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Isolate five remarkably different people from five remarkably different walks of life who have nothing in common and who have no desire to have anything in common in a school hall at 7am on a Saturday morning. What’s the worst that can happen?
Critically acclaimed as one of the very best ‘high school movies’ ever made (comfortably beating the likes of Grease, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Heathers and American Pie on IMDBs list), The Breakfast Club, dubbed the Brat Pack’s magnum opus starts slowly, with each character trying to stay in his or her own space. Bender, played brilliantly by the then-unknown Judd Nelson is the principle antagonist. He has a scant disregard for authority and while light-hearted baiting ensues, the group pass the time by smoking marijuana, dancing, wandering the halls and telling stories.
Eventually, the group starts to open up and the fundamental theme of the film starts to become obvious. While revealing some dark personal secrets – Allison is a compulsive liar, Andrew hates his overbearing father, John comes from a mentally and physically abusive household, Brian has considered suicide and Claire is a virgin – they all realise that they have the same, strained and unpleasant relationships with their parents and they are all scared of making the same mistakes as the adults in their lives.
As the film draws to a close, Claire develops into a natural leader, John shows a softer, friendlier attitude (the two end up kissing) and Andrew and Allison are drawn to each other while Brian writes the essay assigned to them by Mr Vernon, the school’s deputy principal.
Time after time, director John Hughes understands what being a teenager in the 80s was all about. He creates teenagers that are plausible to other teenagers instead of Hollywood’s long-term insistence on underage nymphos and sickly-sweet pseudo-50s nostalgia and perfectly captures the zeitgeist of adult characters who think they understand the teenage psyche but absolutely, positively, 100% don’t.
Some of our favourite The Breakfast Club quotes…
Andrew Clark: We’re all bizarre, some of us are just better at hiding it.
John Bender: What’s that?
Claire Standish: Sushi.
John Bender: Sushi?
Claire Standish: Rice, raw fish and seaweed.
John Bender: You won’t accept a guy’s tongue in your mouth and you’re going to eat that?
Claire Standish: Can I eat?
John Bender: I don’t know. Give it a try.
Principal Vernon: The next time I have to come in here, I’m crackin’ skulls.
Allison Reynolds: When you grow up, your heart dies.
John Bender: Who cares?
Allison Reynolds: I care.
Brian Johnson: Chicks cannot hold their smoke, dat’s what it is.
John Bender (to Principal Vernon): Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?
The Breakfast Club Trivia!
Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy played high school teenagers the same year they would convincingly portray university graduates in St. Elmo’s Fire.
John Hughes wrote the screenplay in two days (4th & 5th July 1982).
Titles for the first few drafts included ‘The Lunch Bunch’ and ‘Library Revolution’.
When they are all smoking dope, Brian says ‘chicks cannot hold their smoke, dat’s what it is’. He repeated the same line in Weird Science!
Emilio Estevez was originally slated to play John Bender and Molly Ringwald wanted to play Allison but Ally Sheedy had already been promised the part.
The Stars of The Breakfast Club – Where Are They Now?
The early 90s weren’t kind to him but in 1996 he got a starring role alongside Brooke Shields in NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan which ran for four years. He is essentially a jobbing TV actor.
The matriarch of the 80s teen-flick genre (WarGames, Bad Boys, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, Short Circuit and Maid to Order), she battled addiction and has had roles in the theatre as well as on CSI and Kyle XY.
Son of Martin Sheen and brother of Charlie, his career has peaked and troughed. A key Brat Packer who appeared in The Outsiders, Stakeout, Young Guns and a string of TV movies, he’s now an accomplished TV and film director.
After appearing in classic 80s (Hughes-directed) teen-flicks Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles, her career nosedived in the 90s after reportedly turning down Julia Roberts’ role in Pretty Woman and Demi Moore’s part in Ghost. She is now, perhaps ironically, on screen in the US in The Secret Life of an American Teenager.
Anthony Michael Hall
After Weird Science, Edward Scissorhands, he was offered the starring role in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket but turned it down and developed an alcohol problem. In 2002 he took the lead in Steven King’s The Dead Zone for five years.