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Dr. Philium Benedict: This time, Pete, I'm gonna humiliate you! This time, I'm gonna prove to the world that you were wrong and I was right!
Prickly: About what?
Dr. Philium Benedict: About RECESS! About freedom, about test scores! I found a way to prove my theory. I'm gonna get rid of the biggest recess of them all: I AM GONNA GET RID... OF SUMMER VACATION!
~ Benedict ranting out his true plan to Prickly and T.J.
You took my chick... you took my job! Well enjoy it while you can, Petey boy, 'cause you're gonna pay! Somehow, someway, you're gonna pay!
~ Benedict swearing revenge on Prickly after he takes his place as Principal.

Dr. Phillium Benedict is the main antagonist of the 2001 Disney animated film Recess: School's Out!. He is arguably the overall main antagonist of the entire Recess series, despite not appearing anywhere in it.

He is the former principal of Third Street Elementary School and former U.S. Secretary of Education. He is also the former best friend of current principal Peter Prickly, the ex-boyfriend of current groundskeeper Muriel Finster, and the founder and head of the Anti-Recess Legion. He is also the archenemy of Peter Prickly and T.J. Detweiler.

He was voiced by James Woods, who also played Hades in Hercules, General Douglas Hein in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Falcon in Stuart Little 2, Gloomius Maximus in Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun, Captain Ahab in The Adventures of Moby Dick, and Martin Walker in White House Down, and Ned Trent in The Specialist.


Phillium Benedict is best described as arrogant, pompous, greedy, delusional, evil and completely insane with an insufferable ego. He despises kids having fun and wants to abolish recess. He claims that he wants to do this to raise children's test scores, but it's clear that he just cares more about regaining his broken reputation that he refuses to move on from. He is also extremely full of himself—something Prickly snarks to him about at one point.

Benedict is also shown to be extremely argumentative, easily provoked and highly abusive towards his subordinates. Whenever they bungle with his insane plan that he is quick to fly into a screaming rage. He also refuses to see the pointlessness of how insane and preposterous his plan to cancel summer vacation is. Nor has he considered at any point that his plan succeeding would in all likelihood result in societal collapse or even the extinction of the human race and instead deludes himself into believing that the American citizens would be grateful for his actions and would subsequently elect him as President.

He also never considered that summer itself isn't the primary cause of summer vacation (at best those vacation days would be rearranged, not cancelled); his entire plan was based around his belief that countries such as Canada, Iceland and Norway had higher test scores because they did not have summer vacation due to the colder climate, resulting in students studying all year round (not only do these countries do have summer vacation, but Benedict never stops to consider that their lower populations and different education systems are the true reasons their test scores exceed those of the U.S.). In fact, T.J. even points this out to him, but by that point, Benedict had gone so far without realizing the futility of his plan, that he just went ahead anyway.

Despite his villainous nature, Benedict once had a genuine love relationship with Finster, describing her as 'the only woman he ever loved' during their early days as teachers in the 60s; he was able to see past her ugly looks and willing to give her a second chance to mend their relationship. However, this all went sour as Finster rightfully states that she would never be with a man who is willing to cross moral lines to get rid of recess and summer vacation, prompting an angry Benedict to abandon whatever feelings he had for her. 



Prickly, Finster, and Benedict went through teacher training when they were young and were close to each other, even Finster entered into a love relationship with Benedict. Starting up in his first year as principal of Third Street Elementary during the spring of 1968, Benedict plotted to ban recess in order to keep students in their classes to raise test scores and further his career. Predictably, the plan did not seem to work well to anyone in campus (including Prickly and Finster), and all of the students felt miserable after Benedict put his no-recess policy into action.

As a result, many of the parents laid down a protest against the school, demanding that recess is to be reinstated. Despite the protests, Benedict refused to give up his anti-recess policy, which forced Prickly to report to the Superintendent about the situation. Though the Superintendent assured the parents and teachers that Benedict's policy will never be carried out in the district, Benedict still refused to back down, leading the Superintendent to demote Benedict and promote Prickly as the new principal on the spot.

Benedict then assumed that Prickly turned his back against him to get the job as principal, despite Prickly's insistence that he never intended anything of the sort. Benedict refused to listen and broke up his friendship with Prickly, leading a disgusted Finster to finally end her relationship with Benedict for his rude and obnoxious behavior towards Prickly and his hatred of recess.

Upset over this loss, Benedict angrily swore revenge against Prickly and quit teaching. During the next thirty years, Benedict went into politics, and was eventually appointed U.S. Secretary of Education. Two years prior to the film's events, Benedict exploited his position in an attempt to abolish recess nationwide, but was foiled by the President, who saw through the plan and dismissed Benedict for his attempt to implement it.

Having failed at his latest attempt to get rid of recess after being sacked from his job, Benedict founded the Anti-Recess Legion and planned to get rid of the biggest recess of them all: summer vacation.

Taking Over Third Street Elementary

After stealing a tractor beam from a U.S. military base, Benedict, his chief enforcer and second-in-command named Kojak, his right-hand man and head scientist named Professor Fenwick, and his henchmen (composed of agents, ninjas and scientists) took over Third Street Elementary School and used it as their base of operations, since it was closed for the summer and was the last place on Earth that the authorities would look for the equipment. He also rigged the lock of the school to shock and teleport anyone carrying the keys into the school in case someone did actually attempt to investigate, and he also ordered Kojak to pose as Prickly just to ensure no one got suspicious after the real Prickly was taken hostage. He also had Fenwick and the scientists conduct frequent tests at the school involving miniature tractor beams in the auditorium, one of which T.J. Detweiler (the protagonist of the film) accidentally witnessed while fuming about how his summer was going (since all his friends were at separate summer camps). He also had the auditorium altered to be the main control room for the tractor beam.

Benedict later claimed Prickly's office as his main office, which was fitting due to being a former principal. As the plan progresses, Benedict eventually had Dr. Rosenthal detained after the latter's attempt at moving the moon shut down unexpectedly due to bugs in the system and promoted his assistant to that position. Shortly afterwards, T.J. and his gang ended up being forced to expose themselves due to Mikey having an unexpected and uncontrollable urge to belch, as well as the vents giving way to their weight. Benedict angrily orders his henchmen to seize the children, and though the gang manage to escape, T.J. was captured and imprisoned along with Prickly in the stock room. There, Benedict introduces himself and explains to both Prickly and T.J. that he was running a "night school", though they're not convinced. He eventually learned that T.J. and Prickly had managed to sneak into his office and found his walkie talkie, although not before T.J. alerted them that Benedict's plan was to get rid of summer vacation after stumbling on a graffiti (presumably painted by Benedict himself and/or his men) depicting the end of summer vacation.

The next day, Benedict summoned Prickly and T.J. back into his office as their detention, where he explained how he planned to accomplish his goal: on Lunar Perigee (the time when the Moon's closest to the Earth on orbit), he will fire the tractor beam at the Moon to alter its orbit with the intention of causing the entire Earth to freeze over into a new ice age and eliminate summer, thus eliminating summer vacation. Disgusted with what Benedict was planning, T.J. told him that he won't get away with it, but Benedict is confident that he can't be stopped even if anyone else knew about this before having both T.J. and Prickly locked up in a cage to prevent them from interfering. They soon manage to escape since Prickly swiped Benedict's keys while he wasn't looking and he and T.J. start their mission to save summer vacation.

Fighting Against the Students and Staff

Meanwhile, Vince, Gus, Spinelli, Gretchen and Mikey, with the help of TJ's older sister Becky, gathered up all of the students from the various camps to help rescue T.J. and Prickly and reclaim the school. Evidently under pressure of time as well as the kids' resistance, Benedict slowly lost his cool and started barking orders at his remaining henchmen to make the necessary preparations, including getting a back up generator after Gretchen sabotaged the fuse box. Even when Prickly and the students managed to enter the auditorium to stop him, Benedict confidently had more guards arrive. He then explained to the students that his main motivation for this was because the top three highest countries in the world with test scores - Canada, Iceland, and Norway all had cold climate, which meant that they could not play ball, so the only other method in his mind was for the students to stay inside and study (and also implied that he may potentially be elected President of the United States and be hailed as a hero should he succeed) so that they do not have summer vacation (which, in truth, they most certainly do). However, T.J. counters this by stating that the kids can do lots of fun on a cold climate, such as a snowball fight or camping in igloos. Despite this, Benedict still planned to eliminate summer vacation once and for all, much to everyone's horror.

However, before he could fully activate the tractor beam, Finster arrived to the rescue, much to both Prickly and the students' delight. Witnessing this, Benedict was pleased to see her and begged Finster to return to him, but she refused by saying that she rather eat playground dirt instead of letting him destroy summer vacation. Angered by Finster's rejection, Benedict swore to make her eat her words, only to see that Finster brought all of the teachers and staff to help Prickly and the students stop Benedict and his men for good. Being at the end of his wits, Benedict furiously orders his men out to beat up the students and teachers.

As the moon was about to enter Lunar Perigee, in a last-minute attempt, Benedict pushed his assistant scientist away as he personally attempted to fire up the tractor beam. Prickly attempts to stop him, but Benedict holds out his taser and threatens to shock him to sleep. However, Prickly foils this by tricking Benedict into letting his guard down by saying there's a spot on his necktie, and when Benedict looks at his tie, Prickly furiously punches him in the face. Despite this, Benedict still managed to activate the tractor beam after slumped by Prickly's punch, and Prickly was unable to reverse the process because it's jammed. While Benedict gloated on the imminent success, T.J. fortunately tosses his lucky baseball to Vince and had him aim it at the reactor core, destroying the tractor beam and the machine, much to Benedict's distraught. Gazing of what's left of the destroyed machine, Benedict yells out in agony over the failure of his plans. The students, teachers and staff all cheer in victory for defeating Benedict and saving summer vacation.

Defeat and Arrest

With Benedict's plot exposed and foiled, the students and teachers called in the authorities, who arrest Benedict and his cohorts for their crimes. Benedict is last seen being hauled into a police car as he furiously tried to protest that he was a former Secretary of Education, only for the policeman to calmly silence him by sarcastically responding that he was the "former Princess of Morocco". It can be implied that Benedict and his cohorts will be sent to prison and serve a lengthy sentence for their crimes while the students and teachers of Third Street Elementary are declared heroes by the public for saving summer vacation.


Neatly done, Fernwick. (Fenwick: It's Fenwick, sir.) Uh-huh. Are they dead? (Fenwick: No, sir. Merely unconscious.) Good, good. You know how much I hate violence. Mmm... nice shine. (Fenwick: Uh, what next, sir?) Well, obviously we establish our base. (Fenwick: And where will that be?) The last place on Earth they'd look: A place called... Third Street School.
~ Benedict as he initiates his plan by stealing a military tractor beam.
(Fenwick: Well, here we are, sir. But it's just an old principal's office. Why is it so important?) Because, my academically challenged young friend, it used to be mine.
~ Benedict as he and Fenwick approach Prickly's office.
We have a thing called the 'window of opportunity'. If we miss the window of opportunity, then the project fails! And if the project fails, then I get very... very... ANGRY!! (Fenwick: But they may have a point, sir. It seems the logistical problems are a bit more complicated than Dr. Steinheimer thought!) (Dr. Steinheimer: Yes, it would be a lot easier if we could move the laser to a more appropriate location.) This operation will be executed as planned from RIGHT HERE!! Have I made myself clear?! (Dr. Lazenby: But, sir--) NO BUTS!! It started at Third Street, it is going to END at Third Street!
~ Benedict impatiently ordering his scientists to fix the satellite.
Dr. Rosenthal, why did the beam suddenly... Oh, what's the technical word for it? Umm?... stop?! (Dr. Rosenthal: Well... as I believe you were told before—) Told before? Do you think I care what I was told before? (Dr. Rosenthal: Please, sir! I-I-I'll do better next time.) "Next time"? Isn't that cute? Rosenthal, let me ask you something. Say you were a teacher—or even better say... the principal of a school, and you had to deal with a delinquent student, a naughty child who didn't know his place, who kept telling you over and over that he'd do better next time... but he never did. What would you do? (Dr. Rosenthal: Oh, no... not detention! Not DETENTION!!) TAKE HIM AWAY!! (Dr. Rosenthal: No, please! I can fix it! DON'T DO THIS TO ME!!)
~ Benedict punishing Rosenthal after the laser suddenly shuts down for the umpteenth time.
Alright, who's second in command? (all the other scientists take a step back, pointing to Rosenthal’s assistant) (Thick Glasses Scientist: Uh, I am, sir.) Well, good, now you're in charge. And if I were you, I'd make sure I had this machine working at full power by tomorrow morning. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?!! (Thick Glasses Scientist: Y-Y-Yes, sir!) Awww dear, I got spittle on my lapel.
~ Benedict promoting Rosenthal's assistant as lead scientist and demanding to remove all the glitches out of the laser by tomorrow morning.
(Fenwick: What was that?) Someone have better say "Excuse me". (T.J. and his friends accidentally exposed themselves by their weight from the air vent they sneaked) Fenwick, who let the children into the school? (Fenwick: Uh, not me, sir.) WELL, GET THEM! (T.J.: Run!)
~ Benedict ordering his guards to seize T.J. and his friends, after Mikey burps loudly from the air vent.
Hello, Pete. Remember me? (Prickly: Well, well. If it isn't Phillium Benedict. I should've known you'd be the one behind this.) (T.J.: Principal Prickly, you know this guy?) Pete and I are old pals. Although the last time we saw each other, Pete was the one ruining my life. By the way, Pete, you like this suit? It's Italian. Raw silk. Nice, huh? (Prickly: Yeah, you always were more concerned about appearances than people, Phil.) Oh, Pete, come on. There's no need to be rude. Not after I instructed my men to take such special care of you. (Prickly: Special care? That's what you call gagging me, tying me up and taking away my pants?) Had to, Pete. Otherwise, you might run off and betray me, like you did the last time. But, hey, look at the bright side. At least you've got company now. (Prickly: Let the boy go, Phil. He can't do anything to you.) Same old noble Pete, always standing up for the rights of children. But, unfortunately, I can't let anybody go right now. You see, this experimental night school that i'm running is kind of a secret. I'm trying to show that my adult students can be trained to be capable and productive members of society. (T.J.: Oh, yeah?! Well, if you're just running a night school, then what's that giant laser gun doing in the auditorium?!) What a rude and badly dressed little boy you are. You know, you should teach your pupils a little respect for their superiors, Pete. But that would mean that you'd have to know how to teach them anything at all, wouldn't it?!
~ Benedict as he tries to cover up his plan.
Look, Pete, the 60s are over. All that peace and love and freedom stuff.... sure, yeah, it was great for picking up chicks, but it's not gonna help my career! To do that, I gotta make test scores go up, and to make test scores go up, I gotta keep kids in class where they belong. That's why, starting tomorrow, I'm tuning out recess...once and for all.
~ Benedict announcing his first act as Principal of Third Street Elementary.
Be cool, people. Be cool. You're bumming my mellowness here. (Female protestor: We'll be cool when you give our kids their recess back!) Hey, baby, I'll do what I want, 'cause I'm the principal of the school, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Dig?
~ Benedict standing up to the protest, refusing to backdown.
A confiscated walkie-talkie. Why do you do those things to me, Pete? Do you enjoy tormenting me? Do you hate me? (Principal Prickly: I don't hate you, Phil. I just think you're insane!!) (Benedict chuckles) Insane. Well, there you go again, Pete. Insulting me, hurting my feelings, just like 30 years ago. Only this time, Petey, I'm ready. You see, all those years, no matter how big I got, no matter how successful...I always thought about you.... HOW YOU EMBARRASSED ME!! HOW YOU HUMILIATED ME!! HOW YOU DESTROYED MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MURIEL FINSTER, THE ONLY WOMAN I EVER LOVED!!
~ Benedict still blaming Prickly for destroying his life, even though it was his own fault for trying to banned recess.
(Benedict presses a button and a holographic globe and moon rise up from the floor) You see, all I have to do is modify the moon's orbit ever so slightly... and tide levels on the Eastern Seaboard rise eight feet! Move the moon over here, and the currents that warm California suddenly become ice cold! Summer, as we know it, will become a thing of the past. And without summer... (The globe diagram grows icicles. TJ and Prickly gasp in horror.) no summer vacation. (T.J.: You'll never get away with this, Benedict!) Oh, yeah? Well, who's gonna stop me?
~ Benedict showing his plan to freeze the world to end summer vacation.
Don't do it? You think after all this planning, all this work, you can get me to stop just by saying "don't do it"? (Mikey: What if we add "please"?) You kids just don't get it, do you? Well let me explain this in a way your uneducated brains will understand. The American public thinks test scores are too low. But if a person, say me, could make test scores go up, why, everybody would feel better. They might even elect that person president of the United States. Now, do you have any idea which countries have the highest test scores? (Gretchen: Uh, Japan?) (Vince: Germany?) (Mikey: Tierra del Fuego?) CANADA!! ICELAND!! NORWAY!! And why? Because it's snowing up there all the time! Kids don't waste their summers playing ball! They're inside studying. And that is why I'm getting rid of summer vacation, once and for all.
~ Benedict explaining his motivation.
(T.J: You got it all wrong, old man, your plan will never work! Sure, maybe your crazy laser beam can move the moon, maybe it can make it snow all summer. Maybe you can get rid of long afternoons playing baseball, or sunny days down by the lake or warm nights camping out under the stars. But that won't stop us: we'll ride out bikes through the snow, we'll play kickball in the slush, we're camp out in iglooes. You may take away summer, but you'll never take away summer vacation!!) Well, I can try. DO IT!!! NOW!!
~ Benedict being told about the flaws of his plan by an angry T.J., but refusing to care as he orders his men to proceed with it.
Muriel... it's you.... you're still a vision of loveliness. (Finster: Yeah? And you're still a two-bit recess-hating pretty boy!) That hurt, Muriel, but I'll forgive you if you just come back to me. (Finster: HA!! I'd rather eat playground dirt!) THAT can be arranged, my dear. (Finster: Not before I take you down.) Take me down?! Yeah, right. You and what army? (Finster: Me and THIS ARMY!!) (Gus: The teachers...)
~ Benedict being rejected after meeting with Finster after years before learning that she brought the teachers to help Prickly and the students in stopping his plot for good.
~ Benedict ordering his men to stop both the students and teachers from foiling his plot.
Hurry, there's still time. FASTER, YOU IDIOT!! FASTER!! (Prickly: Hold it right there, Phillium! The semester's over for you, pal!!) Not so fast, Pete! You might fall asleep and MISS THE FESTIVITIES!! (Prickly: Hey, Phillium, there's a spot in your tie.) Where? (gets punched in the face by Prickly) OOOF!!
~ Benedict about to taser Prickly, who punches him in the face.
You're too late, Pete! THIS TIME, I WIN!!!
~ Benedict gloats to Prickly about his victory.
All my plans, my hopes and dreams..... ruined..... RUINED!!!!
~ Benedict crying out in defeat.
Get your hands off the suit, you CLASSLESS FEEB!! I am the former SECRETARY OF EDUCATION!! (Cop: Yeah, yeah, and I'm the former Princess of Morocco. Get in the car!)
~ Benedict's last lines, as he is being arrested by the police.


  • Dr. Benedict's face design is close similar to Doctor Claw's face.
  • Dr. Benedict's suit resembles Lex Luthor's suit.
  • Despite his intelligence and former reputation as an educator, Benedict is very deluded and has a lack of common sense, as he does not realize that his plan to bring in permanent winter will only endanger billions of lives as opposed to raising test scores. Even when T.J. angrily pointed out the flaws of the plot before the final fight, Benedict did not care and instead continued with his plot, saying that he still could try.
  • Benedict's plan to remove recess was tested by the government in one episode "Recess is Cancelled". However, as the kids had no way to alleviate their stress without recess, their scores went down, and the government decided to reinstate recess in order for their scores to go back up for good. This proves that Benedict's theory was wrong, but either Benedict was not aware of the event by that time or he did not care as he still wanted to get rid of recess.
  • Despite Phil's high intelligence, he was too self-absorbed to see that Principal Prickly never attended to steal his job or betray him.
  • Dr. Benedict could be considered a dark parallel to both Principal Prickly and Miss Finster, symbolizing what they might become if they hadn't learned to appreciate recess and children.


           RecessTitle.png Villains

Gelman | Tad White | James Stone | Dr. Slicer | Gilda | Phillip Fitzhugh | SAL 3000 | DeSilvo | Earl Raymond

Anti-Recess Legion (Phillium Benedict, Fenwick, Kojak, Anti-Recess Agents, Anti-Recess Ninjas, Anti-Recess Scientists, Agent Henderson, Agent Smithson, Agent Underville, Agent Franklin, Agent Morrisey, Agent Goodman, Dr. Rosenthal, Dr. Lazenby & Dr. Steinheimer)