MOTW: Five Facts about the "The Breakfast Club"

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Five high school students, all different stereotypes, meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
September 3rd, 2013

MOTW: Five Facts about the "The Breakfast Club"

There are a handful of '80s high school movies that will always have a place in the hearts of movie lovers, and "The Breakfast Club" is definitely one of them. In this film, director John Hughes does a phenomenal job of capturing teenage life during this era. The actors he chose were not only talented; they were able to bring his vision to life using a great deal of humor and plenty of emotion. The film centers around five characters who certainly made a name for themselves in the '80s.

At first glance, the premise of "The Breakfast Club" seems totally ordinary: five unrelated students without any shared interests, facing a Saturday detention together in the school library. However, over the course of a single day the audience gets to watch as these disparate students form connections and friendships, unknown to the rest of the student body, that weld them together to form the Breakfast Club.

Emilio Estevez played the role of Andy, an athlete who is generally happy with life but has personal issues with his father. Anthony Michael Hall played Brian, a smart, straight-A student who lacks confidence. Judd Nelson played John, who is the main character and bad boy of the group. Molly Ringwald played the role of Claire, a reserved girl who comes from a wealthy family but is extremely insecure. Ally Sheedy played Allison, who is the most awkward character. She is generally very quiet, but she speaks up when she needs to defend herself. Most people who were teenagers during the '80s know everything there is to know about this wildly popular film. However, there are quite a few facts that many people are unaware of, even to this day. Here are five facts about "The Breakfast Club" you may not have known.

Director John Hughes originally wanted Molly Ringwald to play the character Allison instead of Claire. When he chose Molly Ringwald to join the cast, he felt strongly that the character of Allison would look and sound a lot like Molly. However, after Ally Sheedy delved deeply into the script, she spoke to Hughes and told him that the character Allison was definitely for her. Sheedy believed that Allison was a part of who she really was and felt like she knew Allison's voice. She knew that she could breathe life into that character. Hughes at first chose not to switch Ringwald and Sheedy's characters, but Sheedy felt so strongly about playing Allison that he changed his mind and decided that Ringwald would play the role of Claire.

"The Breakfast Club" was shot in the same school that was used to shoot "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." That movie, which starred Matthew Broderick, was another '80s hit that centered on high school students. The movies were filmed at Main North High School, which is located in Des Plaines, Illinois. The settings of "The Breakfast Club" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" were in Chicago.

Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, and Judd Nelson were all in their twenties when the movie was filmed, but Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were only sixteen years old at the time. According to Hughes, the two were extremely mature for their ages. In fact, Hughes sometimes joked that Ringwald had the maturity level of a woman in her mid-thirties.

When "The Breakfast Club" was filmed, Hughes was still a fairly new director and didn't have a large movie budget. For "The Breakfast Club," it was just one million dollars, which was quite a low budget, even for the '80s. The movie was shot using a single location, which made it possible for Hughes to make the film at such a low cost. The film, however, went on to gross more than $50 million dollars, providing Hughes with enough clout to direct films with larger budgets. His very next film, which was "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," had a budget of six million dollars.

"The Breakfast Club" is on many top-movie lists, including Empire's list of "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time" and The New York Time's list of "The Best 100 Movies Ever." However, "The Breakfast Club" reached the number one spot on only one list: Entertainment Weekly's list of "The Fifty Best High School Films." This movie will always have a special place in the hearts of teenagers worldwide, as will director John Hughes, who sadly passed away from a heart attack in 2009 at the age of 59.