The Breakfast Club


The Breakfast Club

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 61


Audience Score

User Ratings: 556,279
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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 caste system. Yet the students bond together when faced with the villainous principal (Paul Gleason), and they realize that they have more in common than they may think, including a contempt for adult society. "When you grow up, your heart dies," Allison proclaims in one of the film's many scenes of soul-searching, and, judging from the adults depicted in the film, the teen audience may very well agree. Released in a decade overflowing with derivative teen films, The Breakfast Club has developed an almost cult-like status. ~ Dylan Wilcox, Rovi


Emilio Estevez
as Andrew Clark
Molly Ringwald
as Claire Standish
Paul Gleason
as Richard Vernon
Anthony Michael Hall
as Brian Johnson
Ally Sheedy
as Allison Reynolds
Judd Nelson
as John Bender
Perry Crawford
as Allison's Father
Mary Christian
as Brian's Sister
Ron Dean
as Andy's Father
Tim Gamble
as Claire's Father
Fran Gargano
as Allison's Mom
Mercedes Hall
as Brian's Mom
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Critic Reviews for The Breakfast Club

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (54) | Rotten (7)

  • Taking place almost entirely in one room, "The Breakfast Club" is the kind of movie -- and the kind of play -- that's hardly seen anymore. And good riddance.

    Jan 4, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Hughes has a wonderful knack for communicating the feelings of teenagers, as well as an obvious rapport with his exceptional cast - who deserve top grades.

    Feb 13, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Hughes may deserve more plaudits as a social worker than a filmmaker, but you have to admit his hokey situation plays. The reason is the five terrific young actors, who bring more conviction to these parts than they perhaps deserve.

    Nov 9, 2015 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Nothing really changes. You hear nothing you haven't heard before. But you know that for them it is happening for the first time, and they deserve compassion. I'm not sure that's a good enough reason to see "The Breakfast Club."

    Mar 23, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

    Joseph Gelmis

    Top Critic
  • Rarely have on-screen teens felt this authentic. They bluster, bicker and trade horrible insults (whence the film's R rating), then suddenly expose their most guarded feelings.

    Mar 23, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

    Rafer Guzman

    Top Critic
  • While meticulously drawn, the film's characters are so stereotypically representative that only the lamest of moviegoers will not determine their respective backgrounds and problems long before the plodding movie does.

    Feb 13, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Breakfast Club

  • Jul 21, 2016
    This movie truly depicts the life of a highschooler in an amazing story full of pop references and aesthetic. The plot may seem uninteresting a dull but once you start this fantastic film you will keep watching not wanting it to end. In my opinion it could be one of the best teen films ever made.
    Tyler H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2014
    The Breakfast Club is a seminal '80s cult comedy from writer/director John Hughes. The story follows a group of five high school students from different cliques who find themselves in detention together on a Saturday morning, and throughout the day they learn to see past the labels that society has imposed them. It's a fairly simple plot that plays heavily on stereotypes. And Hughes' writing isn't that good, as the melodrama is overdone and the characters' mood swings shift between extremes from one scene to the next. Yet, the film has a powerhouse cast full of '80s icons (Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, and Anthony Michael Hall) who are able to carry the material and make it work more than it should. While it has its problems, The Breakfast Club is a fun and entertaining film that speaks to the high school experience.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2014
    "I could move out to the left for a while, I could slide to the right for a while, I could get up and back right on track!". Ladies and gentlemen, "Right on Track", by the one-hit wonder band Breakfast Club, which didn't get an album out until two years after this film, but formed before the film and is therefore the original. I'd be tongue-in-cheek here and say that it's a shame that people forgot about them, but that Breakfast Club probably should have tried to get a movie deal, because Simple Minds probably would have been forgotten if it wasn't for this film. Don't you children after the mid'80s dare tell me that "Don't You (Forget About Me)" didn't play a big role in your teen years, because it went on to be everyone's senior anthem, including - you guessed it - mine. I for one would have voted for Billy Joel's "Vienna", but the kids wouldn't have gone for that, as it's a little too bittersweet of a coming-of-age ballad... as opposed to this film, which is consistently upbeat and fun. Well, retrospect at least makes the film kind of sad, because the careers of the Brat Pack members featured in this film didn't really go as far as many had hoped, kind of like the careers of Brat Pack members in any film. Sorry, kids, but if you're going rip off the Rat Pack, don't expect to make Frank Sinatra money, and just worry about making a good movie, like this one, which isn't to say that you can easily forget about this film's flaws. Labeled a comedy-drama, this film, as quite decidedly John Hughes' heaviest film, is much more dramatic than anything, yet it does have a tendency to lighten up, perhaps too considerably, with fluffy elements of humor, or at least lightheartedness (Perhaps Keith Foresee's score a touch too funky), that defuse some dramatic momentum. More detrimental to momentum is, of course, an unevenness in pacing, a more serious issue that incorporates a few lively spots to break up the monotony of the dominant thoughtfulness that, while effectively compelling on the whole, goes so padded by repetitious material in John Hughes' scripting that the thoughtfulness often runs out of material to draw upon as subtly lively. Being backed by a minimalist narrative, this film's runtime of almost 100 minutes is questionable, and you feel most every step to that point through draggy written storytelling and often limp directorial storytelling, until the film is rendered a little dull at times, yet still too tight for exposition's sake. An extensive character study, this film has plenty of expository depth, which unravels very slowly, thanks to immediate development's being lacking and gradual characterization's being too steady for you to get a quick grip on the depths of the characters who feel stereotypical before they feel layered in this drama which rarely loses its superficiality. There's a lot of genuineness to this coming-of-age drama, but it's primarily found in Hughes' tasteful direction, which cannot completely overshadow the histrionics within Hughes' scripting, whose unsubtly cheesy spots in dialogue and moments of melodrama thin the genuineness of the final product, ostensibly in an attempt to flesh out tensions more than they ought to be fleshed out in this narrative. Set during a single day in an isolated school environment, this film's story is certainly heavy enough to be interpreted into quite the rewarding affair, but at the same time, it's minimalist in dynamicity, and that limits a potential for momentum that goes further retarded by all of the aforementioned lapses in realization in tone, pacing, development and dramatic genuineness. The final product could have slipped into underwhelminginess, but in the hands of a filmmaker beneath the abilities of John Hughes, who proves to be inspired enough to craft a rewarding final product, whose compellingness can be traced back to the very story concept that I just described as a touch too minimalist for its own good. Yeah, not a whole lot goes on in this narrative, even on paper, as it's simply set within a limited space and a limited timeline, but at its core, this story of comradery and self-discovery is very worthy, both thematically and dramatically, with a potential that has be explored pretty deeply in order for thorough engagement value to be sustained. John Hughes, as screenwriter, shakes engagement value with many a lapse in subtlety, but more than that, he secures it pretty firmly, with fair wit and audacity to what humor there is, and deep, if belated exposition that takes you into the heart of this layered character study, almost as much as the portrayers of the memorably well-drawn characters. In a drama this minimalist, performances can go a long, long way, thus, despite some limitations in acting material, most everyone delivers, with Paul Gleason, as an antagonistic assistant principal who represents oppressive emphasis on the flaws of stereotypical protagonists, and has his own personal demons to come to terms with, convinces, though not as much as the young leads, as Ally Sheedy captures the quiet nervousness of the "basket case" role, and Molly Ringwald captures a sense of uncertainly of the spoiled "princess" role, while Anthony Michael Hall captures a sense of alienation within the geeky "brain" role, and Emilio Estevez proves to be charismatic as an "athlete" and self-appointed voice of reason who still feels controlled, just as Judd Nelson proves to be charismatic, as well as show-stealingly layered in his portrayal of a corrupt youth, the "criminal" role. Really, while Nelson's performance arguably feels about as nuanced as anyone's, each performance carries its share of layers and dramatic range which transcend the stereotypes and organically sells a sense of character evolution that feels a tad forced in certain areas of storytelling, while electric chemistry sells the relationship that is just as instrumental in driving this drama's depth, thus making the final product as much a vehicle for inspired acting as it is a vehicle for inspired direction. What can ultimately make or break the full impact of this intimate drama is the offscreen directorial performance by Hughes, which alternates between thoughtful and colorful, albeit jarringly, but not to where you can disregard inspiration within either storytelling extreme, because when it comes to the color, Hughes subtly, but surely plays with stylish editing and filming enough to entertain, sometimes thoroughly. The film has plenty of entertainment value, but this isn't that kind of fun coming-of-age film that Hughes went on to do the rest of his career, relying much more thoughtfulness that proves to be kind of bland once material in Hughes' writing begins to run thin, but is primarily effective, utilizing an atmospheric sobriety that meditates upon the profound highlights in scripting and consistent heart in acting with a very human core that gradually immerses you into this intimate drama, eventually to the point of moving around every corner. The film is about as powerful as it can be, carrying a lot of shortcomings, but also a lot of inspiration, on and off of the screen, with enough heart as an intimate coming-of-age portrait that ultimately endears as a rewarding young adult drama and Hughes' relative magnum opus. When it's time to be dismissed, the minimalism of this narrative finds itself brought too much to light by uneven tone and pacing, some undercooked and derivative characterization, and histrionics for comfort, but through tasteful scripting, moving performances and both subtly stylish and powerfully thoughtful direction, worthy subject matter is done enough justice to make John Hughes' "The Breakfast Club" an effectively entertaining and moving portrait on self discovery through comradery. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Apr 16, 2014
    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
    Eugene B Super Reviewer

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