Fast Times at Ridgemont High

First a 1981 best-selling book about life in a Southern California beach-area high school, written by 23-year-old Cameron Crowe and published by Simon and Schuster, then an even bigger hit the following year as a Universal movie. Premiere magazine called Fast Times "the quintessential high school film."

Although Fast Times has virtually no surfing, Jeff Spicoli, one of the ensemble characters, is a composite of the surfers Crowe met during his two-semester undercover "senior" year at Clairem...