1982’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High featured a young Sean Penn, a young Forrest Whitaker, a young Phoebe Cates–you get the picture –Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nicholas Cage, Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards… OK, Ray Walston’s Mr. Hand wasn’t young.
Penn, Whitaker and Cage’s film careers would blossom and each later earned Academy Awards for Best Actor (Penn won twice).
The coming of age movie also launched the film career of Cameron Crowe, upon whose 1981 book about going undercover at age 22 at a California high school it was based. Crowe wrote the screenplay and would later write and direct such blockbusters as Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, earn an Academy Award and marry a rock star.
Fast Times marked Amy Heckerling’s directorial debut; she went on to helm Hollywood hits like the Look Who’s Talking series, National Lampoon’s European Vacation and Clueless. The film earned $27 million at the box-office, a huge hit considering its modest $4.5 million budget.
The soundtrack was loaded with songs by ’80s hitmakers Jackson Browne, the Go-Go’s, Sammy Hagar, and Stevie Nicks, among others, plus solo tracks from Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Don Felder and Timothy B. Schmit, yet peaked at only #54 on the Albums Chart.
While we’re only linking to Cates’ famous (and NSFW) pool scene (you’re welcome!), we offer you our Classic Video… the original Fast Times at Ridgemont High trailer including Sean Penn’s Jeff Spicoli.
In 2005, Fast Times was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”