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Categories: Features

Who doesn’t remember the days when all the trouble we had was the next algebra test and worrying about the person we had a crush on even knew our name.

These issues may seem trivial now, but back then the problems we had seemed as if they were the worst that could ever happen to anyone. John Hughes was brilliant at putting teenagers’  lives and worries on screen. This is an appreciation of his films Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Sixteen Candles stars Molly Ringwald as birthday girl who is neglected by her parents and has a crush on a boy she thinks doesn’t know her. Meanwhile, a geeky freshman tries relentlessly to get her affection.

The film has aged remarkably well, considering it is 30 years old. Well, of course the gong sounding at every entry of the Chinese exchange student would probably not be included anymore (how people could think that was appropriate is beyond me). The music and style of the kids has turned it into a time capsule that is just as great to watch now as 30 years ago.

Ringwald is not the typical high school cheerleading brat, but the genuine underdog who deals with the everyday struggles of being a teenager. The audience can relate to her; we’ve all been there. Don’t we all wish for the last scene to happen to us?

In The Breakfast Club, five different high school kids spend their Saturday in detention. As they are not allowed to speak or work, they start rebelling, each exposing why they are there and what baggage they have to carry.

There’s the spoiled princess (Molly Ringwald), the geek (Anthony Michael Hall), the jock (Emilio Estevez), the criminal (Judd Nelson) and the basket case (Ally Sheedy). It is a reflection on how the most unlikely people can end up together and relate to one another’s problems even though they could not be more different. breakfast-club-2

In one day, they overcome the stereotypes that were assigned to them and realise that they are not that different. The relationships they form will have to end by the end of the day, but they have learnt that appearances are deceiving. It is one of the greatest high school films to date, still being referred to in popular culture – and probably the most well-known film starring brat pack actors.

Pretty in Pink is another classic high school flick starring Molly Ringwald. This time, she plays an eccentric and stylish, but poor girl, who falls for a guy from another social class; rich, spoiled and arrogant. While her even more eccentric best friend (Jon Cryer) tries to win her over, she realises how difficult it is to date someone from a different social class, and inevitably gets hurt.124139__pretty_in_pink_l

This is another one of John Hughes’ high school films that is about so much more than high school. He tackles serious social and psychological issues in an entertaining way. The film’s eccentric characters put a fun spin on questions of social status and living on the breadline without diminishing the importance of these issues.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on the other hand, is all about a cheeky high school student who prefers having a good time instead of being bored at school. Bueller (Matthew Broderick) talks fast, wrapping everyone around his finger with his witty ripostes and charming smile.


This film is all about entertaining its audience by going on a wild ride with Bueller and his friends. Though his friend Cameron’s (Alan Ruck) issues with his father are peripherally addressed, having a great time driving around, dancing and singing is at the centre of this film. He even breaks the fourth wall to share his tricks and thoughts with the audience.

In the end, even he will have to face reality and go back to school eventually, but at least he spent an epic day in downtown Chicago.


John Hughes’ films genuine and give their characters credit, instead of ridiculing them. This is why, even three decades later, one can still relate to them. They tell coming of age stories in a witty and playful manner that is still relevant today.


Lynn Klein is a journalist currently doing a print journalism MA at Sheffield. Unsurprisingly, she's a film buff with a love for art and indie film. Her favourite cinema is the Duke of Yorks in Brighton. Other interests include books, coffee and travelling.

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