in 2016.[21]


For the video game Silent Hill, parts of Astoria Elementary School from the film were used as reference for the location Silent Hill Elementary School.[22] Several of Schwarzenegger's memorable lines from the movie were used in sound boards for prank phone calls that became popular in the early 2000s.[23][24]

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 c d "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. Archived from the original on 25 April 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Weekend box office 1st February 1991 - 3rd February 1991". Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  5. ^ Kepner, Tyler (February 15, 2009). "Odds and Ends on Posada, Brackman and Bruney". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  6. ^ Evans, Bradford (17 February 2011). "The Lost Roles of Bill Murray". Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c "Filming locations for Kindergarten Cop". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Schwarzenegger film scenes set in Astoria". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. May 25, 1990. p. 13D. 
  9. ^ "An Oregon principal is the real Kindergarten Cop". People. 35 (2). January 21, 1991. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  10. ^ Astoria & Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce
  11. ^ "Kindergarten Cop". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. 
  12. ^ "Kindergarten Cop". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  13. ^ "CinemaScore". 
  14. ^ James, Caryn (December 21, 1990). "Kindergarten Cop (1990)". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Kindergarten Cop". Empire. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  16. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (December 21, 1990). "Kindergarten Cop (1990)". Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  17. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 21, 1990). "Kindergarten Cop (PG-13)". Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  18. ^ Collection, Criterion. "Kindergarten Cop Ivan Reitman". Criterion Collection Site. Retrieved 2 April 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)[dead link]
  19. ^ Friedman, Roger (June 9, 2015). "Reboot: "KIndergarten Cop" (Without Arnold) Headed Back to Big Screen With Indian Sidekick". Show Biz 411. 
  21. ^ Menjivar, J. Carlos. "Kindergarten Cop 2 (2016)". Popzara. Pippo Publishing, LLC. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  22. ^ "Silent Hill". VGFacts. Retrieved 2017-12-10. 
  23. ^ "Meghan McCain's Blogette". 27 March 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  24. ^ "See First Trailer of 'Kindergarten Cop 2' With Dolph Lundgren". The Epoch Times. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 

External links[edit]