Recess: School's Out

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Recess: School's Out
Recess Schools Out film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chuck Sheetz
Produced by
Screenplay by Jonathan Greenberg
Story by
Based on Recess
by Paul Germain & Joe Ansolabehere
Music by Denis M. Hannigan
Edited by Tony Mizgalski
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • February 10, 2001 (2001-02-10) (premiere)
  • February 16, 2001 (2001-02-16) (wide)
Running time
83 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $23 million[2]
Box office $44.4 million[2]

Recess: School's Out is a 2001 American animated comedy film based on the Disney television series Recess.[3] It was produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Television Animation and Walt Disney Television Animation Digital Production with animation done by Sunwoo Animation and Sunwoo Digital International. The film was distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, and released theatrically in the United States on February 16, 2001.


School's out at Third Street School, but T.J. is unhappy, because his friends are all at summer camps. T.J. notices that there's something going on at the school. He sneaks inside to see a tractor beam levitating a safe. Panicked, he tries to tell his parents and the police, but no one believes him. When he gets Principal Prickly to come to see what's going on, he is dematerialized. T.J. uses his sister Becky's diary to blackmail her into driving to all the camps to pick his friends up.

T.J. and his friends steal a box of documents, but when they find it filled with boring information, they accuse him of inventing a plot to bring them back. They are about to head back to camp when they see the tractor beam come out of the school and shoot out a green laser and agree that something is going on. The next day, T.J. finds Pricky's golf pants in a dumpster, so T.J. and his friends infiltrate the school at night to find Prickly. While there, they are caught spying and flee. T.J. is captured and his put in a storage room where Prickly is tied up. A man named Dr. Phillium Benedict comes in to talk to them.

After Benedict leaves, Prickly relates how, back in the spring of 1968, Benedict became principal of Third Street School and moved to abolish recess to improve test grades. Prickly went to the superintendent as a means of recourse. The superintendent demoted Benedict and promoted Prickly to principal. Benedict jumped to the conclusion that Prickly threw him under the bus to take his job, which, along with his anti-recess views, caused his then-girlfriend, Muriel P. Finster to break up with him. Infuriated, Benedict ended his friendship with Prickly, quit teaching, and swore revenge on his now-former friend. Later, Prickly says, Benedict went on to become Secretary of Education but was fired when he tried to abolish recess nationwide.

T.J. and Prickly escape, but are caught again. Beforehand, T.J. uses his walkie-talkie (in Prickly's drawer) to tells his friends about Benedict's plans to destroy summer vacation. T.J.'s friends go through the box of documents again. Spinelli finds a date book that says lunar perigee on it; Gretchen deduces that Benedict is trying to move the moon's orbit via tractor beam when it is closest to the Earth. Benedict reveals to T.J. and Prickly that his plan is to make create a permanent a winter so kids will spend their summers studying instead of playing.

T.J.'s friends get his sister, Becky, to drive to the camps again, where they pick up all the children. Gus draws up the plans to attack the school. T.J. and Prickly escape the cage that Benedict has imprisoned them in. Gus' plan works, and most of the guards and ninjas are knocked out. All the kids pour into the auditorium. Another set of guards protects Benedict as he prepares to pull the lever. However, Muriel P. Finster arrives. After rejecting Benedict again, she brings the teachers in and a fight breaks out. Prickly punches Benedict, but as Benedict slumps, he triggers the beam and Prickly cannot reverse it. T.J. tosses his baseball to Vince, whose accurate arm destroys the machine. The police arrest Benedict and his cronies for theft, breaking and entering, and attempted terrorism.

T.J.'s friends decide to spend the rest of the summer with him stating that they have plenty of time preparing for their futures and only a little time left for being kids. Before they head to the pond, T.J. thanks Prickly for helping him stop Benedict's plan to destroy summer vacation. Prickly states that he should be the one doing the thanking. The whole entire time, Prickly forgot the real reason why he decided to go into teaching: he wanted to help kids, and T.J.'s attempt to stop Benedict's plan helped Prickly remember. T.J. then heads to the pond, Prickly then shouts at T.J. that when September comes, T.J. will be Prickly's student again, as he hasn't forgotten the "saggy butt" comment, but then T.J. shouts back that September is a long way off. The film ends with T.J. and his friends racing to the pond with Prickly looking on and smiling.



Recess: School's Out (Original Movie Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released January 13, 2001
Genre Soundtrack
Label Walt Disney
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars
  1. "Dancing in the Street" - Martha and the Vandellas - 2:38
  2. "Born to Be Wild" – Steppenwolf - 3:27
  3. "One" – Three Dog Night - 3:01
  4. "Incense and Peppermints" – Strawberry Alarm Clock - 2:46
  5. "Wipe Out" – The Surfaris - 2:37
  6. "Nobody But Me" – The Human Beinz - 2:14
  7. "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" – The 5th Dimension - 2:29
  8. "Green Tambourine" – The Lemon Pipers - 2:36
  9. "Recess Suite" – Denis M. Hannigan - 5:07
  10. "Dancing in the Street" – Myra - 3:57

Note: "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix was also used in the film, though it is not included on the soundtrack.


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 61% of 69 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.8/10. The site's consensus reads: "Though basically a TV cartoon stretched out to movie-length, Recess has enough successful jokes and smart writing to make it a worthwhile view."[4]

Box office[edit]

The film earned $36,706,141 in North America and another $7,754,709 from other countries. The worldwide gross was $44,460,850, against a $23 million budget.[2]

Home media[edit]

Recess: School's Out, was released on VHS and DVD on August 7, 2001.[4]


  1. ^ "Recess: School's Out". American Film Institute. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Recess School's Out (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  3. ^ "Scale Down the Bad Guy in Kids' Animated Films". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  4. ^ a b "Recess: School's Out (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 

External links[edit]