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Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink is a 1986 American teen romantic comedy film about love and social cliques in American high schools in the 1980s. A cult classic, it is commonly identified as a "Brat Pack" film. It was directed by Howard Deutch, produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, and written by John Hughes, who also served as co-executive producer. It 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 re-recorded version of the title song by The Psychedelic Furs. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's "If You Leave" became an international hit and charted at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1986.

Plot



High school senior Andie Walsh lives with her underemployed working class father, Jack, in a Chicago suburb. Andie's best friend, the outsider Phil "Duckie" Dale, is in love with her, but 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 finds Andie attractive and secretively resents having been rejected by her.

While working after school at TRAX, a new wave record store, Andie starts talking about her school's senior prom to her manager 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 and eventually asks her out.

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. Feeling like she got stood up, Iona gives Andie 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. Duckie storms off and Andie goes on with her date. Blane suggests going to a house party Steff is throwing, but Andie is mistreated by everybody, including a drunken Steff and Benny. Andie, in turn, suggests going to the local club, where they discover Iona sitting with Duckie, who is hostile towards 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 to talk about the date. Meanwhile, Blane, pressured by Steff, Benny, and all of his rich friends, begins distancing himself from Andie.

Jack comes home one night and surprises Andie with a pink dress he bought for her. 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. They have a big argument 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 calls Blane a liar and tells him that he is ashamed of being seen with her because he knows Steff, Benny, and all Blane's rich friends won't approve. Andie runs away as a teary-eyed Blane leaves, with Steff insulting Andie as he passes. Duckie overhears Steff and attacks him in the hallway. The two fight before teachers intervene. Andie goes to Iona, crying and telling her about what happened, and then asks for Iona's old prom dress.

Using the fabric from Iona's dress and the dress her father bought, Andie creates a new pink prom dress. When she arrives at the prom, Andie has second thoughts about braving the crowd on her own until she sees Duckie. They reconcile and walk into the ballroom hand in hand. As a drunk Steff begins mocking the couple, Blane confronts him and finally realizes that Steff resents Andie because she had turned down his advances. Blane then approaches the two, shaking Duckie's hand and then apologizing to Andie, telling her that he always believed in her and that he will always love her, kissing her cheek before walking out. Duckie concedes that Blane is not like the other rich kids at school and advises Andie to go after him, joking that he'll never take her to another prom if she doesn't. Duckie then sees a girl smiling at him, signaling him to come over and dance with her. Andie catches up with Blane in the parking lot and they kiss.

Cast



  • Molly Ringwald as Andie Walsh
  • Harry Dean Stanton as Jack Walsh
  • Jon Cryer as Philip F. "Duckie" Dale
  • Annie Potts as Iona
  • James Spader as Steff McKee
  • Andrew McCarthy as Blane McDonough
  • Kate Vernon as Benny Hanson
  • Andrew Dice Clay as Bouncer
  • Kristy Swanson as Duckette
  • Alexa Kenin as Jena Hoeman
  • Dweezil Zappa as Simon
  • Gina Gershon as Trombley
  • Margaret Colin as English teacher
  • Maggie Roswell as Mrs. DietzCharlie Sheen was originally considered for the role of Blane, but Ringwald convinced the filmmakers to cast McCarthy for the role instead.

    Alternate ending

    Originally, the film portrayed Andie and Duckie ending up together; however, test audiences disapproved, and the Andie/Blane ending was produced instead. Executives at Paramount were also apprehensive about the original ending as they were worried that the message of the film could end up coming across as classist and suggest that wealthy people and poor people should never interact. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark had selected "Goddess of Love" from the album The Pacific Age for the original ending. With only two days before going on tour, OMD wrote "If You Leave" in less than 24 hours for the newly re-shot Andie/Blane ending.

    Novel

    The film was adapted into a novel, written by H. B. Gilmour and Randi Reisfield and released in 1986. It was published by Bantam Books (. ). The book was written before the last scene was changed, so it has the original ending, in which Andie winds up with Duckie instead of Blane.

    Release

    The film was the top-grossing film for the week of March 12, 1986. The film earned US$6.1 million during its opening weekend and $40.5 million during its theatrical run. It was the 22nd highest-grossing film in 1986.

    Reception

    Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reported as of May 2020 that 77% of 48 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 6.35/10. The site's consensus reads: "Molly Ringwald gives an outstanding performance in this sweet, intelligent teen comedy that takes an ancient premise and injects it with insight and wit."

    Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four, criticizing the "old, old, old" plot but praising the performances of Molly Ringwald and Annie Potts, and calling it "a heartwarming and mostly truthful movie, with some nice touches of humor." Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote, "Fortunately, the actors are mostly likable, and the story is told gently enough to downplay both its trendiness and its conventionality." James Harwood of Variety wrote, "In his mid-30s, John Hughes' much-vaunted teen thinking now seems to be maturing a bit in 'Pretty in Pink,' a rather intelligent (if not terribly original) look at adolescent insecurities ... Teamed with Hughes for the third time, Molly Ringwald is herself growing as an actress, lending 'Pink' a solid emotional center that largely boils down to making the audience care about her." Pauline Kael of The New Yorker wrote that Ringwald "carries the movie, though she has nothing particularly arresting to do or say," and called the film "slight and vapid, with the consistency of watery Jello." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four, faulting a "tired script" and Cryer's "one-note performance," though he found Ringwald "absolutely beguiling." Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times called the film "delightful," adding that "what makes 'Pretty in Pink' such a satisfying, big-hearted film isn't its creaky story line or its somewhat unconvincing conclusion, but the way it lets us watch kids through their own eyes, exploring feelings instead of making caricatures of them. Written by Hughes and directed by newcomer Howard Deutch, the movie neatly captures the nuances of youth, reminding us how the most casual remark can unleash a flood of insecurities." Paul Attanasio of The Washington Post wrote that "for the most part, 'Pretty in Pink' works from a standard formula—rich boy, poor girl—and does little to tweak or reinvent it."

    Legacy

    The main cast of Pretty in Pink was featured in the October 15, 2010, issue of Entertainment Weekly, whose theme was cast reunions for landmark films and television shows.

    Soundtrack



    Like previous films by John Hughes, Pretty in Pink featured a soundtrack composed mostly of new wave music. While director Howard Deutch originally intended the film to primarily contain theme music, Hughes influenced Deutch's decision to use post-punk music throughout the film. The title song by the Psychedelic Furs acted as a bit of inspiration for the film and was re-recorded specifically for the film's opening sequence in a version that was less raw than the original; it was released in 1981 for the album Talk Talk Talk. "Left of Center" was remixed by Arthur Baker. The first track, "If You Leave", by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, was written in 1985 in advance specifically for the film. In addition to their song "Shellshock", New Order also had an instrumental version of "Thieves Like Us" and the instrumental "Elegia" appear in the film but not on the soundtrack. The Rave-Ups, who do appear in the film performing "Positively Lost Me" and "Shut-Up" from their Town and Country album, do not have any songs on the soundtrack album. Nik Kershaw's "Wouldn't It Be Good" appears as re-recorded by former Three Dog Night vocalist Danny Hutton's band, Danny Hutton Hitters. The Smiths song "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" makes a notable appearance on the film's soundrack. The song was later rerecorded in the "Isn't She Still... the Pretty in Pink Soundtrack revisited" by The Autumns. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of Echo & the Bunnymen's "Bring On the Dancing Horses", which, according to the liner notes of the CD release of the band's compilation album Songs to Learn & Sing, was recorded specifically for the film.

    The film also includes Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness", which actor Jon Cryer's character "Duckie" lipsyncs to in the film, The Association's "Cherish", and Talk Back's "Rudy". These three tracks do not appear on the official soundtrack.

    The soundtrack was released on vinyl in 1986. It was re-released in 2013 as a limited edition on pink colored vinyl.

    The album was listed among "Best Movie Soundtracks: The 15 Film Music Compilations That'll Change Your Life" in The Huffington Post, and "The 25 Greatest Soundtracks of All Time" in Rolling Stone. AllMusic rated it four stars out of five.

    Singles released