Kindergarten Cop
Kindergarten Cop poster
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Produced by Ivan Reitman

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Penelope Ann Miller
Pamela Reed
Linda Hunt
Carroll Baker

Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Editing by Wendy Greene Bricmont
Sheldon Kahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release December 21, 1990
Running time 111 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Gross revenue $201,957,688

Kindergarten Cop is a 1990 American comedy-thriller film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Kimble, a tough police detective, who must go undercover as a kindergarten teacher to catch drug dealer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson), before Crisp can get to his ex-wife and son, while along the way he discovers his passion for teaching. Pamela Reed plays his partner Phoebe O'Hara, and Penelope Ann Miller plays Joyce, the teacher who becomes Kimble's love interest. The original music score was composed by Randy Edelman. Schwarzenegger received a salary of $12 million for the film.


After years of pursuing drug dealer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson), Los Angeles Police Detective John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has him on a murder charge after Crisp shot and killed an informant who had given him information regarding the whereabouts of his ex-wife, Rachel Myatt Crisp, and his son Cullen Jr. However, the only witness, a drug-addicted girl named Cindy, the informant's girlfriend who was hidden at the time of the murder, is deemed too unreliable to put Crisp up for a permanent prison charge as she changes her mind about testifying, so Rachel Myatt has to be found and persuaded to testify.

Kimble, accompanied by Detective Phoebe O'Hara (Pamela Reed), a former teacher, goes undercover in Astoria, Oregon, to find Crisp's ex-wife Rachel. It is believed that Rachel stole millions of dollars from Crisp before fleeing. The detectives plan to offer her a deal to testify against Cullen in exchange for immunity. O'Hara is to act as the substitute teacher in the son's kindergarten class at Astoria Elementary School, while Kimble is to discover the identity of the mother.

Unfortunately, O'Hara, who is hypoglycemic, falls ill with a terrible case of stomach flu at the last moment, so Kimble takes the teacher's job. The school principal, Miss Schlowski (Linda Hunt), is suspicious, but Kimble adapts progressively to his new status even though he has no formal teaching experience. Using his pet ferret as a class mascot, his police training as a model for structure of the classes, and positive reinforcement, he becomes a much-admired and cherished figure to the children. In turn, Kimble begins to love his cover job and his young charges, to the point where he personally deals with a case of child abuse. He first speaks to the cowardly mother and tells her to warn her husband that he will press charges if he abuses their child again, and when the father takes no notice, Kimble assaults him in front of some students, finally winning Miss Schlowski's favor.

One of Kimble's students is a boy named Dominic. Kimble becomes fond of Dominic's mother, Joyce Palmieri (Penelope Ann Miller), who also works at the school. Joyce, like many other of the students' mothers, is estranged from her husband, so that she will not speak of him. This raises Kimble's suspicions. In a series of conversations with the gradually more trusting Joyce, Kimble slowly deduces that she has to be Rachel Crisp and that Dominic is Crisp's son. O'Hara has been posing as Kimble's sister and agrees with his deductions. Joyce reveals that she never stole any of Crisp's money: it was a lie he told to incite the underworld to find her for him.

Meanwhile, back in California, Cindy dies after using spiked cocaine provided by Crisp's mother, Eleanor Crisp (Carroll Baker). The case against Crisp is dismissed because the prosecution has no other evidence. Crisp is freed from prison and he and his mother immediately head to Astoria, where they begin looking for the child using the information from the informant. They identify Crisp's ex-wife and Crisp starts a fire in the library at the school in order to grab his son in the chaos, but he is seen. Crisp takes his own son hostage when Kimble confronts him, but Crisp is bitten by the ferret (which Dominic had rescued at the sound of the fire alarm) and Dominic wriggles free. Crisp shoots Kimble in the knee but Kimble shoots and kills Crisp before he can hurt Dominic. Meanwhile, noticing that O'Hara is trying to help Kimble apprehend her son, Eleanor knocks over O'Hara with her rental car. She ventures into the school, finds Kimble, and shoots him in the shoulder, but then discovers her dead son's body. Before she can shoot Kimble again and kill him, O'Hara arrives on the scene and knocks her unconscious with a baseball bat.

Crisp's mother is arrested, while the unconscious Kimble (much to the sadness of the children) is hospitalized. During Kimble's recovery, O'Hara and her chef fiancé invite him to their wedding. After Kimble recovers, he decides to retire from the police force and returns to teaching at the school. The kids are very happy to see him, and Joyce comes into the classroom and kisses him in front of all of the kids.


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as Detective John Kimble: A tough Austrian born LAPD street cop who's forced to take an undercover assignment as a Kindergarten teacher. The main protagonist.
  • Penelope Ann Miller as Joyce Palmieri / Rachel Myatt Crisp: A teacher whom Kimble falls for but who is also Crisp's ex-wife.
  • Pamela Reed as Detective Phoebe O'Hara: Kimble's partner and a former school teacher who gets food poisoning, forcing him to cover for her on the assignment. She briefly poses as Kimble's sister, "Ursula Kimble".
  • Linda Hunt as Miss Schlowski: The school's strict principal. Though initially suspicious of Kimble, she eventually grows to respect him when he assaults Zach's universally-disliked abusive father.
  • Richard Tyson as Cullen Crisp, Sr.: A vicious drug dealer who is searching for Joyce and especially Dominic, respectively his ex-wife and son. The main antagonist.
  • Carroll Baker as Eleanor Crisp: Crisp's overbearing mother. The secondary antagonist.
  • Christian and Joseph Cousins as Dominic Palmieri / Cullen Crisp, Jr.: Joyce and Crisp's son who becomes close to Kimble.
  • Andrew Dimarco as Zach Sullivan: A shy student in the class and the first one who Kimble suspects is Crisp's son, though he later learns that his mother is still married to his father and they are dealing with domestic violence. As a policeman with a hatred for injustice, Kimble later assaults Zach's father, whom he knows the law cannot touch easily, and berates his mother for her cowardice to protect Zach.
  • Cathy Moriarty as Jillian
  • Ben Diskin as Sylvester, Jillian's son
  • Miko Hughes as Joseph, the child of an OB/GYN father
  • Sarah Rose Karr as Emma, one of Kimble's students.
  • Richard Portnow as Captain Salazar, Kimble and O'Hara's boss.
  • Tom Kurlander as Danny: A criminal who gives Crisp information on his family but is later shot to be kept silent.
  • Alix Koromzay as Cindy: She witnesses Danny's killing and becomes a state witness, but she is killed by Eleanor.
  • Bob Nelson as Henry Shoop: O'Hara's fiancee.
  • Tom Dugan as Crisp's lawyer
  • Emily Eby as Julie
  • Odette Yustman as Rosa
  • Angela Bassett as Flight Attendant
Arnold Schwarzenegger films

Hercules in New York (1969)  · The Long Goodbye (1973)  · Happy Anniversary and Goodbye (1974)  · Stay Hungry (1976)  · Pumping Iron (1977)  · The Villain (1979)  · Scavenger Hunt (1979)  · Conan the Barbarian (1982)  · Conan the Destroyer (1984)  · The Terminator (1984)  · Red Sonja (1985)  · Commando (1985)  · Raw Deal (1986)  · Predator (1987)  · The Running Man (1987)  · Red Heat (1988)  · Twins (1988)  · Total Recall (1990)  · Kindergarten Cop (1990  · Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)  · Last Action Hero (1993)  · Dave (1993)  · True Lies (1994)  · Junior (1994)  · Eraser (1996)  · Jingle All the Way (1996)  · Batman & Robin (1997)  · End of Days (1999)  · The 6th Day (2000)  · Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)  · Collateral Damage (2002)  · Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)  · The Rundown (2003)  · Around the World in 80 Days (2004)  · Terminator Salvation (2009)  · The Expendables (2010)  · The Expendables 2 (2012)  · The Last Stand (2013)  · Escape Plan (2013)  · Sabotage (2014)  · The Expendables 3 (2014)  · Maggie (2015)  · Terminator Genisys (2015)  ·

Angela Bassett films

The Score (2001)  · Black Nativity (2013)  ·

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