WTF Happened to Fast Times at Ridgemont High?

In this episode of WTF Happened to this Movie, we dig into the making of one of the most influential teen movies: Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is one of the most influential movies of the eighties. It was the first classic teen comedy of the decade, but unlike many other teen-focused flicks, it aspired to be a realistic depiction of what teens go through. In fact, the movie was based on a book by a young Cameron Crowe (who adapted the screenplay) who went undercover as a teen and wrote about his experiences. The movie tackled teen sex, pregnancy, abortion and drugs without any of the doom and gloom the topic would have been presented with had it been made by just about anyone else at the time.

Directed by Amy Heckerling, the movie featured an incredible cast of future stars, including Sean Penn as the stoner icon Spicoli, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates (whose nude scene became one of the most rewound moments of the VHS era), Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, Nicolas Cage, Anthony Edwards and more. But, perhaps even more influential was the soundtrack, which highlighted new wave bands like The Go-Go’s, The Cars, Billy Squier and Oingo Boingo, plus California rock bangers by Jackson Browne and all of the former members of The Eagles (whose manager produced the film).

The movie was a decent-sized hit but not the blockbuster some remember it as. It was on TV and home video that the movie became iconic, and in this episode of WTF Happened to this Movie, we dig into how Fast Times at Ridgemont High got made and how it nearly got shelved after initially being slapped with an X-rating. Can you imagine how different teen movies of the eighties might have been had Fast Times but cut to the bone and released as a TV movie? Do you think Fast Times holds up over 40 years later? Let us know in the comments!

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