It's the time of your life that may last a lifetime.
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 girl 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; and she's pursued by a geeky freshman, Ted (Anthony Michael Hall).
Not to be confused with Sixteen Wishes
- even though that movie does, indeed, have sixteen candles.
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.
- Adorkable: Long Duk Dong.
- All Asians are Alike: Long Duk Dong is referred to as "Chinese", while he has a Vietnamese name. And he's played by a Japanese-American actor.
- 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."
- Extraverted Nerd: Ted.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The movie takes place over less than two days.
- Forgotten Birthday
- From the Mouths of Babes: Mike about his sister, Ginny, who's getting married:
Mike: She got her period. Should make for an interesting honeymoon, huh?
His father: Where are you learning that stuff?
His father: Good. Gettin' my money's worth.
- 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.
- I'm Not Pretty: Sam describes herself as "utterly forgettable".
- 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
- Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Ted carries Caroline to Jake's car like this.
- Panty Shot:
- 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.
- When Ted is driving the plastered Caroline home, he gets a glimpse of her panties. This reduces him to stunned incoherence.
- Precision F-Strike: The only time the word is used is when Sam realizes that her family forgot her birthday.
- Rape as Comedy: Jake gives Ted his blessing to have sex with Caroline while she's unconscious, all seen as a reward for Ted.
- Rite of Passage: For Samantha, in the course of two days, her family forgets about her birthday, her sister gets married, she confronts her crush on Jake and Ted's crush on her, she reconciles with her mom and dad, and then finally gets Jake and has a fairy-tale first date, complete with birthday cake.
- Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Getting laid is Ted's primary motivation throughout the film. He is finally convinced to leave Sam alone after he realizes that she's pining for Jake, and his "reward" for hooking the two of them up is having sex with Caroline.
- Shotgun Wedding: It's never explicitly stated that this is happening, but when Ginny has missed a period and the two families are rushing her and her beau to the altar, the conclusion is obvious, as is the chagrin on everyone's faces when she reveals that her period has come after all.
- 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: Long Duk Dong is offensively token.
- Titled After The Song
- Wild Teen Party: There's one at Jake Ryan's house, complete with drinking, implied sex, and the place getting trashed.