‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High' Heads Back to Movie Theaters for 35th Anniversary

The classic 1982 high school comedy has deep ties to San Diego – specifically to Clairemont High School

Cameron Crowe’s classic comedy, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” turns 35 this year and Jeff Spicoli and his pals are returning to movie theaters – including several in San Diego – the city where the flick’s storyline began.

The 1982 film, about a group of Southern California high school students coming of age during fast times of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, played in select movie theaters across San Diego County this past Sunday and returns for one more screening Tuesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The theaters offering the screenings on Tuesday include:

  • La Jolla Village 12
  • Mission Valley 20
  • Plaza Bonita 14
  • Horton Plaza 8
  • Mira Mesa Stadium 18
  • Otay Ranch 12

Fun fact: La Jolla Village 12 is about six miles away from Clairemont High School, the campus that helped inspire the “Fast Times” plot.

Crowe – who was raised in San Diego – returned to the city in 1979 to research a book he was writing about life as a teenager, also named “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Twenty-two years old at the time, Crowe posed as a teen and enrolled in San Diego’s Clairemont High School. His experiences inspired the “Fast Times” book, which then led to the screenplay for the cult classic film of the same name.

The movie, directed by Amy Heckerling, starred Sean Penn as iconic SoCal “dude,” Jeff Spicoli, as well as Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates and Robert Romanus. Academy Award-winning actor Nicolas Cage even had a small role in the flick.

In 2005, it was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, a program that works to conserve works that are considered part of America’s film heritage.

The film’s quick comeback to theaters is part of the “TCM Big Screen Classics” series hosted by Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events, a yearlong program that brings iconic films back to cinemas. Early this year, the program brought the Debbie Reynolds classic, "Singin' in the Rain" back to theaters, also for a two-day engagement.

“Fast Times,” which is Rated-R, will screen at more than 700 movie theaters nationwide, including the nine in San Diego. Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

In the words of Spicoli, “Let’s party!”

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