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School of Rock (titled onscreen as The School of Rock) is a 2003 comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, produced by Scott Rudin, and written by Mike White. The film stars Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White, and Sarah Silverman. Black plays struggling rock guitarist Dewey Finn, who is fired from his band and subsequently poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. After witnessing the musical talent of the students, Dewey forms a band of fourth-graders to attempt to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands and use his winnings to pay his rent.

School of Rock was released on October 3, 2003, by Paramount Pictures, grossing $131 million worldwide on a $35 million budget. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for Black s performance and humor. Disregarding inflation, it was the highest-grossing music-themed comedy of all time until the release of Pitch Perfect 2 in 2015. A stage musical adaptation opened on Broadway in December 2015, and a television adaptation for Nickelodeon premiered on March 12, 2016.


Rock band No Vacancy performs at a nightclub three weeks before auditioning for the Battle of the Bands. Guitarist Dewey Finn creates on-stage antics, including a stage dive that abruptly ends the performance. The next morning, Dewey s roommate Ned Schneebly and Ned s domineering girlfriend, Patty Di Marco, inform Dewey he must either pay his overdue share of the rent or move out. When Dewey meets No Vacancy at a rehearsal session, he is informed that he has been fired from the band and replaced by another guitarist, Spider. Later, while trying to sell some of his equipment, Dewey answers a phone call from Rosalie Mullins, the principal of the Horace Green prep school, inquiring for Ned about a short-term position as a substitute teacher. Desperate for money, Dewey impersonates Ned and is hired. On his first day at the school, Dewey, who does not know how to spell Schneebly , adopts the name Mr. S and spends the day behaving erratically, much to the students confusion.

The next day, after observing the students talent in music class, Dewey devises a plan to form a new band to audition for Battle of the Bands. He casts Zack Mooneyham as lead guitarist, Freddy Jones as drummer, cello player Katie on bass, pianist Lawrence on keyboards, and himself as lead vocalist and guitarist. He assigns the rest of the class to various roles of co-lead and backup singers, groupies, and roadies, with overachiever Summer Hathaway as band manager. The project takes over normal lessons, but helps the students to embrace their talents and overcome their insecurities. He reassures Lawrence, who is worried about not being cool enough for the band, Zack, whose overbearing father disapproves of rock, and Tomika, an overweight girl who is too self-conscious to audition for co-lead and backup singer despite having a powerful voice. During one lesson, he assures the kids that rock and roll can help them stand up for themselves. Band groupies Michelle and Eleni, with Summer s approval, pitch the band name The School of Rock .

Two weeks into his hiring, Dewey sneaks the key band members out of school to audition for Battle of the Bands while the rest of the class stay behind to maintain cover. The group is rejected because the bill is full, but are accepted after Summer tricks the staff into thinking that the kids are terminally ill. The next day, Rosalie decides to check on Dewey s teaching progress, forcing Dewey to teach the students actual academic material. The day before Battle of the Bands, a parents night takes place at the school, during which the parents question Dewey s teaching methods. That same night, Ned receives a paycheck from the school via mail and realizes that Dewey impersonated him. He, Patty, and the police arrive at the school and confront him. When Rosalie arrives, Dewey reveals his true identity, admits he is not a licensed teacher and then flees. Back at home, disappointed with Dewey for impersonating him, Ned tells Dewey that he should move out.

The next morning, the parents angrily confront Rosalie at her office. Not wanting their hard work to go to waste, the kids sneak out of the school. When the new substitute discovers that the kids are missing, Rosalie and the parents race to Battle of the Bands, but are forced to buy tickets in order to enter. A school bus comes to pick up Dewey, who leads the kids to the competition and decides that they should play a song Zack had written earlier. Meanwhile, having had enough of being constantly pushed around, Ned finally stands up to Patty, and goes to see the School of Rock perform. Initially dismissed as a gimmick, the band wins over the entire crowd. Much to Dewey s disappointment, No Vacancy wins, but the audience chants for School of Rock and demands an encore. While upset at the deception, the parents admit to being impressed by the kids talent and confidence on stage, alongside Rosalie becoming ecstatic.

Some time later, an after-school program known as the School of Rock opens. Dewey continues to coach the students he played with before, while Ned, who has rediscovered his passion for rock music, teaches beginners.


  • Jack Black as Dewey Finn (lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar), an energetic, down-on-his-luck guitarist slacker who becomes a substitute teacher.
  • Joan Cusack as Rosalie Roz Mullins, the overworked principal of the Horace Green prep school who secretly loves rock music.
  • Mike White as Ned Schneebly, Dewey s responsible but submissive roommate and best friend, who formerly dreamed of being a rock star, but gave up.
  • Sarah Silverman as Patty Di Marco, Ned s domineering girlfriend
  • Miranda Cosgrove as Summer Tinkerbell Hathaway (band manager), the class factotum
  • Joey Gaydos Jr. as Zack Zack-Attack Mooneyham (lead guitar)
  • Kevin Clark as Freddy Spazzy McGee Jones (drums)
  • Rivkah Reyes as Katie Posh Spice (bass)
  • Robert Tsai as Lawrence Mr. Cool (keyboards)
  • Maryam Hassan as Tomika Turkey Sub (lead and backing vocals)
  • Aleisha Allen as Alicia Brace Face (lead and backing vocals)
  • Caitlin Hale as Marta Blondie (lead and backing vocals)
  • Brian Falduto as Billy Fancy Pants (band stylist)
  • Z 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 (lead singer, guitar)
  • Lucas Babin as Spider (lead guitar)
  • Lucas Papaelias as Neil (bass)
  • Frank Whaley as Battle of the Bands director (uncredited)


Screenwriter Mike White s concept for the film was inspired by The Langley Schools Music Project. Jack Black once witnessed a stage dive gone wrong involving Ian Astbury of rock band The Cult, which made its way into the film. 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. In the DVD commentary, the kids say that all of the hallway scenes were shot in one hallway. One of the theaters used in many of the shots was at Union County Performing Arts Center located in Rahway, New Jersey.



The eponymous album was released on September 30, 2003. Sammy James Jr. of the band The Mooney Suzuki penned the title track with screenwriter Mike White, and the band backed up Jack Black and the child musicians on the soundtrack recording of the song. The film s director, Richard Linklater, scouted the country for talented 13-year-old musicians to play the rock and roll music featured on the soundtrack and in the film. The soundtrack includes Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin, a band that has a very long history of denying permission for use of their songs in film and television. Linklater came up with the idea to shoot a video on the stage used at the film s ending, in which Jack Black begs the band for permission with the crowd extras cheering and chanting behind him. The video was sent directly to the living members of Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones), who granted permission for the song. The video is included on the DVD and Blu-ray.

Songs featured in the film

* Featured on the Soundtrack album


Box-office performance

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. This made School of Rock the highest-grossing music-themed comedy of all time, until it was overtaken in 2015 by Pitch Perfect 2.

Critical response

School of Rock received an approval rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 200 reviews with an average rating of 7.70/10. The site s critical consensus reads, Black s exuberant, gleeful performance turns School of Rock into a hilarious, rocking good time. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 82 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating universal acclaim .

Rating the film 3.5 stars out of 4, Roger Ebert wrote that School of Rock proves you can make a family film that s alive and well-acted and smart and perceptive and funny — and that rocks.

Awards and nominations

The film was nominated for several awards, including Black receiving a Golden Globe Award 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. In 2004, the film won Best Comedy Film at the British Comedy Awards.


Possible sequel

In 2008, Jack Black said that a sequel was being considered. It was later reported that director Richard Linklater and producer Scott Rudin would return. Mike White was returning as screenwriter for the sequel, 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. In 2012, Black stated that he believed the sequel was unlikely, saying, 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 .

Stage adaptation

On April 5, 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he had bought the rights to School of Rock for a stage musical. On December 18, 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. It ultimately began previews on November 9, 2015, and opened on December 6, 2015. The musical has a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, and is directed by Laurence Connor, with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, set and costume design by Anna Louizos and lighting by Natasha Katz. The musical features an original score composed by Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and sound design by Mick Potter, in addition to music from the original film. School of Rock became Lloyd Webber s first show opening on Broadway before London since Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971. The stage adaptation eventually closed on January 20, 2019, having grossed $160,145,109 over the course of 1,309 performances.

10-year reunion

On August 29, 2013, a 10th 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). Hosted by the Austin Film Society and Cirrus Logic, the event 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 , The Legend of The Rent , Step Off and It s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n Roll) were played.

Television adaptation

On August 4, 2014, Nickelodeon announced that it was working with Paramount Television to develop a television show adaptation of the film. Production started in the fall and the series premiered in 2016. It starred Breanna Yde, Ricardo Hurtado, Jade Pettyjohn, Lance Lim, Aidan Miner, and Tony Cavalero. The series adaptation of School of Rock ran for three seasons from March 12, 2016 to April 8, 2018.

Year 2021
ReleaseDate 2021-11-04
Year 2003
ReleaseDate 2003-10-03
RuntimeMins 109
RuntimeStr 1h 49min
Plot After being kicked out of his rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of an uptight elementary private school, only to try and turn his class into a rock band.
Awards Awards, 8 wins & 23 nominations
Directors Richard Linklater
Writers Mike White
Stars Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack
Produced by Scott Aversano,Steve Nicolaides,Scott Rudin
Music by Craig Wedren
Cinematography by Rogier Stoffers
Film Editing by Sandra Adair
Casting By Ilene Starger
Production Design by Jeremy Conway
Art Direction by Adam Scher
Set Decoration by Karin Wiesel Holmes
Costume Design by Karen Patch
Makeup Department Alan D Angerio,Don Kozma,Bernadette Mazur,Roz Music,Léa-Marie Pmt,Jerry Popolis,Mary Cooke,Felice Diamond,Michele Paris,Jeffrey Rebelo,Dina Sliwiak
Production Management Joseph E. Iberti
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Sam Hoffman,Michelle L. Keiser,Francisco Ortiz,Kathryn-Ann Oaks Shertzer
Art Department Emily Beck,Peter Betulia,Jason De Bari,Kim Jennings,Karen Kates,Martin Lasowitz,Elizabeth Linn,Anne Marie Mustafa,Alan Muzeni,Christopher Nelson,Ken Nelson,Robert Schleinig,Robert Barnett,Stephen Barth,James Bono,Craig Denham,Brent Godek,Michael Jortner,Derrick Kardos,Ellen Lampl,Charles E. McCarry,Tim Okamura,Carly Sorscher,Christina Tonkin Noble,Ryan Viniotis
Sound Department Bill Allen,Bob Baron,David Boulton,Nancy Cabrera,Ryan Collison,Tom Fleischman,Phillip Fuller,Dan Fulton,Jim Gardner,Harry Higgins,Michael Holmstrom,Bridget Humphrey,Dan Korintus,Avi Laniado,Terrance Laudermilch,Jane McCulley,Danny Michael,Bob Olari,Mike Patrick,Mike Poppleton,Jacob Ribicoff,Andrew Schmetterling,Stuart Stanley,Jeffrey Stern,Robert Troeller,Roland Vajs,Magdaline Volaitis,Peter Waggoner,Daniel Ward,Jerry Yuen,Patrick Arnheim
Special Effects by John Stifanich
Stunts Bob Colletti,Vince Cupone,Peter Epstein,Stephanie Finochio,Don Hewitt,Donald John Hewitt,Jery Hewitt,Tina Mckissick,David Shumbris,Shawnna Thibodeau,Johnny Sullivan
Camera and Electrical Department Bob Becchio,Angela Bellisio,Rod Calarco,Michael Cambria,Nicolas L. Charuet,Alisa M. Colley,Howard Davidson,Edwin Effrein,Peggy Eisenhauer,Glen Engels,Jules Fisher,Richie Ford,Kenneth Fundus,Joseph Grimaldi,Richard Guinness Jr.,Nils Johnson,Billy Kerwick,Scott Kincaid,Bruce MacCallum,Michael J. Maurer,Jim McConkey,Patrick McGrath,Bill O Leary,Louis Petraglia,Dave Rudolph,Michael Rudolph,Andrew D. Schwartz,Eric Swanek,Joseph Viano,Tom Vulliez,Matt Blades,Mel Cannon,Jim Galvin,James Harker,Jendra Jarnagin,Jeremy Knaster,Lorne MacDougall,James Scutakes,Robert Vuolo
Casting Department Zoe E. Rotter,Janice Wilde,Patti Carns Kalles,Melissa Farnum,David H. Kramer,Elizabeth Lang,Laurie Levine,Valerie Lindquist,Kristian Sorge,Grant Wilfley
Costume and Wardrobe Department Kate Edwards,Sandi Figueroa,Cheryl Kilbourne-Kimpton,Joseph La Corte,Chris Ann Pappas,Niki Strippoli,Stephanie Biear,Debbie Lucas
Editorial Department Armando Fente,Adam Geiger,Harry Muller,Mary Nelson-Duerrstein,David Rogow,Andrew Weisblum,Sarah Ogletree
Location Management Eliza Dyson,James D. Lee,Kris Schackman,Robert T. Striem,April Taylor,Carlos A. Acosta
Music Department Mark Agostino,Ron Anderson,Jim Dunbar,Mick Gormaley,Nathan Larson,Liam Lynch,Deborah Mannis-Gardner,Jim O Rourke,Randall Poster,Nic Ratner,Denise Carver,Stewart Lerman,Lee Mars,Karen Waltuch
Script and Continuity Department Julie Oppenheimer
Transportation Department Timothy Shannon,James Patrick Whalen Jr.,David Conelli,RJ Lucci
Additional Crew LaChanda Alexander,Daniela Barbosa,Q. Beck,Maureen Beitler,Chris Cussen,Gerry De Leon,Sally Douglass,Jules Eggli,Iris Evans,David Feinberg,Daniel Fine,Rhonda George,Taquiyya Haden,Crystal Hawkins,Vanessa Hoffman,Jason Ivey,Sara Johnson,Andrew S. Kahn,Amanda Kaupousouz,Koula Sossiadis Kazista,Brian Kenyon,Ben LeClair,Nolan B. Medrano,Steve Moramarco,Leda Nornang,Adesola A. Osakalumi,John Rickard,Marsha Robertson,Dave Rosenberg,Thomas Sellitti Jr.,Missy Simms,Darryl A. Smith,Carly Sorscher,Andrew Zolot,Josef Brandmaier,Adam Carroll,Wade Couturiaux,Jared Cowan,Greg Ferris,Jay Floyd,Steven Holtzman,Ben Howe,Kendra Levenberg,Matthew Mason,Thomas Maxwell,Terry McAllister,David Milhous,Jasika Nicole,Jessica Peters,Wayne Petrucelli,Samantha Prindle,Guillaume Renberg,Marsha Robertson,Debbie Rothstein,Chris Sanata,Raquel Stern,Narges Takesh,Eva Vedock,Fabrizio Vidale,Steven Wargo
Genres Comedy, Music
Companies Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, MFP Munich Film Partners GmbH & Company I. Produktions KG
Countries USA, Germany
Languages English
ContentRating PG-13
ImDbRating 7.2
ImDbRatingVotes 304284
MetacriticRating 82
Keywords rock band,battle of the bands,teacher,student,substitute teacher