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Recess: School's Out (also known as Recess: The Movie – School's Out) is a 2001 American animated comedy film based on the Disney television series Recess, and features the voices of Andrew Lawrence, Rickey D'Shon Collins, Jason Davis, Ashley Johnson, Courtland Mead, Pamela Adlon, Dabney Coleman, Melissa Joan Hart, April Winchell, and James Woods.

The film centers around T.J. Detweiler and his friends uncovering a plot to get rid of summer vacation taking place at their school. 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, premiered on February 10, 2001, and released theatrically in the United States on February 16, 2001.


In the Nevada desert, a group of men breaks into a military base and steals a top-secret project, intending to use Third Street School as their base. T.J. Detweiler and his friends pull one last prank before school lets out for the summer and get away with it. T.J. is looking forward to a fun-filled summer with his friends, right up until they mention that they’ve all decided to go to different summer camps. Riding around town unhappily, T.J. notices strange activity going on at the school before being chased off by a burly bald man. Investigating further the next day, he sees some scientists inside using a tractor beam to levitate a safe. He tells his parents and the police, but neither believe him. He then goes to Principal Prickly for help, but he is shocked and dematerialized when he puts his key in the lock, leaving only his shoes behind. Out of options, T.J. coerces his sister Becky to drive him to each of the camps to pick up his friends.

T.J. and his friends sneak a box from one of the vehicles at the school, only to find useless school documents inside. T.J.’s friends get the impression that he lied to them to bring them back. Just as they are about to return to their camps, they witness a giant laser device emerge from the school, proving T.J.’s suspicions true. They then work out a plan involving going to camp during the day and meeting up at night. The following day, T.J. finds Prickly’s golf pants in the dumpster, with a note reading “Help Me!” in the pocket; T.J. and his friends infiltrate the school that night to rescue Prickly, unaware that school snitch Randall Weems overheard their plans, and he tells Muriel Finster, and they try to catch them. Inside, they discover the auditorium has been turned into a laboratory and are caught after Mikey burps. T.J’s friends escape, but T.J. is captured and locked in a storage room where he finds Prickly, and they discover that Prickly’s former best friend, Dr. Phillium Benedict, has taken over the school.

Prickly tells T.J. about how, 30 years ago back in 1968, he and Benedict went to teacher training. Benedict was appointed Principal of Third Street School, deciding to abolish recess as a way to improve test grades. Prickly went to the superintendent to get Benedict to reconsider. The superintendent fired Benedict and made Prickly principal; Benedict’s girlfriend, Muriel Finster, dumped him out of disgust, causing Benedict to seek revenge. Benedict then went into politics, soon becoming secretary of education but was fired by the President when he tried to abolish recess again nationwide.

T.J.’s friends tell the police, to no avail, then look through the box again; Spinelli acquires a date book that mentions lunar perigee (taking place at 12:22 pm the next day). Gretchen realizes that the device they saw is a tractor beam and concludes that Benedict plans to use it to move the moon when it gets close to Earth, causing a permanent ice age. T.J. and Prickly get to Prickly’s office, where T.J. informs his friends that Benedict intends to eradicate summer vacation after seeing graffiti via walkie-talkie. Benedict reveals that his intention is to get rid of summer so kids will have to stay indoors to study, then has T.J. and Prickly locked up again, but they escape again. Meanwhile, T.J.’s friends persuade Becky to drive them to the camps and pick up all the other students. Gus takes charge and concocts a plan to invade the school. The plan succeeds, and most of Benedict’s henchmen are detained.

Reuniting with T.J. and Prickly, the group confronts Benedict in the auditorium, but he summons more guards to stop them. However, Ms. Finster bursts in along with the teachers, and a fight ensues. Benedict attempts to activate the beam himself, but is punched by Prickly, causing him to slump and activate the beam, with Prickly being unable to stop it. T.J. gives his baseball to Vince and has him throw it at the machine, destroying it. Benedict and his henchmen are then arrested for their crimes.

The students and teachers are praised for their heroism, T.J.’s friends decide to spend their summer with him, and T.J. goes to Prickly’s office to thank him; Prickly thanks T.J. for reminding him that he started teaching to help kids. T.J. then leaves with his friends as Prickly puts on his peace symbol necklace from 1968, then reminds T.J. he’s still going to be in trouble for his earlier prank when September comes.


  • Andrew Lawrence as Theodore Jasper "T.J." Detweiler, the leader of the Recess gang.
  • Rickey D'Shon Collins as Vince LaSalle, T.J.’s athletic best friend.
  • Jason Davis as Mikey Blumberg, a chubby boy with an operatic singing voice.
    • Robert Goulet as Mikey's singing voice
  • Ashley Johnson as Gretchen Grundler, the brains of the gang.
  • Courtland Mead as Gus Griswald, a shy boy with military knowledge.
  • Pamela Adlon as Ashley Spinelli, a tomboy whom everyone calls by her last name.
  • Dabney Coleman as Principal Peter Prickly, the principal of Third Street School.
  • Melissa Joan Hart as Becky Detweiler, T.J.’s older sister who later becomes the assistant chef at Floppy Burger.
  • April Winchell as Ms. Muriel Finster, the groundskeeper of Third Street School and a professional boxer / Mrs. Detweiler, T.J. and Becky’s mother.
  • James Woods as Dr. Phillium Benedict, Principal Prickly’s former best friend, and the mastermind of the plot to eradicate summer vacation.
  • Peter MacNicol as Professor Fenwick, Dr. Benedict’s second in command.
  • Diedrich Bader as Guard #2
  • Allyce Beasley as Ms. Alordayne Grotke, a teacher at Third Street School who specializes in martial arts.
  • Gregg Berger as Tech #1
  • Klee Bragger as Digger Sam
  • Clancy Brown as Kojak, AKA Bald Guy, Dr. Benedict’s burly chief of security who has a particular dislike of T.J..
  • Dan Castellaneta as Guard #1
  • Lane Toran as King Bob
  • Rachel Crane as Ashley Q.
  • Elizabeth Daily as Captain Sticky
  • R. Lee Ermey as Col. O'Malley
  • Ron Glass as Dr. Lazenby / Tech #2
  • Tony Jay as Dr. Rosenthal, the first head scientist, who is demoted after the tractor beam malfunctions again.
  • Clyde Kusatsu as Mr. Yamashiro
  • Charles Kimbrough as Mort Chalk
  • Tress MacNeille as Lunchlady Irma / Opera Director / Dr. Steinheimer
  • Andrea Martin as Lunchlady Harriet
  • Anndi McAfee as Ashley A., the leader of the Ashleys group.
  • Mark Robert Myers as Technician
  • Ryan O'Donohue as Digger Dave, one of the two diggers / Randall Weems, the school snitch.
  • Philip Proctor as Golfer #2 / Scientist #2
  • Patrick Renna as Jordan
  • Kevin Michael Richardson as Cop #2
  • Jack Riley as Golfer #1
  • Justin Shenkarow as Soldier Kid / Wrestler Kid
  • Michael Shulman as Hustler Kid
  • Francesca Marie Smith as Ashley B. / Swinger Girl / Upside Down Girl
  • Kath Soucie as Counselor
  • Robert Stack as Superintendent
  • Ken Swofford as Coach
  • Nicholas Turturro as Cop #1
  • Erik von Detten as Captain Brad / Erwin Lawson
  • Paul Willson as Coach Kloogie / Mr. Detweiler, T.J. and Becky’s father.

Danske Stemmer

  • Sebastian Jessen – T.J
  • Mathias Klenske – Vince
  • Amalie Ihle Alstrup – Spinelli
  • Benjamin Hasselflug – Mikey
  • Sara Poulsen – Gretchen
  • Lukas Forchhammer – Gus
  • Esper Hagen – Inspektør Prickly
  • Torben Eskildsen – Mikey (Sang)
  • Annevig Schelde Ebbe – Becky
  • Christian Damsgaard – Fenwick
  • Vibeke Dueholm – Mrs. Finster
  • Henning Jensen – Benedict

Instruction, Dialog – Peter Røschke

Angiv Tekst, Dialog – Morten Holm-Nielsen


Additional Voice (Denmark - Dub)

  • Pauline Rehné
  • Peter Røschke
  • Simon Stenspil
  • Niclas Mortensen
  • Annette Heick
  • Sasia Mølgaard
  • Amalie Dollerup
  • Philip Corell Hansen
  • Peter Zhelder
  • Peter Aude
  • Torben Sekov
  • Lars Thiesgaard
  • Donald Andersen
  • Jens Jacob Tychsen
  • Sune Hundborg
  • Gawenda
  • Teatergruppen



Recess: School's Out (Original Movie Soundtrack)
Various Artists
Released January 13, 2001
Label Walt Disney
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic Rating NC-17.gif

Rating R.gif
Rating PG-13.gif
Rating PG.gif
Rating G.gif
Rating NR.gif

No. TitlePerformer Length
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. "Purple Haze"  Jimi Hendrix 2:40
7. "Nobody But Me"  The Human Beinz 2:14
8. "Let the Sunshine In"  The 5th Dimension 2:29
9. "Green Tambourine"  Robert Goulet 2:36
10. "Recess Suite"  Denis M. Hannigan 5:07
11. "Dancing in the Street"  Myra 3:57

Home media

Recess: School's Out, was released on VHS and DVD on August 7, 2001. As of November 12, 2019, the film, along with the series, is available to stream on Disney+.


Box office

The film earned $36.7 million in North America and another $7.8 million from other countries. The worldwide gross was $44.5 million, against a $23 million budget. The film was released in the United Kingdom on July 27, 2001, and opened on #7.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, the film has an approval rating of 60% based on 70 reviews, with an average rating is 5.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though basically a television cartoon stretched out to movie length, Recess has enough successful jokes and smart writing to make it a worthwhile view." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 43 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film a two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Parents may find it amusing, but it doesn't have the two track versatility of Rugrats in Paris, which worked for kids on one level, and adults on another." Bob McCabe of Empire Magazine, gave the film a one out of five stars and said, "Even if it did keep the ankle biters quiet for an hour or so, this still wouldn't be worth your money."

Common Sense Media gave the film a two out of four stars and said: "Simply a TV episode blown up for the big screen."



Recess - School's Out (2001) Trailer (VHS Capture)