Taglines: He’s crazy about her. She’s crazy about him. He’s just crazy.
John Hughes crafts an exemplary ’80s Brat Pack romance out of the standard Cinderella story in Pretty in Pink. Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) is a teenager who lives in the dingy part of town with her terminally underemployed dad (Harry Dean Stanton). She works at a record store with eccentric Ionia (Annie Potts) and is considered a misfit at her uppity high school, but somehow she rises above them all. Her oddball best friend, Duckie (Jon Cryer), is hopelessly in love with her, so he causes trouble for her romantic pursuits.
When local rich kid Blaine (Andrew McCarthy) develops a fascination with her, they go out on a date together. Visiting the home bases of each social clique, they are basically ridiculed for their audacity to date one another. When Blaine eventually asks the delighted Andie to the prom, he is threatened by his rich friend Steff (James Spader). The romance versus high school social politics finally culminates at the big night of the prom.
Pretty in Pink is a 1986 American romantic comedy film about love and social cliques in American high schools in the 1980s. It is commonly identified as a “Brat Pack” film. The film was directed by Howard Deutch, produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, and written by John Hughes, who also served as co-executive producer. It has become a cult favorite. The film was named after the song by The Psychedelic Furs.
The film’s soundtrack has been rated as one of the best in modern cinema. It features a rerecorded sax-heavy version of the title song by The Psychedelic Furs. Additionally, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s “If You Leave”, which plays prominently during the final scene, became an international hit and charted at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1986.
About the Story
High school senior Andie Walsh lives on “the wrong side of the tracks” with her underemployed working class father, Jack. Andie’s best friend, Phil “Duckie” Dale, is in love with her, but plays it off as a joke because he is afraid to tell her how he truly feels. In school, Duckie and Andie, along with their friends, are harassed and bullied by the arrogant “richie” kids, specifically Benny Hanson and her boyfriend Steff McKee, who is secretly interested in Andie.
While working after school at TRAX, a new wave record store, Andie starts talking about her school’s senior prom to her manager and mentor Iona, who advises Andie to go despite not having a date. Blane McDonough, one of the preppy boys and Steff’s best friend, starts talking to Andie at school and at TRAX, and eventually asks her out. Seeing what Blane did, Steff talks to him, telling Blane that Andie is a “mutant” and that there’s nothing special about her.
On the night of the date, Andie waits for Blane at TRAX, but he is late. Duckie comes in and asks Andie to go out with him, but she ignores him. Iona gives her a pep talk, while Duckie, still oblivious, asks what’s wrong. When Blane arrives, Duckie is upset and starts an argument with Andie, with Duckie trying to convince her that Blane will only hurt her. After a few harsh words, Duckie storms off and Andie goes on with her date. Blane suggests going to a house party Steff is throwing, but Andie is treated poorly by everyone, including a drunk Steff and Benny.
Andie, in turn, suggests going to the local club, where they discover Iona sitting with Duckie, who is hostile toward Blane. After another argument with Duckie, Andie and Blane walk out of the club. Andie, feeling that their night didn’t go so well, tells Blane that she wants to go home, but when Blane offers to take her home, she refuses, admitting that she doesn’t want him to see where she lives. She eventually allows him to drop her off and he asks her to the prom, which she accepts and they share their first kiss. Andie visits Iona at her apartment the next day and they talk about Andie’s date, during which she finds Iona’s old prom dress and tells her that Blane asked her to the prom. Meanwhile, Blane, pressured by Steff, begins distancing himself from Andie.
Jack comes home one night and surprises Andie with a pink dress he bought for her at a thrift shop. Questioning how he was able to afford it, Andie tells him that she knows he has been lying about going to a full-time job. The two fight until Jack breaks down, revealing that he is still bitter and depressed about his wife having left him. At school, Andie confronts Blane for avoiding her and not returning her calls. When asked about prom, he claims that he had already asked somebody else but had forgotten.
Andie starts calling Blane a liar and accuses him of being ashamed of being seen with her because his friends don’t approve, to which Blane protests. Andie runs away as a teary-eyed Blane leaves, with Steff criticizing Andie again and Blane shrugging him off. Duckie overhears Steff and attacks him in the hallway. The two fight before teachers break them up and Duckie runs off. Andie goes to Iona, crying and telling her what happened. She then asks for Iona’s old prom dress.
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Directed by: Howard Deutch
Starring: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts, James Spader, Andrew McCarthy, Kate Vernon, Alexa Kenin, Margaret Colin, Emily Longstreth, Gina Gershon
Screenplay by: John Hughes
Production Design by: John W. Corso
Cinematography by: Tak Fujimoto
Film Editing by: Richard Marks
Costume Design by: Marilyn Vance
Set Decoration by: Jennifer Polito, Bruce Weintraub
Music by: Michael Gore
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: February 28, 1986