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 follows starving 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. After witnessing the musical talent in his students, Dewey forms a band of fifth-graders to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands and pay off his rent.
Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is a rock singer and guitarist in the fictional rock band No Vacancy. Annoyed by Dewey’s arrogance and hyperactive stage antics during the opening credits, his bandmates unexpectedly kick Dewey out from the band and replace him with guitarist Spider (Lucas Babin). Furthermore, Dewey’s 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” to pay off his growing rent debt. Dewey feels forced to give up his passion as a rock musician until he receives an urgent phone call intended for Ned from Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack), the principal of a prestigious prep school, Horace Green, asking Ned to fill in for a teacher who broke her leg. Desperate for income to avoid getting evicted, Dewey impersonates Ned and takes the job as a substitute teacher for a fifth-grade class.
Incompetent as a teacher, Dewey resorts to granting his students large amounts of free time and recess. He requests that they simply call him “Mr. S.” after failing to spell the name “Schneebly” on the board. When Dewey overhears his students playing in music class, he realizes that the children of his class are musically talented. Dewey decides to turn his temporary job into what he tells them is a “special class project”, but is actually a personal one: to turn his class into a rock band and crew to serve as a vehicle to stardom by winning the upcoming Battle of the Bands, where he is out to avenge his eviction from his old band and win the $20,000 prize. He says that the project will test “your head and your mind and your brain.” After realizing that the kids are mostly interested in pop and hip hop 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, Pink Floyd, Iggy Pop, The Who, Rush, The Clash, Nirvana, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Yes, and David Bowie.
Dewey narrowly escapes detection when Ms. Mullins decides to attend one of his class’s lessons to check on their progress, forcing him to attempt to teach the actual course material. Dewey attempts to befriend her through Rock music, by playing her favorite song “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks on a jukebox while visiting a bar. 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 rejected because they show up too late. With the help of class factotum and band manager Summer Hathaway (Miranda Cosgrove), Dewey persuades the Battle’s managers to let the students perform in the Battle of the Bands by lying that the students are all terminally ill with “stick-it-to-da-man-ni-osis”. However, later that day, Dewey is exposed when Ned receives a paycheck from Horace Green in the mail, despite not working there. During the parent-teacher night later on, Dewey meets the students’ parents, who initially scrutinize Dewey’s teaching abilities. Dewey succeeds in convincing them that he is a competent teacher, but Ned appears with the police and confronts Dewey under pressure from Patty. His real identity is revealed, and he is sacked. Considering himself a failure, he falls into depression, and Ned sadly informs him that it may be time he moved out. The next day, at Horace Green, the class decide that even if Dewey and the project was fake, they have still put too much work in to not do the final show at Battle of the Bands, and so they leave for the concert, first stopping at Dewey’s apartment to persuade him to join them. After finding out that the class’s performance was back, 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 (Joey Gaydos), instead of Dewey’s “The Legend of The Rent”. Despite the strong reception from the audience, including Ms. Mullins and the students’ parents, the class loses to No Vacancy, but accept their defeat due to Dewey’s proclamation that they were not here to win and that they were going to play “one great show”. The audience, however, becomes angered by No Vacancy’s victory and shout for School of Rockto come back on stage. The band goes for an encore, playing a cover of “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 class and Ned teaches beginning music students, and the credits roll as the class, breaking the fourth wall, sings “The movie is over, but we’re still on screen”.