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The Breakfast Club (1985)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  15 February 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 233,957 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 695 user | 121 critic | 11 from

Five high school students, all different stereotypes, meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.



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Complete credited cast:
Perry Crawford ...
Mary Christian ...
Tim Gamble ...
Fran Gargano ...
Mercedes Hall ...


Beyond being in the same class at Shermer High School in Shermer, Illinois, Claire Standish, Andrew Clark, John Bender, Brian Johnson and Allison Reynolds have little in common, and with the exception of Claire and Andrew, do not associate with each other in school. In the simplest and in their own terms, Claire is a princess, Andrew an athlete, John a criminal, Brian a brain, and Allison a basket case. But one other thing they do have in common is a nine hour detention in the school library together on Saturday, March 24, 1984, under the direction of Mr. Vernon, supervising from his office across the hall. Each is required to write a minimum one thousand word essay during that time about who they think they are. At the beginning of those nine hours, each, if they were indeed planning on writing that essay, would probably write something close to what the world sees of them, and what they have been brainwashed into believing of themselves. But based on their adventures during that ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They only met once, but it changed their lives forever. See more »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

15 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Breakfast Club  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)


$38,100,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Judd Nelson improvised the part when Bender hawks a loogie and catches it. See more »


Claire's father puts his hand on Claire's shoulder when they're in the car. In the next shot his hand has jumped to her other shoulder. See more »


Bender: Remember how you said your parents use you to get back at each other?
Claire Standish: [nods]
Bender: Wouldn't I be OUTSTANDING in that capacity?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opens with the following which then explodes from the screen. "And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds; are immune to your consultations, they are quite aware of what they are going through." -David Bowie See more »


Referenced in Target Audience 9.1 (2007) See more »


Colonel Bogey March
Written by Kenneth Alford, pseudonym of F. J. Ricketts
Whistled by the Breakfast Club
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of my (personal) favorite comedies. John Hughes strikes again!
7 January 2004 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Parents have never understood the youth of the world. Elvis used to be evil. Now he's too tame for modern music enthusiasts. Just imagine how tame Eminem will seem years from now. And as a scarier thought, who (or what) could be worse than some of the singers on today's market?

John Hughes is locked in a time capsule, still bearing the mind of a teenager, and he is able to tap into these feelings of teenage angst. That is what separates "The Breakfast Club" from, say, "The New Guy," or one of those other stupid teen films of recent years.

And the jerk, played by Judd Nelson, isn't meant to be cool. He is a jerk, and if older viewers took the time to pay attention to the film, they would perhaps realize that the point of the film, from the very beginning, is to establish that this so-called jerk is only acting like one to get attention. Because he is obviously shunned at home. He's an outcast. And unlike other films that refuse to establish their characters, "The Breakfast Club" introduces him as a jerk, and proceeds to explain why he is that way. This is what makes this movie tick.

I knew a kid like Bender (Nelson) once when I was in school, and generations of kids continue to go through the exact same things. Once they reach a certain age, though, it seems as though all adults suddenly break away from the teenage emotions. John Hughes never did, I guess. (Although he certainly tapped into adult behavior with his best film, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" [1987], a welcome introduction to Hughes' adult comedy, hinted at in "Vacation" [1981], which he wrote.)

The film opens with a quote from David Bowie that just about sums the entire film up. We are introduced to five kids spending eight hours of detention at Shermer High School in Illinois. They are: Andrew the Jock (Emilio Estevez), Brian the Nerd (Anthony Michael Hall), Bender the Criminal (Judd Nelson), Claire the Princess (Molly Ringwald), and Allison the Basketcase (Ally Sheedy). They are looked over by the school principal (Paul Gleason), who assigns them the task of writing a report on why they are here in detention and what they did to get there.

To say that the outcome is predictable is an understatement. We know who's going to get together with whom from the beginning, but getting there's all the fun. Watching the characters come to appreciate their differences and learn that they're more than just billboard examples of angry teenagers is more than half the fun.

Teenagers are not as unaware of who they are as some people always think. John Hughes knew this, and deliberately tapped into this state of mind as no other director has done before -- or since, for that matter. Sure, they've tried. (Hughes' "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was just about the only other film that tried to show teenagers as something more than stupid hormone-crazy rambunctious adolescents, but as young adults who were trying to grow up fast -- the scene where Ferris and Sloane pretend their water is wine is good evidence of this.)

Hughes' teenage characters were not the clichés they are now when "The Breakfast Club" came out in 1985 -- this film has proved to be the steeple of teen clichés (many of them poked fun at in "Not Another Teen Movie," which features a cameo by Ringwald). Think of "2001" or "Halloween" -- the drifting spaceships and psycho killers chasing sex-hungry teenagers is now routine, but it wasn't then. The Jock, The Nerd, The Criminal, The Princess, and The Basketcase weren't clichéd back then, either -- although Hughes purposely chose these references to the characters in order to let Brian, The Nerd, say that they were more than just that in the beginning of the film when he's reading his essay in voice-over narrative.

I seriously doubt whether this film is any better than the work of Coppola, Cortiz, Kurosawa, Scorsese, Welles, et al. If I were assembling a list of "the greatest movies ever made," I'd never include this.

But sometimes the greatest films aren't just the films that are technically perfect, but those that connect to you on one level or another. I know that my all-time favorite comedy ("Planes, Trains and Automobiles") may not be considered better than something such as "Some Like it Hot," but that film doesn't affect me the same way. I either don't connect with the story, the characters, the feelings, or I just don't appreciate the film as a whole. I appreciate "The Breakfast Club" in many ways, and for that reason it will always be considered one of my favorite films. Even if it is kinda sappy.

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