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Sixteen Candles

Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Hughes
Produced by Hilton A. Green
Michelle Manning
Ned Tanen
Written by John Hughes
Starring Molly Ringwald
Justin Henry
Michael Schoeffling
Haviland Morris
Gedde Watanabe
Anthony Michael Hall
Music by Ira Newborn
Cinematography Bobby Byrne
Editing by Edward Warschillka
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) May 4, 1984
Running time 93 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6,500,000
Gross revenue $23,686,027

Sixteen Candles is a 1984 coming-of-age film starring Molly Ringwald, Michael Schoeffling and Anthony Michael Hall. The film was written and directed by John Hughes.



Awkward high school sophomore Samantha "Sam" Baker (Molly Ringwald) struggles to get through the day of her sixteenth birthday, which her entire family forgets because her older sister, Ginny (Blanche Baker), is getting married the next day. She is also plagued by her ongoing infatuation with the very popular and very attractive senior, Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling). Her day at school fares no better when she finds out that her completed "sex quiz," which she surreptitiously slipped to her friend, never reached her (and, unbeknownst to either of them, was picked up by Jake Ryan himself). Sam panics as the quiz contains personal information, including the fact that she is a virgin and is saving herself for Jake.

She has a whole new set of problems when she arrives home to find that both sets of grandparents are staying at the Baker home for the duration of the wedding visit. On top of it all, one set of grandparents brings along bizarre foreign exchange student Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe). Sam's grandparents force her to take him along to her school dance that night and, to Sam's amazement, it takes "The Donger" only five hours to find an unlikely girlfriend — the tallish, large-breasted jock, Marlene, promptly nicknamed "Lumberjack." After some ensuing madness with everyone involved, Sam's family eventually makes up before the wedding and apologizes for forgetting her birthday.

A running subplot involves a geeky freshman (Anthony Michael Hall) who continually (and unsuccessfully) tries to bed his love interest, Sam, to satisfy a bet with his friends. The character is referred to on several occasions in the movie as either "Ted" or "Farmer Ted", but he is credited solely as "the Geek."

In the auto-shop room during the dance, Sam and Ted begin talking and Sam confesses her love for Jake. Upon hearing this, he 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, he reveals the wager to Sam, who, in her excited state, agrees to loan him her underwear to help him win a dozen floppy disks.

Later (after a peepshow of Sam's underpants for $1 admission, which she does not find out about until the next day), Ted and his equally unwelcome friends, Cliff (Darren Harris) and Bryce (John Cusack), crash the senior after-party at Jake's house — during which the 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; Ted explains the situation. Jake makes a deal with Ted: If Ted lets Jake keep Sam's panties, then he will let Ted drive home his inebriated, stuck-up, prom queen girlfriend, Carolyn Mulford (Haviland Morris), in Jake's father's Rolls Royce. Jake later uses the excuse of finding them together to break up with Carolyn (who had surprisingly fallen for Ted, and thus 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 movie concludes with them sharing a kiss over a birthday cake with sixteen candles.


Main characters:[1]

Filming locations

Sixteen Candles was filmed primarily in and around the Chicago North Shore suburban community of Evanston, Illinois during the summer of 1983.[3] Most of the exterior scenes and some of the interior scenes were filmed at Niles East High School,[4] close to downtown Skokie, the setting for Hall's driving the Rolls-Royce.[5] A cafeteria scene, gym scene, and auto shop scene were filmed at Niles North High School. The Baker house is located on the 3000 block of Payne St. in Evanston. The church and parking lot where the final scenes take place is in Glencoe.[6]


The film — released eight weeks prior to the establishment of the PG-13 rating[7] — was originally rated R by the MPAA, and then re-rated PG on appeal.[8]


Sixteen Candles was well-received by critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 90% of critics gave it a positive rating, based on 30 reviews.[9] Ringwald's performance was especially praised; Variety called her "engaging and credible"[10] while Roger Ebert wrote that she "provides a perfect center for the story".[11] The character of Long Duk Dong was criticized for being offensive.[12] Ebert, however, defended him, writing that Gedde Watanabe "elevates his role from a potentially offensive stereotype to high comedy".[11]

The movie ranked number 49 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[13]

Sixteen Candles was a moderate success at the box office, grossing $23,686,027.[14]


In 2005, Ringwald was reported to be producing a sequel to the film.[15] As of July 2008, Ringwald was still interested in a sequel.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Internet Movie Database. Sixteen Candles (1984). Accessed 11 January 2008.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Julia Cameron 1986. CHICAGO: HOOT SPOT OF THE ARTS :What once happened in L.A. and New York now seems to be blooming in our back yard. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file), March 30, (accessed September 10, 2008). Gene Siskel 1984. 'Sixteen Candles': Teenage comedy matures. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file), May 7, (accessed September 10, 2008).
  4. ^ Howard Reich 1983. MOVIES :Lucy Salenger: The 'stage mother' who turned Illinois into a movie star MOVIES For Salenger's successor, an 'enormously difficult job'. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file), July 24, (accessed September 10, 2008).
  5. ^ Wilmette Public Library "Movies filmed on the North Shore" reference page.
  6. ^ Alex Thomas and Dave Wiemer 2002. Hughes Hunt. The Daily Northwestern (online archive), March 7, 2002. (accessed September 10, 2008).
  7. ^ "Motion Picture Association of America: What do the ratings mean?". Retrieved November 28, 2007. 
  8. ^ Unsigned, Search for "Sixteen Candles". [ MPAA website], accessed 3 December 2007.
  9. ^ "Sixteen Candles (1984)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  10. ^ Staff (1984-01-01). "Sixteen Candles". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  11. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (1984-01-01). "Review: Sixteen Candles". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  12. ^ Maslin, Janet (1984-05-04). "Review: Sixteen Candles". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  13. ^ "50 Best High School Movies".,,1532588,00.html. 
  14. ^ "Sixteen Candles". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  15. ^ William Keck. "MTV awards honor actors". - June 5, 2005. Retrieved November 15, 2007. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Sixteen Candles is a 1984 comedy about a young girl's "sweet sixteenth" birthday that becomes anything but special as she suffers from every embarrassment possible. The film is often credited with the beginning of the Brat Pack film movement.

Written and directed by John Hughes.
It's the time of your life that may last a lifetime.Taglines


Samantha Baker

  • I can't believe this. They fucking forgot my birthday.

The Geek

  • Wease, we got seventy dollars and we got a pair of girl's underpants. We're safe as kittens.

Long Duk Dong

  • No more yankie my wankie. The Donger need food!


Ginny: Darling, is something bothering you? You're really acting like... an asshole. And I think I know what it is. I think you're jealous that I'm getting married and that I'm getting all the attention.
Samantha: You know, everybody in this family has just gone totally Outer Limits.
Ginny: No, Sam, I think you're just being a little selfish and immature.
Samantha: Oh, yes, that's it. That's exactly it. [storms out]
Ginny: [to herself] Unbelievable. You make someone a bridesmaid and they shit all over you.

The Geek: Just answer me one question.
Samantha: Yes, you're a total fag.
The Geek: Ha ha ha. That's not the question.

Samantha: You know, just now I really felt how much you like me.
The Geek: You're probably zoning in on my brain waves or something.
Samantha: Well, not really. I felt it on my leg.

The Geek: [about Samantha] She's cranked for you. I told her you asked about her, right? The girl freaked. She had a hissy. She thinks you're the cat's meow!
Jake: Really? She came up to me in the gym tonight. She looked at me like I was a leper.
The Geek: Girls will do that, Jake. You know? They know that guys are like in perpetual heat, right? They know they shit, and they enjoy pumping us up. It's pure power politics, I'm telling you.
Jake: I thought she hated my guts.
The Geek: Games, Jake. Silly torturous games. You know how many times I've gone without lunch because some bitch borrows my lunch money? Any halfway decent girl can rob me - blind! Because I'm too torqued up to say no. It's heinous, I'm telling you.
Jake: You better not be dicking me around. It'd be a major downer to try and get together with this girl and find out that she really does think I'm a slime.
The Geek: Jake, would I dick you? Let me put it to you this way: what happens to me if I dick you?
Jake: I'll kick your ass.
The Geek: Right! So why would I lie? But I feel compelled to mention to you, Jake, that if all you want of the girl is a piece of ass, I mean, I'll either do it myself, or get someone bigger than me to kick your ass. I mean, not many girls in contemporary American society today would give their underwear to help a geek like me.
Jake: I can get a piece of ass anytime I want. Shit, I've got Caroline in the bedroom right now, passed out cold. I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to.
The Geek: [almost chokes on a pretzel] What are you waiting for?

Jake: I'll make a deal with you. [about Samantha's panties] You let me keep these, I'll let you take Caroline home. But you gotta make sure she gets home, you can't leave her in some parking lot. Okay?
The Geek: Jake, I'm only a freshman.
Jake: So, she's so blitzed she won't know the difference.
The Geek: Jake, I don't have a car.
Jake: You can take mine.
The Geek: Jake, I don't have a license.
Jake: I trust you.
The Geek: This is your car, Jake?
Jake: No, this is my dad's car. You said you can't drive a stick.
The Geek: This is a motherf... this is a Rolls Royce, Jake.
Jake: So?
The Geek: So? So? I heard the grill alone costs five grand on this. Five grand! Do you have five grand? I don't have five grand.
Jake: Then don't hit anything.
The Geek: [incredulous] Ha ha! Don't hit anything.
The Geek: Jake is your dad a big man, or...?
Jake: Oh, about 6'4"
The Geek: Very nice.


  • It's the time of your life that may last a lifetime.
  • When you're just sixteen anything can happen!


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