Box art for Sixteen Candles

Sixteen Candles

comedy, drama, romance

She's your average teen, enduring creepy freshmen, spoiled siblings, confused parents and the Big Blonde on Campus who stands between her and the boy of her dreams. But wait...the day isn't over yet!

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
4 out of 5
2 out of 5
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5

Racy, drunken, hilarious '80s high school comedy.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that John Hughes' hilarious '80s high school comedy has both sharply observed moments and now-dated stereotypes. Although it's rated PG (it was released before the PG-13 option existed), this is an adult comedy with teen characters. The teens drink, have sex, and talk about birth control; in one scene, it's implied that a guy had sex with a girl while she was passed-out drunk. Parents may want to exercise caution with more impressionable kids, and especially preteens or younger. But this smart exploration of adolescent life will be fun for teens and adults.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Sam's insecurity. How could her family have eased some of the anxiety of adolescence?
  • Discuss the stereotype of Long Duk Dong. How has that stereotype changed today?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 11
    see all Sixteen Candles reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: The first effort by writer/director John Hughes on his way to becoming the William Shakespeare of teenage angst. One really has to be aware of the climate of the early '80s to truly understand the impact that this film had among teens.

- Brad Laidman, Film Threat, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Candles is a brazenly mischievous, consistently uproarious comedy that christens the devastating Hughes-fu with vivacious results.

- Brian Orndorf,, Thursday, June 24, 2010


- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Not only is this one of the most popular and well known of the "Brat Pack" films, it also has the distinction of rightly being considered the Superbad of its day. That's a very fitting term, because I can definitely see the influence it had on that film, as well as a wide swath of popular culture overall. This is the story of a sweet yet unappreciated girl whose family forgets her 16th birthday. On top of that, her older sister is getting married the day after her birthday, so she is ignored even more. On top if that, the boy she has a major crush on doesn't even seem to realize she exists. On top of THAT is the fact that the one boy who does know she exists is a total geek who is absolutely obsessed with her. This is all at one a funny, sweet, edgy, and wild ball of fun, heart, and pain. It superbly captures what it is like to be a teenager and have to deal all kinds of awful, embarrassing, and ridiculous crap. One of the best things about the late john Hughes is how well he understood youth. The way he writes them and their dialogue is spot on, never condescending, and very well rounded. There are of course some stereotypes and archetypes, but only a small section of them are purely caricature- all of the rest, mainly the leads as played by Ringwald, Schoeffling, and Hall are well rounded and fleshed out characters who are more complex than they seem, and have far more to offer than what the surface shows. In the hilarious scene stealing role of Long Duk Dong is Gedde Watanabe. This character is a goofy exchange student who loves to party. The character is borderline offensive, but Watanabe's performances transcends that and elevates things to the level of genial farce. Had I grown up with this movie, and if I were a fan of the 80s in the same way that I'm a fan of the 60s, 70s, and 90s, then I'd give this one 5 stars easily (probably). As much as I like this movie, and a good as it is, I was originally just going to give it a 4. It is really good, and pretty solid, but not all of it has aged well. The general themes and ideas and timeless, but the specific details are very much of their time, thus they are dated, but not in the same sort of way that like a blaxploitation film is. They are charming, but only to a slight extent. I'm giving this movie the benefit of the doubt though, because it is really hilarious, very sweet, and, as I said, a very influential film. As someone who really doesn't care too much for 80s pop culture, I'd call that some definite high praise.

- cosmo313, Wednesday, April 17, 2013

3 stars

This movie is both sweet and edgy, yet it doesn't seem to TRY for that winning combination like sweet/edgy movies of today. Perhaps it's also because there weren't as many MPAA restrictions back then. Molly Ringwald has an angsty charm that I dig. She's not whiney; she's real, dude. Too bad she's all mom-in-headlights now on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Jake Ryan is pretty dreamy - the Adonis with the heart of gold - but how long is this relationship really gonna last? They don't know anything about each other! I rather like Samantha and The Geek's friendship though. The character-building moment of Samantha allowing The Geek use of her underwear really cements her as one of the coolest girls in American cinema.

- aliceinpunderland, Saturday, December 25, 2010

4 stars

John Hughes had the touch to create memorable Teen comedies. In fact, he is the only that was able to pull off some of the most memorable and smartest films of the genre. He understood teenagers and there frustrations. Using a whimsical comedy style, Hughes utilized common teenage issues in a funny, creative way, and made the viewer realize that he himself found it that embarrassing. With Sixteen Candles, John Hughes crafts yet another strong film. The film surrounds a girl whose birthday everyone has forgotten. She proceeds to have a terrible day, and everything goes from bad to worse. The cast is terrific. And they each deliver great performances. John Hughes has made nothing but good films; Sixteen Candles is a great film that will make you laugh. The film is memorable and is entertaining and a lot fun as with every other John Hughes films. Sixteen Candles has blends comedy and romance very well, and it's not cheesy whatsoever like every other romance comedy. That's the beauty about John Hughes' films, he knew how to balance different elements and make it work well to benefit the finished film. The result is yet another timeless comedy with a great cast that definitely is very entertaining and a lot of fun. Only John Hughes could pull something like this. A terrific comedy and is one of Hughes' best films along with The Breakfast Club.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Friday, October 7, 2011