Film: The Breakfast Club
“So, Ahab, can I have all my doobage?”
“Chicks cannot hold dey smoke, dat’s what it is.”
The opening narration to this film is spoken by Anthony Michael Hall (Brian Johnson/The Brain):
“Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062 (fictional town). […] You see us as you want to see us… […] You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. […] That’s the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.”
This is my graduating class…the class of 1984 (despite the age of some of the actors). Released February 15, 1985, I was in my freshman year of college and it was a bittersweet revisit. I knew these characters…every single one of them. My high school even had a library that resembled that set. This movie was made with only a one million budget but, brought in $51 million and, in 2016, was selected for preservation with the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. There is no CGI or special effects. There are no sweeping views of beautiful locations. There are no “shoot-em-up-bang-bang” sequences. There is some action with the cast running through the hallways, dancing while high and Judd Nelson (John Bender/The Criminal) falling through the ceiling tiles. This is, primarily, a study of human nature, parental influence, peer influence, subtle & overt abuse and the struggle to understand. It’s heartbreaking, it’s hilarious and it is so Generation X. ~Vic
Written, produced and directed by John Hughes, it also stars Emilio Estevez (Andrew Clark/The Athlete), Molly Ringwald (Claire Standish/The Princess), Ally Sheedy (Allison Reynolds/The Basket Case), Paul Gleason (Asst. Principal Richard Vernon) and John Kapelos (Carl Reed/The Janitor).
♦ 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. Writer and director John Hughes told them all to ad-lib.
♦ There is a deleted scene of Claire and Allison in the bathroom that didn’t show up until the Blu-Ray edition was released.
♦ Sixteen year old Hall hit a growth spurt during shooting and outgrew 24 year old Nelson, prompting Nelson to joke about writing letters to geneticists.
♦ Bender’s joke about the blonde, the poodle and the six foot salami has no punchline as it was never in the script.
♦ Nelson was nearly fired for method-acting harassment.
♦ Hall’s mother & sister play themselves in the movie. ♦ Keith Forsey wrote the lyrics to Don’t You (Forget About Me) and Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music was approached to sing it. Billy Idol was also approached and recorded his own version, later. An offer to Chrissie Hynde lead to her, then, husband Jim Kerr of Simple Minds.
♦ Nelson improvised the part at the closing of the film where Bender raises his fist in defiance. Everyone loved it and it has also become an iconic symbol of the 1980s as well as cinema history.
Original ‘Breakfast Club’ Screenplay Found (Chicago Tribune)
The Breakfast Club Cut Content (Lost Media Archive Wiki)
Coincidentally, yesterday was Molly Ringwald’s bd, and would have been Hughes as well had he not passed away young(ish).
Somehow I missed the movie when it was out in the 80s, although I knew the music very well. But I eventually caught it on TV maybe 20 years back and it quickly became one of my favorites. I’m around the same age too and recognize some of those archetypes from my HS days.
BTW, yep, you did look a bit like her back then…lucky high school boys!
Hey. Yeah. February 16, 1968 & 1950! How cool! I didn’t catch that. Heart attack at 59. That is way too young.
When did you graduate?
You know, I struggled to find a photo of me that was close. The co-worker shared his resemblance remark with me in 1985, shortly after the movie came out. The photo of me, above, is from late 1981 (my sophomore year) so, apparently, I maintained the resemblance for nearly four years…though he was the only person to ever say anything and Sheedy is four years older than I am.
Fast forward to 2013-2016… For three years, I would have random strangers tell me I looked like Sigourney Weaver, especially during my stint as a Driver’s License Examiner. The younger ones would say “Hey. You look like that lady in Avatar.” The older ones would say “You look a lot like the woman in Ghostbusters.” I had lightened my hair a bit but…go figure.
Great pick, great pic, and awesome trivia facts! I love the spontaneity of this movie. There’s a feeling of improvisation, go-with-the-flow, and throw out self-preservation. The tone isn’t “dated” per say – just “80s” and the epitome of John Hughes, who adored the characters he wrote and directed. You can tell there is a bond between everyone both on and off the camera. This is one of the most sincere time capsule films for the 80s for me 🙂
Thanks! The actors did gel quite well on camera but, Hughes later stated that he would never work with Nelson, again.
Nelson had/still has a bad rep.
Makes me wonder what his background is.
This is a movie I love. Your trivia bits were all new to me. Enjoyed reading them. High School teachers were sent a package of educational/promo materials on the movie before it came out, framing it as an educational ‘coming of age’ movie. Then when it arrived in the theater, it was rated ‘R’, haha.
I did not know that. I missed that since I was in college.
Yes I graduated the following year. I knew these people…the had a perfect cross section of people. This one defines the 80s for me.
It really is a cross section, even within the actors. Ringwald & Hall were born in 1968.
I guess that makes US “brat packers.” LOL!
LOL…that is what they were called.
The school where they filmed this was Glenbrook North, which is on Shermer Road in Northbrook, Illinois.
I read that. And, the library shots were done from Maine North High School in Des Plaines.
Both of my sons loved loved loved this movie. We had it on VHS. The ensemble in it meshes so well. Interesting trivia. Yes you do look like Ally in that pic. I think it would be a lot more fun to use the characters from “Breakfast Club” instead of Rorshach inkblots for personality testing. I would have been a cross between the criminal and the head case in high school. Good choice!
Heh. I can see the doc, now…”So. Which one of these high school students do you relate to the most?”
Sadly, I can honestly say that I really, really identified with Allison…not so much the compulsive lying part or the junk food but, the parental situation.
Classic flick. I remember performing Emilio Estevez’s soliloquy about why he was in detention back in high school drama class.
That sounds like more fun than my part of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that I had to recite in 7th grade.
Eek! Hans, I just noticed that I missed a break tag in my data…hence the diamond in the wrong place.
Really enjoyed this as a kid! Need to revisit now