The Cheerleaders (U.K. theatrical title: The 18 Year Old Schoolgirls) is a 1973 comedy film directed by Paul Glickler, starring Stephanie Fondue and Denise Dillaway.
A group of high school cheerleaders have sex with the opposing team's players to make them too tired to play football properly, allowing their team to win an unprecedented series of games.
- Stephanie Fondue (actual name Enid Finnbogason) as Jeannie
- Denise Dillaway as Claudia
- Jovita Bush as Bonnie
- Sandy Evans as Suzie
- Kim Stanton as Patty
- Brandy Woods
- Raoul Hoffnung as Novi
- Jonathan Jacobs as Norm
- Richard Meatwhistle as Jon
- Partick Wright as Coach Gannon
- Janus Blythe as Cheerleader
The film was made in the summer of 1972 in the cities of Cupertino, California and Sunnyvale, California. The high school scenes were shot at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California. The administration of Monta Vista high school claimed to not be aware of the racy elements and theme of the movie. Many of the football player extras were recent graduates of local high schools from these two cities. The red uniforms in the film representing the home team high school Amarosa High School were actual uniforms of Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, California from that same year. One of the identified extras is Carl Ekern, who later played professional football for the Los Angeles Rams. He was a student football player at San Jose State University when the movie was made.
The film courted controversy due to its plot and subject matter: the titular cheerleaders are seen seducing, among others, the football coach, a female gym coach, and the school bus driver. There was also female on male rape when the cheerleaders kidnap and then have sex with the members of the opposing football team the night before the big game. In areas where the age of consent was 18 at the time, or where the laws on consent prohibited under-18s having sex with over-18s, there was controversy over statutory rape.
Re-releases of the film have been retitled The 18 Year Old Schoolgirls in some regions,[clarification needed] presumably so as to remove at least part of that particular controversy, as the exact age of the girls was never stated within the film.
The film's success spawned a series of sequels during the 1970s. The Cheerleaders (1973) was followed by The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974), directed by Jack Hill, Revenge of the Cheerleaders (1976), directed by Richard Lerner, and The Great American Girl Robbery (1979) (a.k.a. Cheerleaders' Wild Weekend), directed by Jeff Werner.