‘Pretty in Pink’: The 80s Teen Classic Turns 30

John Hughes and his muse Molly Ringwald gave us another ‘80s hit about the highs, lows and woes of teendom. We take a look back at some of ‘Pretty in Pink’s most relatable scenes.
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Tracy Phillips
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John Hughes and his muse Molly Ringwald gave us another ‘80s hit about the highs, lows and woes of teendom. We take a look back at some of ‘Pretty in Pink’s most relatable scenes.
Pretty in Pink Photo

Andrew McCarthy (Blane), Molly Ringwald (Andie), and Jon Cryer (Duckie) in 'Pretty in Pink.' (Photo: Paramount)

WHAT ABOUT PROM!?!

It’s hard to believe, but Andie, Duckie and Blane would be attending their 30th high-school reunion this year.

Oh yes, children of the ‘80s, another pop-culture gem from your youth is celebrating a big anniversary – Pretty in Pink turns 30 on Feb. 28th.

No one encapsulated the horrors of high school as perfectly as writer-director John Hughes, the master of the teen angst genre. With his ginger-haired heroine Molly Ringwald at the heart of this enduring tale, Hughes writes a classic love triangle between an outsider, a preppy and a geek, wrapped around social class distinctions, and backed by a collection of songs that was, is, and always will be one of the greatest soundtracks of all time.

Here are seven memorable scenes from Pretty in Pink that stand the test of time:

1. “Where’d you get your clothes, the Five & Dime?” - Mean Girl

Andie (Molly Ringwald) is all of us. Who didn’t feel like they didn’t belong at some point in high school? Even if you weren’t from “the other side of the tracks” as she was, Andie is one of the most relatable of all the characters in the Hughes teen oeuvre. With her vintage car, unique and occasionally handmade clothes, and cool record store job, the eclectic Andie always put her best foot forward, even if it put her in the path of mockery from the snobby rich kids, like Steff (James Spader), the King of the Arrogant and Affluent Set who inexplicably wore white linen Miami Vice suits to school, and Benny (Kate Vernon), the mean girl who looked like she was 35. Still, Andie captured the eye of one certain “richie” named Blane (Andrew McCarthy), and secretly Steff crushed on her too, which is why he spewed such vitriol about her later on (see No. 4).

Pretty in Pink Photo

(Photo: Paramount)

P.S. Who didn’t love Andie all the more for how she cared for her unemployed, depressed dad, even as they were both heartbroken that her mother had left them?

2. “BLANE? His name is BLANE!?! That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name!” - Duckie

Andie’s bestie was her geeky childhood friend Phil “Duckie” Dale (Jon Cryer), who had a mad crush on her, and if his overzealous antics weren’t so adorable, they would have been considered stalking. Oh the pain of unrequited teen love, being trapped and tortured in Friendville, only to find the girl you “would have died for” is pining for a preppy rich kid named Blane. Ugh!

“Love’s a bitch, Duck, love’s a bitch.”

3. “Because I don’t want you to see where I live okay???” - Andie

Socioeconomic differences hover over the film as soon as “poor” Andie scores a date with “rich” Blane, who’s “not like the others” (he sure wasn’t…Blane was okay-ish, but come on, you know he’s no Jake Ryan, people!). At the end of their disastrous date (why, oh why, would he take her to Steff’s party when he knows they all loathe her???), Andie doesn’t want Blane to take her home because she’s too embarrassed for him to see where she lives. It was a heartbreaking moment to watch. Blane doesn’t know how to respond so he just makes up for it by ASKING HER TO THE PROM!

Pretty in Pink Photo

James Spader is bad rich guy Steff in 'Pretty in Pink.' (Photo: Paramount)

4. “The girl is, was, and always will be NADA.” - Steff

Truth be told, it was a little hard to get behind Blane in the beginning. When his best friend Steff rips Andie to shreds in a cringe-worthy scene, referring to her as “a piece of low-grade ass.” “If you’ve got a hard-on for trash, don’t bring it around us. Why don’t you just nail her and get it over with?” Steff says to Blane, adding that if Blane continues to pursue her, he won’t have any friends left. And Blane doesn’t even defend her! He just sits there like a child getting spanked. Really, dude? At least Andie had Duckie, her dear old dad and her quirky Trax boss, Iona (the hilarious Annie Potts), in her corner.

5. “WHAT ABOUT PROM???” - Andie

And the next thing you know, Blane’s bailing on prom! Steff got to him because Blane was too worried about what people would think instead of how he felt, so Blane deserves the memorably mortifying locker scene:

“You’re a filthy f**king no good liar!” Andie screamed at him in the hallway between classes. “You don’t have the guts to tell me the truth! Tell me. TELL ME. You’re ashamed to be seen with me! You’re afraid. You’re terrified your goddamn rich friends won’t approve! Just say it. Just tell me the truth.” Ouch.

Oh, Blane, you wimp.

6. “I just want to let them know they didn’t break me.” - Andie

Because the pretty rich kids were nothing more than ugly bullies, Andie does the bravest thing of all after she’s Blane-less for prom – she goes anyway. Reminiscent of spitfire Scarlett O’Hara turning curtains into an iconic gown, Andie makes her own prom dress – pretty in pink, her mother’s favorite color – and goes to the prom, telling her dad:

Pretty in Pink Photo

(Photo: Paramount)

“I know if I don’t do it, I’ll just feel a lot worse. I’m just going to go. Walk in and walk out, come home. I just want to let them know they didn’t break me.”

With her redhead held high, Andie made standing up for yourself very fashionable. Of course, she didn’t actually have to walk into the prom alone as it turns out -- she was saved by the Duck man, who was waiting for her at the door -- and who didn’t melt at that moment?!? “Despite my appearance at this function, I remain now and will always be a Duck Man. Let’s plow.”

But that made the final scene a little harder to take…

7. “Well, I believed in you. I just didn’t believe in me.” - Blane

With Duckie on her arm, Andie walks into the prom in her self-designed dress, promptly seeing Blane across the room, who’s come by himself. He immediately crashes the moment, walking up to shake Duckie’s hand and inform Andie that “I Love You” as he kisses her cheek. “Always.” (Or for at least the last two weeks that we’ve known each other.) Despite his feelings for her, Duckie mans up and tells Andie not to ruin this incredibly romantic moment for him, and she runs after Blane so they can have a swoonworthy kiss in the parking lot.

Pretty in Pink Photo

(Photo: Paramount)

P.S. Don’t feel too bad for Duckie, though (who was supposed to win Andie in the original ending, but it was changed) – he gets Kristy Swanson in the end here (at least, that’s what we like to think).

Cue the now-legendary prom anthem: “If you leave, don’t leave now, please don’t take my heart away…”