This is the ultimate quintessential 80’s teen, high school movie. You get to see the stereotypes come into play, the raised sexual awareness of the generation, and the constant struggle between kids and authority figures. What more do you need in a film?
The film centers around a year in high school year focusing on the characters Spicoli, Stacy, her brother Brad, Rat, Mike, and Linda. During one of the first scenes we discover that Stacy, who is 15, is a virgin which is a shock to her older friend Linda. Linda then takes it upon herself to help set Stacy up with a cute guy who comes into the pizza shop they work in at the mall. The guy takes Stacy out, we learn that he is 26, and they have sex. This shows the promiscuity of the girls at Ridgemont High. We are next introduced to Rat, who is Stacy’s age and who has a crush on her. His friend Mike thinks himself an expert on the subject of women and helps him get a date with her, which ends up awkwardly. Rat is also a virgin and won’t sleep with Stacy which confuses her. Frustrated that Rat won’t sleep with her she ends up having sex with his friend Mike. Stacy gets pregnant and gets an abortion with the help of her brother, and none from Mike. When Rat finds out what has happened he and Mike get into a fight over her. They stop being friends, but since this is a great 80’s teen movie we know everything’s going to end well. Mike and Rat reconcile and Rat ends up with Stacy, with her realizing they don’t have to rush into anything.
The most famous character from this movie is Sean Penn’s Spicoli. His character is the stereotypic stoned surfer who couldn’t care less for school. He lives for the waves and doesn’t put effort into his schoolwork. Some of his best scenes are those in which he faces off against Mr. Hand, the history teacher who is convinced that all of his students are stoners, which in Spicoli’s case is true. There is also the memorable scene in which he totals Charles Jefferson’s (played by a young Forrest Whitaker) car, and to hide this fact from him he covers it in graffiti framing their rival school for the damages.
This movie is a lot of fun and while it may seem over the top and ridiculous it makes it all the better to watch. It’s a must see for anyone who enjoys 80’s teen movies, and if you don’t like them maybe watching this one will change your mind. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was exciting seeing actors who have gone on to win Academy Awards for serious roles in such a carefree movie.