Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a 1982 American coming-of-age teen comedy film written by Cameron Crowe and adapted from his 1981 book of the same name. As a freelance writer for Rolling Stone magazine, Crowe went undercover at Clairemont High School in San Diego, California, and wrote about his experiences.
The film was directed by Amy Heckerling and chronicles a school year in the lives of sophomores Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Mark Ratner (Brian Backer), and their respective older friends Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates) and Mike Damone (Robert Romanus), both of whom believe themselves wiser in the ways of romance than their younger counterparts. The ensemble cast of characters form two subplots with Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), an irresponsible stoned surfer, facing off against uptight history teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), and Stacy's brother, Brad (Judge Reinhold), a senior who works at a series of entry-level jobs in order to pay off his car, and who is pondering easing out of his relationship with his girlfriend until she dumps him.
In addition to Penn, Reinhold, Cates and Leigh, this movie marks early appearances by several actors who later became stars, including Nicolas Cage, then billing himself as Nicolas Coppola, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, and Anthony Edwards. Among the actors listed, Penn, Cage, and Whitaker would later on in their careers win the Academy Award for Best Actor, with Penn winning twice.
In 2005, Fast Times at Ridgemont High was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Fast Times was filmed in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles (although it is never explicitly mentioned as such in the film) in late 1981, and many people identify the movie with that area and the teen culture that existed there, or was perceived to, in the early 1980s. "Ridgemont" is a fictional name. Crowe applied it to Clairemont High School in San Diego where he attended the school undercover. (Spicoli mentions surfing at Sunset Cliffs, a genuine surf spot in San Diego.) Most of the exteriors of Ridgemont High School were shot at Van Nuys High School, and other scenes were shot at Canoga Park High School and Torrance High. The "Ridgemont Mall" shown in the film was actually the Sherman Oaks Galleria, with its exterior shot at Santa Monica Place. Both have since been converted to open-air malls. "The Point" was filmed at the Encino Little League Field in Encino.
In the DVD commentary, director Amy Heckerling tells of how Phoebe Cates was initially reluctant to carry out her character's poolside topless scene at the house in West Hills because she thought the neighbors might be spying on the set from the surrounding rooftops (Wikipedia).
The filming locations for Fast Times at Ridgemont High were already found from the following sites which also include other LA locations used in this film. This post only focuses on SFV locations. I suggest visiting the sites listed below to learn more about those locations:
- Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles
- 80's Fast Rewind
- Tony Hoffarth Flickr Page (for finding The Point location)
- Production Notes at the official website for Cameron Crowe
The mall interiors were shot entirely at the Sherman Oaks Galleria which is now significantly remodeled and nothing like its former self located at 15301 Ventura Blvd Sherman Oaks. The exterior shots were taken at the Santa Monica Mall not shown here.
The high school scenes were shot at Van Nuys High School located at 6535 Cedros Avenue Van Nuys. The "Last Dance" (last image) takes place at Canoga Park High School located at 6850 Topanga Canyon Blvd Canoga Park. Its possible that Canoga was also used for some of the interior shots and vice versa but hard to tell.
Brad and Stacy Hamilton's house was located at 24124 Welby Way Canoga Park which was later changed to West Hills in the late 80's. The pool scenes were also filmed here.
Stacy and Ron Johnson drive to The Point which starts at Ventura Blvd and continues onto Van Nuys Blvd. Thanks to Delta Bravo for the find.
|The corner of Ventura Blvd and Andasol Avenue. The Sav-on is now a CVS. Thanks to Delta Bravo Urban Exploration Team|
|Van Nuys Blvd and Gault|
|Van Nuys Blvd and Gault heading towards Sherman Circle|
The Point was located at the Encino Franklin Fields located at 17301 Oxnard Street Encino CA at field #4 using the north facing dugout (Delta Bravo and Itsfilmedthere). This location brings back memories as I played Little League baseball here when it was called Canoga Park National Little League which is currently called Mid Valley Youth Baseball. The Encino Velodrome is also located in the Franklin Fields which I blogged about in a Back To The Future series post. Also, the LA River borders the fields running West to East and this is the only part where the LA River is natural containing no concrete channels. This site was also used as a filming location for the 2011 film, Drive. And since we are talking about filming locations, cant also forget the old RKO ranch located just south of here which is known for filming Its A Wonderful Life which is essentially aired on TV during every Christmas.
Not a filming location but remember when credit cards were charged the "manual" way instead of readers today.
Stacy Hamilton and Mark Ratner have dinner at Old Heidelbert located at 13276 Oxnard Street Valley Glen. This restaurant was re-named Matterhorn Chef sometime in 1996 and was again changed to Barone's Famous Italian Restaurant in 2006. This location was also used in Season 7, Episode 21, "Michael's Last Dundies" of The Office.
Jeff Spicoli and Charles Jefferson's brother cruise down Van Nuys Blvd and eventually crash and wreck the car.
|This shot appears to be the corner of Van Nuys Blvd and Hamlin street.|
|This shot is unknown but an Adray's can be seen in the top left corner.|
| This shot shows 6650 Van Nuys Blvd which is approximately the current location of Jon's Marketplace north of Kittridge Street.|
|The crash takes place at the corner of Van Nuys Blvd and Vose St.|
|At the crash location, you can see a sign for Schwinn Bicycles at the top.|
Brad Hamiltion works at a Fish and Chips Restaurant which was the former H.Salt Fish & Chips at 8622 Balboa Blvd Northridge CA. Discovery by Travis Dawdy and Delta Bravo Urban Exploration.
Brad Hamilton wearing the pirate gear while staring at the women in the nearby car and then throws his gear out the window is located at the corner of Chatsworth St and White Oak Avenue which initially starts at Chatsworth St and Zelzah Ave shown in the second picture.
Mike Damone's apartment was located at 5988 Riverton Ave North Hollywood which is also where the word "Prick" is spray painted on his car.
The ending credits thanks some of the locations used including all of the stores at that time in the Sherman Oaks Galleria.
The DVD has a special but brief section on "Hangouts" used in the film.