Breakfast Club, The (1985): John Hughes Angst-Ridden Youth Melodrama

John Hughes wrote and directed this high school tale, perhaps the most iconic of 1980s teenage melodramas; it may be his best work.

A zeitgeist film, Breakfast Club features the hottest young stars of the decade. Several misunderstood youths are entrapped in a day-long Saturday detention in a prison-like school library.

They are Claire, the princess (Molly Ringwald); Andrew, the jock (Emilio Estevez); John, the criminal (Judd Nelson); Brian, the brain (Anthony Michael Hall); and Allison, the basket case (Ally Sheedy).

Initially, these five strangers have nothing in common, each bound to his/her place in the high school rigid stratification system.  Gradually, however, the students begin to bond together, especially after being faced with the villainous principal, Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason), which makes them realize that they have more in common than they might have thought.

“When you grow up, your heart dies,” Allison proclaims in one of the film’s many scenes of soul-searching and bonding.

True to form and genre, all the adults in the film are narrowly defined types, some stereotypes.

Released in a decade defined by teen films, The Breakfast Club has developed a cult status due to capturing the zeitgeist.

The Breakfast Club, which established John Huges as the King of Youth Movies, launched the careers of many of its actors and led to numerous pale imitations.


MPAA: 97 minutes.

Directed and written by John Hughes

Released: May 15, 1985.

DVD: Sep 2, 2003