School of Rock, also called The School of Rock, is a 2003 American musical comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, written by Mike White, and starring Jack Black. The main plot centers around hard rock singer and guitarist, Dewey Finn (portrayed by Black), who is unanimously kicked out of his band and subsequently disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school and forms a band of fifth-grade students to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands so he can pay his rent for his apartment.
Dewey Finn, a hard rock singer and guitarist, is unanimously kicked out of his band No Vacancy by his bandmates for his arrogance and frequent hyperactive stage antics. His submissive roommate and lifelong friend Ned Schneebly (writer Mike White), a substitute teacher, is pressured by his girlfriend Patty Di Marco (Sarah Silverman) to evict Dewey unless he "gets a real job" and pay off his growing rent debt, which he only promises to do out of sympathy to Ned because of his fear of never getting another girlfriend. Dewey feels forced to give up his passion until he receives a phone call intended for Ned from Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack), principal of Horace Green, a prestigious prep school in Woodbury, New York, asking Ned to fill in for a teacher who would be out for several weeks due to a broken leg. Desperate for income to avoid getting evicted, Dewey pretends to be Ned and takes the job as a substitute teacher for the fifth-grade class. Dewey has no real idea how to carry out his role as a teacher, and instead simply gives his students constant free time. However, when he overhears his pupils playing in music class he realizes that the children of his class are musically talented. He decides to turn his temporary job into what he tells them is a special class project, but is actually a personal one: to turn a classroom full of kids into a rock band and crew, which will serve as a vehicle to stardom, ultimately to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands, where he is out to avenge his eviction from his old band and win the $20,000 prize. After realizing that the kids are mostly interested in pop and rap music, Dewey turns the school days into lessons of rock history and music playing, exposing his students to those artists he regards as rock legends. Many rock legends are featured in classic photos and footage during a montage scene, including Led Zeppelin, The Ramones, Jimi Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Pete Townshend, Angus Young, The Clash, Keith Moon and Buddy Rich. Dewey narrowly escapes detection when Ms. Mullins decides to attend one of his class's lessons to check on their progress, forcing him to actually teach the official course material. Dewey attempts to revive any old love for rock he finds in her, having found out that she likes Stevie Nicks and playing her song "Edge of Seventeen" on a jukebox. The two develop a close friendship after this. Meanwhile, the class audition for the Battle of the Bands, which Dewey told them was their "school project". They are turned back because they show up too late. With Summer's help, Dewey persuades the Battle's managers by lying that the students are all terminally ill with "stick-it-to-da-man-ni-osis", a fictional rare blood disease, and out of compassion, they allow the students to perform in the Battle of the Bands. However, later that day, Dewey (who had requested on multiple occasions that he be paid in cash) is exposed when Ned receives a paycheck from Horace Green in the mail, knowing he has never worked there. During the parent-teacher night later on, Dewey meets the students' parents, who initially seem very suspicious of his ability to teach their children. Dewey succeeds in convincing them that he is a competent teacher, but Ned appears and confronts Dewey (due almost entirely to his girlfriend's persuasion). His real identity is revealed, and he is fired from the school. Considering himself a failure, he falls into depression, only recovering when the students, on their way to the Battle of the Bands via school bus, plead with him to join them. Realizing what has happened, Ned finally stands up to his girlfriend and leaves her to watch the concert. At the competition, the band plays "School of Rock", a song written by their lead guitarist Zack Mooneyham, instead of Dewey's "The Legend of The Rent". Despite the strong reception from the audience (including Ms Mullins and the students' parents, who thought Dewey abducted the kids), the class loses to Dewey's ex-band No Vacancy, but accept their defeat. The crowd becomes angered by No Vacancy's victory and call for School of Rock to come back on stage. The band goes for an encore, playing "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" by AC/DC with an altered ending. During the closing credits, Summer is seen arguing a deal over her cell phone as she enters the "School of Rock", a newly opened after-school program where Dewey continues to coach the band and Ned teaches the younger ones, and the credits roll as the band sings "The movie is over, but we're still on screen," breaking the fourth wall.