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.
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."
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.
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."
A scene where Mike Damone 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 Robert Romanus was happy for that.
According to Brian Backer, Jennifer Jason Leigh and her family allowed him to stay at their house for no charge till filming wrapped being that he flew down to star in the film from his hometown of Brooklyn and was pretty broke.
The mall scenes 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.
Nicolas Cage lied about his age so that he could get a bigger part, but the producers eventually found out that he was only 17.
Mike Damone's 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.
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 California, San Diego. Jones taught at Clairemont from 1962 to the 1982.
When Brad is washing the Cruising Vessel, you can see he has a Bruce Springsteen bumper sticker. Pamela Springsteen, Bruce's sister, is also in the movie.
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 actually taunted the rest of the cast by bragging about his uncle Francis Ford Coppola. He told all the other young actors that he would be famous faster than any of them, because he had the connections. After a few weeks of this, the cast started to strike back at Nicolas by doing imitations of Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now (1979), which finally got Cage to stop bragging about his famous family.
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" 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).
Sean Penn had to fly back to LA, in between another job in Chicago. Because Cameron Crowe wrote the lines the day of the shoot, they used cue cards offscreen to help Penn. The cue cards of the infamous lines 'Those guys are fags!' hang to this day on the walls of Cameron's home.
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.
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.
According to Amy Heckerling, Sean Penn and pals were actually smoking marijuana in the van as they exited for the prom.
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.
Nicolas Cage was originally considered for the role of Brad Hamilton, but the studio thought his performance was too dark. Cage was also 17 at the time, and could not work as many hours as 18-year-olds. Nicolas Cage originally lied about his age so that he could get a bigger part.
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.
Although Ron Johnson (stereo salesman) is portrayed as much older than Stacy, actor D.W. Brown is actually only 7 months older than Jennifer Jason Leigh.
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
Jennifer Jason Leigh's 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."
Andy Rathbone was the student Cameron Crowe based Mark "Rat" Ratner on. Rathbone was known as "the rat" in high school, and was initially extremely upset at the portrayal of his character. He said that Crowe only accentuated his bad attributes and gave cool things he had done to other characters, such as ordering a pizza during class - that was done by Jeff Spicoli in the film but done by Rathbone in real life. Crowe said he worked diligently to "disguise" all the characters and give them mixed personalities so as NOT to point to anyone specifically. Rathbone has since grown to appreciate the role.
Sean Penn asked out Pamela Springsteen, who played Dina the cheerleader, on the set of the movie; she accepted.
According to Amy Heckerling, Phoebe Cates was initially reluctant to carry out her character's poolside topless scene at the house in West Hills because she thought the neighbours might be spying on the set from the surrounding rooftops.
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). In addition the screenwriter, Cameron Crowe, also went on to win an Oscar.
Justine Bateman was offered the role of Linda but declined. Instead, she preferred to star in the TV series Family Ties (1982) which ran for 7 years.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Linda's nude scene was voted Top Nude Scene of All Time by Mr. Skin.
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.
Damone's line "If this girl can't smell your qualifications, then who needs her" is based on advice writer Cameron Crowe was given on picking up girls by Glenn Frey.
Spicoli's dream sequence was actually written and filmed after the film was wrapped. After beginning the editing process, Amy Heckerling, Art Linson and Irving Azoff realized how great Spicoli had been acted by Sean Penn, and that they needed to beef up Penn's role in the film.
Universal originally planned to only release the film in the Western part of the United States for a few weeks before sending it off to cable (regional releases were still common at this time) due to the belief that there was no audience for it. After an excellent response, the film went wide three weeks later with a big opening in the Eastern United States and had a long run in theaters.
The scene where Linda instructs Stacy how to give a blowjob originally took place in a hot tub with both girls naked. This was changed to avoid getting an X rating.
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. Lynch directed Nicolas Cage in Wild at Heart (1990) and Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted (1990) and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Twin Peaks (2017).
Alternate, sanitized takes of several scenes were filmed for use on broadcast television.
In the novel, Spicoli dreams he's singing "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC on The Tonight Show (1962), but Johnny Carson refused to do it for the movie, and other talk show hosts (including David Letterman) also turned it down (Letterman apparently was willing to do it, but his agent wouldn't let him appear in a movie where the characters did drugs). In its place was the scene where Spicoli is interviewed by sports announcer Stu Nahan.
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.
Sean Penn was asked to read for the part of Brad Hamilton as well as that of Jeff Spicoli.
Some of the actors who had auditioned for roles were Ralph Macchio, Matthew Broderick, Meg Tilly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lori Loughlin, Elisabeth Shue, Kelly Preston, Rosanna Arquette, Carrie Fisher, Ally Sheedy, and D.B. Sweeney.
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 started his career as a writer for Rolling Stone magazine.
One of the pinups shown predominantly on the wall of Spicoli's bedroom is Dorothy Stratton, who was tragically murdered by her estranged husband two years prior to the films release. The story is told in full in the movie Star 80 (1983).
Phoebe Cates was the youngest in the cast at 18, not counting Nicolas Cage (Coppola).
Prior to the film's 19 August 1982 Los Angeles release, a news story reported that the 5 July 1982 Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) bulletin had granted "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" an X-rating, due to a love scene between Stacy Hamilton and Mike Damone, which featured full-frontal male nudity. As the picture was "the first major studio film in some time" to be given an X-rating, Universal agreed to edit the scene, allowing the MPAA to re-issue the film as R. Jennifer Jason Leigh explained that teenage test audiences had found the scene "too graphic," and the actress expressed her disappointment that the re-cut version eliminated the sense of awkward hesitancy between the two characters, who weren't ready for sex.
Ray Walston was at the time, best known for his role as Uncle Martin on My Favorite Martian (1963). Unfortunately Walston, like many actors of that era, was typecast in the role and couldn't book serious roles until the decade ended. Walston said that after the release of this film, he'd be walking down the street and young people would see him and shout "Mr. Hand!". Walston was grateful for that, as it finally meant that he had torn away from being only associated with playing Uncle Martin.
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 (1980) and was produced by Atari.
Judge Reinhold was the boyfriend of Amy Heckerling's best friend, who was also doing casting. He got the part anyway without the producers knowing.
The script caused a controversy because some actual first names of Clairemont High School students were used in Cameron Crowe's script.
Linda likes older men. Phoebe Cates would later marry Kevin Kline, who is 15 years older than she.
At the beginning, outside the movie theatre when Ratner is taking ticket stubs, Damone asks Ratner if Dolly Parton is giving him a percentage of the profit. He asks this because the theatre Ratner works at is playing The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) which stars Dolly Parton.
Sean Penn extinguished a cigarette in the palm of his hand in order to better understand his character Jeff Spicoli.
When 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 Popeye Senior and then Mr. Hand.
When Mike Damon gives Rat his "five point plan" he says, "And five, now this is the most important, Rat. When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV." However the sound track plays "Kashmir" which is not on Led Zeppelin IV, but Physical Graffiti. This is because the producers couldn't get the rights to Led Zeppelin IV.
Jodie Foster was considered to play Stacy, but was not interested in the role due to her commitment at Yale.
Ralph Macchio was asked for a role, but he demanded a salary the director couldn't afford.
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.
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.
The book Arnold is holding while talking to Brad about working at All-American Burger is "Childhoods End" by Arthur C. Clarke.
Stacy's notebook says Mike Damone Good Points- great trust, good looking (great body), knows music, can be nice, really cool, funny Bad points- High school boy, can be mean, sarcastic, can't tell when j (her hand covers rest of the word), big ego, virgin?, don't know if he (again her hand covers the rest) Stacy Damone Mrs. Stacy Damone Mike and Stacy Mrs. Damone
In the original screenplay it is revealed that Mike Damone is a transfer student from South Philadelphia.
When Stacy meets Ron Johnson at Perry's and he asks her how old she is, she tells him she's 19 - a lie, as the character of Stacy was supposed to be 15. However, actress Jennifer Jason Leigh was, in reality, 19 when the movie was filmed.
Both Brooke Shields and Ellen Barkin reportedly turned down an offer to play Stacy. At the end of the film, the credits state that Jeff Spicoli rescued Brooke Shields from drowning.
The book Arnold is reading while attending the pep rally is "The Catcher In The Rye" by J.D. Salinger.
Matthew Broderick turned down the role of Brad Hamilton when his father became terminally ill.
The World famous "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" VW Bus is now owned by Robert Skinner who operates Skinner Classics VW Restorations in Vacaville, California. Mr. Skinner welcomes visitors to stop by and have their picture taken with the bus.
When showing Ratner his method of dating, Damone practices his routine on a cardboard cutout of Debbie Harry of the rock group Blondie.
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.
Ridgemont High scenes were filmed over eight days at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, CA. Although classes remained in session, the school allowed students interested in filmmaking to observe production. Additional locations included a rented house with a pool in Canoga Park, CA, the girls' gym at Canoga Park High School, Morningside Memorial Hospital in Inglewood, CA, All American Burger in Brentwood, CA, and various streets in the San Fernando Valley. The final week of filming took place on four sets constructed on Stage 3 at the Universal Studios lot in Universal City, CA, which served as the poolside changing room and the bedrooms of "Mike Damone," "Linda Barrett," and "Jeff Spicoli".
Hallie Todd, back when she was known as Hallie Eckstein, had a bit part in the movie as a fellow mall employee who asks Linda for advice how to have oral sex without getting pregnant. This scene was cut from the final version, but shows up on the original network broadcast and some cable TV airings.
When 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".
Martin Brest is seen as a doctor during the student field trip - he would direct Judge Reinhold in Beverly Hills Cop (1984) a few years later. Judge Reinhold and James Russo also appear together in Beverly Hills Cop (1984).
The book Arnold's holding while betting on the football game is "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke.
In the Mi-T-Mart scene, Brad is wearing a Bruce Springsteen T-shirt. Bruce's sister Pamela Springsteen plays Dina in the movie.
Amy Heckerling, in the DVD audio commentary, states that the 1970s "classic rock" artists, like The Eagles, were introduced by one of the film's producers. Coincidentally, Irving Azoff, one of the film's producers, was the personal manager for The Eagles.
When Mark Rattner discovers he forgot his wallet on his date with Stacey and phones Damone in a panic, Damone is watching a rerun of Leave It to Beaver (1957).
Filming lasted a total of eight weeks, in various Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley, CA, locations. Night shooting took place after hours at the Sherman Oaks Galleria in Sherman Oaks, CA, from 9:00 pm until 9:00 am. Hundreds of extras were hired to portray shoppers, while the fast food restaurants remained open to provide snacks for the cast and crew. During the first week of the schedule, the mall was decorated with "Ridgemont High" signs, pom-poms, and banners. The crew returned for an additional week of filming, when the location had been decorated for Christmas. Art director Daniel A. Lomino worked with director of photography Matthew F. Leonetti to develop an interior lighting system that would resemble normal mall lighting, but would still fully illuminate the scene. The setup reportedly saved a full day of shooting.
According to producer Art Linson, at the first screening of the finished cut, then Universal Pictures head Robert Rehme shifted uncomfortably in his seat at all the crude language and sexual situations and eventually walked out before the film was over. Linson also said that the brass at Universal, who were old conservative types, hated the picture and wanted nothing to do with the release.
An improvised scene at a record store where Damone tells Spicoli where to find some music was filmed but never used.
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"
For the dream sequence, where Spicoli is discussing his big win in the surfing contest, Sean Penn improvised the part where Spicoli praises the interviewers jacket. The reaction of those around him are genuine.
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.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
Brian Backer and Scott Thomson both appeared in Police Academy movies: Backer in Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987), while Thompson, as a recurring character Chad Copeland in Police Academy (1984), Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986) and Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987).
Brad Hamilton works at two different restaurants, with each one having a view of a fried chicken location visible outside of the window. At All American Burger, a Pioneer Chicken can be seen, and a Kentucky Fried Chicken (now KFC) can be seen outside the window of Captain Hook's.
If you look closely at the magazine rack during the robbery of the convenience store scene, you'll notice the 12/21/81 issue of TIME magazine with Lybian Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on the cover.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Hallie Todd (back when she was known as Hallie Eckstein) and Forest Whitaker actually attended high school together in the late 1970s in Paliasides, California. Whittaker plays a high school linebacker in the film and Todd plays a Toys r' Us employee at the mall who asks Linda for advice about sex and birth control. Unfortunately, Todd's scenes were seen only on the original theatrical version and removed from later prints, but they showed up on some TV airings as deleted footage.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
Four songs heard in the film could be considered themes for four different characters: "I Don't Know" (Jeff Spicolli), "Moving In Stereo" (Linda Barret), "Somebody's Baby" (Stacey Hamilton) and "Waffle Stomp" (Brad Hamilton).
Kelli Maroney (blonde, shrieking cheerleader Cindy) also plays a cheerleader in "Night Of The Comet" (1984)
Amanda Wyss plays a character who dumps her boyfriend Brad Hamilton. She would do so again to Lane Meyer in Better Off Dead... (1985).
Todd Rundgren recorded the song, "Attitude", for the film at Cameron Crowe's request. It was not included in the film, but was later released on Rundgren's Demos and Lost Albums in 2001.
Two of the actors from Spicoli's dream scene both appeared in Rocky films. Ava Lazar appeared in Rocky II (1979) and Stu Nahan appeared in every film up to his death, including Rocky Balboa (2006).
The fast food seafood restaurant where Brad works seems to be based on Long John Silver's.
Both of Jeff Spicoli's friends (Eric Stolz and Anthony Edwards) hail from Santa Barbara, California.
There are several hints that Linda's "boyfriend", Doug, is fictional. Linda changes her story about him several times including the conversation on how long it takes him to climax.
Amanda Wyss, Taylor Negron, and Vincent Schiavelli all appear in Better Off Dead... (1985).
Across the street where the scene was filmed where Jeff Spicoli crashes the car, ironically, is an auto body shop.
Jennifer Jason Leigh (Stacy Hamilton) & Pamela Springsteen (Dina the cheerleader) were born only three days apart.
Most critics liked this movie when it came out; it has a 78% approval rating on Rottentomatoes. The movie is now almost universally hailed as a classic. But Roger Ebert slammed this movie; only giving it one star; and basically dismissed it as a vulgar teen exploitation pic:" The movie's another one of those adolescent sex romps, such as"Porky's" and "Animal House," in which part of the humorcomes from raunchy situations and dialogue. This movie is so raunchy, however,that the audience can't quite believe it. I went to a sneak preview thrown by arock radio station, and the audience had come for a good time. But during ascene involving some extremely frank talk about certain popular methods ofsexual behavior, even the rock fans were grossed out. There's a differencebetween raunchiness and gynecological detail. The movie's cast struggles valiantly through all this dreck.Rarely have I seen so many attractive young performers invited to appear in somany unattractive scenes. Leigh, for example, plays a virginal young student atRidgemont High. She's curious about sex, so the script immediately turns herinto a promiscuous sex machine who will go to bed with anybody. And then hersexual experiences all turn out to have an unnecessary element of realism, sothat we have to see her humiliated, disappointed, and embarrassed. Whateverhappened to upbeat sex? Whatever happened to love and lust and romance, andscenes where good-looking kids had a little joy and excitement in life, insteadof all this grungy downbeat humiliation? Why does someone as pretty as Leighhave to have her nudity exploited in shots where the only point is to show herill-at-ease?"
The scene where Brad Hamilton is making a delivery while wearing a pirate costume was only ¼ from the DuPar's restaurant in Valley Girl (1983). see filming locations.
One of the posters on the wall in Damon's room is the cover of the Rolling Stones album cover Tatoo You released on August 24th 1981.
The Mi-T mart that gets robbed in the end of the movie was filmed only ¾ mile (1.1Km) from where John and Cindy depart to go "shopping" in Commando (1985).
The end credits show Missile Command (1982). Not only was this game shown in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), and filmed in the same mall (Sherman Oaks Galleria), but this film had characters named Stacy & Brad Hamilton. Terminator 2 starred an actress named Linda Hamilton.
[10:25]On the first day orientation, Mr. Hand approaches Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh), "you wouldn't want me coming to your house on your time to discuss American History". Later in the movie, he does precisely that: He comes to Jeff Spicoli's house and goes over history.
In one scene in Mr Hand's class, a student can be seen wearing a T-Shirt of Michael Schenker Group.
When Mark Ratner calls Mike Damone from the German restaurant, Damone says he is busy. He is watching the Leave It to Beaver: In the Soup (1961) episode from Leave It to Beaver (1957)
Pamela Springsteen, who is Bruce Sprinsteen's sister, plays Dina the cheerleader in this movie. She would go on to play Angela, the killer in the Sleepaway Camp movies.
Sean Penn plays a surfer in this film. In Colors (1988) there is a scene where he is at the beach watching someone surf.
When Brad Hamilton works at All American Burger ("Mister, if you don't shut up, I'm going to kick 100% of your ass!") there is a pioneer Chicken visible outside the window. When he is later at The Seafood Restaurant, there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken (now called KFC) visible outside the window.
Lana Clarkson: as Mr. Vargas's wife in the high school dance scene. Clarkson was murdered by music producer Phil Spector on February 2, 2003. She is YOUNGER than Jennifer Jason Leigh who plays a student.