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Sixteen Candles: Arrow Video 4K Restoration (1984) - Blu-ray Review

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Sixten Candles (1984)

“I’ve never bagged a babe.”

With those words and damn near perfect timing, Anthony Michael Hall created one of the most memorable teenage characters in film history.  Sixteen Candles might be Molly Ringwald’s first movie (for that matter, it was also John Hughes’ first film as writer and director) but it was Hall’s turn to shine bright as Ted, the geeky freshman who spends the movie trying to get any girl’s pants.  And alongside fellow freshmen geeks, John Cusack as Bryce and Darren Harris as Cliff, he makes Sixteen Candles’ and its enduring flames never die out.

"a movie for anyone who has gone through puberty and dipped their toes in the weird characters that line the hallways of high school awkwardness"

Who cares about its outdated social wrinkles?  I don’t. You are free to read other reviews which address that, but this is not going to happen here.  To go back and suggest that a film should censor itself or somehow be changed (like Spielberg did with the release of E.T. on DVD and Blu-Ray) is a complete (to me) waste of time and energy.  Accept it as it is and move on.  Sixteen Candles is a certified classic.

Written and directed by John Hughes (Weird Science, The Breakfast Club), Sixteen Candles is a damn classic of teenage-centered comedies.  There’s no other way to describe this film when EVERY scene lands with quotable resonance and great comedic timing from a cast which includes Joan Cusack, Michael Schoeffling, Paul Dooley, Blanche Baker, Edward Andrews, Billie Bird, John Kapelos, and Gedde Watanabe as Long Duk Dong. {googleads}

And where do I even begin with that meta-ready bulletproof soundtrack that accompanies this comedy?  From David Bowie’s Young Americans to the Dragnet theme song, Hughes loads this movie with so many music cues that it’s anybody's guess as to why Tarantino hasn’t listed him as an influence when it comes to assembling soundtracks.  Maybe he has, I just haven’t seen the memo.

Sixteen Candles is a movie for anyone who has gone through puberty and dipped their toes in the weird characters that line the hallways of high school awkwardness.  Heartfelt and full of compassion for its characters, this is a teenage comedy that certainly understands its lead character, Sam Baker, who upon turning 16 discovers that her parents have forgotten her birthday.  And she can’t fucking believe it.  Sixten Candles (1984)

What follows is a coming of age story as her crush, Jake (Schoeffling), decides to give her a chance when he should be spending the evening with his girlfriend, Haviland Morris as Caroline Mulford.  But, with Ted on his side, he pairs his drunk girlfriend up with the next best thing (ha, ha) and sends them off from the High School dance to ride away into the sunset. And it is all for Sam Baker on her 16th birthday.

Thanks to the efforts of Arrow Video, Sixteen Candles is presented in a brand-new 4K scan of the original negative.  Fans also get the Theatrical version of the film, clocking in at 92-minutes and the world premiere Extended Version of the film, which has an additional cafeteria scene and clocks in at 94-minutes.

Talk about a sweet sixteen!

5/5 stars

Sixten Candles (1984)


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Arrow Films
Available on Blu-ray
- April 14, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

It’s the time of your life which may last a lifetime.

In his debut film as writer-director, John Hughes immediately cemented himself as the king of teen cinema with Sixteen Candles, and in the process also introduced one of the most iconic faces of 80s Americana: Molly Ringwald.

For high schooler Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald), her 16th birthday might be the worst day of her life. Her entire family has forgotten about it due to her older sister s impending wedding; her biggest crush, high school hunk Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) has discovered an embarrassing sex quiz filled out by Sam in which she details how she is saving herself for him; and to make matters worse, she is hounded by a relentless nerd (Anthony Michael Hall) who won’t take no for an answer. But Sam’s sweet sixteen isn't over yet, and before the end of the night, all her birthday wishes could still come true...

Taking the rude and crude humour of the teen sex comedies that came before it and placing it within the intimately portrayed perspective of a girl's mid-teenage-life crisis, Sixteen Candles is a bombshell of 80s pop culture that continues to be debated and beloved over many decades after its release.

The new restoration of Sixteen Candles is handled by Arrow Films and it comes from a 4K scan of the original negative.  This release includes the Theatrical Version of the film (92 mins), plus a world premiere Extended Version (94 mins), featuring the additional “cafeteria” scene newly remastered in high definition.  


This brand-new HD release of Sixteen Candles sports a brand-new restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original negative.  The image is crisp and black levels – especially on the streets of Chicago – absolutely POP. Colors are bold, bright, and shadows are thick with lines and deep blacks. The night scenes – and there are a lot of them – are detailed and heavy with edges. The colors, thanks to some awesome lighting effects, are bold and bursting with color. Saturation levels are on point and so too is the restored audio. There are two versions of the movie included with the release, one being the original Theatrical Version of the film (clocking in at 94 mins), plus a new seamlessly-branched exclusive Extended Version (97 mins), featuring two additional scenes newly remastered in high-definition.  


There is the original lossless mono audio, plus 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround option (theatrical version only), as well as original English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.



  • None

Special Features:

Fans of this classic, if purchasing THIS version, get two versions of the film, including the brand-new EXTENDED version, plus comparison featurettes highlighting the alternate soundtracks and edits. Fans can also watch additional scenes from the Extended Version separately. There are also brand-new featurettes about the making of the movie. With a BD-ROM of the original shooting script, a new slipcover, and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tracie Ching, fans of HughesWeird Science will definitely be wanting to get their hands on this release.

  • Casting ‘Sixteen Candles’, an all-new audio interview with casting director Jackie Burch
  • When Gedde Met Deborah, a newly filmed conversation between actors Gedde Watanabe and Deborah Pollack
  • Rudy the Bohunk, a newly filmed interview with supporting actor John Kapelos
  • The In-Between, a newly filmed interview with camera operator Gary Kibbe
  • The New Wave Nerd, a newly filmed interview with filmmaker Adam Rifkin, who shadowed John Hughes while working as an extra on set
  • Music for Geeks, a newly filmed interview with composer Ira Newborn
  • A Very Eighties Fairytale, an all-new video essay written and narrated by writer Soraya Roberts, looking at the film from a contemporary feminist perspective
  • Celebrating Sixteen Candles, an archive documentary featuring interviews with cast, crew and admirers, including stars Anthony Michael Hall, Paul Dooley, Justin Henry, Haviland Morris and Gedde Watanabe
  • Theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
  • Image galleries
  • BD-ROM: PDF of the original shooting script
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

5/5 stars


Sixten Candles (1984)

MPAA Rating: PG.
93 mins
: John Hughes
John Hughes
Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Justin Henry
: Comedy | Romance
It's the time of your life that may last a lifetime.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I want a serious girlfriend. Somebody I can love, that's gonna love me back. Is that psycho?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 4, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 14, 2020.
Synopsis: A girl's "sweet" sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special, as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.


Sixten Candles (1984)

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