Pretty in Pink

This article is about the film. For the song of the same name by The Psychedelic Furs, see Pretty in Pink (song). For other uses, see Pretty in Pink (disambiguation).
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 film about love and social cliques in 1980s American high schools. 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.[2] 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.[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 final scene, became an international hit and charted at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1986.


High school senior Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) lives on "the wrong side of the tracks" with her underemployed working-class 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 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 (Kate Vernon) and her boyfriend Steff McKee (James Spader), 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 (Annie Potts), who advises Andie to go despite not having a date. Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy), one of the rich, 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.

Using the fabric from Iona's old prom dress and the thrift shop dress, 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 walk out. Happy to see each other, they hug, reconcile, and walk into the ballroom hand in hand. When a drunk Steff begins mocking the couple, Blane confronts him and finally realizes that Steff resents Andie because she had turned down Steff's advances, something he was not used to. 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 (Kristy Swanson), telling him to come over and dance with her. Andie catches up with 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 80% based on reviews from 44 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 is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

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

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.


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 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 "Rave-Up/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. 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.[15]

No. TitleWriter(s)Performer(s) Length
1. "If You Leave"  Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin CooperOrchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 4:25
2. "Left of Center"  Suzanne Vega/Steve AddabboSuzanne Vega with Joe Jackson 3:33
3. "Get to Know Ya"  JohnsonJesse Johnson 3:34
4. "Do Wot You Do"  Andrew Farriss, Michael HutchenceINXS 3:16
5. "Pretty in Pink"  John Ashton, Tim Butler, Richard Butler, Vince Ely, Duncan Kilburn, Roger MorrisThe Psychedelic Furs 4:40
6. "Shellshock"  New Order, John RobieNew Order 6:04
7. "Round, Round"  Neville KeighleyBelouis Some 4:07
8. "Wouldn't It Be Good"  Nik KershawDanny Hutton Hitters 3:44
9. "Bring On the Dancing Horses"  Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson, Pete de FreitasEcho & the Bunnymen 3:59
10. "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want"  Johnny Marr, MorrisseyThe 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
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. Box Office Information for Pretty in Pink. The Wrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  2. Beale (2005)
  3. 1 2 Ostroff, Joshua (May 9, 2013). "Best Movie Soundtracks: The 15 Film Music Compilations That'll Change Your Life". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  4. 1 2 "The 25 Greatest Soundtracks of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  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)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  9. "Pink Sitting Pretty In Box Office Ranking". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
  10. "Pretty in Pink (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  11. "Cast Reunions Video" (video). Entertainment Weekly. October 15, 2010.
  12. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  13. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  14. Pehanick, Maggie (14 October 2014). "Jon Cryer Dressed as Pretty in Pink's Ducky For Halloween!".
  15. Pretty in Pink (Original Soundtrack)

External links

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