Today marks the 20th anniversary of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, the first great teen comedy-drama from the 1990s that happened to take place on the last day of school in 1976. Full of bongs, bell bottoms, and beer busts, the film was a lovely, nostalgic look at teenage life at the mark of America’s bicentennial. Compared to American Graffiti, Dazed and Confused launched the careers of numerous recognizable names: Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, and Matthew McConaughey. Here are some fun facts about the film that you may not have already known.
1. Milla Jovovich, who appeared on the film’s poster, had a pretty small role in the film. But that’s because most of her dialogue was cut. Despite the reduced screen time, she made her mark by contributing an acoustic excerpt of her song “The Alien Song” from her 1994 album The Divine Comedy.
2. Part of the subplot featuring Michelle (Jovovich) involved her KISS statues, which were to be confiscated by the police. KISS frontman Gene Simmons bought the statues, and later sold them at auction for $6,000.
3. Jovovich was only 16 during filming. When she and Shawn Andrews, who played her on-screen boyfriend Kevin Pickford, eloped to Las Vegas, her mother immediately had the marriage annulled.
4. Speaking of Pickford, the original script had many more dialogue-heavy scenes between him and main character Randall “Pink” Floyd. But actors Shawn Andrews and Jason London got along so terribly that Linklater eventually cut most of Pickford’s lines, especially in the last scene that became focused on Pink and Wooderson.
5. The film’s title comes from a Led Zeppelin song, although there are none of the band’s songs on the soundtrack. In fact, Linklater attempted to get the rights to play “Rock and Roll” over the end credits; Jimmy Page agreed to allow it, but Robert Plant said no. Meanwhile, about a sixth of the film’s budget (which was in total $6.9 million) was spent on buying rights for songs on the soundtrack.
6. The most famous line in the film is delivered by Wooderson, played by Matthew McConaughey: “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” But it’s his other famous line — “You just gotta keep livin’ man: L-I-V-I-N.” — that inspired both his production company (JKL Productions) and his non-profit foundation (the Just Keep Living Foundation).
7. Texas native Renée Zellweger auditioned for one of the senior girls roles, but was ultimately cast in a non-speaking, uncredited part (that’s her giving her beer bong to Darla, played by Parker Posey, above). Vince Vaughan was also up for the role of Benny (which eventually went to Cole Hauser), but he lost it because he looked too much like Ben Affleck.
8. Wooderson is a big Ted Nugent fan: the cover of Amboy Dukes appears on his T-shirt.
9. In May, while promoting his film Before Sunset, Linklater stated in a Reddit AMA that he’s planning a “spiritual” sequel to Dazed and Confused, set to take place on a college campus in the ’80s. None of the original characters are slated to appear.
10. In 2004, three high school classmates of Linklater’s filed a lawsuit against him claiming he did not obtain the permission to use their likenesses and names in Dazed and Confused. Their names were Bobby Wooderson, Andy Slater, and Richard Floyd. The lawsuit was tossed out for statute of limitations reasons.