Growing up, Sixteen Candles was one always of my go-to movies. The 1984 comedy marked the directorial debut of John Hughes, launched the careers of the famed Brat Pack and helped shape the teen genre we know and love today.
Since its release, Sixteen Candles has become a time-honored classic. Whether you love it for the humor, the heartfelt moments, the kick-ass '80s fashion, or the swoon-worthy kiss between Samantha and Jake Ryan, you can't go wrong when watching Sixteen Candles.
Here are 16 bits of trivia you may not have known about Sixteen Candles:
1. Molly Ringwald Was John Hughes' Inspiration
Apparently, Molly Ringwald was John Hughes' muse for Sixteen Candles. After seeing her headshot, Hughes imagined her as the embodiment of the average American teen and wrote the movie with Ringwald in mind — reportedly in a weekend, no less!
2. Ringwald Almost Lost The Role To A Breakfast Club Co-Star
Despite being the inspiration for the role, another one of Hughes' favorites — Ally Sheedy — was almost cast as Samantha Baker instead. In the end, Hughes stuck with his gut on Ringwald and the two actresses worked together the next year in The Breakfast Club.
3. Familiar Youngsters Almost Made The Cut
Other near-castings reportedly include Jim Carrey as "The Geek," which ultimately went to Anthony Michael Hall, as well as Laura Dern and Robin Wright for Samantha. While I think Jim Carrey would have killed it as Ted "The Geek," I'm glad he didn't get wrapped up in the whole Brat Pack crew.
4. Jake Ryan Almost Looked Different
In the early stages of casting, Viggo Mortensen auditioned for the role of Jake Ryan. As much as I love Viggo, I'm thankful that Michael Schoeffling was cast as the teenage heartthrob. Admittedly, Jake would've been equally dreamy either way.
5. Not Everyone Understood Sam's Fashion
The Sixteen Candles costume director pleaded with Molly Ringwald to not wear the hat tilted back in the beginning of the movie. After the movie's release, however, the look became en vogue and suddenly Ringwald was considered a fashion icon.
6. Long Duk Dong Was No High Schooler
Gedde Watanabe, who played the controversial character Long Duk Dong, was cast as a teenager but in reality he was 28 years old! I guess Sam's grandparents got a little more than they bargained for with their foreign exchange student.
7. A Not-So-Teenage Wasteland
While some actors were close to the ages of their characters — Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were both 15 — Michael Schoeffling (Jake Ryan) and Havliand Morris (Caroline) were 24 and 25, respectively. Sure, we knew Jake and Caroline were a few years older than Sam and Ted, but the decade age difference makes their relationship a little more contentious.
8. PG-Rated Fun During Downtime
As the youngest cast members, Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were under age and couldn't go out with the rest of the cast and crew. Instead, the two teens crashed a Bat Mitzvah that took place in the hotel they were staying in. Sounds like a pretty memorable 13th birthday for that kid!
9. Samantha's Mom Almost Didn't Apologize
In early versions of the script, Samantha's mom never gave the tearful apology after missing her daughter's birthday, despite being described as a "good and attentive mother." It wasn't added until actress Carlin Glynn confronted Hughes about her character that he agreed and added the scene.
10. A Different Title In Germany
Since sixteenth birthdays don't have the same meaning in Germany as they do in American culture, Sixteen Candles was translated to Das darf man nur als Erwachsener, which roughly means "One may do that only as an adult." A bit wordy for my taste.
11. The Cake In The Final Scene Was Cardboard
The cake that Jake Ryan and Samantha kiss over looked delicious enough to actually draw attention away from the romantic smooch. In real life, however, it was made out of cardboard. When they tried shooting the scene with a real cake, it would melt over the long takes.
12. There's A Godfather Easter Egg
When Samantha's future brother-in-law's father discusses his line of "business" at the dinner table, the music playing in the background is the "Love Theme" from The Godfather. If it wasn't evident already, this only solidifies the fact that Sam's sister is marrying into a sketchy family.
13. The Tight Budget Led To Hot Scenes
It's hard to imagine John Hughes working on a minuscule budget given his cinematic impact, but as his first film, Sixteen Candles was strapped for cash. They weren't even able to afford an air conditioner for the dance scene in the gym. It was so hot during filming that some actors had to change clothes between takes because they were sweating so much.
14. Sixteen Candles Is In Another Hughes Movie
Hughes definitely had a bigger budget for Weird Science in 1985, but that doesn't mean he was against cutting costs wherever possible. According to IMDb, the moving exterior shot of the school in Weird Science is actually from Sixteen Candles. If you look closely, you can even see the same extras. Do I smell a fan theory?
15. Samantha Wasn't Winning Any Spelling Bees
Here's another bit of trivia that some keen-eyed fans have noticed: When Molly Ringwald fills out the questionnaire in class, she misspells the word "Confidential." Thank goodness for spellcheck, because I would have really struggled in 1984.
16. 32 Candles Was Almost A Real Movie
Back in 2003, USA discussed a made-for-TV sequel called 32 Candles. Unfortunately — or fortunately, for some — it never made it into production. Even though I'll be the first to admit 32 Candles sounds like a train wreck, I would still like to know what the Sixteen Candles characters are up to these days.
Not only was Sixteen Candles the start of John Hughes' fantastic directing career, but it has also become a pivotal film in modern American cinema. Which John Hughes movie is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section!
Which John Hughes movie is your favorite?