"The Breakfast Club"

Aug 25, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Funny, insightful movie

Cons:We never get to hear the punchline to Bender's joke...

The Bottom Line: I recommend this movie to anyone who ever went to high school, and also anyone who never went to high school. I like it that much.

[Personal note: While talking recently with a friend, I caught myself dropping a line from "The Breakfast Club", (one of many memorable lines that have managed to stay in my head for the last 20 years). When she seemed to have missed the reference, I was surprised to learn that she hadn't ever seen this film. It really bothered me, and suddenly I felt like it was my civic duty to convince her to watch it, and anyone else who never has. TBC is not an earth-shattering film, but it is one few people come away from not having enjoyed. This movie, simply put, is a pleasure. Thanks to Epinions.com for the forum with which I can say so.]


Written and directed by John Hughes, "The Breakfast Club" is often considered one of the defining movies of the 80's. Along with a string of other youth driven films during this time ( Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Hughes exhibits a talent for his understanding of the youth of the time. Of these movies, TBC is far and away his best at that. A unique twist on an oft successful premise (teen angst) solid writing, snappy dialogue and a cast that works very well off each other is what makes this such a memorable film.


Five seemingly very different high school students spend a saturday together in library detention. Being together forces them into a situation they wouldn't normally find themselves in (one where they actually associate with one another). From this, they are able to learn alot about each other, and in doing so, themselves.

As the day progresses, the jock, the princess, the basket case, the geek, and the bad boy, find themselves moving closer together and opening up as if they were friends. Gradually, the reasons for their detentions are revealed, and one by one, they begin to realize maybe they aren't so different after all.


The film relys heavily on the interaction of just five characters during the course of a single day, so their believability is key. Hughes draws on some of his favorites (and members of the 'brat pack') to make up the cast.

A buff Emilio Estevez (Repo Man) is aptly cast as a driven but resentful athlete and Molly Ringwald (Pretty in Pink) is poutingly perfect as Claire, the princess with problems.

Judd Nelson (Fandango) recieved a lot of attention for his role here as John Bender, the criminal/bad boy of the group. He gets alot of screen time and does a very good job, but the breakout performances for me were Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall.

Sheedy (Short Circuit, Oxford Blues) goes against type as the 'weird girl'. She doesn't fit anywhere, and she might be the strangest of the bunch, but she seems to be the one who's able to see herself and the others most clearly. She's alternately mute and mouthy, she lies and cajoles, but Sheedy absolutely manages to make the quirky Allison very likable anyway.

Anthony Michael Hall (Vacation, Pretty in Pink)is perfectly cast as Bryan, the lovable brain/geek. Fresh off playing another nerd (Farmer Ted in Sixteen Candles) Hall tones it down this time. The combination of humor and drama allows him to show his inner geek from all sides, and the result is very believable. From the halting speech, to unsure looks and embarrassed grins, Hall is able to realistically capture this part. Once again, Hall shines as a likable character. (Who could forget when he shared a beer with Chevy Chase in Vacation?)

Paul Gleason, as the slightly too tightly wrapped Principal Vernon, and John Kapelos as the insightful janitor share minimal, but essential screen time, and both do an adaquate job.

TBC is a funny, insightful movie about relationships. It's about respecting differences, while realizing we are also the same in so many ways that matter. In that regard, this is not a "teen movie" and you don't need to be a teenager to appreciate the message, or enjoy the film.
Every so often a movie like this just happens. "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", "Dazed and Confused", and "The Breakfast Club" are three such movies that not only entertain, but somewhat reflect the social environment of the time, and are able to make a point.
In the end, in spite of the 'angst', TBC is a feel good movie, and one you may find yourself quoting years from now.

[personal note: Watch this movie Anna. Friends don't friends not know what "Impossible, sir. It's in Johnson's underwear" means)

Naked blonde walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm, and a two-foot salami under the other. The bartender says, I guess you won't be needing a drink. Naked lady says...

If anyone out there knows the punchline, please....

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