‘Fast Times At Ridgemont High’: Classic Scenes

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It’s certainly one of our favorite ’80s movies and maybe one of your guilty pleasures that whenever you stumble upon it on TV, you sit back and watch a few scenes. It turned 40 on August 13, 2022.

1982’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High featured a young Sean Penn, a young Forrest Whitaker, a young Phoebe Cates (who turned 60 on July 16, 2023)—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 classic rock star.

Watch the “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice” scene

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, released Aug. 13, 1982, 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, 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.

Watch the opening scene, accompanied by the Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat”

Here’s a link to Cates’ famous (and NSFW) pool scene (you’re welcome!).

Watch Penn’s Jeff Spicoli meeting Mr. Hand for the first time

Besides Spicoli, the classic film introduced us to other characters that we recognized from our high school days. Robert Romanus was the ticket scalper, Damone.

Watch Damone teach his friend, Rat, how to pick up chicks by using “The Attitude”

In 2005, Fast Times was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Though Reinhold’s character “Brad,” is the reining Employee of the Month, he’s having a rough day at the fast food joint

Watch the original Fast Times at Ridgemont High trailer

Cates married actor Kevin Kline in 1989, while she was in her mid-’20s. By 1994, she effectively retired from acting, with just one film credit since then. (She appeared in the directorial debut from her Fast Times co-star, Jennifer Jason Leigh.) Cates and Kline live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Related: A-list stars did a table read of the film in 2020

One more… okay, rock stars… did you know that Nancy Wilson of Heart has a cameo in the movie? She had met Crowe in 1981 (and they would wed in ’86).

Watch the scene… Wilson appears at around the 1:27 mark

Best Classic Bands Staff

4 Comments so far

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  1. 122intheshade
    #1 122intheshade 17 April, 2022, 00:09

    I remember Johnny Carson reading the lyrics to the closing number, “Goodbye Goodbye” on the Tonight show. My favorite song on the album.

    On the other hand, “Moving in Stereo” brings back fond memories.

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  2. Baybluesman
    #2 Baybluesman 17 April, 2022, 00:45

    Two personal favorite quotes from Fast Times:

    Spicoli’s outlook on life:
    “”All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.”
    The morgue field trip scene:

    Mr Vargas/Teacher: “They sold their bodies to medicine for money. About $30, I think.”
    Attending Doctor: : “Twenty-five.”
    Spicoli : “Righteous Bucks!”

    Many more, but these two, in particular, have stuck with me since the first time I saw Fast Times at a theater.

    Reply this comment
  3. Tystick
    #3 Tystick 17 July, 2023, 01:02

    A classic film from the 80s with righteous babes and righteous 80s music. This is one of my all time favorite films. This was the 80s. It’s hard to believe it was from 1982. Wow! Time just flies by.

    Reply this comment
  4. RoundHouse
    #4 RoundHouse 18 July, 2023, 03:43

    By mentioning above a few players who continued their successful acting career and received honorable awards, one should most definitely add another actress’ name from this film’s cast, Jennifer Jason Leigh, late actor Vic Morrow’s daughter, who has later performed greatly in some dramatic films such as “Rush”, or TV series “WEEDS”. And yes, we did watch on TV the 1982’s “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” last week (again). Great !

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