Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) Poster


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Near the beginning of the movie, right after Mr. Hand sends Spicoli to the front office for being late to class, Mr. Hand passes out the class schedule of quizzes. After the paper is passed out, the students put the page up to their noses and deeply inhale. This was a popular school ritual of the '60s, '70s and early '80s as photocopying machines were very expensive, so spirit duplicators were used. The spirit duplicators used a colored wax as the "ink" and a noxious solvent as a transfer agent to impress the ink on the paper. These solvents sometimes took a long time to dry, hence the students' use of these solvents as a short-term "high".
For his masturbation scene, Judge Reinhold brought a large dildo to work with, unbeknown to the rest of the cast. Phoebe Cates look of horror and disgust is very real.
Nicolas Cage appears under the name Nicolas Coppola for the first and only time.
Nicolas Cage lied about his age so that he could get a bigger part, but the producers found out that he was only 17.
Jennifer Jason Leigh's real life father (Vic Morrow) died in a helicopter accident on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) about three weeks before the US release of Fast Times.
During shooting of the film, Sean Penn got so into character that he only answered as Spicoli. In fact, the door on his dressing room was labeled "Spicoli" instead of "Sean Penn".
Ranked at #2 on Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies (2006)
Stacy works at Perry's Pizza. Jennifer Jason Leigh actually worked at Perry's Pizza for a month after she got the role of Stacy Hamilton but before filming began.
The role of Mr. Hand was originally offered to Fred Gwynne who turned it down due to his objections over the tone of the sexual content in the film.
The mall scenes were filmed at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. It was damaged by earthquake in 1994, but still stood until 1998, when it was renovated and extensively re-designed by the architectural firm of Gensler for developer Douglas Emmett. Other than the parking structure, nothing recognizable from the 1980s era mall remains, the building having been converted from an enclosed, multi-story space to an open, mostly single-story mall.
Universal didn't think the film would become a hit. In fact, the studio had thought about not releasing it on the East Coast so that the film would die quickly at the box office.
In the tradition of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Reese's Pieces, this movie product-placed an obscure brand and it became famous: The checkerboard canvas decks Spicoli hammered himself with, Vans, became a national brand soon after.
Nicolas Cage was originally considered for the role of Brad Hamilton, but after his audition the studio thought his performance was too dark and the role went, instead, to Judge Reinhold. Additionally, Cage was 17 at the time and could not work as many hours as actors over 18.
The script caused a controversy because some actual first names of Clairemont High School students were used in Cameron Crowe's script.
Vincent Schiavelli's character, biology teacher Mr. Vargas was based on Clairemont High School biology teacher George L. Jones. Jones kept many animals in class (rattlesnakes, entire beehives, bats) and would regularly take students on strange field trips such as visiting the San Diego sewage treatment plant or to watch surgery on pigs at the University of Calif. San Diego. Jones taught at Clairemont from 1962 to the 1982.
Sean Penn improvised during his takes and tried to find ways to aggravate actor Ray Walston, who played Mr. Hand, even off camera. He also did things to get genuinely startled reactions from the extras who played his classmates through unexpected improvisations.
Justine Bateman was offered the role of Linda but declined. Instead, she preferred to star in a TV pilot for the TV series Family Ties (1982) which ran for 7 years.
Nicolas Cage's film debut.
The late actress Lana Clarkson appears as Mr. Vargas's wife in the high school dance scene. Clarkson was the woman murdered by music producer Phil Spector on February 2, 2003.
Sean Penn asked out Pamela Springsteen, who played Dina, on the set of the movie; she accepted.
During a July 2008 interview with the Orange County Register about Pineapple Express (2008), the interviewer told Seth Rogen and 'James Franco' that he prepared for the interview by watching the classic stoner comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) the night before. When he asked Rogen and Franco if they prepared likewise before making Pineapple Express, Franco said he prepared by making out with Spicoli (a reference to his having shot Milk (2008), in which he and Sean Penn play lovers).
First-time director Amy Heckerling said she was seeking to make a comedy that was less structured than conventional ones, and more like American Graffiti (1973) so that "if you woke up and found yourself living in the movie, you'd be happy. I wanted that kind of feel."
It was filmed at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California
The mascot of Ridgemont High is the wolf, which is the same mascot of Van Nuys High School, where most of the school scenes were shot.
Cameron Crowe wrote the screenplay based on his book. Cameron Crowe attended University of San Diego High School, he posed as a student at Clairemont High School. The principal then was not thrilled with the idea, but when he asked Crowe about musicians that he had met, he mentioned Kris Kristofferson. The principal was a big fan of Kristofferson and agreed to let Crowe on campus.
David Lynch was originally offered the chance to direct before Amy Heckerling was chosen. He turned it down saying it was a funny script, but not really his thing.
Tom Hanks was considered for the role of Brad.
Sean Penn extinguished a cigarette in the palm of his hand in order to better understand his character Jeff Spicoli.
Filming lasted five weeks.
In the scene where Brad is washing the Cruising Vessel, you can see he has a Springsteen (for Bruce Springsteen) bumper sticker. Pamela Springsteen, Bruce's sister, is also in the movie.
A scene where Mike Damone (Robert Romanus) was full frontal nude was originally in the movie, but had to be cut due to getting an X rating. It was either that or the 'carrot scene' had to go, and Romanus was happy for that.
Andy Rathbone was the student that Cameron Crowe based Mark "Rat" Ratner on. He became famous in his own right for writing many of the "for Dummies" help books series
Sean Penn was asked to read for the part of Brad Hamilton as well as that of Jeff Spicoli.
Both Brooke Shields and Ellen Barkin reportedly turned down an offer to play Stacy.
Melanie Griffith and Tatum O'Neal were considered for the role of Linda.
This film has three actors who later won Oscars for Best Actor: Sean Penn (Spicoli), Forest Whitaker (Charles Jefferson), and Nicolas Cage (Brad's Bud).
Just before the ending credits we see a close up of an arcade video game screen that reads "The End". The game was called "Missile Command" and was produced by Atari.
Alternate, sanitized takes of several scenes were filmed for use on broadcast television.
The scenes in the mall were shot during the night from when the mall closed at 9:30 to when it opened at 9. The two kids who Damone scalps the tickets to, were under 18 and due to labor laws couldn't film past certain hours, so they only had a 10-minute window to shoot their scenes
Brad Hamilton's light-blue car is a 1960 Buick LeSabre.
Diane Lane auditioned for the role of Stacy.
Ralph Macchio was asked for a role, but he demanded a salary the director couldn't afford.
The book Arnold is reading while attending the pep rally is "The Catcher In The Rye" by J.D. Salinger.
The book Arnold is holding while talking to Brad about working at All-American Burger is "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Arthur C. Clarke.
Damone's car is a 1973 AMC Gremlin.
In the scene where Ratner is getting dating advice from Damone in Damone's bedroom, Ratner is wearing a T-shirt for the movie, Popeye (1980) which starred Ray Walston, who played Mr. Hand.
When Stacy and Ron Johnson end up going to "the point", the words "The Cinch" are spray-painted on the wall. The group that plays the last dance of the year is called Reeves Nevo and The Cinch.
Brad's job, requiring him to wear a pirate costume (which he hates), may have inspired a series of commercials for a credit report service where the spokesman is identically dressed, running as of 2008.
Lana Clarkson's film debut.
Eric Stoltz auditioned for the role of Jeff.
An improvised scene at a record store where Damone tells Spicoli where to find some music was filmed but never used.
Mike Damone's (Robert Romanus') nude scene with Stacy that was filmed and never used was stated by director Amy Heckerling to show the natural vulnerability between two young teenagers. The intent was to show each of them undressing, and then show them standing before each other fully naked, full frontal, vulnerable, and nervous. The scene was pulled due to an impending X-rating and has never been released.
There are numerous references to rock bands throughout the film (shirts worn by characters, posters on walls, Damone is a ticket scalper, etc.) This is because Cameron Crowe was a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and that job is how he first came to fame.
The scene where Mike Damone is trying to sell tickets to a Cheap Trick concert. He sings a montage of three different songs "I Want You To Want Me", "Dream Police" and "Surrender".
When showing Ratner his method of dating, Damone practices his routine on a cardboard cutout of Deborah Harry of the rock group Blondie.
In the dugout scene, the words 'Disco Sucks' are seen in the background. This is a reference to Disco Demolition Night where Chicago Radio Legend Steve Dahl, a favorite of a few members of the cast, blew up disco records at Comiskey Park while leading a cheer of "Disco Sucks"
Jodie Foster was considered to play Stacy, but was not interested in the role due to her commitment at Yale.
In the Mi-T-Mart scene, Brad is wearing a Bruce Springsteen T-shirt. Bruce's sister Pamela Springsteen plays Dina in the movie.
The book Arnold's holding while betting on the football game is "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke.
Lois Brandt, who portrayed guidance counselor Mrs. O'Rourke, was shown in the end credits but, she wasn't seen in the final cut. She was shown, in the television version of the film talking to Judge Reinhold's character about his life.
When Stacy is thinking about Damone in history class, she has a list in her notebook: Good points: great trust, good looking (great body), knows music, can be funny, really cool, and funny. Bad points: high school boy, can be mean, sarcastic, can't tell when joking, virgin?, and one other reason that isn't clearly visible.
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Damone's locker was # 671.


Nancy Wilson:  wife of writer Cameron Crowe and Heart band member appears as the woman in the car beside Brad's, laughing at his pirate costume.

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