The Breakfast Club
|The Breakfast Club|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Hughes|
|Produced by||Ned Tanen
|Written by||John Hughes|
Anthony Michael Hall
|Music by||Keith Forsey|
|Cinematography||Thomas Del Ruth|
|Edited by||Dede Allen|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||97 minutes|
The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes and starring Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, 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, while facing a villainous principal.
Critics consider it one of the greatest high school films, 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".
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Release
- 5 Soundtrack
- 6 References
- 7 External links
On March 24, 1984, five students report for Saturday morning detention at Shermer High School in the Chicago, Illinois suburb of Shermer. While not complete strangers, each of them comes from a different clique, and they seem to have nothing in common: the popular and pampered Claire Standish (a "princess"), the sports jock Andrew Clark (an "athlete"), the bookish Brian Johnson (a "brain"), the reclusive outcast Allison Reynolds (a "basket case") and the rebellious John Bender (a "criminal").
They gather in the high school library, where they are instructed by the assistant principal, Richard Vernon, not to speak, move from their seats, or sleep for a period of eight hours, fifty-four minutes (from 7:06 a.m. to 4 p.m.). He assigns a 1,000-word essay to the students in which each must write about who he or she thinks he or she is. He then leaves, returning only occasionally to check on them. Bender, who has a particularly antagonistic relationship with Vernon, ignores the rules and frequently riles up the other students, teasing Brian and Andrew and harassing Claire. Allison is initially quiet except for the occasional random outburst.
The students pass the hours by talking, frequently arguing, and at one point, smoking marijuana that Bender retrieves from his locker. Gradually, they open up to each other and reveal their deepest personal secrets: Allison is a compulsive liar, Andrew can't think for himself, John comes from a troubled household, Brian has contemplated suicide due to a bad grade, and Claire is a virgin who feels constant pressure from her friends. They also discover that they all have strained relationships with their parents; Allison's parents ignore her, Andrew's father forces him into sports, John's dad abuses him and his mother, Brian's parents put immense pressure on him to get good grades, and Claire's parents use her to get back at each other. They fear making the same mistakes as the adults around them. The students realize that despite their differences, they face similar pressures and complications in their lives.
Despite the differences they all have in terms of their social statuses, the group begins to form friendships (and even relationships) as the day goes on. Claire makes it her mission to show Allison just how pretty she really is; Allison's new look sparks the romantic interest of Andrew who is taken aback by her new girly appearance. Claire decides to break her "pristine" virgin appearances by kissing Bender in the closet. Although it's well known by all of the them that the relationships would end with detention, they formed bonds they never would have expected that changed the way they would look at their peers forever.
Toward 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 objecting to Vernon's request to describe who they are, stating that the man has already judged who they are "in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions": a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.
Brian finishes the essay and leaves it at the table for Vernon to read after they leave. The students part ways outside the school. Allison and Andrew kiss as do Claire and John; Allison rips one of Andrew's patches from his jacket to keep and Claire gives John one of her diamond earrings as a parting gift, which he puts in his ear. Brian's narration of his short essay signs off as "The Breakfast Club," and John raises his fist up in triumph as he walks by himself across the sports field for home.
- Emilio Estevez as Andrew "Andy" Clark, the athlete
- Paul Gleason as Richard "Dick" Vernon, the school assistant principal
- Anthony Michael Hall as Brian Ralph Johnson, the brain
- Judd Nelson as John Bender, the criminal
- Molly Ringwald as Claire Standish, the princess
- Ally Sheedy as Allison Reynolds, the basket case
- John Kapelos as Carl Reed, the school janitor
- Ron Dean as Mr. Clark
- Mercedes Hall as Mrs. Johnson
- John Hughes (uncredited) as Mr. Johnson
- Mary Christian as Brian's sister
- Tim Gamble as Mr. Standish
- Perry Crawford as Mr. Reynolds
- Fran Gargano as Mrs. Reynolds
Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael 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.
Emilio 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 did not 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 1999, Hughes said that his request to direct the film met resistance and skepticism because he lacked filmmaking experience. 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.
Principal photography began on March 28, 1984, and ended in May of that year. Filming took place at Maine North High School in Des Plaines, Illinois, which had closed in 1981. (The building was later used for some of the scenes in Hughes's Ferris Bueller's Day Off, released one year after The Breakfast Club.) At the end of the film, John Bender walks through Maine East 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.
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 main theme of the film is the constant struggle of the American teenager to be understood, by adults and by themselves. It explores the pressure put on teenagers to fit into their own realms of high school social constructs, as well as the lofty expectations of their parents, teachers, and other authority figures. On the surface, the students have little in common with each other. However, after the day rolls by, they eventually bond over a common disdain for the aforementioned issues of peer pressure and parental expectations. 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.
Stereotyping is another theme. Once the obvious stereotypes are broken down, the characters "empathize with each other's struggles, dismiss some of the inaccuracies of their first impressions, and discover that they are more similar than different."
Opening and closing
"...and these children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They're quite aware of what they're going through..."
The voice-over in the opening is performed by Anthony Michael Hall and differs from the version that is delivered at the film's closing:
"Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062. Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong, what we did was wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are, what do you care? You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at seven o'clock this morning. We were brainwashed."
The voice-over in the closing is performed by Hall as well, with Estevez, Sheedy, Ringwald, and Nelson also speaking in character in reference to their "type":
"Dear Mr Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club."
The film's poster, featuring the five characters huddled together, was photographed by Annie Leibovitz toward the end of shooting. The shot of five actors gazing at the camera influenced the way teen films were marketed from that point on. The poster refers to the five "types" of the story using slightly different terms than those used in the film, and in a different sequence, stating "They were five total strangers with nothing in common, meeting for the first time. A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse."
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".
In February 1985, the film debuted at #3 at the box office (behind Beverly Hills Cop and Witness). Grossing $45,875,171 domestically and $51,525,171 worldwide, the film is a box office success, given its alleged $1 million budget.
American Film Institute lists
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) — Nominated
The Breakfast Club is known as the "quintessential 1980s film" and is considered as one of the best films of 1985. 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.
On March 7, 2000, the A-Teens released their single for Dancing Queen (from their debut album The ABBA Generation) by also launching a music video for it. The video itself is a tribute to the movie, with Gleason again reprising his role as Vernon. It features the band and many extras serving as the band's background dancers, as students serving detention in the library, much like the original movie itself. Vernon tells the students that he trusts that they are "looking forward to spending the next four hours--that's 240 long minutes, count 'em--reflecting on your wasted lives." Before leaving, he then warns them not to even think about leaving the room, getting up from their desks, or talking to each other. As soon as he leaves, Marie, the band's oldest member, takes out her CD player with headphones, inserts the single CD, turns up the volume on the intercom and attaches the headphones to the microphone; thus turning the library into a '70s discotheque and starting the song. Part of the video also takes place on the dining area outside the school building. Towards the end of the video, the scene returns to normal as Vernon returns. He then slams a book on the desk of Amit, the band's second-oldest member, signaling the end of detention. As everyone leaves, the camera can be seen panning over to the intercom and microphone with Marie's CD player and headphones, which he obliviously sees.
Jason Moore’s 2012 film Pitch Perfect is about a number of the freshmen from Barden University who choose to join Collegiate A-Cappella groups on campus. Key elements of the film are references to a number of classic films, The Breakfast Club amongst them. Jesse, a Barden Treble-maker, tries to woo the protagonist Beca under the pretext of educating her in ‘the best scored and sound-tracked’ films of all time. The Breakfast Club’s anthem, Simple Minds’ “Don't You (Forget About Me),” is the song that Beca uses to apologise to Jesse at the end of the film, by weaving it into the Barden Bellas’ performance at the ICCA’s, (International Championship of Collegiate A-Cappella).
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 an audio commentary with Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson.
|The Breakfast Club (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
|Released||February 19, 1985|
|Genre||Rock, new wave|
|Singles from The Breakfast Club|
- "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
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."
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- Gross data for the film The Breakfast Club from movie data base site Box Office Mojo
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- 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.
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- Dameron, Emerson (August 11, 2009). "John Hughes: The Director’s Cut". Newcity Film. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
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- "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.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs". American Film Institute. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) Ballot
- 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): Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, John Kapelos, Paul Gleason, John Hughes, Ned Tanen: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
- "The Breakfast Club (Flashback Edition): Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Paul Gleason, Mercedes Hall, John Kapelos, Ron Dean, Perry Crawford, Fran Gargano, John Hughes, Tim Gamble, Jackie Burch, Thomas del Ruth: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
- "The Breakfast Club (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]: Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, John Hughes: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
- "The Breakfast Club (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) : Universal's 100th Anniversary". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- "Celebrating 100 years of iconic movie moments". Universal 100th. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
- "The Breakfast Club Vinyl Soundtrack (1985) - Sealed". Etsy. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- 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.
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- The Breakfast Club at the Internet Movie Database
- The Breakfast Club at Box Office Mojo
- The Breakfast Club at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Breakfast Club at Metacritic
- The Breakfast Club DVD official Universal Studios website