Director Deep Focus: John Hughes

Story posted October 18, 2022 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by McKenna Wall

John Hughes was an American director, producer and writer; he was talented in all aspects of filmmaking.

Many of Hughes’ coming-of-age, comedic films take place in the Windy City, typically centering on the lives of high school students.

Hughes is especially recognized for his distinctive 1980s movies, which encapsulated the complicated lives of middle class teenagers.

Although his directing career came to an end in 1991, Hughes continued his success through writing screenplays. In 2009, he suffered a fatal heart attack and passed away.

Writing the screenplay for each film he directed, Hughes had a lot of control when directing since he deeply understood the story’s plot, setting and characters.

Hughes directed eight movies over the course of seven years. These three films are highlights in his career.

“Sixteen Candles” (1984)

John Hughes sparked his directing career in 1984 with the film “Sixteen Candles.”

This movie features Molly Ringwald as Samantha Baker, who is navigating life in the shadow of her gorgeous older sister. Sam’s entire family forgets her sixteenth birthday in the wake of her sister’s birthday.

Sam attends the high school dance, hoping Jake Ryan, played by Michael Schoeffling, falls in love with her; thus, saving her sixteenth birthday.

Molly Ringwald soon became the star in many motion pictures that Hughes worked on. Anthony Michael Hall, playing a dorky freshman in this film, also acts in many of Hughes’ projects.

“The Breakfast Club” (1985)

One year after “Sixteen Candles,” Hughes created “The Breakfast Club.” One of the largest movies of his career, this film features Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall, again.

“The Breakfast Club” tackles high school stereotypes in a comedic, coming-of-age style.

Five students, who could not be more different from each other, are stuck in detention. Ringwald plays “the princess,” Hall plays “the nerd,” Judd Nelson plays “the bad guy,” Ally Sheedy plays “the basket case” and Emilio Estevez plays “the jock.”

After bickering, deep conversation and a totally epic dance break, the group of teens discover unexpected neutrality, or maybe even friendship.

Nearly the entire film takes place inside a high school, particularly the library. Hughes’ ability to cultivate a story with minimal setting changes proves his talent.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)

Hughes stayed true to his style in 1986, and it paid off.

Starring Matthew Broderick as too-cool-for-school Ferris Bueller, this comedic masterpiece never gets old.

After convincing his best friend, Cameron, and his girlfriend, Sloane, to skip school with him, the trio explores Chi-town in Cameron’s dad’s red hot Ferrari. Bueller’s happy-go-lucky attitude paired with Cameron’s worrisome demeanor make them a dynamic duo.

Bueller elaborately fools his parents, teachers and even the city of Chicago. His high school principal is determined to catch Bueller in his truancy, but faces obstacles along the way.

Perhaps Hughes’ most-quoted film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” coined the iconic motivational saying, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.” Just make some time in life to check out this movie.

McKenna Wall is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email