16 Things Millennials Don’t Understand About Sixteen Candles

Sometimes, a generational touchstone needs some explaining—between generations.

When Sixteen Candles hit theaters in 1984, leads Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were vaguely familiar teen actors, but hardly movie stars, and National Lampoon writer-turned-filmmaker John Hughes was a complete unknown.

By the time their collective follow-up, The Breakfast Club, opened less than a year later, all three had become cinematic touchstones for an entire generation.

Amidst the mid-’80s sea of hard raunch teen sex comedies, writer-director John Hughes created something new in Samantha Baker, Sixteen Candles’ main character played, luminously and immortally, by Molly Ringwald.

Samantha is a recognizably human heroine adrift in the movie’s farce of wacky schemes and zany slapstick. The same goes for Anthony Michael Hall as Farmer Ted, the first movie nerd to exist as more than the butt of jokes (although there’s no dearth of those in Sixteen Candles, to be sure).

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