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Movie Legends Revealed | ‘Pretty in Pink’ Originally Ended With Andie & Duckie Together?

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MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Pretty in Pink originally ended with Andie and Duckie together.

Written by John Hughes and directed by Howard Deutch, the 1986 romantic comedy Pretty in Pink centers on star Molly Ringwald’s working-class Andie and her relationship with Andrew McCarthy’s upper-class Blaine, countered by her friendship with Duckie (played by Jon Cryer). Besides perhaps the soundtrack (and James Spader’s amazing performance as the villainous Steff), the film is best remembered for the best friend who wished he could get the girl. However, while the film ends with Andie and Blaine together, in the original version, Duckie actually did get the girl! Read on to see why that ending failed and how Robert Downey Jr. actually played a small part in it all …

The film’s original ending is similar to what we actually saw on screen: Blaine has chickened out of dating Andie because of Steff’s pressures, so Andie goes to the prom with Duckie. However, in the original script, it ends there with Andie and Duckie together on the dance floor. Steve Spears of the Tampa Bay Times has the original script pages, which end with:

Andie takes a few steps and starts dancing. Dukie follows clumsily. A few steps and they get in step. They dance without shame or concert for what anybody thinks.

and finally …

ANDIE AND DUCKIE: The [sic] look at each other and smile. Duckie laughs. Andie squeezes him tight and lifts him off his feet.


They dance to David Bowie’s “Heroes,” and the closing music was Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s song “Goddess of Love.”

That’s the ending that actually made it into the novelization of the film by H. B. Gilmour and Randi Reisfield, as obviously they worked from the original script.

pretty-in-pink2A couple of things, however, were working against Duckie getting the girl.

First (and most importantly), test audiences were not enamored with the ending. While they didn’t universally prefer Blaine to Duckie, a clear majority wanted Andie to end up with Blaine instead. That, in and of itself, was likely enough to get the ending changed.

However, in addition, Ringwald herself wasn’t a fan of the ending. Originally Robert Downey Jr. was in the running to play Duckie, and obviously Downey’s take on the character would’ve been much different, considering that Downey is … how do I put this delicately? … .more physically attractive than Cryer (I guess there isn’t a delicate way of saying that). In her excellent book You Couldn’t Ignore Me if You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation, Susannah Gora interviewed Ringwald on the topic:

“Actually,” Ringwald continues, holding nothing back, “I think he seemed gay. I mean, if they remade the movie now, he would be, like, the gay friend who comes out at the end. He wouldn’t be winking at a blonde [Kristy Swanson], he would be winking at a cute guy … I feel bad saying that I really fought for Robert Downey, Jr.,” Ringwald allows, “because it sort of seems like I don’t appreciate Jon’s performance, which I totally do — it’s just, it really did affect the movie.”

Cryer responded to that during commentary on the 2006 DVD release of Pretty in Pink: Everything’s Duckie Edition (which bizarrely doesn’t include the original ending, just commentary about it).

Molly dropped the bomb that she would’ve been fine with the original ending if Robert Downey, Jr., had played Duckie … But since it was me, she just couldn’t see it. It was like, wow, so I’m that unattractive? Thanks, Mol!

In 2006, Cryer went into further detail about his feelings about the change in an interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Mandi Bierly:

I was disappointed. You sorta go, ”Oh, guess I’m not the leading man.” But I think it was kind of appropriate. Duckie always thought he was the leading man, and that was his fatal flaw. I got it at the time. I understood that John was trying to do something about crossing class lines and felt that with the ending as it was, it was sort of saying, ”You know what? Class lines aren’t worth crossing.”

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That take was echoed the film’s director Howard Deutch, whom Gora quotes as saying:

“I thought the new ending was heartbreaking. Heartbreaking. I thought it was unfair and wrong, and that’s not what the movie was intended to be. It felt,” he says, searching for the right word, “immoral.”

Immoral or not, the studio wasn’t going to ignore the test audience response, so it filmed a new ending in which McCarthy’s Blaine gives a little speech to Andie about how much he screwed up and Duckie tells Andie that Blaine is different and she should go to him. Amusingly enough, McCarthy was starring in a play at the time about soldiers in Vietnam and thus he had cut off his long hair, so he wore a wig for the final scene. They did a good job with the wig but you can still see a difference if you look closely. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark had to quickly write a new song for the new ending, and in just a single day the band cranked out the instant classic “If You Leave.”

Interestingly, Hughes and Deutch went right back to work on a gender-swapped version of the story in 1987’s Some Kind of Wonderful, with Eric Stoltz in the Ringwald role, Lea Thompson in the McCarthy role and Mary Stuart Masterson in (essentially) the Cryer role. In this film, however, the working-class lead eschews the rich girl in favor of his best friend.

The legend is …


Thanks to my good friend Lisa for suggesting that I spotlight this one. Thanks to reader Philip Frey for the novelization information. Thanks to Susannah Gora, Mandi Bierly, Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer and Howard Deutch for their very informative quotes.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is

Be sure to check out my Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the worlds of TV, Movies and Music!


  • akkadiannumen

    Ouch. That must have hurt. That said, I totally agree that a better-looking guy would have made it far more palatable for the audience. I personally hated Blaine (puagh…) and Ducky was funny but he just wasn’t good enough romantic material for Ringwald, even though she was never a great beauty (kind of uninteresting for me personally) and her personality was kind of annoying.

  • daphne92

    i say she should have just left the prom alone wearing that ridiculous pink dress!..This would have been an epic ending

  • Kiamat

    But if we play out the future of the characters, Duckie is likely a Silicon Valley millionaire while Blaine went on to be a real estate agent who lost everything in the housing market collapse, which he didn’t see coming because he was too busy blowing his money on cocaine and hookers. Meanwhile Andie is at home with their 5 kids reading about Duckie’s latest supermodel girlfriend in People magazine all the while muttering to herself, “Wow, I really thought he was gay!”

  • Jon “still crying” Cryer

    The fact that people didn’t want the female star of Pretty in Pink ending up with the unpopular boy, but the leading male star of Some Kind of Wonderful ending up with the unpopular girl is fine, says a whole lot about our society.

  • Barbra

    I love Robert Downey, Jr. but I can’t imagine anyone playing Duckie except for Jon Cryer – he was amazing. I wish they would have kept the original ending – that would have been epic.

    Has the original ending ever appeared anywhere?

  • Kaat1220

    Am I the only one that finds both Blane and Duckie gorgeous? I disagree about Jon Cryer not being handsome enough. Sure, Robert Downey, Jr. may be more classically handsome, but Jon is just as handsome in an offbeat sort of way. I loved them both! I also find Molly Ringwald quite beautiful.

  • Kaat1220

    Well, we don’t know what test audiences thought about Some Kind of Wonderful. We only know about the Pretty in Pink test audience. Therefore, I don’t think we can make any assumptions.

  • Kaat1220

    I had a huge crush on both Blane and Duckie. And I found this board by searching for the original ending. My only problem with the ending is that they could have matched up the wig better for Andrew McCarthy. However, I like that Duckie may not have gotten the girl, but a gorgeous girl at the party found him quite appealing. His look at the camera before moving over to her was priceless . . .

  • Amayama

    Molly Ringwald is overly confident about her own looks. Awkward and not at all classically pretty, Ringwald would have made a realistic match for Cryer rather than the much-better-looking McCarthy ever would have. What an ego she has.

    I guess Molly/Andie’s prince-charming-ending did its job in pleasing all the other equally shallow, awkward and average looking girls who made up the test audience who didn’t like the Duckie ending. Spoiler — none of you would have ended up with the rich good looking guy in this scenario; especially not any of you as unfortunate looking as Ringwald in real life. Ugh…


    Truth be told, in real l


    Truth be told, in real l

  • JewelEyed

    I think the problem I had with the ending is that Duckie is an asshole most of the movie, acting as though she owes him something just because he has a crush on her. He makes trouble where she works, stalks her, humiliates her in public, kisses her boss, and treats her like crap because she’s seeing someone else. He is a horrible friend, and the nice thing about the official ending is that he doesn’t get rewarded for all of it. I wouldn’t care who played him, Duckie does not sufficiently make it up to her for all the shit he does before that by the end of the movie and should absolutely not just end up with her at prom.

  • Grace

    And yes, Robert Downey Jr. was better looking than Jon Cryer, and that is why stupid Molly Ringwald he WOULD NOT work as Ducky! Back then Robert Downey Jr. was gorgeous! He was so good looking he was better looking than Blane and Steff, so it would have not made any since that Andie would not have at least contemplated going out with him over Blane! I mean he was funny, they had a lot in common, he was her best friend, and oh ya he is hot! So what would be the draw for her to date a dull rich kid that she had absolutely nothing in common with? It would have been stupid! Ducky supposed to be a love sick “Friend” that isnt such an obvious choice. Robert Downey Jr. Would have been the obvious choice! And who has ever watched this movie and thought that Jon Cryer isnt the best thing about it! Molly has always seemed resentful of that in my opinion! He stole the film from her and she cant handle it!

  • Nicholas Outland

    A MUCH stronger ending would have been Molly’s character not choosing EITHER guy, essentially saying, “Duckie, you’re my friend, and I love you but not in the way you want me to love you or deserve to be loved. Please, for both our sakes, GET A GRIP. And Blaine. You’re an ass. Period. Piss off.” Then, have her walk out in that pink dress like a BOSS with the whole lesson learned that you can be happy on your own, that you don;t need anyone to make you feel whole. BOOM! :D