May 072021

Fast Times at Ridgemont High comes to Blu-ray for a second time, now getting the Criterion Collection treatment with an upgrade video transfer and a new interview feature; between the two worth the price, along with a really funny movie.



Fast Times at Ridgemont High
— The Criterion Collection —

Genre(s): Comedy
The Criterion Collection| R – 90 min. – $39.95 | May 11, 2021

Date Published: 05/07/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Amy Heckerling
Writer(s): Cameron Crowe (book) (screenplay)
Cast: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Robert Romanus, Brian Backer, Phoebe Cates, Ray Walston, Forest Whitaker

Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Interviews, TV Version
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 49.74 GB
Total Bitrate: 38.82 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

The Criterion Collection provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 4¼/5

Plot Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (JENNIFER JASON LEIGH) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend, Linda Barrett (PHOEBE CATES), Stacy gets trapped in a love triangle with nice guy Mark Ratner (BRIAN BACKER) and his more assured buddy Mike Damone (ROBERT ROMANUS). Meanwhile, Stacy’s classmate Jeff Spicoli (SEAN PENN), who lives for surfing and being stoned, faces off against Mr. Hand (RAY WALSTON), a strict teacher who has no time for the slacker’s antics. In addition, Stacy’s brother, Brad (JUDGE REINHOLD), navigates his final year of high school and long-term relationship with his girlfriend.

Quick Hit Review: Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a movie I’ve seen a few times over the years and though never thought was fantastic, nor could hold a candle to other 1980s classics like The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, still was a solid debut for Cameron Crowe with sharp dialogue and distinct characters. This is not also to mention a noteworthy cast, several of whom would go on to have a nice career, most notably Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Forest Whitaker, plus Eric Stoltz and Nicolas Cage (credited as Nicolas Coppola) in bit parts.

The film saw the debut of director Amy Heckerling who would go on to helm another cult classic comedy, Clueless in 1995, and also directed National Lampoon’s European Vacation (I personally liked it, but considered the worst of the original Vacation films), Look Who’s Talking and its sequel Look Who’s Talking Too plus an assortment of other non-noteworthy entries. In any case, Heckerling, with Crowe, captured the life of teens of the 1980s and although my personal experiences of high school in the 1990s didn’t come close, my love of malls really triggered my nostalgia and thus enhanced my enjoyment of Fast Times.



This release comes with an HD keep case and inside is a nice booklet with a new introduction by Cameron Crowe and an essay by Dana Stevens. Missing on this from the 2004 Blu-ray is the trailer and the U-Control function.

Audio Commentary — Director Amy Heckerling and Writer Cameron Crowe, recorded in 1999.

Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High (39:16) — 1999 documentary that features interviews with Heckerling, Crowe, Producer Art Linson, Casting Director Don Phillips and Actors Brian Backer, Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Robert Romanus, Eric Stoltz, Scott Thomson and Ray Walston.

The TV Version (1:35:07) is the 95-minute version that was edited and dubbed for television broadcast in the 1980s and includes deleted and alternate scenes. Personally I wish these scenes would be available separately.


  • Amy Heckerling and Cameron Crowe, Moderated by Olivia Wilde (34:27)
  • Amy Heckerling at the AFI, 1982 (Audio Only) (47:42)

The first is new to this release and is a great conversation with these three, recorded via Zoom, as they recollect on the film.


VIDEO – 4¾/5

The Criterion Collection releases Fast Times at Ridgemont High onto Blu-ray with a new 1080p high-definition transfer (16-bit 4K resolution) which was culled from a scan of the original 35 mm camera negative, where thousands of instances of dust, dirt, debris, scratches, splices and warps were manually removed. As such, the picture here does look fantastic and without comparing it with the initial Universal Blu-ray, I suspect this has never looked better; detail was sharp and well defined and colors appear well balanced, same for black levels that never looked overly crushed.

AUDIO – 4½/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is, based on the liner notes, the same as the one on the 2004 Universal Blu-ray release. It’s nothing phenomenal but a well done lossless track that showcases the great early-80s music soundtrack while dialogue came through with good clarity and some modest depth for the front and rear speakers.


OVERALL – 4¼/5

Fast Times at Ridgemont High comes to Blu-ray for a second time, now getting the Criterion Collection treatment with an upgrade video transfer and a new interview feature; between the two worth the price, along with a really funny movie.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>