Andie’s Choice: Why Pretty In Pink’s Duckie Or Blane Debate Still Divides Some Movie Viewers

There are a bunch of John Hughes films I feel a great comfort in watching after all these years. Teen films aren’t exactly a new genre in film, but it has been said that John Hughes is arguably the one who started the genre back in the ’80s. His movies connected with teenagers in ways so few films today don’t. The Breakfast Club is still a pop culture classic and is continuing to get discovered by a new generation of kids coming-of-age.

I may have been too young during the time a lot of his films featured notable members of the “Brat Pack,” but I consider a good chunk of John Hughes’ films a part of my childhood. Among those films in my top favorites list is Pretty In Pink.

Pretty In Pink stars Molly Ringwald, the most famous Brat Packer of all, as a smart and aspiring fashion designer named Andie who lives on the wrong side of the tracks. She attends a high school where the middle class and rich mix. The disparities between the haves and the have nots are acutely noticeable when the rich kids make up most of the popular kids at the high school.

Andrew McCarthy as Blane (left), Molly Ringwald as Andie (center), & Jon Cryer as Duckie (right)
Andrew McCarthy as Blane (left), Molly Ringwald as Andie (center), & Jon Cryer as Duckie (right)

Andie largely stays under the radar at school, but isn’t afraid to voice her opinions and beliefs towards something she thinks is unjust and unfair. Her primary best friend is Duckie (Jon Cryer), who is the jokester and laughing stock of the entire school.

Duckie is the opposite of Andie in that he doesn’t take school seriously and he makes it a point to be seen and heard, regardless of his unpopular and loser status among high school’s upper elite. Andie’s largely normal and uneventful climb to finishing senior year and seeing herself through to graduation day is suddenly shaken up when she locks eyes with the very handsome and wealthy Blane (Andrew McCarthy).

What sets Blane apart from his rich peers is he’s a nice guy who doesn’t see the point of the us vs. them mentality a lot of his spoiled friends adopt when they’re at school. Blane prefers to look past people’s financial status and name and truly get to know the person.

When Blane takes an interest in Andie, suddenly her views on all “richies” at her school slowly changes. Andie is even intrigued by the idea of there being rich people who aren’t like the others she and her friends deal with on a daily basis. Andie’s mutual interest in Blane unknowingly places her in the middle of a love triangle, where Duckie makes up the third part of it. The love triangle gets even more complicated when Duckie’s feelings for Andie are hurt and left mostly unsaid, and outside pressures from society and their peers threaten to tear apart the very things Andie and Blane are trying to rebel against.prettyinpink_cast2

The first time I watched the movie, I absolutely adored the entire film. The cast, the story, and the music (If You Leave by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark is still my number one favorite love song from the ’80s) has been a full package of sheer perfection. It sang straight through my romantic heart and I was pretty young at the time to really be the proper age to fully appreciate what was going on. I also had the hugest crush on Andrew McCarthy as Blane. Imagine my surprise when I find out much later in life and through the power of the Internet that (spoiler alert) Andie was never meant to be with Blane at the end of the film. Not originally anyway.

John Hughes originally shot the ending with Andie and Duckie being a couple and Blane living with the regret of having let his name and status in society eventually win out over love. When Hughes showed the ending to test audiences, people disliked Andie ending up with Duckie and the director went back to reshoot the ending with the ending as you see it now.

The more I kept digging into what the ending should have been when I made this discovery a long time ago, I stumbled upon some discussions and opinions about the change. Surprisingly, there’s a lot of people who were disappointed that the ending had been reshot. There were plenty of people who supported the idea of Andie and Duckie being a couple. When I showed a friend the movie for the first time a long time ago, he said he kind of wished Andie had ended up with her best friend as well.

andie_duckieI understand why many people may be more inclined to root for Duckie over Blane. Duckie is the sweet and loyal friend to Andie, who has loved her from afar for the longest time. Even if Andie does take Duckie for granted, he is unwavering in his devotion to her. He’s willing to make a fool of himself to make her laugh or profess his love to her through song (a wonderful scene where Jon Cryer lip syncs and dances his heart out at the record store in front of Molly Ringwald’s Andie and Annie Potts’ Iona to Otis Redding’s Try A Little Tenderness), he’ll take a beating to defend Andie after being cruelly spoken about behind her back by Steff (James Spader), and in spite of having unrequited feelings for Andie, he’s there to be her last minute prom date when Blane bails on her. Duckie is a charming dork who would treat Andie well in a relationship because he worships the very ground she walks on. He also knows her better than anyone else because they’ve been friends for such a long time.

Blane, on the other hand, comes from a world entirely different from Andie’s. He doesn’t know what it’s like to struggle and have to work for everything you want. Blane drives a fancier car and lives in a nicer house and neighborhood than Andie does, which is a cause for panic when he tries to pick her up at her place for their first date.

There’s a clashing of worlds when both Blane and Andie try to bring each other into them and there’s a resistance from their peers in this attempt. They’re horribly out of place and not in their element, which can cause awkwardness and discomfort. In many ways, Blane is at a disadvantage of never quite truly understanding where Andie comes from. Duckie does understand because he comes from the same world as Andie. This rich vs. poor divide already seems to spell disaster for Blane and Andie’s budding romance.andie_blane

Personally, I’ve watched the movie thousands of times and each time my views about how the ending should or shouldn’t have been remains the same––I love Andie and Blane ending up together. The Andie and Blane ending makes more sense to me compared to how John Hughes originally shot it with Andie and Duckie together. Andie is definitely not aware of how deep Duckie’s feelings go because she never really thought of her best friend in that way. Duckie would have finally admitted how he truly felt about her, but Blane swooped in and charmed Andie before he got his chance.

One of the most powerful scenes from the movie (and heart wrenchingly acted by Jon Cryer) that really expresses Duckie’s pent up frustration, anger, and hurt over losing Andie to Blane happens during the scene where he finds out she’s going out with Blane:

On the surface, it seems like Duckie is acting like an immature child, but it really masks the painful realization that she may never return his feelings in the same way he wants her to. The idea that all he’ll ever be to her is just the “best friend” hurts.

When things start going downhill between Andie and Blane, there isn’t a scene where Andie and Duckie have a heart-to-heart about everything that has happened between them and the things that have been said or were left unsaid. The prom scene just shows Andie and Duckie miraculously friends again after the contention over Blane nearly rips their relationship apart.

The shot of Andie and Duckie holding hands just before they enter the dance hall is supposed to imply that they’re “together,” if the viewers are supposed to think in terms of what the alternate ending really was. The only problem I have with this is the hand holding doesn’t really imply that they’re romantically involved. I saw it as two friends who will always be there for each other and have a deep mutual respect for each other. They’re taking a stand against all the haters and they don’t care what any of them think anymore. There doesn’t seem to be a natural progression from friendship to romance, where suddenly Andie realizes she’s in love with Duckie and not Blane.

Not once did I get this sense that Andie may have feelings for Duckie that she hasn’t realized throughout the entire movie. Clearly, at least for me, Andie’s heart is really with Blane. There’s a connection and chemistry there, but a lot of obstacles are standing in their way to truly be together. It felt natural for Andie and Blane to have their happy ending because Blane realized he loves her and nothing should ever stand in the way of that––not his family, friends, money, or status.

The movie is also pure teen romantic fantasy. Who doesn’t dream of the attractive popular guy/girl ending up with the unpopular guy/girl? The movie leaves you with a beautiful message of love surmounting any and all obstacles, especially when wealth and status is involved.

If the Andie and Duckie ending stayed in the film, I feel like it would have been forced and not truly genuine. It’s almost as if Andie settled on Duckie because things didn’t work out with Blane. If she had feelings for BOTH guys, then I would believe she would ultimately choose her best friend over the handsome popular guy. In my opinion, the ending as it is in the movie is the true and authentic ending based on how everything progresses in the film. One thing you have to at least give credit to John Hughes for, he made sure Duckie wasn’t too heartbroken over letting his first love go to be with the guy she really wanted.

Yeah, Duckie will be just fine if this girl is giving him that "come hither" look.
Yeah, Duckie will be just fine if this girl is giving him that “come hither” look.

Watched Pretty in Pink? How do you feel about Andie’s choice at the end of the movie? Duckie or Blane?

23 thoughts on “Andie’s Choice: Why Pretty In Pink’s Duckie Or Blane Debate Still Divides Some Movie Viewers”

  1. I didn’t know about the ending before the one they showed.
    I am going to re-watch the movie right now… let’s see how I feel this time at the end of the movie.

    1. It was an interesting discovery how the movie was really supposed to be before John Hughes did the reshoot. The Andie and Blane ending will always be the true ending for me.

      1. Knowing about the two endings got me thinking about a couple of things. It is a good ending, but not that realistic.
        I found the part where Blane backed out of going to the prom with Andie, well, he didn’t have a real excuse, he was just an asshole.
        I know he cried and must have been hard for him. But at the end, when he said to Andie that he trusted her but she didn’t trust him… well that confused me a lot. She did trust him and he destroyed that trust. Then he expected the trust back, when he got balls to be with her ? She just accepted that and left the friend that was always there for her alone.
        Duckie and Andie don’t seem like their relationship could evolve to a romantic one. But that doesn’t mean either that she had to choose the other guy.
        This makes me think that in the future of their relationship he could do the same thing again… and only because of how he’d look with her.
        Anyways, I liked the ending.
        They don’t make movies like this one anymore.

      2. If you look at it from that angle, then yeah, I can understand how that line would be confusing. I guess in a sense you could see it as Andie sort of trusting Blane but not all the way. For example, when he first asked her out and he wanted to pick her up at her place she refused and insisted he pick her up at work. Then when he tries to take her home, she tried to get him to not take her home until Blane pushed her enough to admit she didn’t want him to see where she lived.

        That exchange can be seen as one evidence of not fully trusting Blane to take all aspects of her life as it is. If he’s going to start judging her based on where she lived when he first asked her out, then he shouldn’t have bothered. He already knew she doesn’t come from money. At the same time, Andie did place her heart in his hands and it was devastating when he threw it away because the pressure from his friends finally got to him.

        Duckie and Andie still wouldn’t have made sense because as I’ve mentioned before there is no evidence of Andie feeling anything beyond friendship with him.

        The movie may not be 100% perfect when you look at these things closely, but it’s perfect enough to get the kind of teen romances you don’t see in most other movies that came later.

      3. I agree. I’ve watched the movie 2 or 3 ttimes. and though my heart goes out to Duckie’s unrequited love, I really think Blane’s and Andie’s ending is the more meaningful one.

  2. Haha, I’ve seen this movie many times, and was released during my formative pre-teen years. I didn’t find McCarthy particularly attractive back then (sort of cute now), but I did always think she would end up with Blaine and never saw Duckie as a potential love interest (even though Blaine acted like a jerko…).

    1. Exactly! That’s why I was shocked that Duckie and Andie being together was the intended ending in John Hughes’ original script. I always liked Duckie, but I definitely never saw him as being someone Andie would ultimately choose over Blane. It seemed like she loves him as a friend, but nothing beyond that.

      I also forgave Blane for being a jerk to Andie in the second half of the film. It’s more peer pressure making him act like that, but at least he realizes his stupidity later.

  3. I have heard about the reshot ending before and I agree with your assessment. I love Duckie but he deserved more than to be the second choice as well. The lack of romantic buildup between Andie and Duckie definitely would have made an ending where they end up together feel forced.

    1. Definitely. I still wish the originally shot ending for this film would resurface. It’d be nice to compare the two endings to get a better sense of why John Hughes thought Andie and Duckie should have been together. I’m glad he decided to reshoot the ending. It goes with the overall flow of the film.

      1. I think I know why John Hughes originally wanted a Duckie-Andie ending. Andie made such jerky moves it’s almost unforgivable. I mean, he’s all ready to throw Andie under the bus… he’s all ready to lose her. That means , he really doesn’t love her that much.

  4. Ahhh this is my favorite John Hughes movie. =)

    So I like the ending of Andie ending up with Blane. For the most part. But personally, I never had a big crush on Blane or saw a whole of chemistry between the two of them. There were actually times when I thought Blane handled things with Andie kind of weird — not that he was a jerk, just that he could have been much more gentlemanly. But I guess that’s all part of their story.

    However, I still like Andie and Blane together better then Andie and Duckie. I guess I might have liked to just see Andie and Duckie enjoying their friendship at the end, without a romance.

    What’s interesting to me though is that I once read an opinion about Robert Downey Jr. almost being cast as Duckie. They said there might have been more chemistry between Duckie and Andie with that casting. (As in, I think Molly Ringwald said that but I might be misremembering.) I loooove John Crier but yeah, there was not a romance there in my opinion.

    Anyway, sorry, I could talk about this movie all day… =)

    1. I feel the same way! 🙂 I love this movie along with some other ones of his.

      That’s interesting for you to say that you didn’t quite see the chemistry between Andie and Blane. I definitely did and liked them as a couple from the very start. I agree he could have handled things a little better, like at least have more of an actual “breakup” instead of avoiding her.

      If the ending was just two friends making up but nothing romantic happens, I’d be on board with the Duckie and Andie ending. However, I do think that John Hughes intended on Duckie and Andie becoming a couple. A more romantic ending for those two definitely would not fit well at all.

      I think I remember reading about Robert Downey Jr. being considered for the Duckie role too. That would have been a different movie if he had been Duckie and not Jon Cryer. I’m glad Jon Cryer ended up being the iconic Duckie in the movie. He was just too perfect for it!

  5. Ah, you are right. Now I understand why he said that, she automatically assumed he’d judge her for where she lived.
    They both, in a way, acted the same about being scared of a relationship divided by social class and what it would mean for them.

  6. When I first saw this movie, Duckie’s character hit way to close to home – he reminded me of a really jerky guy I went to school with. I didn’t like him and I didn’t like Duckie. (I only came to appreciate him much later on in life with repeated viewings.) I liked the romantic ended with Andie and Blane, which, as you pointed out in a comment, just wouldn’t have worked for Duckie and Andie, even if they were maybe, unspokenly meant to be together.

    1. That’s interesting that you have a negative association to Duckie because he reminded you of a guy you went to school with. I always found Duckie to be really sweet and I did feel bad that he had feelings for Andie, but they just weren’t going to be returned. No one ever wants to be in a position where your love will remain unrequited.

      At the end of the day, I do like the friendship between Duckie and Andie. I love that he’ll always be there for her and he has the grace to let his friend go to be with the one she loves. It’s a selfless act and he rather see her happy than be miserable.

  7. Check out the novelisation, it has the original ending. And Hughes made Some Kind of Wonderful to correct his error with this film; it gave a whole generation the wrong message about life! She picked the wrong guy!

    1. I did read the novel and saw how the original ending should have been. I also did know about Some Kind Of Wonderful sort of making up for the whole Duckie and Andie thing, but I still believe the ending as it is now makes more sense story wise and progression wise.

      Personally, I would choose a Duckie over a Blane in real life. But for the movie itself, I don’t see the romantic chemistry between Duckie and Andie at all. It’s more friendship for Andie than true love with Duckie.

  8. I am not sure why I still feel this strongly 30 years after the fact. It’s important for some reason!

    I have a way too long and cynical post on my blog. I always hated the “new” ending. It felt forced. Throughout the whole movie, you know Andie is going to finally figure it out and wind up with Duckie. Blane blew it so many times and Andie finally had enough.

    Andie looked very happy to see Duckie at the prom, as if she finally realized who he was and more importantly who they were as a couple that were meant to be together. He wasted most of his time basically trying to make her laugh instead of showing her how he felt, she wasted her time on a guy who didn’t deserve her, and in the end stood her up for his friends. Maybe Andie didn;t reciprocate with Duckie, because he didn’t really show her. At the prom they finally were honest with each other.

    Blane isn’t so horrible that I could see him in the gentleman “go with the guy you really should be with” role they made Duckie have in the new ending. The original ending is more like Sense and Sensibility with Willoughby letting Marianne go and she finally figuring it out with Brandon.

    1. While I wouldn’t have minded Duckie and Andie ending up together like it was originally intended, I still really couldn’t see it working that way. At least the way the movie has been shot and how the characters develop.

      I’ve watched the movie too many times to be convinced that Andie had any feelings for Duckie that went beyond just friendship. Maybe it has more to do with Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer’s lack of chemistry as a romantic couple onscreen, but whatever it is, I personally like the changed ending. There’s probably no way of really satisfying the Blane or Duckie debate.

  9. Andie is really good with Blane, although they had some big fights rigth in the beginning of their relationships, which never means anything good in real life as I experienced, so I guess this cannot work in a really long term because of their different statuses. But still a better ending for Andie than the original one, because she never loved Duckie or could see him more than a friend and that would have been just a desperate choice after breaking up with Blane. Anyways i am crossing my fingers automatically everytime i’m watching Pretty in Pink for Duckie cause i adore his character so much and if I was Andie I would have chosen him without thinking.

    1. This is why every time I rewatch the movie, I can see how Andie and Duckie should have ideally gotten together but I think the way they portrayed their relationship (and because I think Jon Cryer and Molly Ringwald lack actual on-screen romantic chemistry overall) it didn’t make sense for them to be more than friends. Realistically, I would have chosen to be with a Duckie over a Blane any day but in relation to the movie itself it felt better to me that Andie and Blane got a second chance to be together. I’d like to imagine that they’re able to overcome the obstacles in their way and not have anyone or anything try to come between them again.

  10. OK,

    More of my rant about the ending. This was a prom in the mid 80s. You had a date. Even if it wasn’t your boyfriend/girlfriend you still had a date. There is no way the girl at the end would be at the prom by by herself or would all of a sudden dump her date/boyfriend/whatever for a guy she doesn’t apparently know until then.

    Duckie went by himself to be there for Andie, knowing that Andie would likely get stood up by Blane, (and she did.) Andie went hoping Blane wouldn’t, and relieved and completely figuring it out to see Duckie. They walk in as a couple. Not only is the new ending forced, it doesn’t even make sense.

    1. I see your point. However, if they ended the movie with Duckie and Andie just going as friends and no romantic implications then it’d make more sense. From what I’ve gathered about the original ending was that Andie and Duckie were now romantically involved in that prom scene. I’m not sure if I’d be entirely convinced that Andie suddenly fell for Duckie at the prom. I’d at least need a hint of Andie feeling some sort of feelings she never explored before for Duckie at some point in the movie. All I get is her seeing Duckie as a really great friend and nothing more. Them being a romantic couple at the end would make no sense to me. Going as friends? That makes more sense. At least the movie Some Kind of Wonderful made sense ending wise. Keith felt something for Watts, but it took him a while to realize he may have more feelings for Watts than he had originally thought. It also didn’t help that Keith was too busy pursuing the popular girl of his dreams to fully think about it properly.

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