The Breakfast Club (1985) Poster


A prom queen election poster contains the name of Michelle Manning, who co-produced the film.
Jump to: Director Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (1) | Spoilers (6)
The scene in which all characters sit in a circle on the floor in the library and tell stories about why they were in detention was not scripted. John Hughes told them all to ad-lib.
Judd Nelson stayed in character off-camera, even bullying Molly Ringwald. John Hughes nearly fired him over this, but, ironically, Paul Gleason defended Nelson, saying that he was a good actor and he was trying to get into character.
It was originally suggested that there would be several sequels to The Breakfast Club (1985), occurring every ten years, in which "The Breakfast Club" would get back together. This did not come to pass due to the volatile relationship between John Hughes and Judd Nelson. John Hughes stated that he would never work with Nelson again. Also, it was unclear whether or not Hughes still held ill will against his oft-cast starlet, Molly Ringwald. They had a falling out in the late eighties after Ringwald decided to move on from the teen film genre to pursue more adult roles, thus severing her relationship with Hughes.
John Hughes wrote the screenplay to this movie in just two days (4 and 5 July 1982).
Shot entirely in sequence.
At the very closing part of the film where Bender raises his fist in defiance, that was actually ad libbed. He was supposed to just walk into the sunset, so to speak, and John Hughes asked him to play around with a few actions. When he was done and they were finishing up, Judd Nelson threw his fist up without running it by anyone. Everyone loved it, and it has become an iconic symbol of the 1980's.
The dandruff that Allison shakes onto her penciled drawing for snow was achieved by sprinkling Parmesan cheese.
Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall dated for a while after filming this movie.
In 2010, Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall told Vanity Fair magazine that John Hughes was receptive to actors' improvisations, and some of them (including Brian's reason for having a fake ID - "so I can vote") made it into the final film.
The ages of everyone in the principle cast at the time of filming are: Judd Nelson (25), Molly Ringwald (16), Emilio Estevez (23), Anthony Michael Hall (16) and Ally Sheedy (23).
John Hughes later said that his biggest regret about this film was using the breaking glass effect during the marijuana scene.
The David Bowie quote at the beginning of the movie is pulled from his song 'Changes'. It can be found on the 1971 album, 'Hunky Dory'. Ally Sheedy suggested the quote to John Hughes, who liked it and thus included it in the opening.
Judd Nelson's outfit in the movie was the same exact outfit when he auditioned for the role John Bender.
Anthony Michael Hall's mother Mercedes Hall and younger sister Mary Christian play his character Brian's mother and sister in the movie.
Judd Nelson made up many of the terms used in the movie, including 'Neo-Maxi Zoomdweebie'.
Molly Ringwald was originally asked to play Allison but wanted to play Claire. She eventually convinced John Hughes and the studio and was given the part.
Bender's flinch when Vernon fakes a punch was genuine. Judd Nelson really thought Paul Gleason was going to hit him.
Judd Nelson went undercover at a local high school outside Chicago near where the film was shooting and convinced the teenagers there that he was a legitimate student. After buying beer for them with his "fake ID" (he was 24 at the time), Nelson told them to drop him off at the hotel where the actors were staying. Years later, reflecting on his antics, Nelson said, "They would ask me why I was staying there, and I told them my dad was in jail. I'm staying at the Westin O'Hare while my dad's incarcerated."
John Kapelos jokingly warned the young actors to not overdo their intensity, laughingly noting that Martin Sheen once suffered a serious heart attack while filming Apocalypse Now (1979). Emilio Estevez was enraged by the remark, and Kapelos was then stunned to learn that Martin was Estevez's father. While Estevez accepted Kapelos' apology and filming was unaffected, Kapelos said years later he still felt terrible about what he said, even though he hadn't had any idea about the connection between Sheen and Estevez and had offended Estevez completely inadvertently. When Kapelos guest-starred on The West Wing (1999) in 1999, he told Martin Sheen this story. Sheen thought it was very funny, which provided Kapelos a small amount of relief from the chagrin he had felt about the incident since it happened.
Emilio Estevez was originally going to play Bender, but John Hughes couldn't find someone to play Andrew Clark so Emilio agreed to play Clark.
John Hughes originally wanted "The Breakfast Club" to be a 2-1/2 hour movie. However, many of the scenes were cut out and the negatives destroyed. John Hughes said in Première that he had the only complete copy of The Breakfast Club on film. Among the cut scenes from the movie (some filmed, some only written) are: -Carl predicts where the five kids will be in 30 years. Bender will have killed himself, Claire will have had "2 boob jobs and a face lift," Brian will have become very successful but die of a heart attack due to the stress of the high paying job. Allison will be a great poet but no one will care, and Andrew will marry a gorgeous airline stewardess who will become fat after having kids. -In a dream sequence, Allison imagines Andrew as a gluttonous Viking, Bender as a prisoner, Claire as a bride, Brian as an astronaut, and herself as a vampire. In an unfilmed alternative to this dream sequence, all five kids imagine random things, including cars, naked women, Godzilla, beer, and fighter planes, and these things end up filling the room until Vernon interrupts. -John Bender was not going to walk to school in the original script. He was going to be driven by his dad in a rusty tow truck, and have a brief fight with him before his dad drives off. Bender also tossed a bagged lunch, his father saying "You are a waste of lunch meat!" -After Bender demonstrates "Life at Big Bri's house" Brian stops Bender and corrects him with a much more pessimistic version of the skit. Claire then proceeds to act out her life before asking Bender to demonstrate his version. Bender's routine changes as well here. After Bender mimics his mom, he stops, commenting that "then they make me work to pay off the dentist for the teeth HE busts." -The scene where Andrew and Allison are walking to get the sodas is extended to a point where Allison pulls out a pack of cigarettes and smokes one. -After getting the sodas, Bender shakes his can violently and places it among the five to see who gets the rigged one. Allison ends up getting it, and when she opens the can, all the soda squirts directly into her mouth. -After Vernon asks who has to use the lavatory, the five go to the bathroom. Vernon gives the boys 2 minutes and the girls 3 minutes. Claire catches Allison in a stall eating a bag of chips, repulsing her. Bender mocks Brian for sitting down to pee instead of using a urinal. -When the group is sitting in the circle and Allison mentions that she can write (and do other things) with her toes, she was going to follow up with an actual demonstration. -Several staff members were cut out of the script before filming. Dr. Lange, a social studies teacher who dresses oddly, and Robin, a gym teacher. Robin helps Vernon on a few workout machines until Vernon injures his back, and she eventually visits the students while they are in their circle in the library. Robin initially replaced many of Carl's scenes and Carl was originally set to be a minor character with only two scenes.

During a cast reunion in honor of the film's 25th anniversary, Ally Sheedy revealed that a Director's Cut existed but Hughes' widow did not disclose any details concerning its whereabouts.
John Cusack auditioned several times for John Bender, even travelling between Chicago and Los Angeles before being cast. But director John Hughes went in a different direction and dropped Cusack in favor of Judd Nelson, which was heavily influenced by the casting director.
The switchblade used in the movie actually belonged to Judd Nelson. He explained that he had it for protection purposes.
The joke that Bender tells but never finishes (while crawling through the ceiling) actually has no punchline. According to Judd Nelson, he ad-libbed the line. Originally, he was supposed to tell a joke that would end when he came back into the library and said, "Forgot my pencil", but no one could come up with a joke for that punchline.
Ranked at #1 for Entertaiment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies (2006).
Director John Hughes said that the cast rehearsed the entire movie as if it was a play a few times before filming began. After the film was a hit, Hughes was asked to write the script as a play so high schoolers could perform it.
Anthony Michael Hall hit a growth spurt during production. According to Judd Nelson, Hall was shorter than him at the start of production, but taller than him at the end.
Alison does not speak until 33 minutes into the film.
The Coke cans that the teenagers drink from have the symbol from the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles on them.
As an end-of-filming present, John Hughes gave each actor a piece of the "library's" banister.
The library in which this movie takes place was actually constructed in the gymnasium of Maine North High School specifically for the film. The school closed down in 1982, two years before filming began. The building had been used for park district purposes and the Chicago Blitz before the Illinois state police bought it, turning it into a police station, which it still is to this day.
The theme song, "Don't You (Forget About Me)", was written for the film by Keith Forsey. It was a number one hit for Simple Minds, and both Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry turned down offers to record it first (although in 2001, Billy Idol recorded Don't You (Forget About Me) as a bonus track for his Greatest Hits album). The song was also turned down by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders who then suggested they offer it to the band fronted by her husband at the time, Simple Minds.
Director John Hughes actually attended Glenbrook North High School, one of the schools where the movie was filmed.
Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy played high school students in this film, the same year that they would portray college graduates in St. Elmo's Fire (1985). John Hughes recommended all three actors for their roles.
Originally, only Claire was supposed to dance, but Molly Ringwald felt uncomfortable so John Hughes had the entire cast dance.
Claire's entire ensemble was purchased specially for the character from a Ralph Lauren store, the only one in Chicago at the time. John Hughes had rejected the original costume on the grounds that it wasn't sophisticated enough.
The film's title comes from the nickname invented by students and staff for detention at New Trier High School, the school attended by the son of one of John Hughes' friends. Thus, those who were sent to detention were designated members of "The Breakfast Club". "The Breakfast Club" at that school probably took its name in turn from the title of American radio's longest running network entertainment show, broadcast from Chicago, 1933 to 1968.
Ally Sheedy had first auditioned for the part of Samantha Baker in Sixteen Candles (1984), which went to Molly Ringwald. When Sheedy auditioned, she had two black eyes from a set building accident. The black eyes gave her a dark, gothic image which stayed with John Hughes. When it was time to cast the part of Allison, Hughes remembered and called Sheedy.
Director John Hughes insisted that the entire cast and crew eat their meals on location in the Maine North High School cafeteria.
When Andy's father tells him, "No school's going to give a scholarship to a discipline case", he originally followed up with "Not a white one, anyway."
The marijuana the actors smoke in the film was actually oregano.
Nicolas Cage was originally considered for the role of John Bender but the production couldn't afford his salary at the time. John Cusack was originally cast as John Bender, but John Hughes decided to replace him with Judd Nelson before shooting began.
At the beginning of the movie, there are some shots of the school building right before the kids show up for detention. Written on a wall is, "I don't like Mondays". This refers to a school shooting in 1979 committed by 16-year-old Brenda Spencer. Brenda's father gave her a rifle for Christmas in 1978. On January 29th, 1979, she used her new rifle to shoot 10 children and staff at Clevelend Elementary School in San Diego, California. The school was across the street from her house, where she was during the incident. She killed the school's principal and one of the custodians, and injured 8 children. After 6 hours, she was apprehended by police. When asked why she did it, she said "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day." As for selecting her targets, she said "I like red and blue jackets." As of April, 2009, she is serving a life sentence, and has been denied parole 4 times. At her 2005 parole hearing, she claimed that her father had sexually abused her as a child, and that she was drunk and on PCP at the time of the shooting. According to her, the authorities and her attorney conspired to hide the drug test results. As for remorse, she said at the time "I had no reason for it, and it was just a lot of fun", "It was just like shooting ducks in a pond", and "[The children] looked like a herd of cows standing around; it was really easy pickings." The incident and Spencer's lack of remorse also inspired The Boomtown Rats' hit "I Don't Like Mondays".
All of the main kid actors (except for Emilio Estevez) appear on the TV series, Psych (2006). John Kapelos also appeared on an episode of the series.
In reality, Molly Ringwald could not do the lipstick trick. They had to use different camera angles to make it appear that she could.
Ally Sheedy nicknamed Anthony Michael Hall "Milk & Cookies" because she thought he was sweet. Hall never liked the nickname.
As most people know, except Jay and Silent Bob (see Dogma (1999)), Shermer, Illinois is a fictitious suburb of Chicago in several John Hughes films such as this film, as well as Weird Science (1985), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), Sixteen Candles (1984), Pretty in Pink (1986) and National Lampoon's National Lampoon's Vacation (1983). But, the zip code that Brian states in the opening of the film, 60062, is to an actual town. It belongs to Northbrook, IL, a town about 30 miles north of Chicago. Northbrook was originally incorporated as "Shermerville" (it changed its name in 1923), and one of the main roads through the town is still named Shermer Road.
Rick Moranis was originally cast as the janitor; he grew a thick beard and decided to play the character with a Russian accent. Writer-director John Hughes planned to let Moranis reinterpret the character, but producer Ned Tanen so vehemently opposed Moranis's comical creative liberties that he had actor replaced by John Kapelos.
Karen Leigh Hopkins was cast as Robin, a gym teacher who gives the teens advice. But after one day of filming, Hopkins was fired and her scenes were rewritten for Carl, the janitor. According to the book "John Hughes: A Life in Film", Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy objected to a scene in which Robin was seen nude in the locker room so John Hughes deleted her character.
The album Allison is looking at during lunch is "1999" by Prince.
When Bender is distracting Vernon while the others make their way back to the library, part of the song he sings is a few lines from "Turning Japanese" by The Vapors. The other part he sings while running down the hallway are lines from a US Military cadence: "I wanna be an Airborne Ranger"
Additional cut content includes an extended version of the pot smoking scene, in which Brian and Claire are seen singing "All My Lovin'" by The Beatles and a new scene in which Allison breaks into the teachers' lockers using a switchblade, where she finds a copy of the Prince album 1999, remarking "You know what this means? They're human." Several other differences between the definitive and uncut versions of the film have been noted, chiefly an extended make out scene, in which not only Bender and Claire are seen kissing, but also Andy and Allison; lastly, during John Hughes' small cameo as Brian's dad in the final scene (a performance which he later criticised), he was originally given the short line "Buckle up."
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(John Hughes): [Shermer]: Most teenage movies that John Hughes has written take place in fictitious Shermer, Illinois and involve a Shermer High School.
During filming, John Kapelos rarely associated with the other cast members to keep a feeling of isolation.
The majority of the film was shot at what was once Maine North, including the final scene on the football field.
While eating lunch, Andrew (Emilio Estevez) takes his lunch out of a "Happy Foods" paper grocery bag. Happy Foods is an actual grocery store in the north/northwest suburbs of Chicago.
When high on marijuana, Brian says, "Chicks cannot hold their smoke, that's what it is" which is from a Richard Pryor stand up routine.
Allison never speaks to Richard Vernon despite him being the authority in the film. The closest she ever did to communicating with Vernon was squeaking and chuckling at him.
John Hughes was so impressed by Molly Ringwald's performance that he had her mom come in and watch the dailies.
The cast and crew often played basketball in the gym between set ups.
Other proposed titles were "The Lunch Bunch" and "Library Revolution".
Judd Nelson improvised the part when Bender hawks a loogie and catches it.
Judd Nelson was the last to be cast.
It was Judd Nelson's idea for Bender to be wearing a tennis shoe in the gymnasium scene.
The BMW driven by Claire's father, in actuality, belonged to John Hughes.
John Hughes wanted the detention area to take place in a library, but the school's library was too small. So, they built the library set in the school's gym.
The title of the film is actually the last spoken line.
Brian's social security number, as filched by Allison, indicates that he was born in Connecticut.
The song which Judd Nelson hums the guitar riff to at the beginning of the movie is the opening of "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream.
Jodie Foster was considered to play Claire and Brooke Shields was considered to play Allison respectively.
Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were the first actors to be cast.
Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall previously starred in John Hughes directorial debut Sixteen Candles (1984).
The film takes place on March 24, 1984.
Paul Gleason played Vernon again in the parody of teenage movies Not Another Teen Movie (2001). Molly Ringwald has a cameo and Anthony Michael Hall is mentioned.
The large sculpture in the library, which Allison adorns with lunch meat and Bender rides like a mechanical bronco, bears an astounding resemblance to a bronze work by famed British artist Henry Moore titled "Standing Figure, Knife Edge" (or, in a larger version, "Large Standing Figure, Knife Edge"). These are editioned works (and there's one in Arkansas) so John Hughes either borrowed it for the movie, or used it as the model for a set piece.
The guidance counselor's desk has a name plaque which says "R. Hashimoto". Richard Hashimoto was the production supervisor.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
While Maine North High School was no longer a fully-functioning high school at the time of filming, the school was in use as the Alternative Resource Center (ARC) for high schools Maine West (also in Des Plaines), Maine South and Maine East (both of Park Ridge, IL). Students that were a chronic disciplinary problem, considered to be unruly or disruptive to the learning process of others, would find themselves at Maine North every day, as an alternative to expulsion or other disciplinary measures. Maine Township still conducts the ARC, now in Morton Grove, IL, with a goal of providing a structured environment with positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior.
Alison says that she can play Heart and Soul on the piano with her feet. This is the song that Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia play using their feet on the giant piano in the toy store in Big (1988). They also play chopsticks on the piano
Robin Wright auditioned for the role of Claire.
It was Ally Sheedy's idea to put Cap'n'Crunch cereal in the sandwich to give it an extra crunch sound.
Judd Nelson went to a laundromat in character. The looks he was giving to women made someone call the cops.
In early drafts of the script Claire was called Cathy.
If John Hughes couldn't get Emilio Estevez to play the role of Andrew Clarke, he would consider casting either Michael J. Fox, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Matthew Broderick or Rob Lowe.
Ally Sheedy generally ate very healthy food - she got a sugar high from the sandwich she eats onscreen.
What they ate for lunch: Andy (Andrew): a bag of chips, chocolate cookies, three sandwiches, milk, a banana and an apple. Claire: sushi (rice, raw fish and seaweed). Allison: a sandwich with Pixie Stix and Cap'n Crunch cereal. John: nothing. Brian: soup, sandwich with peanut butter and jam and apple juice.
John Hughes and Judd Nelson disagreed about whether or not the cigar burn was real.
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Ally Sheedy based some of Allison's quirks on Sean Penn, who she had just worked with on Bad Boys (1983).
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Vernon is based on a wrestling coach from John Hughes' high school who flunked him in gym. Hughes ran into him later, and the coach said the movie was good, but the teacher was a real jerk.
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The cast all agreed later that Ally Sheedy was the best dancer.
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Anthony Michael Hall (Brian) and Ron Dean (Andrew's father) would go on to play supporting roles in The Dark Knight (2008) 23 years later.
Laura Dern auditioned for the role of Claire Standish.
The license plate on Brian's mothers's car is EMC 2. The license plate on Andrew's fathers's car is OHIOST.
Allison and Brian are the only two to make John laugh.
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The high school was used in John Hughes' next film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).
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The Chicago Public Library donated over 10,000 books to be used in the movie.
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John Hughes told Ally Sheedy to go to bed and wake up the next day as Allison. Sheedy said she thought, "I don't have to wake up as Allison. I am Allison."
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Jim Carrey auditioned for the role of John Bender
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Ally Sheedy was cast partly because of her role in WarGames (1983).
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John Hughes got the title from a friend's son, who called morning detention at his school "The Breakfast Club." The original title of the movie was Detention.
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John Hughes let the cast look at early drafts of the script to pick out parts that they liked.
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The line "You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried" is also the title of a book about the teen movies of the '80s.
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John Hughes originally wrote Andy as a football player but decided teen movies already had too many of those.
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To condition his boots, Judd Nelson poured a quart of motor oil on them and left them for a day.
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John Hughes set most of the movie in one room because he thought it would be easier to film.
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John Hughes wanted the music to be heavy on drums and bass, to mirror the emotions of the characters. Keith Forsey was chosen to be the composer because he was a drummer.
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Vernon is named after actor Richard Vernon.
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Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy both played sisters in Betsy's Wedding (1990), five years after this film.
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Emilio Estevez and Paul Gleason both starred in National Lampoons Loaded Weapon 1 (1993). Eight years after this film.
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Paul Gleason and John Kapelos both made guest appearances on Seinfeld (1989) in separate episodes.
The pen that Brian Johnson uses in the film is a Lamy Safari Model L217.
Paul Gleason was cast as the principal because John Hughes liked him in Trading Places (1983).
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Brian's reference and stereotype is as The Brain. The name Brian and word brain are anagrams of each other.
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Originally, this film was to have three girls and three boys.
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Of all the five teens, Brian is the only one whose middle name is revealed.
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Director Cameo 

John Hughes: Brian's father, who picks him up at the end of the film.

Director Trademark 

John Hughes: [The Beatles] Principal Richard Vernon is named after a minor actor from A Hard Day's Night (1964). When the principal asks the janitor what he wanted to be when he grew up, the janitor replies that he wanted to be John Lennon.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the beginning of the movie you see different shots of the school hallways and classrooms, you can see what the flare gun did to Brian's locker. Also there is a picture of a former Shermer High School student "Man of the Year". The guy in the picture is the janitor Carl Reed.
The following are the reasons each character is in detention on Saturday:
  • Andy (Andrew): tapes a guy's butt cheeks together in the locker room

  • Brian: flare gun goes off in his locker

  • Bender: pulls a false fire alarm

  • Claire: ditches class to go shopping

  • Allison: didn't do anything, she didn't have anything better to do on a Saturday (however, this claim is most likely untrue and is part of Allison's compulsive lying)

Bender continuously provokes Vernon into giving him extra Saturday detentions early on in the film. It is later implied during lunch by the burn mark on his forearm that he may have done that intentionally because he'd rather be alone with Vernon at school on a Saturday instead of being stuck at home with his constantly bickering parents, especially his violent and abusive father. It's also implied during the scene where Vernon escorts him to the closet and proceeds to rip into him that he only acts the way he does because he'd rather have people think he's a tough troublemaking delinquent type instead of a troubled and abused victim. Overall, it shows that he has more tolerance (and possibly more respect) to deal with Vernon than his parents.
When aired on television, there are often one of two (very rarely both) additional scenes shown to fill the time and content gap: * Right after Mr. Vernon excuses Andrew and Allison to go to the teacher's lounge to use the soft drink machine, there is additional footage of Allison walking past Andrew and going straight towards the door while he collects change from Brian. The whole time Vernon is telling them to get a move on. Bender then holds his hand out towards Brian, who thinks he wants a high five and proceeds to give him one. Bender then makes a face and Brian realizes he needs change too, so he takes more out of his pocket and hands it to Andrew. Claire then asks Mr. Vernon if he can break a (presumably $5 or $10) bill she has, to which he gives a disgusted groan. * There's an additional scene after they sneak out of the library, but before they reach Bender's locker. They walk up to the faculty lounge where Vernon is having a hard time with one of the vending machines. They each creep by quickly (Bender goes first, followed by Claire, Andrew and Brian) except for Allison who not only brings up the rear, but she purposely stops and stands in the doorway for a few seconds facing Vernon, as if daring him to look her way. Claire then comments, "she's nuts but she's cool." Then she passes the doorway and they continue towards Bender's locker. Vernon then finally looks towards the door just as the machine finally dispenses his candy purchase.
The theatrical trailer shows brief footage that was ultimately never used. One shot shows Allison sitting by herself in a small room (presumably while the rest of the kids are getting high). Another brief clip shows Allison (post makeover) exclaiming to Andrew that she doesn't wanna be alone anymore, to which he responds that she doesn't have to be.
The beginning monologue is the ending monologue.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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