How to Watch ‘Cadet Kelly’: Your Family Viewing Guide

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Stream Cadet Kelly Now

Cadet Kelly is a Disney Channel Original Movie that premiered in 2002 and stars Hillary Duff, Christy Carlson Romano, and Gary Cole. The film, which premiered to 7.8 million viewers on its premiere date, was Duff’s second starring role in a film following her first in Casper Meets Wendy. The movie was written by Gail Parent and Micheal Walsh and was directed by Larry Shaw.

The story follows middle schooler Kelly Collins as she navigates her way through military school and learns that ultimately, nothing brings people closer than mutual respect, hard work and an expertly choreographed color guard routine. While you can pay to watch Cadet Kelly online via Youtube or Amazon Prime, streaming for Cadet Kelly is also available through Disney+.

Here’s how to watch Cadet Kelly right now:

How to Stream ‘Cadet Kelly’ – Exclusively on Disney+

Cadet Kelly is one of the many original Disney movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.

You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream Cadet Kelly and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.

  1. 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
  2. 2. Go to or download the Disney+ app on your device
  3. 3. Log in using your information
  4. 4. Search for “Cadet”
  5. 5. Tap on Cadet Kelly
  6. 6. Tap the Play Button
  7. 7. Enjoy!

Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPadsApple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, RokuPS4, and Xbox One.

Start Your Free Trial

‘Cadet Kelly’: Overview

Release Date: March 8, 2002
Creators: Written by Gail Parent and Michael Walsh
Larry Shaw
Hilary Duff, Christy Carlson Romano, Gary Cole, Aimee Garcia, Shawn Ashmore
Kelly Collins, a free-spirited young teen, is forced to move to military school when her father marries the new Commandment of George Washington Military Academy.

How Long Is ‘Cadet Kelly’?

“Cadet Kelly” is an hour and 41 minutes, or 101 minutes.

‘Cadet Kelly’ Plot

Free-spirited fourteen-year-old Kelly Collins is living in the most fashionable neighborhood in New York City, she’s incredibly popular at school — until her mother marries the head of the George Washington Military Academy in upstate New York. Kelly is forced to relocate to attend the military academy, as there are no other schools in the area.

Immediately, she clashes with Cadet Captain Jennifer Stone, who also happens to have a crush on the same guy Kelly has her eye on, Cadet Major Brad Rigby. Just as Kelly gets used to academy life and finds her groove, a run-in with Captain Stone lands her in Cadet Court, where she’s found guilty of various infractions. She’s sentenced by her new stepfather to take care of the drill team’s uniforms, and she actually decides to try out for the team, the same one that Captain Stone is on.

The team makes it to regionals, but the fun gets interrupted when Kelly’s father is found at the bottom of a cliff having fallen down. With the help of her stepfather, they rescue him and get back to the competition, only to discover that in order to win, Captain Stone and Kelly have to perform together. The pair doesn’t win, but they admit that they work well together, and vow to win the following year.

‘Cadet Kelly’ Cast

The cast features Disney Channel veterans Hilary Duff and Christy Carlson Romano, as well as early 2000s starlets Shawn Ashmore and Aimee Garcia. Check out more below about their characters as well as a few fun facts about the cast members themselves!


Hilary Duff played Kelly Collins, the extroverted and fashion-forward stepdaughter of General Joe Maxwell, who finds it difficult to fit in at George Washington Military Academy when she’s forced to move there when her mother remarries.

This was Duff’s second leading role in a movie after her role as Wendy in “Casper Meets Wendy.”


Christy Carlson Romano played the uptight Cadet Captain Jennifer Stone, star pupil, and Kelly’s nemesis at the start of the film (and lover of the word “maggot”).

Romano said in an interview with MTV that although she and Duff were both famous through Disney Channel shows Even Stevens and Lizzie Mcguire, respectively, they had never met each other before filming.


Shawn Ashmore played Cadet Major Brad Rigby, the love interest of both Cadet Captain Jennifer Stone and Kelly Collins.

Ashmore reflected on the cultural relevance in an interview in 2016, saying “”Disney has this great way of creating a conflict between characters and then when it resolves, no one loses,” he explained. “It’s not negative, and people love that. At the end of the day, people think it’s cliché or cheesy that everything works out, but that’s what we all want.”


Aimee Garcia portrays Gloria Ramos, a friend of Kelly Collins who helps train her to get onto the drill team, but who also has a sensitive side (as evidenced by her and Kelly’s short-lived falling out).

Garcia is best known for her roles as Veronica Palmero on the ABC sitcom “George Lopez,” as Jamie Batista on the Showtime drama “Dexter” and as Ella Lopez on the Netflix show “Lucifer.”


Gary Cole plays General Joe “Sir” Maxwell, the straight-edged head of the George Washington Military Academy — and Kelly’s new stepfather. He comes off initially as strict and inflexible. However, as the film progresses, it becomes clear that he truly cares about Kelly and her mother.

Cole has appeared in a variety of non-Disney shows and films, including “The West Wing,” “Veep” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” 

‘Cadet Kelly’ Songs and Soundtrack

Despite the film’s continued positive reception in recent years, “Cadet Kelly” was not known for its soundtrack. The most well-known songs from the album were Macy Gray’s “Relating to a Psychopath,” and Superchick’s “One Girl Revolution.”

‘Cadet Kelly’ at the Box Office

“Cadet Kelly” did not premiere in the theaters, but the movie did premiere to 7.8 million viewers in 2002 to viewers in the United States.

‘Cadet Kelly’  Reviews – What the Critics Said

Adults who fell in love with the movie as children still stand by their reviews of it today. And even though the film has a 49% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the reviews of the “Cadet Kelly” are generally positive. Most criticisms of the movie revolve around the predictability of the story, although some praise the movie’s willingness to show how fatherly love can come from a stepfather, too.

Where ‘Cadet Kelly’ Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon

“Cadet Kelly” is frequently seen on best-of or must-see lists for publications like ComplexBustle and ScreenRant, although not as frequently as larger franchises like “High School Musical.”

The movie is also considered iconic in the LGBTQ+ community, according to Buzzfeed and MTV News. In an interview with MTV News, Christy Carlson Romano acknowledges that adults today who watched the film as kids have questions regarding the perceived sexual tension between the film’s leading ladies.

“What I make of that is that this is art. Even if it’s a Disney Channel film, it’s still a piece of art,” said Carlson. “And the reason why my films and TV shows have done well over time is that they have a substantial value that obviously rings true with the fans and fans of all [kinds].”

‘Cadet Kelly’ Trailer

Hilary Duff – Cadet Kelly 2002 – Trailer – HD2017-02-14T10:30:04.000Z

Watch Cadet Kelly Now

‘Cadet Kelly’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts

1. Hillary Duff was made an honorary cadet

Duff was actually made an honorary Cadet Seargeant after filming “Cadet Kelly” because of the training she went through at the Robert Land Military Academy in Canada.

2. It’s one of the few movies that positively depict women in a military setting

Bustle pointed out that the film is one of the few that does this, despite the rivalry between Romano and Duff’s characters. The movie also does a great job of showing diversity in both gender and race, with both young men and women of all ethnicities completing military drills together.

3. Shawn Ashmore has a (not-so-secret) twin

Ashmore and his twin, Aaron Ashmore, have played twins in several movies, as they are both actors. They’ve even acted in the same show, just seasons apart from one another. Shawn appeared on the show a few seasons before Aaron did.

“Shawn’s character interacted with Clark so much,” Ashmore told Entertainment Weekly. “I almost didn’t audition for it because I thought ‘There’s no way that they’re going to hire the twin brother of a guy who was heavily featured on the show.’”

4. Aimee Garcia triple majored in economics, journalism, and French before pursuing acting

Before becoming a well-known actress, Garcia was hitting the books at the prestigious Northwestern University, where she also did theatre on the side. She notes that people were confused by how she triple majored courses in school, but then ended up in Hollywood.

“Once I graduated Northwestern, I actually quit the business for like a year and was doing finance work for a mutual fund analyst,” she told the magazine. “After a year doing that, I circled back to what I loved, to what I never considered a job. I always thought of acting more as a hobby, something to do for fun. I moved out to L.A. in 2002-2003 and the rest, as they say, is history.”

5. This wasn’t Gary Cole’s first role as a military-related authority figure

Cole has also played the president and the vice president of the United States in two different shows — The Brady Bunch in the White House (2002) and The West Wing (1999), respectively.

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