Pretty In Pink (1986)
A review by Shlomoh Sherman
May 17, 2018

Read about Pretty In Pink On the Internet Movie Data Base

Pretty in Pink (1986)
Director: Howard Deutch
Writer: John Hughes
Stars: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, James Spader
Plot Summary: A poor girl must choose between the affections of her doting childhood sweetheart and a rich but sensitive playboy.
Plot Keywords: class differences - school - teenager - crush - two suitors
Taglines: He's good. She's good. He's just Duckie.
Genres: Comedy - Drama - Romance
Certificate: PG-13
Parents Guide: See below
Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: February 28, 1986 (USA)
Also Known As: La Chica De Rosa
Filming Locations: 366 South June St., Los Angeles, California, USA
Box Office:
Budget: $9,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend USA: $6,065,870, March 2, 1986, Wide Release
Gross USA: $40,471,663
Company Credits:
Production Co: Paramount Pictures
Technical Specs:
Runtime: 96 min
Sound Mix: Dolby
Color: Color (Technicolor)
Awards: BMI Music Film & TV 1987 Award for Michael Gore's background score.


I remember taking my 11-year-old daughter to see this movie when it first came out. There was not much that I remembered about the film except the dance that Jon Cryer did to the accompaniment of Otis Redding's Try a Little Tenderness, which I have seen several times since on YouTube, and the fact that I thought Molly Ringwald quite unattractive.

Wikipedia described Pretty In Pink as "a cult classi

Wikipedia described Pretty In Pink as "a cult classic and commonly identified as a 'Brat Pack' film, a nickname given to a group of young actors who frequently appeared together in teen-oriented coming-of-age films in the 1980s. It is now usually defined as the cast members of two specific films released in 1985 ó THE BREAKFAST CLUB and ST.ELMO'S FIRE. The 'core' members are considered to be Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy."

I chose to see the film again simply because I wanted to see James Spader's role again. This man quickly became one of my most favorite actors, and I have followed him in many of his films, most notably WOLF where he plays Stewart Swinton, the arch antagonist of the story who manipulates arranges to take away his boss's job for himself and cuckold the boss by entering into an affair with his wife. Then being mesmerized by his performance as Robert California, a lawyer in the series THE OFFICE, after which he reprised the role, along with William Shatner in the spinoff BOSTON LEGAL. And finally as THE BLACKLIST's Raymond Reddington. Spader has made a career of playing "bad boys", and as he himself says, he finds it more fun to play villains than heroes. I am completely intrigued by him.

This, however, is a review of Pretty In Pink, not one about James Spader.

This Cinderella story is simple and has been seen many times before. Poor lack-luster high school teen, snubbed by the popular girls in school, meets and [unbelievably] attracts rich, extremely good-looking, popular male student. Girl meets boy. Girl and boy split up. Boy and girl are happily reunited at the movie's end. There you have it. It's not CITIZEN KANE but it is a simple, sweet story geared for teens.

Aside from being one of the less popular girls in school and not having a significant other, Andie Walsh also has to drag her unemployed lethargic father [well played by Harry Dean Stanton, one of my fav supporting actors], out of his period of inactivity and depression brought on by the mom's abandonment of the family. Luckily, Andie is a strong-willed girl who doesn't break easily, and who manages to keep her sunny side up.

Luckily, Andie has an admiring best friend, Phil "Duckie" Dale, who is ever ready to give her the emotional support she may need. Duckie is secretly in love with Andie but is afraid to admit his feelings for her. Andie also has another ally, Iona Potts, the manager of TRAX new wave record store where she works after school. I don't know how I missed this but I have always thought that Iona was Andie's age and a friend of hers from school. It's only in this recent viewing that I realized that she is an "older woman" [perhaps late 20s or early 30s].

Blane McDonough, one of the preppy boys in school, is attracted to Andie and asks her to go with him to the Prom. Later, Blane's friend Steff asks him what he sees in Andie, obviously a loser. Blaine insists on defending Andie's honor but ultimately the preppy boys' peer pressure proves too strong and Blaine unceremoniously backs out of the Prom date. Andie goes to Iona, crying and telling her what happened, and asks for Iona's old prom dress. Using the fabric from Iona's dress and another dress which her father bought, Andie creates a new pink prom dress. She decides to go to the prom alone and meets up with Duckie who has also come unattended. Blaine has meanwhile not asked any other girl to be his prom date and so he too arrives alone. At the prom, Blane finally realizes that Steff resents Andie because she had turned down his sexual advances. Blane approaches Andie and Duckie, apologizing to Andie and shaking Duckie's hand. He then confesses his love for her and they reconcile. As Andie and Blaine leave together, Duckie sees a girl smiling at him and signaling him to come over and dance with her.

Although not overly thrilled by the movie, I nevertheless experienced a mild enjoyment seeing it for the second time and remembering how much my daughter liked it.

Below is an excerpt from Michael O'Keefe's IMDB May 6, 2000 review:

Romantic comedy about young love.
Writer John Hughes has the 80's pegged. But this story could have been set in the 50's or 60's and still worked well. That is why I think this movie is so relevant. Devotion, friendship, and self-worth are quizzed. The young actors were better than expected. I have watched this over a dozen times and I don't care if some people refer to this as a "chick flick". Molly Ringwald was very good. Andrew McCarthy and Jon Cryer seemed to feel their part more than the rest of the cast. But James Spader was such a realistic jerk, you want to get up and punch his face in. Harry Dean Stanton and Annie Potts play the adult roles of substance. Have you ever seen Stanton so sympathetic? A very upbeat soundtrack keeps the movie flowing and helps you feel the atmosphere. Don't write this off as just another teen movie. Highly recommended.

KUDOS TO Harry Dean Stanton as Jack Walsh, Andie's father; IMDB bio says of him "Harry Dean Stanton's drooping, weather-beaten appearance and superb acting talent have been his ticket to appearing in over 100 films. We've seen him in the TV series BIG LOVE, TWO AND A HALF MEN, TWIN PEAKS, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, The Green Mile, Twister, The Last Temptation of Christ, Escape from New York, The Rose, Farewell My Lovely, The Godfather: Part II, How the West Was Won, Alien ,and many others
KUDOS to Annie Potts as Iona; I don't know if I have seen this pretty actress before; IMDB says she has appeared in Toy Story 1, 2, 3 & 4, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Amazing Stories (TV Series)
KUDOS to Andrew Dice Clay as the bar bouncer; I must have forgotten that he was in this film; his standup comic kills
KUDOS to James Spader as Steff; what more can I say that that I love to see this man work. Micah Nathan says it much better -
PRETTY IN PINK TURNS 30, AND JAMES SPADER REMAINS THE ONLY REASON TO WATCH IT - The so-called high school classic has aged poorly, but Spaderís gleeful, authentic turn as a villainous cad keeps us coming back anyway - MICAH NATHAN - Vanity Fair FEBRUARY 26, 2016;

I echo Michael O'Keefe's words: "Don't write this off as just another teen movie. Highly recommended."

Filmed at the same Los Angeles high school, where Grease (1978) was made.
Andrew McCarthy and James Spader starred in Mannequin (1987). Kristy Swanson, who appeared at the end of this movie as Duckette, starred in Mannequin: On the Move (1991).
The movie is dedicated to Alexa Kenin and Bruce Weintraub. Kenin, who played Jena, was murdered in New York City just before the movie was released. Set Decorator and Production Designer Weintraub (who had been Oscar-nominated for Prizzi's Honor (1985)) died of AIDS at thirty-three. This was the last movie on which he worked before his death.
This is Molly Ringwald's favorite among her films.
James Spader was offered the role of Blane, but he chose to take the role of Stef instead. He finds it more fun to play the villain.
Molly Ringwald hated the pink prom dress she had to wear.
The genesis of this project emerged when Molly Ringwald asked John Hughes to write a movie based on The Psychedelic Furs song "Pretty in Pink", which was her favorite song at the time.
In spite of their chemistry on-screen, Jon Cryer (Duckie) has stated that both of his co-stars Molly Ringwald (Andie) and Andrew McCarthy (Blane) found him "irritating" from day one. Cryer, who describes himself as a "very outgoing person" believes his attitude was the reason he never got along with the very reserved Ringwald and McCarthy.
Simon is played by Dweezil Zappa; he was also Molly Ringwald's boyfriend at the time.
When Duckie gets thrown into the girl's bathroom, he says regarding the tampon machine, "We don't have a candy machine in the boys' room". This was ad-libbed by Jon Cryer.
Duckie's line, "His name is Blane? That's a major appliance, that's not a name," was ad-libbed by Jon Cryer.
Anthony Michael Hall turned down the role of Duckie, because he didn't want to be typecast. He also felt that the film was rehashing Sixteen Candles (1984).
When James Spader auditioned for Howard Deutch and John Hughes, he completely immersed himself in the jerky character of Steff. He smoked a cigarette in the room, and crushed the cig on his way out. Hughes and Deutch almost didn't cast him until they realized just how much he embodied the role. After Spader got the part, Jon Cryer complimented Spader's prior works. "I figure I got a lock on this teenage a**hole thing," Spader told Cryer.
According to Jon Cryer, he did so many takes of Duckie's Try A Little Tenderness dance scene, that he tore through his shoes.
Charlie Sheen auditioned for the role of Blane.
What's now known as "The Duckie Dance" was part of Jon Cryer's audition process.
Duckie's dance was originally set to "State of Shock" by Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson. When the filmmakers couldn't get the rights to the song, it was changed to "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding. Jon Cryer suggested both songs.
Tatum O'Neal, Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Brooke Shields were each considered for the role of Andie.
Kristy Swanson's film debut. She was recommended by John Hughes for the non-speaking role of Duckette, who only appears in the re-shot ending. Hughes had liked her when she played a small role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), which was released later in 1986.
Tracey Ullman was considered for the role of Iona, but her American accent wasn't quite there at the time.
Jodie Foster turned down the role of Andie.
Justine Bateman reportedly turned down the role of Andie.
Anjelica Huston was considered for the role of Iona
Andie (Molly Ringwald) refers to Blaine (Andrew McCarthy) as a "richie". In The Breakfast Club (1985), Bender (Judd Nelson) refers to Claire (Molly Ringwald) as the same thing.
John Hughes was unhappy with the ending. He wanted Andie to get together with Duckie. But the film's ending of Andie getting together with Blaine was forced upon him by the studio. In retaliation, Hughes virtually made the same film all over again the following year with Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), a film about a similar love triangle. Hughes wanted Molly Ringwald to star in it as well, but she refused. Hughes took it personally, and effectively ended their working relationship. They never worked together again.
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Robert Downey, Jr. was almost cast as Duckie, when the ending had Andie getting together with Duckie. Per Molly Ringwald, this ending may have stuck if Downey won the role, because he didn't give her the "brother vibe" Jon Cryer did.
In 2010, for the 20th Anniversary of Entertainment Weekly Magazine, EW reunited Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, and Annie Potts for a photo shoot and interview. The three discussed what they thought their characters' lives were like after the movie ends. Ringwald said that she thought Andie and Blaine would have broken up shortly after the end of the film, but Andie and Duckie would have remained lifelong friends, and also that Duckie would have long since come out as gay.
The original ending to this film depicted Duckie getting Andie. However, the test audiences said they would have preferred to see Blane win Andie's heart.
John Hughes wasn't satisfied with the editing. He was also concerned that audiences would take the original ending as a message that poor people and rich people don't belong together.

Although Pretty In Pink is rated as a B movie, it did win one award, the BMI Music Film & TV 1987 Award for Michael Gore's background score.

The movie is set in Illinois. After Andie's kiss with Blain, Duckie rides his bike around Andie's house and towards Trax record store; all the cars have Blue California license plates.
The train blows its whistle after it crosses the road, not before.
There is an obvious stunt double doing Duckie's tricks on his bike.

The film's soundtrack has been rated as one of the best in modern cinema
Ostroff, Joshua (May 9, 2013). "Best Movie Soundtracks: The 15 Film Music Compilations That'll Change Your Life". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
"The 25 Greatest Soundtracks of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 9, 2013.

Copacabana (At The Copa) Written by Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman, and Jack Feldman Performed by Barry Manilow Courtesy of Stiletto, Ltd.
Pretty In Pink by Roger Morris, John Ashton, Duncan Kilburn, Vince Ely, Tim Butler, Richard Butler Performed by The Psychedelic Furs Courtesy of CBS Records A division of CBS United Kingdom Limited
Lyrics from "Pretty In Pink" by The Psychedelic Furs © 1981, 1986 CBS Songs, Ltd. Administered in the U.S. by Blackwood Music, Inc.
Wouldn't It Be Good Written by Nik Kershaw Performed by Danny Hutton (as Danny Hutton Hitters)
What's It Going To Be Written and Performed by Maggie Lee
Love by John Lennon Performed by Jon Cryer (uncredited)
Round, Round by Neville Keighley Performed by Belouis Some Courtesy EMI Records, Ltd.
Pursuit by Winston Sharples
Rave-Up/Shut-Up Written by Jimmer Podrasky (as Jimmer Podrasky) and Doug Leonard Performed by The Rave-Ups Courtesy of Fun Stuff Records
Positively Lost Me Written by Jimmer Podrasky (as Jimmer Podrasky) Performed by The Rave-Ups Courtesy of Fun Stuff Records
Thieves Like Us by New Order / Arthur Baker Performed by New Order Courtesy of Factory Records
Elegia Written and Performed by New Order Courtesy of Factory Records
If You Leave Written by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (as OMD) Performed by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd. By Arrangement with A&M Records, Inc.
Whisper / Touch by Dean Chamberlain Performed by Code Blue Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Bring On The Dancing Horses by Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson, Pete DeFreitas Performed by Echo & The Bunnymen Courtesy of WEA Records / Sire Records By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Do Wot You Do by Michael Hutchence / Andrew Farriss Performed by INXS Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp. WEA Records PTY Ltd. & Phonogram Limited By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Shell-Shock by New Order & John Robie Performed by New Order Courtesy of Factory Records / Qwest Records By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Try a Little Tenderness Written by Harry M. Woods, Jimmy Campbell, and Reginald Connelly Performed by Otis Redding Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp. By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Cherish by Terry Kirkman Performed by The Association By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want Words by Morrissey Music by Johnny Marr Performed by The Smiths Courtesy of Sire Records & Rough Trade Records, Ltd.
Rudy By Bruno Performed by Talk Back Courtesy of A&M Records
Left of Center By Suzanne Vega and Steve Addabbo Performed by Suzanne Vega Courtesy of A&M Records
Get to Know Ya Written and Performed by Jesse Johnson Courtesy of A&M Records
O Sole Mio (uncredited) Lyrics by Giovanni Capurro Music by Eduardo Di Capua Sung by Harry Dean Stanton as he prepares breakfast
If You Were Here Performed by The Thompson Twins


MPAA Rated PG-13

Sex & Nudity:
Some girls shown dancing in their bra and underwear
Clip of girl pulling knee high socks up her nude leg
Teens kissing and caressing on a bed
Sexual situations (No actual sex)
Long passionate kissing scene
Sexual references, Lots of flirting

Violence & Gore:
A hulking teen intentionally rams his shoulder into Duckie. Then he and his friends roughly push him into the girl's locker room.
Andie repeatedly pushes Blaine into a locker in anger.
A fight scene includes some pushing and a hit to the face resulting in a nose bleed.

2 F-words, one is hard to make out, other PG-13 swearing, however nothing else is R-rated.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking:
Some teens drink and get drunk.
There is cocaine use and marijuana use in a few scenes.

Frightening & Intense Scenes:
A teenage daughter gets into a heated moment with her dad as she confronts him about his current state of withdrawing from responsibility resulting from her mother leaving the family, and his need to get over it.

Read about Pretty In Pink On the Internet Movie Data Base

Cast overview, first billed only:
Molly Ringwald ... Andie
Harry Dean Stanton ... Jack
Jon Cryer ... Duckie
Annie Potts ... Iona
James Spader ... Steff
Andrew McCarthy ... Blane
Jim Haynie ... Donnelly
Alexa Kenin ... Jena Hoeman
Kate Vernon ... Benny
Andrew Dice Clay ... Bouncer
Emily Longstreth ... Kate
Margaret Colin ... English Teacher
Jamie Anders ... Terrence
Gina Gershon ... Girl Friend / Gym Class
Bader Howar ... Sales Girl

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