Hughes’ directorial debut, and his first foray into teen movie territory, was 1984’s Sixteen Candles. This project marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with Molly Ringwald; an actress whose name would become as synonymous with the genre as Hughes’ own. Co-star Anthony Michael Hall – who would also appear in numerous Hughes efforts – had started his relationship with the filmmaker a year earlier, appearing in the Hughes-penned road comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation.
The film’s dysfunctional family dynamic played for laughs again echoes Hughes’ work on Lampoon, but elsewhere it’s clear that an original talent is emerging. Sixteen Candles remains an important film in Hughes’ maturation and a strong opening gambit in his claim to teen movie royalty.