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Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink
North American film poster
Directed by Howard Deutch
Produced by Lauren Shuler
Written by John Hughes
Music by Michael Gore
Cinematography Tak Fujimoto
Edited by Richard Marks
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
February 28, 1986
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 million[1]
Box office $40.4 million (domestic)

Pretty in Pink is a 1986 American romantic comedy-drama film about love and social cliques in 1980s American high schools. It is one of John Hughes' films starring Molly Ringwald, and 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.[2] The film was named after a 1980 single by the band The Psychedelic Furs.

The film's soundtrack has been rated as one of the best in modern cinema.[3][4] 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 emotive final scene, became an international hit and charted at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1986.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Casting 3.1
  • Alternate ending 4
    • Novel 4.1
  • Release 5
    • Critical reception 5.1
    • Legacy 5.2
  • Soundtrack 6
    • Singles released 6.1
  • References 7
  • External links 8


High school senior Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) is a working-class girl who has a crush on one of the rich, preppy boys in her school, Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy). When Andie and Blane try to get together, they encounter resistance from their respective social circles. Andie lives on "the wrong side of the tracks" with her underemployed father, Jack (Harry Dean Stanton). Andie's best friend, Phil "Duckie" Dale (Jon Cryer), is in love with her, but plays it off as a joke in front of her. In school, he and Andie are harassed and bullied by Blane's friends, the arrogant so-called "richie" kids, Benny (Kate Vernon) and Steff (James Spader). Steff is especially interested in Andie, but she finds him repellent and continuously brushes him off. Andie works at TRAX, a new wave music store, managed by her older friend and mentor Iona (Annie Potts). Iona advises Andie to go to her senior prom despite not having a date.

Blane makes a move, chatting with her in the computer lab, and Andie is smitten. Blane ventures out to the area at school where the punks, metalheads, and New Wavers hang out and asks Andie on a date. On the night of the date, Andie waits for Blane at TRAX, but he is late. When Blane finally arrives, Duckie and Andie argue. Duckie tries to convince her that Blane will only hurt her. After a few harsh words, Duckie storms out, and Andie goes on her date. Blane suggests going to a party Steff is throwing but the party is not what Blane expected, and 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 never gets in. Duckie is hostile toward Blane, and as he and Andie start walking out of the club, Duckie kisses a startled Iona to make Andie feel jealous. Blane offers to take Andie home, but she refuses, admitting 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. Andie accepts and they share their first kiss. At home, Jack surprises her with a pink dress he bought for her at the thrift shop. Questioning how he was able to afford it, Andie discovers he has been faking 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.

Meanwhile, Blane, pressured by Steff, begins distancing himself from Andie. Finally, Andie confronts him for avoiding her at school and not returning her calls. Blane then claims that he'd already asked somebody to the prom but had forgotten, and Andie calls him a liar. She then accuses him of being ashamed of being seen with her because his friends would not approve. She runs away while Blane protests that she does not understand, and it has nothing to do with her. As Blane leaves, Steff again offers criticism of Andie. Duckie overhears this and attacks Steff in the hallway. The two fight before teachers break them up and Duckie runs off, tearing down a prom banner in the process. Steff callously spits on the floor.

Andie finds Iona preparing for a date. Iona is already thinking about marriage. Iona's newly found happiness inspires Andie. She decides to attend the prom, to "show them they didn't break me." Using both Iona's prom dress and the thrift shop dress her father bought her, she creates a new pink dress to wear to the prom. When she gets to the prom, she has second thoughts about braving the crowd on her own. Just as it looks like she may back out, she sees Duckie. They walk into the ballroom hand in hand. When Steff begins mocking the couple, Blane finally realizes that Steff resents Andie because she had turned down Steff's advances, something he was not used to. Blane confronts Steff, and approaches Andie and Duckie. He shakes Duckie's hand and tells Andie that he always believed in her, he just didn't believe in himself. Duckie concedes that Blane is not like the other rich kids at school and advises Andie to go after him. Andie catches up with Blane and Duckie finds a girl smiling at him (Kristy Swanson), telling him to come over. Outside the prom, Andie finds Blane in the parking lot, and they kiss passionately in front of his car.



John Hughes wrote the film screenplay early in 1985. Filming began on June 22, 1985 and ended on October 12, 1985.


Anthony Michael Hall was originally cast as Phil "Duckie" Dale, but turned the role down, fearing being typecast as a "geek". John Hughes thought of casting Robert Downey Jr. for the part of Duckie. Jon Cryer was ultimately cast in the role.

The part of Andie was written with Ringwald in mind. When first asked, Ringwald was reluctant, but after seeing how hard it was for the producers to find a replacement for her, she decided she would indeed portray Andie in the film. Hughes was very happy and knew that the film wouldn't be the same unless Ringwald played the main character.

Anjelica Huston was originally offered the role of Iona, but turned it down to pursue another project. Annie Potts was chosen after Hughes saw her in Ghostbusters.

Alternate ending

Originally, the film portrayed Andie and Duckie ending up together;[5] however, test audiences disapproved,[6] and the Andie/Blane ending was produced instead. 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.[7]


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 (ISBN 0-553-25944-X. ISBN 978-0553259445). The book was written before the last scene was changed, so it has the original ending, in which Andie picks Duckie over Blane.


The film earned US$6,065,870 during its opening weekend and $40,471,663 during its theatrical run. It was the 22nd highest-grossing film in 1986.[8]

Critical reception

The film was a critical and commercial success.[9] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 79% based on reviews from 43 critics.[10]


The main cast of Pretty in Pink was featured in the October 15, 2010 issue of Entertainment Weekly, which centered around cast reunions for landmark films and television shows.[11]

The film has also been an influence in popular culture over the years, such as:

  • In Psych‍ '​s episode 4.11, "Thrill Seekers and Hell Raisers," Shawn (James Roday) claims that he and Gus (Dule Hill) are "like Andie and Duckie." Also, in 3.2, "Murder? … Anyone? … Anyone? … Bueller?," Shawn identifies a murder victim by relating the victim's situation to Duckie. Also, in the episode "Dual Spires" (a parody of Twin Peaks), Shawn uncovers a secret relationship between the murder victim and the future leader of the town of Dual Spires, Randy Jackson. Randy would inherit the title of leader, so he was forbidden to date anyone that would want to take him away from the town. Shawn comments, "I get it. It's Pretty in Pink. You're Andrew McCarthy." The socially illiterate Randy unblinkingly asks who Andrew McCarthy is. Shawn admits that it is "fair" that Randy does not know the actor. Indeed, the entire town is portrayed as socially clueless (Randy admits later in the scene that the only television series or movie that the town has ever watched is Everwood.)
  • According to Glee creator Ryan Murphy, the character Blaine Anderson was named after Blane in Pretty in Pink.
  • In the third season episode "To Green, With Love" of TV series Dawson's Creek, Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) expresses his love for Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) to Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams), equating his situation to Duckie's:
Pacey: Well I have it on pretty good authority that my rough charms don't really register on her rarefied romantic palate. I mean lets face it, I've got Duckie written all over me.
Jen: Duckie?
Pacey: Yeah. Duckie, Molly Ringwald's best friend from Pretty in Pink. The guy who definitely doesn't get the girl.
Jen: Yes, but he makes the girl feel good about herself. He does...he stands by her through innumerable fashion emergencies, he even humiliates himself by lip syncing in a public place and he takes her to the prom.
Pacey: Where she promptly dumps him for another guy.
  • The 2001 parody film Not Another Teen Movie spoofs Duckie with the character Ricky, and the character Janie has some elements of Andie's home life. Molly Ringwald also appears as an airline desk clerk who calls out Jake on quoting it to Janie at the airport to keep her from leaving.
  • The Two and a Half Men episode "The Ol' Mexican Spinach" has Alan (played by Jon Cryer) dress as Duckie for Halloween in a meta-referential pseudo-reprisal of the role by Cryer.[12]


Pretty in Pink
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released February 28, 1986
Genre Post-punk, new wave
Length 39:35
Label A&M
Producer David Anderle (soundtrack executive producer)

As with 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 the "Thieves Like Us" instrumental and "Elegia" appear in the film but not on the soundtrack. The Rave-Ups, who do appear in the film performing "Positively Lost Me" and "Rave-Up/Shut-Up" from their Town and Country, 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. 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 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,[3] and "The 25 Greatest Soundtracks of All Time" in Rolling Stone.[4] Allmusic rated it four stars out of five.[13]

No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "If You Leave"   Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 4:25
2. "Left of Center"   Suzanne Vega/Steve Addabbo Suzanne Vega with Joe Jackson 3:33
3. "Get to Know Ya"   Johnson Jesse Johnson 3:34
4. "Do Wot You Do"   Andrew Farriss, Michael Hutchence INXS 3:16
5. "Pretty in Pink"   John Ashton, Tim Butler, Richard Butler, Vince Ely, Duncan Kilburn, Roger Morris The Psychedelic Furs 4:40
6. "Shellshock"   New Order, John Robie New Order 6:04
7. "Round, Round"   Neville Keighley Belouis Some 4:07
8. "Wouldn't It Be Good"   Nik Kershaw Danny Hutton Hitters 3:44
9. "Bring On the Dancing Horses"   Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson, Pete de Freitas Echo & the Bunnymen 3:59
10. "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want"   Johnny Marr, Morrissey The Smiths 1:51

Singles released

Year Title Artist Chart positions
1985 "Bring On the Dancing Horses"
  • Released: November 1985
Echo & the Bunnymen 15 31 21
1986 "Shellshock"
  • Released: March 1986
New Order 14 26 23 18 8 28
"If You Leave"
  • Released: April 28, 1986 (1986-04-28)
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 4 31 15 5 5 48
"Left of Center"
  • Released: June 1986
Suzanne Vega and Joe Jackson 35 28 32
"Pretty in Pink"
  • Released: October 1986
The Psychedelic Furs 41 61 18
"Round, Round" Belouis Some


  1. ^ .Pretty in PinkBox Office Information for The Wrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Beale (2005)
  3. ^ a b Ostroff, Joshua (May 9, 2013). "Best Movie Soundtracks: The 15 Film Music Compilations That'll Change Your Life".  
  4. ^ a b "The 25 Greatest Soundtracks of All Time".  
  5. ^ Original ending to 'Pretty in Pink' uncovered along with other John Hughes scripts, at the Tampa Bay Times; by Steve Spears; published May 7, 2010; retrieved March 29, 2013
  6. ^ Don't You Forget About Duckie, at Entertainment Weekly, by Mandi Bierly; published August 24, 2006; retrieved March 29, 2013
  7. ^ The Plot Against Rock, at New York Times, by Hugo Lindgren; published 10 May 2013; retrieved 10 May 2013
  8. ^ "Pretty in Pink (1986)".  
  9. ^ "Pink Sitting Pretty In Box Office Ranking".  
  10. ^ "Pretty in Pink (1986)".  
  11. ^ "Cast Reunions Video" (video). Entertainment Weekly. October 15, 2010. 
  12. ^ Pehanick, Maggie (14 October 2014). "Jon Cryer Dressed as Pretty in Pink's Ducky For Halloween!". 
  13. ^ Pretty in Pink (Original Soundtrack)

External links

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