Australian Council on Children and the Media

School of Rock

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Lang. Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for School of Rock
  • a review of School of Rock completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 November 2003.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 While there is nothing scary or particularly violent in this movie for parents of young children to be concerned about, due to its content it is not recommended for children under eight.
Children aged 8-13 Children aged eight to twelve will need parental guidance to view this movie.
Children over the age of 13 Children over thirteen should be okay to see this movie depending on the parentsu2019 interpretation of the content.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: School of Rock
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Low level coarse language
Length 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Dewey Finn eats, sleeps and breathes rock and roll music but unfortunately his other band members and fans don’t appreciate his talent. After an energetic head banging performance Dewey surfs into the crowd who fail to catch him and to make matters worse his own band fires him. Dewey falls into despondence which worsens when his flat mate Ned and girlfriend Patty insist that he must contribute to the rent or leave. Dewey receives a phone call meant for Ned from Horace Green Elementary School who is desperate for a relief teacher. Upon hearing the pay rate Dewey decides to impersonate Ned as he believes that relief teaching is merely baby sitting. Horace Green is the best elementary school in the state and the children are all in immaculate uniform, well behaved and very polite.

Dewey has no idea what to teach the children and tells them to have recess all day. The children want to be taught and complain that their parents’ money is being wasted. One morning Dewey listens in to a music lesson where he realises that the children are all very talented and so decides to teach them all about rock and roll music. He forms a band with the children and gives everyone a job to do such as lighting, security (to watch out for the principal) and even groupies. Dewey enters them into the Battle of the Bands but he has quite a few obstacles to overcome including winning over the principal so that he can take the children out on an excursion. The children all become enthusiastic and enter into the spirit of deceiving the principal and their parents. Dewey is eventually exposed but Summer who has been assigned as the band manager takes over and gets the band to the battle.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is not much violence in this movie except for when Dewey crowd surfs and falls heavily onto the ground obviously hurting himself.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

None of concern

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

None of concern

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

None of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

None of concern

Sexual references

There are a couple of sexual references including:

  • Summer doesn’t want to be a groupie because they’re “sluts and they sleep with the band”.
  • Dewey tells them that Rock is about “scoring chicks”.
  • Dewey says that he thinks he’s sexy.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity or sexual activity.

Use of substances

There are a few instances of substance use including:

  • Dewey tells the children on his first morning at school that he has a hangover.
  • Dewey gets the principal drunk so that she will agree to let him take the children on an excursion.
  • One of the boys, Freddy, gets into a van to play cards with some punk rockers who are drinking and smoking.
  • Dewey tells the children the night before the event that there’s to be “no late night parties, no drinking tequila and no getting lucky”.
  • Dewey says that Miss Mullins (the principal) must be “on crack”.

Coarse language

There is quite a bit of coarse language including the following:

  • arse
  • pissed off
  • damn
  • Oh my God
  • Dewey prays to the god of rock to kick arse.

In a nutshell

The take home message is probably that children should stand up for and believe in themselves.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • knowing that body size is not important
  • talent should be encouraged
  • believing in one’s self
  • everyone is important.

Values parents may wish to discourage include:

  • lying
  • deceit
  • having an ‘attitude’ rather than being compliant
  • Dewey teaches the children that “they might as well just quit because they’ll never win”.
  • name calling
  • rule breaking.

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