The Breakfast Club
|The Breakfast Club|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Hughes|
|Produced by||John Hughes
|Written by||John Hughes|
Anthony Michael Hall
|Music by||Keith Forsey|
|Cinematography||Thomas Del Ruth|
|Editing by||Dede Allen|
|Distributed by||Universal Studios|
|Running time||97 minutes|
The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming of age comedy-drama film written and directed by John Hughes and starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy. The storyline follows five teenagers, each a member of a different high school clique, who spend a Saturday in detention together and come to realize that they are all more than their respective stereotypes.
Critically, it is considered to be one of the greatest high school films of all time, as well as one of Hughes' most memorable and recognizable works. The media referred to the film's five main actors as members of a group called the "Brat Pack".
On March 24, 1984, five students — "criminal" John Bender (Nelson), "athlete" Andrew Clark (Estevez), "brain" Brian Johnson (Hall), "basket case" Allison Reynolds (Sheedy), and "princess" Claire Standish (Ringwald) — report for Saturday morning detention at Shermer High School in the Chicago suburb of Shermer, Illinois. While not complete strangers, each of them comes from a different clique, and they seem to have nothing in common. They gather in the high school library, where they are instructed not to speak or move from their seats or sleep by the assistant principal, Richard Vernon (Gleason). They must remain there for a period of eight hours, fifty-four minutes (from 7:06 AM to 4 PM). He assigns a 1,000-word essay, in which each student must write about who he or she thinks they are, and then leaves, returning occasionally to check on them. Bender, who has a particularly antagonistic relationship with Vernon, disregards the rules and riles the other students, mocking Brian and Andrew, and harassing Claire. Allison is initially quiet except for the occasional random outburst.
The students pass the hours by arguing and smoking marijuana that Bender retrieves from his locker. Gradually they open up to each other and reveal their deepest personal secrets, namely that Allison is a compulsive liar, Andrew hates his father, John comes from an abusive household, Brian has contemplated suicide, and Claire is a virgin. They also discover that they all have strained relationships with their parents and are afraid of making the same mistakes as the adults around them. However, despite these developing friendships, the students are afraid that once the detention is over, they will return to their very different cliques and never speak to each other again.
Towards the end of the day, the other students ask Brian to write the essay that Vernon assigned earlier. Brian does so, but instead of writing about the assigned topic, he writes a letter to Vernon objecting to his request to describe to him who they are, stating that the man has already judged who they are (an athlete, basket case, princess, brain, and criminal), and that he will not accept any different accounts from them. Brian signs the essay as "The Breakfast Club" and leaves it at the table for Vernon to read after they leave. Before the students part ways outside the school, Allison and Andrew kiss, and so do Claire and John.
- Emilio Estevez as Andrew "Andy" Clark
- Anthony Michael Hall as Brian Johnson
- Judd Nelson as John Bender
- Molly Ringwald as Claire Standish
- Ally Sheedy as Allison Reynolds
- Paul Gleason as Richard "Dick" Vernon, the school assistant principal
- John Kapelos as Carl Reed, the school janitor
Ringwald and Hall were both in Hughes' 1984 film Sixteen Candles. Towards the end of filming, Hughes asked them both to be in The Breakfast Club. Ringwald was originally approached to play the character of Allison Reynolds, but she was "really upset" because she wanted to play Claire. She eventually convinced the director and the studio to give her the part.
Estevez originally auditioned for the role of John Bender. However, when John Hughes was unable to find someone to play Andrew Clark, Estevez was recast. Nicolas Cage was considered for the role of John Bender, which was the last to be cast, though the role came down to John Cusack and Nelson. Hughes eventually cast Cusack, but decided to replace him with Nelson before shooting began, because Cusack didn't look threatening enough for the role. At one point, Hughes got angry at Nelson because he stayed in character by taunting Ringwald off-camera, and the other actors had to convince Hughes not to fire him.
In a piece about the film in the October 1999 issue of Premiere, Hughes stated that due to his lack of experience as a filmmaker, his appeal to direct the film was met with resistance and skepticism. Hughes won the investors over with his argument that due to the film's low budget of $1 million and its single-location shoot, the risks involved were minimal.
Hughes originally thought that The Breakfast Club would be his directorial debut. Because of his own inexperience, he set the film in one room and wrote it about high school students, who would be played by younger actors.
Shooting began on March 28, 1984 and ended in May of that year. Filming took place at Maine North High School in Des Plaines, Illinois, the same school used for some of the school-based scenes in Hughes's Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which was released just a year after The Breakfast Club. Maine North High School was closed in 1981 before John Hughes stepped in and used it as a filming location. At the end of the movie, John Bender walks through Glenbrook North High School's football field, which is also where some of the outside shots of Ferris Bueller were filmed.
The library at Maine North High School was considered too small for the film, so the crew built the set in the school's gymnasium. The actors rehearsed with each other for three weeks and then shot the film in sequence. Some of the posters on the walls during filming of The Breakfast Club were still there when Ferris Bueller was filmed. On the Ferris Bueller's Day Off DVD commentary (featured on the 2004 DVD version), John Hughes revealed that he shot the two films back-to-back to save time and money, and some outtakes of both films feature elements of the film crews working on the other film.
According to Hughes' profile in Premiere, the first print was 150 minutes long. During a cast reunion in honor of the film's 25th anniversary, Ally Sheedy revealed that it was Hughes' director's cut, but Hughes' widow did not disclose any details concerning its whereabouts.
The film's poster, featuring the five characters huddled together, was photographed by Annie Leibovitz towards the end of shooting. The shot of five actors glaring at the camera influenced the way teen films were marketed from that point on.
The main theme of the film is teenage rebellion against authority figures. On the surface, the students have little in common with each other; however, they eventually bond over a common disdain for their parents. The main adult character, Mr. Vernon, is not portrayed in a positive light. He consistently talks down to the students and flaunts his authority throughout the film. Bender is the only one who stands up to Vernon, and so he becomes the leader of their group.
Stereotyping acts as another major theme of the movie. Once the obvious stereotypes are broken down, the characters "empathize with each others' struggles, dismiss some of the inaccuracies of their first impressions, and discover that they are more similar than different."
Release and reception
The film holds a 91% "Certified Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 44 reviews, with an average score of 7.4/10. The critical consensus is "The Breakfast Club is a warm, insightful, and very funny look into the inner lives of teenagers". Review aggregator Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 62% based on 11 reviews from mainstream critics, considered to be "generally favorable reviews".
The Breakfast Club is known as the "quintessential 1980s film". In 2008, it was ranked #369 by Empire magazine of their The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time list. Similarly, The New York Times placed the film on its Best 1000 Movies Ever list. The film was ranked number 1 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.
In 2005, the film received the Silver Bucket of Excellence Award in honor of its 20th anniversary at the MTV Movie Awards. For the event, MTV attempted to reunite the original cast. Sheedy, Ringwald, and Hall appeared together on stage, with Kapelos in the audience; Gleason gave the award to his former castmates. Estevez could not attend because of other commitments, and Nelson appeared earlier in the show but left before the on-stage reunion, prompting Hall to joke that the two were "in Africa with Dave Chappelle." Pop-punk band Yellowcard performed the film's anthem, "Don't You Forget About Me."
At the 82nd Academy Awards Sheedy, Hall, Ringwald and Nelson all appeared in a tribute to John Hughes, along with other actors who had worked with Hughes, including Jon Cryer from Pretty in Pink, Matthew Broderick from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone.
In 2003 the film was released on DVD as part of the "High School Reunion Collection". In 2008, a "Flashback Edition" DVD was released with several special features, including commentary with Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson. A 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray was released in 2010, and the same disc was re-released with a DVD and digital copy in 2012 as part of Universal's 100th Anniversary series.
|The Breakfast Club|
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
|Released||February 19, 1985|
|Genre||Rock, New Wave|
|Singles from The Breakfast Club|
In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a "D-" and said that it has "utterly negligible" songs and "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds, whom he commended for trying to distance themselves from the song. In a retrospective review for Allmusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave it three out of five stars and wrote that, apart from Simple Minds' "undisputed masterpiece", the album is largely "disposable" and marred by "'80s artifacts" and "forgettable instrumentals."
- "Don't You (Forget About Me)" – Simple Minds
- "Waiting" – E.G. Daily
- "Fire in the Twilight" – Wang Chung
- "I'm the Dude" (instrumental) – Keith Forsey
- "Heart Too Hot to Hold" – Jesse Johnson, Stephanie Spruill
- "Dream Montage" (instrumental) – Gary Chang
- "We Are Not Alone" – Karla DeVito
- "Reggae" (instrumental) – Keith Forsey
- "Didn't I Tell You?" – Joyce Kennedy
- "Love Theme" (instrumental) – Keith Forsey
- Gross data for the film The Breakfast Club from movie data base site Box Office Mojo
- Dave Itzkoff (September 17, 2010). "She Won’t Forget About Him: Molly Ringwald Remembers John Hughes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
- Steinberg, Julie (September 21, 2010). "‘The Breakfast Club’ Cast Reunites, But Where’s Emilio? ‘Working on ‘Mighty Ducks 5". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. Three Rivers Press. pp. 56-57.
- October 1999 issue of Premiere Magazine
- Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. Three Rivers Press. p. 47.
- Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. Three Rivers Press. p. 58.
- Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. Three Rivers Press. pp. 59, 69.
- Dameron, Emerson (August 11, 2009). "John Hughes: The Director’s Cut". Newcity Film. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- Gora, Susannah (2010). You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried. Three Rivers Press. pp. 79-80, 325-326.
- Loukides, Paul (1996). Beyond the Stars 5: Themes and Ideologies in American Popular Film. Popular Press. pp. 30-32.
- Barsanti, Chris (2010). Filmology: A Movie-a-Day Guide to the Movies You Need to Know. Adams Media. p. 49.
- "The Breakfast Club". Oup.com. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
- "The Breakfast Club Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- "The Breakfast Club, Movie Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
- "Weekend Box Office: February 15-18, 1985—4-day President's Day Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
- "The Breakfast Club (1985)". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- Dunkleberger, Amy (2007). So You Want to Be a Film Or TV Screenwriter?. Enslow Publishers, Inc. p. 73.
- "Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time". Empire. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made". The New York Times. April 29, 2003. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- "Entertainment Weekly's The 50 Best High School Movies". AMC Filmsite.org. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- A. O. Scott (December 14, 2001). "FILM REVIEW; Pretty in Prank: A Spoof of a Lampoon of a Satire of...". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- "The Breakfast Club (High School Reunion Collection)". amazon.com. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- "The Breakfast Club (Flashback Edition)". amazon.com. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- "The Breakfast Club (25th Anniversary Edition)". amazon.com. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003IWYOF4 "The Breakfast Club [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary)"]. amazon.com. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- Universal 100th
- Christgau, Robert (June 25, 1985). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Review: The Breakfast Club – Original Soundtrack". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Breakfast Club|
- The Breakfast Club at the Internet Movie Database
- The Breakfast Club at allmovie
- The Breakfast Club DVD official Universal Studios website