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The Breakfast Club (1985)

tomatometer

91

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 4

The Breakfast Club is a warm, insightful, and very funny look into the inner lives of teenagers.

57

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 3

The Breakfast Club is a warm, insightful, and very funny look into the inner lives of teenagers.

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 549,957

My Rating

Movie Info

John Hughes wrote and directed this quintessential 1980s high school drama featuring the hottest young stars of the decade. Trapped in a day-long Saturday detention in a prison-like school library 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). These five strangers begin the day with nothing in common, each bound to his/her place in the high school

R,

Drama, Comedy

John Hughes

Sep 2, 2003

Universal Pictures

Watch It Now

Cast

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All Critics (47) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (4) | DVD (22)

In nine hours of threatening, bickering and, eventually, poignant (but never maudlin) self-revelation, the stereotypes dissolve and re-form.

July 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

John Hughes's 1985 film seems meant to explain 80s youngsters to yesterday's youth, and comes to the comforting conclusion that they're just as alienated, idealistic, and vulnerable as the baby boomers of the 1960s.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Does director John Hughes really believe, as he writes here, that 'when you grow up, your heart dies.' It may. But not unless the brain has already started to rot with films like this.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (18)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An iconic movie of the '80s, with all the unappealing baggage that suggests.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (5)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Breakfast Club doesn't need earthshaking revelations; it's about kids who grow willing to talk to one another, and it has a surprisingly good ear for the way they speak.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Hughes, having thought up the characters and simply flung them together, should have left well enough alone.

May 20, 2003 | Comments (8)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

an awakening

January 19, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

[VIDEO ESSAY] The movie captures teenagers' innate ability to defeat authority figures, and their own misconceptions about themselves.

September 16, 2013 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

A movie that has far more problems than its reputation would suggest, the kind of flaws that can be very readily glossed over in a fit of fond remembrance.

September 26, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

There's not a single false beat to be found, concluding Breakfast with a singular display of emotional discharge unheard of in its genre.

September 8, 2008 Full Review Source: DVDTalk.com
DVDTalk.com

Time capsule.

February 16, 2008
ColeSmithey.com

Good and bad, it's still the definitive '80s teen movie.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

One of the few teen-oriented films that truly addresses the troubles of its characters, yet it falters in dealing with the issues raised.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The Breakfast Club was teen-auteur John Hughes' attempt to take a step back and evaluate the large horde of teens our schools turn out and how they desperately search for identity.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Equal parts funny, smart and sincere, it's a movie that delved a little deeper into the teenage psyche and came back with something more challenging than "nerds want sex."

November 11, 2005 Full Review Source: DVD Clinic | Comment (1)
DVD Clinic

Teen comedy-drama, over easy.

July 6, 2005
Movie Metropolis

Anyone who has ever been to high school can relate to at least one of these kids.

April 22, 2005
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

...Hughes may have been the first filmmaker to attempt to put plausible teenagers on screen

April 17, 2005 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

One of the best films ever made...I mean it!

March 11, 2005 | Comments (2)
Moviehole

Offers a breakthrough portrait of the pain and miunderstanding which result from demeaning social hierarchies set up by teenagers.

August 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

comedy and truth and great tunes

May 18, 2004

Audience Reviews for The Breakfast Club

John Hughes' coming-of-age classic is engulfed with brash stars (Estevez, Ringwald, Nelson, Hall, Sheedy) in their most pristine and memorable roles. The Breakfast Club is witty, hysterical and impacting with its in-depth portrayal of high school teenagers in the 80s. The film is heartfelt and is a great motion picture for generations of then, now and the future. 5/5
April 16, 2014
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

Powerful and iconic, The Breakfast Club is a well-filmed, well-acted, and quite entertaining coming-of-age film that is, to this day, surprisingly and effectively relatable. It can be slow at times, but you can't help falling in love with and caring for these characters.
December 10, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

John Hughe's 'The Breakfast Club' is still a perfect embodiment of teenage angst in film and may just as well stand as a timeless classic.
September 30, 2013
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

Ugh. So awful. I understand that the overarching message of this movie is that stereotypes are merely that: once you get close enough to someone, you see how traits of yourself manifest in them and traits of them manifest in you. Well, how clever of these teen anarchists to figure that out despite the punishing dictatorship of a dead-hearted adult.

To use a similar argument reserved for race movies that try too hard, "The Breakfast Club" reaffirms the very stereotypes it tries to break. After some angry dancing and herbal refreshment, the Princess prettifies the Basket Case to look like just another mean girl drone - the outer beauty makeover of which was the only way to get the Athlete's attention. The Brain ends up doing all the essay work required of the denizens of detention because he's the most capable, the least likely to gripe, and the most asexual by virtue of his intellect, of course. And most awful of all in my estimation, the bitter, Albee-esque vitriol between the Princess and the Criminal is all due to love/hate sexual tension? Add "Slumming It" on her bucket list and "Deflowering the Prim Prom Queen" on his because I see no other reason why Claire and Bender can stand to be near each other.

The last "group therapy" session doesn't even hint at any romantic intrigue, so why throw it in? The gravitas cultivated by the club finally revealing something true about themselves is good enough; they needn't have paired off on their Ark of Happy Hollywood Endings to get across the message of accepting people for their differences. Some revelations are low stakes while all conclusions ring artificial as hell. Polite yet volatile Andrew broaches the staggering pressure he faces from being Alpha Dog in a brilliant long monologue, but he still gets a girl in the end. Smart yet meek Brian tearfully divulges his thoughts of suicide, only to reveal that he had brought a flare gun to school, not the vague "a gun" which would lead his audience to a certain sympathetic conclusion. Perceptive but alienating Allison admits that she chose detention because she had nothing better to do, but I recall a parent/guardian dropping her off at school and what negligent parent would even deign to do that?

My favorite, prissy but sensitive Claire, speaks the most truth about high school cliques and how the quintet probably won't be friends on Monday. I don't find her conceited as Brian accuses her to be; I find her realistic, and Molly Ringwald's everygirl magnetism doesn't overplay or typify the Rich Bitch. She recognizes how similar they all are, which brings me to everyone's seeming favorite but my least: Bender, who immediately and irrevocably shuts down any comparison between her and himself.

I normally take no stock in how much I "like" a character. Even if somebody is a repulsive jerk, I can still appreciate the characterization as long as they're interesting and developed. I found myself HATING John Bender. He is a repulsive jerk for the sake of it. He bows to no authority, but he lacks accountability for himself. He is startlingly and unjustifiably cruel, crude, and crass to Claire and everyone else. His few moments of humanity - parroting his abusive dad and taking the fall for the group wandering outside the library - are brief and baseless, respectively, thus inconsequential. His own demons and criminal past are not further explored, and his reason for acting the hero isn't made apparent, so he is merely a flat antagonist, a paper badass who spouts quotable badassery.

The detention letter that bookends this overrated Hughes joint also sticks in my craw. The Brain states, "But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are." I, as well as the group, interpret this as an earnest question; they don't take umbrage at the possible interpretation of the question as, "Who the hell do you think you are?" so IS the essay so crazy? Isn't the whole catharsis of the movie based on the Breakfast Club figuring out who they really are? Doesn't the punishment and existential question bring them closer together (albeit in a superficial way)? Once again, they can certainly defy authority, but they oughta show accountability too. I'm not suggesting that Principal Vernon thought up this assignment expressly to teach them this valuable lesson, nor do I fully sympathize with this disillusioned teacher turned cantankerous administrator, but I can't help thinking, "Kids these days just don't understand."
August 5, 2013
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

    1. Richard Vernon: What if your home, your family... What if your dope was on fire?
    2. John Bender: Impossible, sir. It's in Johnson's underwear.
    – Submitted by Charlie P (3 months ago)
    1. Brian Johnson: You know, there's not supposed to be any monkey business.
    2. John Bender: Young man, have you finished your paper?
    – Submitted by Charlie P (3 months ago)
    1. John Bender: Well, I don't know any lepers either, but I'm not gonna run out and join one of their fucking clubs.
    – Submitted by Charlie P (3 months ago)
    1. Andrew Clark: You ask me one more question and I'm beating the shit out of you.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (4 months ago)
    1. Claire Standish: Excuse me Sir, but why would anyone want to steal a screw?
    – Submitted by ikera d (10 months ago)
    1. Andrew Clark: If I lose my temper, you're totaled man.
    2. John Bender: Totally?
    3. Andrew Clark: Totally.
    – Submitted by ikera d (10 months ago)
View all quotes (67)

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