Nicolas Cage was originally considered for the role of Brad Hamilton, but after his audition the studio thought his performance was too dark and the role went, instead, to Judge Reinhold. Additionally, Cage was 17 at the time and could not work as many hours as actors over 18.
Alternate, sanitized takes of several scenes were filmed for use on broadcast television.
Nicolas Cage appears under the name Nicolas Coppola for the first and only time.
When Stacy and Ron Johnson end up going to "the point", the words "The Cinch" are spray-painted on the wall. The group that plays the last dance of the year is called Reeves Nevo and The Cinch.
Cameo: ('Nancy Wilson') wife of writer Cameron Crowe and Heart band member appears as the woman in the car beside Brad's, laughing at his pirate costume.
The role of Mr. Hand was originally offered to Fred Gwynne who turned it down due to his objections over the tone of the sexual content in the film.
# Andy Rathbone was the student that Cameron Crowe based Mark "Rat" Ratner on. He became famous in his own right for writing many of the "for Dummies" help books series
It was filmed at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California
The mascot of Ridgemont High is the wolf, which is the same mascot of Van Nuys High School, where most of the school scenes were shot.
The book Arnold's holding while betting on the football game is "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke.
The scene where Linda teaches Stacy the finer points of how to give a man oral sex was originally supposed to take place in a hot tub with both girls naked. However, in order to avoid an "X" rating, the scene was changed to the school cafeteria.
Cameron Crowe wrote the screenplay based on his book. Cameron Crowe attended University of San Diego High School, he posed as a student at Clairemont High School. The principal then was not thrilled with the idea, but when he asked Crowe about musicians that he had met, he mentioned Kris Kristofferson. The principal was a big fan of Kristofferson and agreed to let Crowe on campus.
Stacy works at Perry's Pizza. Jennifer Jason Leigh actually worked at Perry's Pizza for a month after she got the role of Stacy Hamilton but before filming began.
David Lynch was originally offered the chance to direct before Amy Heckerling was chosen. He turned it down saying it was a funny script, but not really his thing.
In the scene where Ratner is getting dating advice from Damone in Damone's bedroom, Ratner is wearing a T-shirt for the movie, Popeye (1980) which stared Ray Walston, who played Mr. Hand.
When showing Ratner his method of dating, Damone practices his routine on a cardboard cutout of Deborah Harry of the rock group Blondie.
The mall scenes were filmed at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. It was damaged by earthquake in 1994, but still stood until 1998, when it was renovated and extensively re-designed by the architectural firm of Gensler for developer Douglas Emmett. Other than the parking structure, nothing recognizable from the 1980s era mall remains, the building having been converted from an enclosed, multi-story space to an open, mostly single-story mall.
Sean Penn was asked to read for the part of Brad Hamilton as well as that of Jeff Spicoli.
Sean Penn extinguished a cigarette in the palm of his hand in order to better understand his character Jeff Spicoli.
During shooting of the film, Sean Penn got so into character that he only answered as Spicoli. In fact, the door on his dressing room was labeled "Spicoli" instead of "Sean Penn".
# Universal didn't think the film would become a hit. In fact, the studio had thought about not releasing it on the East Coast so that the film would die quickly at the box office.
# For his masturbation scene, Judge Reinhold brought a large dildo to work with, unbeknown to the rest of the cast. Phoebe Cates look of horror and disgust is very real.
Ranked at #2 on Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies (2006)
Sean Penn asked out Pamela Springsteen, who played Dina, on the set of the movie; she accepted.