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Movies Like 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' to Watch Next

For the 40th anniversary of this iconic film, Metacritic has assembled a list of 10 similar movies to check out after Fast Times at Ridgemont High, listed by Metascore.

Taylor Freitas
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Sean Penn (center) in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High'

Universal Pictures

In August 1982, movie audiences around the world got a taste of life in sunny Southern California with the release of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Directed by Amy Heckerling, the teen comedy is based on Cameron Crowe's real-life experiences as an undercover high school student in San Diego, which he documented in his 1981 book.

The film follows several students at the fictional Ridgemont High School as they experiment with sex, drugs, and other typical teenage high jinks. Some of the central characters include Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh), an inexperienced girl who gets intimacy tips from her older friend Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates); Mark Ratner (Brian Backer), a shy young man who takes advice from his fast-talking pal Mike Damone (Robert Romanus); and, of course, Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), the surfer burnout with a knack for irritating his history teacher, Mr. Hand (Ray Walston). 

Now, four decades after its premiere, the legacy of Fast Times at Ridgemont High is still going strong. Not only does it hold the number-two slot on Entertainment Weekly's list of 50 best high school movies, but it's also been added to the United States National Film Registry for its cultural significance and impact.

For the 40th anniversary of this iconic film, Metacritic has assembled a list of 10 similar movies to check out after Fast Times at Ridgemont High, listed by Metascore.


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Richard Dreyfuss in 'American Graffiti'

Lucasfilm

American Graffiti 

Metascore: 97
Best for: Fans of '60s nostalgia
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 110 minutes

Set in 1962, George Lucas's American Graffiti chronicles the last night of summer for a group of recent high-school graduates in California, including Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve Bolander (Ron Howard). With big changes ahead, the teens enjoy their final night of freedom by meeting up with their friends, cruising the strip, and flirting with girls — all while enjoying the rock'n'roll that was popular during that era. American Graffiti was lauded by critics and received major accolades during award season, winning a Golden Globe and earning five Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director).

"Teen tales don't get much better than this." — Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle


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Patrick Fugit in 'Almost Famous'

Dreamworks Pictures

Almost Famous 

Metascore: 90
Best for: Fans of rock'n'roll dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, , Vudu
Runtime: 122 minutes

Crowe directed, wrote, and produced Almost Famous, a musical drama about a teenage journalist, William Miller (Patrick Fugit), who's hired by Rolling Stone to tour with the up-and-coming rock band Stillwater. While on assignment, William befriends Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), an experienced groupie who looks out for him on the road. Almost Famous, which takes place in the 1970s, is a semi-autobiographical account of Crowe's experiences working as a music writer as a young adult. In 2001, the film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, along with two BAFTA Awards, two Golden Globes, and a Grammy.

"Crowe has made a hugely entertaining, nearly pitch-perfect film about rock & roll." — Manohla Dargis, LA Weekly


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John Cusack in 'Say Anything'

20th Century Fox

Say Anything…

Metascore: 85
Best for: Fans of classic teen romances
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 100 minutes

Crowe made his directorial debut with Say Anything…, a 1989 romantic drama starring John Cusack. In the film, Cusack plays Lloyd Dobler, a high school senior who's infatuated with his class valedictorian, Diane Court (Ione Skye). After attending a party together, the two fall in love and plan to spend the summer together before she leaves for college. But their relationship comes to an abrupt halt when Diane decides to stop seeing Lloyd at the request of her father, Jim (John Mahoney), who is dealing with serious matters of his own.

"Avoiding the '80s staple of angsty adolescence, Crowe has constructed an intelligent, witty yet undeniably cute tale." — Caroline Westbrook, Empire


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'Everybody Wants Some'

Paramount Pictures

Everybody Wants Some!! 

Metascore: 83
Best for: Fans of sports-centric comedies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 117 minutes

Everybody Wants Some!! revolves around a freshman crew of college baseball players, including hotshot pitcher Jake Bradford (Blake Jenner), exploring their newfound freedom in 1980s Texas. Led by their older teammates, the men's days consist of partying, meeting women, getting hazed, and testing the limits of their school and sports responsibilities. Along the way, Jake falls for Beverly (Zoey Deutch), a witty arts major that catches his eye while he's cruising around with his new teammates. Released in 2016, Everybody Wants Some!! was written, directed, and produced by Richard Linklater.

"A joyous and often uproarious portrayal of college-age adolescence and the alluring freedom that brings." — Adam Lowes, CineVue


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'Dazed and Confused'

Gramercy Pictures

Dazed and Confused 

Metascore: 78
Best for: Fans of coming-of-age comedies and stoner humor
Where to watch:

, , Google Play, iTunes, , Vudu
Runtime: 102 minutes

Dazed and Confused is another Linklater film that takes place in Texas (although this one is set in 1976). It captures the last day of the academic year at Lee High School in Austin, as the incoming freshman boys and girls are hazed by a group of older students. As the day rolls on, the teens gather to cruise around town and attend a keg party, where tensions run high. Many of the actors in 1993's Dazed and Confused went on to launch successful entertainment careers, including Ben Affleck, Jason London, Matthew McConaughey, Renée Zellweger, and Parker Posey.

"What could have been a narrow, cultish little picture, a mere retro-trip, fans out into a broader study of longing and belonging." — Anthony Lane, The New Yorker


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Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in 'Risky Business'

Warner Bros. Pictures

Risky Business

Metascore: 75
Best for: Fans of raunchy teen comedies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 98 minutes

Tom Cruise stars as Joel Goodsen in the Paul Brickman-directed dramedy Risky Business, which premiered in 1983. In the film, Joel is a hard-working high school student in the suburbs of Chicago, trying to fulfill his parents' high expectations. One weekend, he has the house to himself and decides to let loose by drinking his parents' alcohol, taking their Porsche for a joyride, and hiring a sex worker named Lana (Rebecca De Mornay). But things take a turn when the pair accidentally wrecks the car and, out of desperation, decides to convert Joel's house into a brothel for the weekend.

"An adolescent-oriented farce so finely tuned it projects beyond its narrow intended audience — it's not only for adolescents, it's for anyone who remembers what adolescence was like." — Jay Scott, The Globe and Mail


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Alicia Silverstone in 'Clueless'

Paramount Pictures

Clueless 

Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of high-school romantic comedies
Where to watch:

, , , Paramount+, Vudu
Runtime: 97 minutes

In 1995, Heckerling played double-duty as writer and director on Clueless, the SoCal-set comedy inspired by Jane Austen's novel, Emma. The movie stars Alicia Silverstone as wealthy and popular high school student Cher Horowitz. She spends her time shopping on Rodeo Drive, struggling with driving lessons, playing matchmaker with her teachers, and giving her dorky new friend, Tai Fraiser (Brittany Murphy), a makeover. We also see her romantic life take an interesting turn when she realizes that she may have feelings for someone totally unexpected: her former stepbrother, Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd).

"Though the dialogue is laced with the colloquial, the film has an inviting tone that even stuffiest of old fogies may find refreshing." — Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle


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From. left to right: Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, and Emilio Estevez in 'The Breakfast Club'

Universal Pictures

The Breakfast Club

Metascore: 66
Best for: Fans of quintessential '80s teen movies
Where to watch:

, , Google Play, iTunes, , Vudu
Runtime: 97 minutes

Five high schoolers — each from a different social circle — come together for a Saturday detention in John Hughes's 1985 coming-of-age dramedy, The Breakfast Club. At first, there's tension among the group, which includes the athletic Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), the oddball Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), the rebellious John Bender (Judd Nelson), the nerdy Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), and the popular Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald). However, as the hours drag on, they begin to open up to one another and ultimately realize that there's much more to each of them than their stereotypes make it appear.

"This is that rare movie that could benefit from another half hour of talking time." — Joe Brown, The Washington Post


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Deborah Foreman and Nicolas Cage in 'Valley Girl'

Atlanta Releasing

Valley Girl

Metascore: 66 
Best for: Fans of forbidden love stories
Where to watch:

, , iTunes, Pluto TV, Vudu
Runtime: 99 minutes

In Valley Girl, it's an against-all-odds romance when Julie (Deborah Foreman), a popular girl from L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, meets Randy (Nicolas Cage), a punk rocker from Hollywood. But despite their differences, the pair find themselves drawn to each other and strike up a deep connection that takes them all over the City of Angels. Directed by Martha Coolidge, Valley Girl is loosely based on the premise of Romeo and Juliet but set to a soundtrack of popular '80s music, featuring hits from Culture Club, The Clash, Modern English, Men at Work, and more.

"In scratching at the surface of youth trends, Valley Girl manages to reveal the perennial innocence of teenage romance." — Carole Corbeil, The Globe and Mail


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From left to right: Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Matthew Broderick in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'

Paramount Pictures

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Metascore: 61
Best for: Fans of adventure-packed teen comedies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Paramount+, Vudu
Runtime: 103 minutes

Hughes makes his second appearance on our list with 1986's Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which features Matthew Broderick as the titular character, a high-school slacker who devises an elaborate scheme to skip school. Along for the ride are his girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara), and his best friend, Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), who accompany him to Chicago for an unforgettable day out. While Ferris' parents are in the dark about his plan, others are suspicious about his absence. For his performance in the film, Broderick was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

"[Hughes] has created a character who is every teen-ager's fantasy, but in the process he has lost some of the authenticity of his other films." — Nina Darnton, The New York Times