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It's the time of your life that may last a lifetime.
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"I don't believe it: They fucking forgot my birthday."
Samantha Baker
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Sixteen Candles is a 1984 film written and directed by John Hughes, the first of his teen comedies. It stars Molly Ringwald as Samantha "Sam" Baker, a redhaired girl next door, facing numerous emotional challenges on her sixteenth birthday. Her family, focused on the wedding of her older sister Ginny forgets her birthday; she's in love with senior Jake Ryan, who doesn't even know she exists (at first) and already has a girlfriend named Caroline; and she's pursued by a geeky freshman, Ted (Anthony Michael Hall).


Sixteen Candles provides examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: Sam. Her brother, Mike remarks that she's eating carrots to "increase the size of her breasts". Sam throws her pen at him. Later, she says about her bridesmaid dress: "I don't have one-tenth of the bod to fill the stupid bust up."
    • And then her grandparents feel her up.
    • The shower scene focuses on Caroline's big boobs and how envious Sam and other girls are.
  • Adorkable: Long Duk Dong, when he's not treated as a racist joke.
  • All Asians Are Alike: Long Duk Dong is referred to as "Chinese", while his name attests he is in fact Vietnamese. And played by Japanese-American Gedde Watanabe.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Long Duk Dong
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Sam's brother, Mike.
  • Betty and Veronica: Jake Ryan is dating the blond cheerleader, Caroline (Veronica) but spends most of the movie trying to hook up with the red-headed plain but not-superficial Sam (Betty). Caroline gets this herself, when she leaves said male love interest (Veronica) for the geeky but sweet Ted whom she went home with while drunk (Betty). And since Ted had a crush on Sam, he himself chose the Veronica over the Betty.
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill (poor, poor Joan Cusack)
  • Dawson Casting: Averted with Sam and Ted; Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were sixteen when the film was made. Played straight with other characters, and lampshaded with Jake's girlfriend, Caroline (played by 25-year-old Haviland Morris) who, Sam remarks "had to flunk about nine grades."
  • Forgotten Birthday
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Mike about his sister, Ginny, who's getting married:
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 Mike: She got her period. Should make for an interesting honeymoon, huh?

His father: Where are you learning that stuff?

Mike: School.

His father: Good. Gettin' my money's worth.

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  • Funny Foreigner: Long Duk Dong takes this Up to Eleven.
  • ~I Can't Believe A Guy Like You Would Notice Me!~: Sam, when Jake eventually manages to reach her.
  • The Hero's Birthday
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Isn't that Joan Cusack AND John Cusack cluttering the background?
  • High School: The First Level of Hell version.
  • High School Dance
  • Panty Shot: Of sorts. Ted asks Samantha if he can borrow her panties, and then shows them off to a group of 9th and 10th graders in the boys' bathroom who each paid $1 to see them.
    • Later played straight with Ted and a rather bombed Caroline in the car.
  • Precision F-Strike: The only time the word is used is when Sam realizes that her family forgot her birthday.
  • Rape Is Love: Caroline gets drunk at Jake's party, so as a favor to Ted, Jake allows him to drive her home. He ends up having sex with her, and the next morning she wakes up in love with him, and breaks up with Jake. A milder example, as she's drunk, but not unconscious, and she was making advances on him during the car trip.
    • Ted himself seemed rather wasted and out-of-it when he finally woke up. Given that neither is at their best and her greater experience...
  • Rite of Passage
  • Shower Scene: Sam and her friend spy on Caroline in the shower. Despite showing her topless, the film managed to get a PG rating.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy
  • Token Minority: Dong, for our sins.
  • Titled After the Song
  • Wild Teen Party: There's one at Jake Ryan's house.
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