Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald initially disliked each other, so John Hughes took them to a record store and they bonded after they found out they like the same music. One of the groups they liked was The Rave-Ups which Molly scribbled on Samantha's notebook.
The movie's Costume Designer begged Molly Ringwald not to wear the hat she wore in the beginning of the movie. Ringwald insisted. After the movie was released, teenage girls started wearing their hats tilted back like that.
In the book "You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, And Their Impact on a Generation" by Susannah Gora, Molly Ringwald says that because she and Anthony Michael Hall were too young to entertain themselves at bars or nightclubs, they often spent their Saturdays off from filming Sixteen Candles (1984) crashing the Bar and Bat Mitzvah receptions that were being held at the hotel in Skokie, Illinois, where the cast was being housed.
On the VHS and some DVD versions, Anthony Michael Hall is credited as "The Geek". In the television movie and film versions, he is credited as "Farmer Ted". On IMDb, he is credited as "Geek". His character's name is "Ted Farmer", but due to some teacher's habits of doing role call by calling out the students' names as they are printed out, he probably earned the nickname of "Farmer Ted" because of his name being printed out as "Farmer, Ted", and subsequently called out that way.
Carlin Glynn (Brenda) confronted John Hughes about the fact that the script didn't call for her to apologize for forgetting her daughter's birthday, despite the fact that her character was described as a good and attentive mother. Hughes agreed, and added the scene where Brenda tearfully apologizes to Samantha (Molly Ringwald).
John Hughes cast Molly Ringwald after seeing her headshot. Inspired by Ringwald's appearance, he put it up over his desk and wrote the film just over a weekend, with her specifically in mind for the lead role.
John Cusack and Joan Cusack's roles were essentially consolation prizes. They were prominently cast in The Breakfast Club (1985), with John cast as Bender, and Joan set to play Allison. But Universal thought that John Hughes' script for this film was more commercial, and therefore should be made first.
Samantha says that Caroline "must have flunked nine grades" because of her mature figure for a high school student. In actuality, Haviland Morris was twenty-five years old during filming. Michael Schoeffling (Jake Ryan) was twenty-four.
In the initial script, Sam's father ends his heart-to-heart with his daughter by asking what happened to her underwear (which she gave to Ted Farmer). Molly Ringwald's mother pointed out that it was weird for a girl's father to ask that. John Hughes agreed that it was creepy, and changed the line.
The same moving shot of the exterior of the high school, was used for the beginning of this movie, as well as the end of Weird Science (1985). The same people can be seen making the same movements in both movies.
Molly Ringwald was interested in doing a sequel. After rejecting various pitches through the years, Ringwald said, in 2005, that she read a "32 Candles" script that she liked, and had an interest in starring.
Samantha's dad's car has the license plate "V58", which stands for "Vacation '58", a story written by John Hughes for National Lampoon Magazine, which served as the basis of the screenplay for National Lampoon's Vacation (1983).
Brother and sister John Cusack and Joan Cusack appeared in this movie. John is Bryce, one of Anthony Michael Hall's geeky friends. Joan is the geeky girl seen on the bus, and having trouble sipping water from a drinking fountain, while wearing a neck brace.
Filmed at Niles East High School. Some of the students in the big party scene are wearing Niles East Trojans jackets and shirts. Niles East was in Skokie, Illinois, and had already been closed for over three years when filming began. The original school building has since been demolished, and is now the location of Oakton Community College.
In late 2003, USA Network announced that a made-for-television sequel, to be called "32 Candles", was being planned, showcasing the original characters sixteen years after the original film. It was unknown at the time of the announcement, whether any of the original cast members would be involved with the project, but that turned out to be unimportant, since the announced new film was never made.
In the cafeteria scene, seen in television broadcasts, the lunch menu reads as follows (in all-uppercase changeable letters): MEATBALL SALAD - .80 SENIOR BURGER & FRIES - $1.00 CHIPPED PORK ON A BUN - .55 JUMBO FISHDOG - .75 CORNAROOS - .55 GELATIN BALLS - .30 CANNED BROWNIES IN LIGHT SYRUP - .50 VITAMIN COBBLER - FREE ICED TEA - .15 GRAPE BEVERAGE - .15 WARM MILK - .10HAVE A NICE DAY
The print above the bed in Jake's room, depicts the seventeenth century Swedish man-o-war Vasa, which sank in Stockholm harbor during its maiden voyage in 1628. She was salvaged in the 1950s, and is now displayed at the Vasa Museum.
This movie has gotten a great deal of criticism from some of its Asian-American viewers for its racial insensitivity, and its negative impact on their upbringings. In a 2008 National Public Radio piece titled "Long Duk Dong: Last of the Hollywood Stereotypes?", reporter Alison MacAdam interviewed Eric Nakamura, a co-founder of Giant Robot Magazine, which covers Asian and Asian American pop culture. Nakamura said, "Every single Asian dude who went to high school or junior high during the era of John Hughes' movies was called 'Donger'. I mean, if you're being called 'Long Duk Dong', you're comic relief amongst a sea of people unlike you, and you're also being portrayed as a non-(American) person. You're being portrayed as a guy who just came off a boat, and who's out of control. It's like every bad stereotype possible loaded into one character. Just the gong that, you know, appears behind them magically every time he's on the screen, gong, you know, that's awful. I mean, I feel bad for (actor Gedde Watanabe) in the end, because he's had to live with the fact that all these Asian-American men hate him." Watanabe was also interviewed for the piece, and he recounted numerous incidents in which people have publicly expressed their anger at him for playing a role that so widely disseminated negative stereotypes of Asian men.
The Long Duk Dong character is suspiciously similar to another character in a story John Hughes wrote for National Lampoon Magazine, titled "Christmas '59". The story, which seemingly also formed the storyline for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), has "Grandma and Grandpa Swenson" visiting for Christmas, with exchange student "Xgung Wo" along for the ride. Echoing the racial stereotyping in this film, Xgung Wo mispronounces English phrases to comic effect.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed 4,461,520 dollars in one thousand two hundred forty theaters in the U.S. and Canada, ranking second. By the end of its run, it grossed 23,686,027 dollars against a budget of 6.5 million dollars.
Based on his performance as another father character in Breaking Away, Paul Dooley was offered his role in this film but turned it down as he felt the character was just a stock Dad character without much development. Dooley said it's typical if you turn down a role, you get offered more money but turned it down again, due to the character's development. John Hughes called Dooley personally and told him that he wrote a scene with Dooley and Ringwald's character, which became an iconic moment in the film. Dooley said later on, he'd have viewers come to him and tell him that they wished he were their father, based on the scene.
At the beginning of the film, Molly Ringwald is filling out a questionnaire. On top, the word "Confidential" can be seen misspelled. The "I" and the "A", at the end of the word, are in the wrong order.
Throughout the movie, various members of the Baker family and other characters derisively call Ginny's fiancé an "oily bohunk". "Bohunk" is a disparaging slur against immigrants from Eastern Europe, especially Hungary. It was especially common in the American Midwest, where many such immigrants and their descendants settled after arriving in the United States. John Hughes grew up in Michigan and Illinois, and set most of his movies (including this one) in the suburbs around Chicago.
On September 18, 2016, when television Writer Alan Yang won an Emmy for Master of None (2015), he bemoaned the historical dearth and negativity of Asian-American representation on television and in movies, and in his acceptance speech, he specifically named "Long Duk Dong" as a low point in that history: "There's seventeen million Asian-Americans in this country, and seventeen million Italian-Americans. They have The Godfather (1972), Goodfellas (1990), Rocky (1976), and The Sopranos (1999). We've got Long Duk Dong. So we have a long way to go. But I know we can get there, I believe in us, it's just gonna take a lot of hard work."
In an article published in Salon, Amy Benfer considers whether the film directly condones date rape. After the party scene, Jake tells Ted that his girlfriend Caroline is "in the bedroom right now, passed out cold. I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to." He encourages Ted to drive her home saying "she's so blitzed she won't know the difference." When Caroline and Ted wake up next to each other in the car, Caroline says she's fairly certain they had sex though neither of them remember it. Amy Benfer writes "The scene only works because people were stupid about date rape at the time. Even in a randy teen comedy, you would never see two sympathetic male characters conspiring to take advantage of a drunk chick these days."
When Samantha is in her room talking on the phone with her friend, a promotional poster can be seen on the wall for the rock group Squeeze and their album entitled "Singles", which was released in 1982.
There are some cut scenes where Long Duk Dong and his Sexy Girlfriend go to a drive-in restaurant and cause a bit of trouble. These scenes were later cut, but it explains why there is a tray on the side of grandpa's car.
Filmed at Niles East High School. Some of the students in the big party scene are wearing Niles East Trojans jackets and shirts. Niles East is in Skokie, Illinois, and was closed for over ten years when the filming started.
There was a scene in both The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles where the Anthony Michael Hall character confesses he is a virgin. There is also a scene in Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles where the Molly Ringwald character admits she's a virgin. Ironically; these two; who were frenemies in both movies; would wind up dating each other during the production of Breakfast Club.