Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Hughes|
|Written by||John Hughes|
|Music by||Ira Newborn|
|Edited by||Edward Warschillka|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$23.7 million|
High school sophomore Samantha "Sam" Baker (Molly Ringwald) struggles to get through the day on her 16th birthday, which her entire family has forgotten about because her older sister, Ginny, is getting married the next day. She is also plagued by infatuation with a popular and attractive senior, Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling). At school she fares no better when she finds out that a completed "sex quiz," which she tried to surreptitiously slip to her friend, never reached her friend and, unbeknownst to either of them, was picked up by Jake. Sam panics because the quiz contains sensitive information such as she is a virgin and saving herself for Jake.
She has a whole new set of problems when she arrives home to discover all four of her grandparents are staying at the Baker home during the wedding. Worse, one set of grandparents has brought along a bizarre foreign exchange student, Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe). The grandparents force Sam to take him along to her school's senior dance that night and, to Sam's amazement, it takes "The Donger" only five minutes to find an unlikely girlfriend — the tall, large-breasted jock, Marlene (Deborah Pollack), nicknamed "Lumberjack." They are found slow dancing in the gym.
A subplot involves a geeky freshman (Anthony Michael Hall) who tries to win a bet with his friends by continually (and unsuccessfully) trying to bed his love interest, Sam. The character is referred to on several occasions in the film as either "Ted" or "Farmer Ted" but is credited simply as "the Geek." On the way home on the school bus, Sam blows him off by saying, "Go to hell."
In the school auto shop during the dance, Sam and Ted begin talking and Sam confesses her love for Jake. Upon hearing this, Ted tells her that Jake had been asking about her at the dance, and they agree that Sam should just go and talk to him. As she's leaving, Ted reveals the wager to Sam, who agrees to loan him her panties to help him win.
Later (after a $1 admission peepshow of Sam's panties, which Sam finds out about the next day), Ted and his equally unwelcome geeky friends, Cliff (Darren Harris) and Bryce (John Cusack), go to the senior dance after-party, hosted at Jake's house. When they knock on the door, Long Duk Dong, who has come to the party with Marlene, greets them. Ted and his gang get in but they make a big mistake by knocking over the jocks' beer can pyramid. Ted and Bryce leave it up to Cliff to deal with the jocks.
Meanwhile, upstairs in Jake's bedroom, Jake takes the opportunity to look through the yearbook and finds Sam's photo. He jots down her phone-number on a scrap of paper and calls her, only to be disappointed when her grandparents pick up the phone.
Jake's entire house is completely trashed. At night's end, Jake finds Ted trapped under a table and they begin to talk. Jake inquires further about Sam, and Ted explains the situation. Jake makes a deal with Ted: If Ted lets Jake keep Sam's panties, Jake will allow Ted to drive home his drunk popular girlfriend, Caroline Mulford (Haviland Morris), in Jake's father's Rolls Royce. Jake later uses the excuse of finding them together to break up with Caroline (who had surprisingly fallen for Ted and doesn't mind the break-up very much). Afterward, Jake drives to the church just in time to meet an incredulous Sam after her sister's wedding.
The film concludes with them sharing a kiss over a birthday cake with 16 candles.
- Molly Ringwald as Samantha "Sam" Baker
- Paul Dooley as Jim Baker
- Justin Henry as Mike Baker
- Anthony Michael Hall as Ted, aka "Farmer Ted"
- Michael Schoeffling as Jake Ryan
- Gedde Watanabe as Long Duk Dong
- Haviland Morris as Caroline Mulford
- Carlin Glynn as Brenda Baker
- Blanche Baker as Ginny Baker
- Edward Andrews as Grandpa Howard Baker
- Billie Bird as Grandma Dorothy Baker
- Carole Cook as Grandma Helen
- Max Showalter as Grandpa Fred
- Liane Alexandra Curtis as Randy
- John Cusack as Bryce
- Darren Harris as Cliff (Wease)
- Deborah Pollack as Marlene, aka "Lumberjack"
- Joan Cusack as Geek Girl
- John Kapelos as Rudy Ryszczyk
- Jami Gertz as Robin
- Brian Doyle-Murray as Reverend
- Zelda Rubinstein as Organist
John Hughes had asked his agent for headshots of young actresses, and among those he received were those both of Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy. Sheedy had auditioned for the role of Sam, but was later dropped because of Hughes thinking Ringwald was more fitting for the role, but he called her a year later to give her a role in The Breakfast Club. Inspired by Ringwald's appearance, he put it up over his desk and wrote the film just over a weekend with her specifically in mind for the lead role. For the male lead in the film, it had come down to Schoeffling and Viggo Mortensen. For the part of Ted, Hughes saw a number of actors for the role: "Every single kid who came in to read for the part... did the whole, stereotyped high school nerd thing. You know - thick glasses, ball point pens in the pocket, white socks. But when Michael came in he played it straight, like a real human being. I knew right at that moment that I'd found my geek."
Sixteen Candles was filmed primarily in and around the Chicago North Shore suburban communities of Skokie and Highland Park, Illinois during the summer of 1983, when leads Ringwald and Hall were 15 years old. Most of the exterior scenes and some of the interior scenes were filmed at Niles East High School, close to downtown Skokie, the setting for Hall's driving the Rolls Royce. A cafeteria scene and a gym scene, were filmed at Niles North High School. The auto shop scene was filmed at Niles East High School in the auto shop. The Baker house is located at 3022 Payne Street in Evanston. The church (Glencoe Union Church - 263 Park Avenue) and parking lot where the final scenes take place are in Glencoe.
Soundtrack and songs
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
|Genre||Rock, new wave|
|Producer||Jimmy Iovine (16 Candles & Hang Up the Phone), Ira Newborn (Geek Boogie), John Cale (Gloria), & Alex Sadkin (If You Were Here)|
|1.||"16 Candles"||Stray Cats||2:52|
|2.||"Hang Up the Phone"||Annie Golden||2:59|
|3.||"Geek Boogie"||Ira Newborn & the Geeks||2:48|
|2.||"If You Were Here"||Thompson Twins||2:55|
The original soundtrack was released as a specially priced mini album containing only 5 songs. However, the movie actually featured an extensive selection of over 30 songs. Songs from the movie that were not included on the soundtrack EP are as follows:
- "Snowballed" Performed by AC/DC
- "Today I Met the Boy I'm Gonna Marry" Performed by Darlene Love
- "Love of the Common People" Performed by Paul Young
- "Kajagoogoo" (Main Title Song) Performed by Kajagoogoo
- "Happy Birthday" Performed by Altered Images
- "Kazooed on Klassics" Performed by The Temple City Kazoo Orchestra
- "Dragnet" Performed by Ray Anthony and His Orchestra
- "Rumours in the Air" Performed by Night Ranger
- "Peter Gunn" Performed by Ray Anthony and His Orchestra
- "True" Performed by Spandau Ballet played during the school dance
- "Wild Sex (In the Working Class)" Performed by Oingo Boingo
- "Little Bitch" Performed by The Specials
- "Growing Pains" Performed by Tim Finn
- "When It Started to Begin" Performed by Nick Heyward
- "Lenny" Performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan
- "Whistle Down the Wind" Performed by Nick Heyward
- "Ring Me Up" Performed by The Divinyls
- "Love Theme" from The Godfather Conducted by Carlo Savina
- "Turning Japanese" Performed by The Vapors
- "Rev-Up" Performed by The Revillos
- "Farmer John" Performed by The Premiers
- "Theme from New York, New York" Performed by Frank Sinatra
- "Young Guns" Performed by Wham!
- "Rebel Yell" Performed by Billy Idol
- "Lohengrin Wedding March" Performed by The Bavarian Staatsoper Munich Chorus and Orchestra
- "Young Americans" Performed by David Bowie
In its opening weekend the film grossed $4,461,520 in 1,240 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking second. By the end of its run, Sixteen Candles grossed $23,686,027 against a budget of $6.5 million.
Sixteen Candles was well received by critics and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1984. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 86% of critics gave it a positive rating, based on 30 reviews. Ringwald's performance was especially praised; Variety called her "engaging and credible" while Roger Ebert wrote that she "provides a perfect center for the story".
The character of Long Duk Dong was criticized for being racially insensitive and offensive to Asians and others. Alison MacAdam of NPR reports, "To some viewers, he represents one of the most offensive Asian stereotypes Hollywood ever gave America." Asian Americans have complained that they were taunted with quotes of his stilted-English lines. Roger Ebert defended him, writing that Gedde Watanabe "elevates his role from a potentially offensive stereotype to high comedy". 
In an article published in Salon, Amy Benfer considers whether the film tacitly condones date rape. After the party scene, Jake tells Ted that his girlfriend Caroline is 'in the bedroom right now, passed out cold. I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to.' He encourages Ted to drive her home saying 'she's so blitzed she won't know the difference'. When Caroline and Ted wake up next to each other in the car, Caroline says she's fairly certain they had sex though neither of them remember it. Amy Benfer writes that "The scene only works because people were stupid about date rape at the time. Even in a randy teen comedy, you would never see two sympathetic male characters conspiring to take advantage of a drunk chick these days."
In December 1984, Ringwald and Hall both won Young Artist Awards as "Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture" and "Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture" for their roles in the film, respectively becoming the first and only juvenile performers in the history of the Young Artist Awards to win the Best Leading Actress and Best Leading Actor awards for the same film (a distinction the film still retains as of 2014). In July 2008, the movie was ranked number 49 on Entertainment Weekly's list of "The 50 Best High School Movies".
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- Susannah Gora (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-40843-3.
- William A. Gordon (1995). Shot On This Site: A Traveler's Guide to the Places and Locations Used to Film Famous Movies and TV Shows. Citadel. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-8065-1647-9.
- "Wilmette/Kenilworth Reference Rolodex - Movies filmed on the North Shore". Wilmette Public Library. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
- Alex Thomas; Dave Wiemer (2002). "Hughes Hunt". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
- "Best Films of 1984". listal.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Most Popular Feature Films Released in 1984". IMDb.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Sixteen Candles (1984)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- Staff (1984-01-01). "Sixteen Candles". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- Ebert, Roger (1984-01-01). "Review: Sixteen Candles". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
- Maslin, Janet (1984-05-04). "Review: Sixteen Candles". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- Alison MacAdam (2008). "Long Duk Dong: Last of the Hollywood Stereotypes?". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2010-02-21.
- Michael Joseph Gross (2004-05-09). "When the Losers Ruled in Teenage Movies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
- Amy Benfer. "The "Sixteen Candles" date rape scene?". Salon.
- "35th Annual Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- "50 Best High School Movies". Entertainment Weekly. 2008-07-31.
- William Keck (June 5, 2005). "MTV awards honor actors". USA Today. Retrieved November 15, 2007.
- Miles Bradford (2010). "Molly Ringwald not a fan of remaking one of her classic 80's movies". KABC-TV. Retrieved 2010-07-21.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Sixteen Candles|
- Sixteen Candles at the Internet Movie Database
- Sixteen Candles at the TCM Movie Database
- Sixteen Candles at Box Office Mojo
- Sixteen Candles at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Sixteen Candles DVD Official Universal Site
- Sixteen Candles at The 80s Movie Rewind
- "Reflections on Jake Ryan of the John Hughes Film Sixteen Candles" article