Sixteen Candles (1984)

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Released 16-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 88:48
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (51:33) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By John Hughes

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Molly Ringwald
Justin Henry
Michael Schoeffling
Haviland Morris
Gedde Watanabe
Anthony Michael Hall
Paul Dooley
Carlin Glynn
Blanche Baker
Edward Andrews
Billie Bird
Carole Cook
Max Showalter
Case ?
RPI Box Music Danny Elfman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    "I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek"

    During the 1980s, director John Hughes was regarded as the kingpin when it came to the much-loved teen comedy, and quite frankly his films have not been bettered since. The director of such gems as Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club was renowned for capturing the angst and pain of life as a teenager, all delivered in a uniquely humorous and quirky manner without the need to stoop to the gutter with endless (and let's face it - mindless) toilet style humour.

    His directorial debut was also one of his best films, and 1984's Sixteen Candles has finally found its way to Region 4 DVD after many years, though unfortunately at present the only way to buy it is as part of the three-disc John Hughes 80s Collection.

    Sixteen Candles stars 80s and Hughes teen favourite Molly Ringwald as Samantha Baker. Sam wakes up on the morning of her 16th birthday full of promise and high hopes that this will be a special day. But things get off to a disastrous start when she quickly realises her entire family has forgotten her birthday. It seems the coming wedding of Sam's big sister has taken priority over everything - including the recognition of Sam's big day.

    But Sam's troubles with her forgotten birthday are just the beginning of a really bad day. She has this huge crush on high school senior Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling), but with him fixated on his blonde bombshell of a girlfriend, Sam realises she might as well not even exist. To compound matters, Sam finds she has the unwelcome attentions of the local school Geek (Anthony Michael Hall) who pursues her endlessly.

    With a big school dance about to happen, Sam has one last chance to make Jake notice her, get rid of the attentions of the panty seeking geek and somehow make sure her family finally remembers her birthday.

    This is still a fun film that captures the pain, the torment and the angst of being a young teenager in the early 1980s to a tee. The film has stood the passing of 20 years quite well and remarkably does not look at all dated. A great 80s soundtrack complements things nicely and will transport you back to a time when Rubik's Cubes, Ataris, and stone washed denim were all the rage.

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Transfer Quality


    While this is certainly as good as this film has ever looked, and is better than any television offering you would have seen, it is still obvious the source material is from the early 1980s. It has that sort of flat one-dimensional look to it, with no eye-popping vibrancy present.

    The aspect ratio on offer here is 1.85:1, which is the same as the original theatrical aspect. It is also 16x9 enhanced.

    While some scenes are quite sharp, others do look a little soft, so consistency is probably the biggest issue. There is a little edge enhancement throughout the whole film, though it isn't really a problem. There are no shadow detail problems and grain is evident almost constantly, but seldom becomes an overly annoying problem. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are adequate without being super vibrant. Just as was the case with Pretty In Pink, I think this is the part of the transfer that disappointed me the most, since 80s teen films offer the chance for all manner of obnoxious and colourful fashions to be on display. Skin tones are natural and blacks are solid enough.

    No compression problems are evident, while film-to-video artefacts are also absent. There are plenty of film artefacts present, but thankfully most are of the smallish black-and-white-spot variety and can be easily overlooked.

    There are plenty of subtitles available. The English for the Hearing Impaired variety were found to be mostly accurate.

    This is a dual layered disc with the layer change occurring at 51:33.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    We are spoilt for choice when it comes to audio tracks on this disc. There is a grand total of seven of them. First up is a Dolby Digital effort in English, followed by a similarly specified Russian 5.1 effort. The minor soundtracks include French, German, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks, while rounding out the selection is the highlight - a half bitrate English dts soundtrack.

    This isn't the most dynamic of remastered soundtracks, with only a little separation across the front channels and virtually nothing being sent to the rear channels. What we do get is a reasonably solid effort that really sparks to life whenever some of the catchy 80s songs get played. Dialogue is clear enough for the duration of the film and there are no audio sync problems.

    The song selection was always an important aspect of any John Hughes film and Sixteen Candles hits the mark in so many ways at capturing the spirit of the 80s to perfection. Songs such as Spandau Ballet's True, The Vapors' Turning Japanese, Billy Idol's Rebel Yell, Wham's Young Guns, David Bowie's Young Americans and Paul Young's Love Of The Common People all feature and will instantly transport you back to the early 1980s.

    Despite the promised delights of a dts soundtrack there is surprisingly little surround channel use heard throughout. A few musical cues and activity during the end credits song is about all we get in the surround department.

    There is also only a little subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio & Animation

    Sadly, aside from a little menu animation there is not a single extra on this disc. This is a really travesty considering the importance of these films to the development of the 80s teen comedy.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on;

    Unless one of the above languages is something you need, the two versions are essentially similar. From all reports the video transfers are also similar so we'll call it a draw, but remember at present the Region 4 version can only be purchased as part of the three-disc John Hughes 80s Collection (it comes with The Breakfast Club and Weird Science), while the Region 1 disc can be bought individually or as part of the three-disc High School Reunion Collection.


    Sixteen Candles is easily one of the most entertaining and insightful of the dozens of 80s teen comedies released. Together with Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club, it also represented the pinnacle of director John Hughes' reign as the king of films for teens.

    The video effort is surprisingly good given the age of the source material, while the audio sports no less than seven soundtracks, including a dts effort. Having said that, there isn't really much for the surrounds or subwoofer channels to do.

    Sadly there are no extras. Their omission is almost criminal.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Individual releases and adverts - IgorWopatropski REPLY POSTED
Why I didn't wait... -
R4 is the pitts -