Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
Watch On
  1. Perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of American high school life in the '80s, complete with a Rubik's cube reference, the funny and occasionally harsh Fast Times, with all due apologies to John Hughes and Mickey Rooney, may be the greatest teen movie ever made (even though Cates was the only real teen).
  2. Amy Heckerling’s portrait of high school/shopping mall life in Southern California is still just about as good as it gets...The panoply of teen types and turmoils is dead-on accurate.
  3. 90
    A Trojan horse of a teen comedy that balanced lowbrow gags with subtle humor, genuine insight—Crowe spent a year undercover as a high-school student—and pathos.
  4. 80
    Sean Penn's scenes are still so stunning...His Jeff Spicoli is an unabashed kick every second he is on the screen.
  5. If the publicity release can be believed, he worked an entire year "undercover as a student to research teenage life". On the basis of what surfaces here - one stock phrase (the kids say "Go for it]" a lot) and a multitude of stock characters - Crowe might better have spent the time curled up with re-runs of Ozzie and Harriet. Give this intrepid researcher 12 months at General Motors and he might just discover the wheel.
  6. 70
    I was surprised at how not-bad it is. It may fall into the category of youth-exploitation movies, but it isn't assaultive, and it's certainly likable. [1 Nov 1982, p.146]
  7. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The nice thing is that Crowe and director Amy Heckerling have provided something pleasant to observe in all of these characters though they really are sadly lacking in anything gripping.
  8. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The film's most memorable character is the perpetually stoned surfer played by Sean Penn. His confrontations with Mr. Hand (Walston), a draconian history teacher, provide the film's finest moments.
  9. There's a lot to make [Heckerling's] film likeable, but not much to hold it together. [3 Sept 1982, p.C6]
  10. Reviewed by: Joy Gould Boyum
    At least the film has a sense of humor and a degree of energy... [but the] film never carries any of its characters or situations much beyond weary cliche. [10 Sept 1982, p.29(E)]
  11. Never all it was cracked up to be.
  12. 40
    Heckerling lacks the intuition to let things flow. The actors seem rushed and the scenes incomplete. For instance, Stacy and her brother Brad (Reinhold) almost build a poignant scene outside the abortion clinic. Just when they're about to show us their stuff, poof, it's off for a car crash or a football game. [13 Aug 1982]
  13. Reviewed by: Richard Harrington
    It's an uninspired blend, integrating the boys from "Porky's" and the girls from "Foxes" into a vehicle resembling the worst of "American Graffiti" and the best of "Rock and Roll High School." [13 Aug 1982]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. JohnYeager
    Oct 12, 2006
    Very funny movie.
  2. Mar 5, 2015
    Comedy and drama may not always blend smoothly together in Amy Heckerling's seminal teen classic, but thanks in no small part to Sean Penn'sComedy and drama may not always blend smoothly together in Amy Heckerling's seminal teen classic, but thanks in no small part to Sean Penn's legendary Spicoli spiel, "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" maintains an overall air of enjoyment. Full Review »