Sixteen Candles was a lot of firsts for John Hughes and his cast. It was the first major motion picture for Molly Ringwald where she had a major role and it was also the first real movie role for Gedde Watanabe. Gedde played one of the most remembered characters in all of the 1980's feel good family movies when he played the role of Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles. To many people Gedde stole the movie and many of his lines from Sixteen Candles stand as comedy classics to this day.
Sixteen Candles followed the same pattern as many of those 1980's movies that eventually got remembered as classics from that era. Just like The Goonies, Sixteen Candles did well at the box office but it was not a run away hit. It makes you wonder what exactly people see in that movie now that makes it considered such a classic compared to anything else that came out in the 1980's. But there is no denying that when you watch Sixteen Candles there is something about it that just makes you think that this movie could only have been made in the 1980's. Perhaps it was the soundtrack from the movie that wound up being a huge success and spawned several radio hit songs during its run that are still radio favorites today. Music is always the element more than almost anything else that can keep a movie tied to a particular era and that is the effect of these very 1980's songs in Sixteen Candles. The music has a definite 1980's sound to it and when you hear that sound and those songs instantly you are transported back to the 1980's. Directors and producers understand the power of music and that is why music is so carefully chosen when a movie is made. You cannot tie The Godfather to the year 1972 because there is no music in that movie from the time the movie was made. Francis Ford Coppola made a conscious effort to not trap The Godfather as a 1970's movie by not including any music from the 1970's in the movie. John Hughes decided to use the mechanism the other way as he gladly tied his Sixteen Candles movie to the 1980's by using the hit soundtrack all throughout the movie.