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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Emilio Estevez
Molly Ringwald
Ally Sheedy
Anthony Michael Hall
Paul Gleason.
Directors
John Hughes.
Screenwriters
John Hughes.
Running Time
97 minutes

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The Breakfast Club
The Brat-pack strikes back


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Plot
A rag-tag bunch of unruly kids are ordered into school on a Saturday for an extra special morning detention. Defiant at first, they eventually find a camaraderie when the principal buggers off and leaves them to entertain themselves.


Review

“When the causes of the Decline Of Western Civilization are finally writ, Hollywood will surely have to answer why it turned over one of man’s most significant art forms to the self-gratification of high-schoolers...” Industry rag Variety didn’t so much greet The Breakfast Club with open arms as crunch it into an armpit-lock and squeeze until the jerking stopped.

In retrospect, this violent reaction to such a vanilla-flavoured piece of cinema reads like a badly informed dad’s rants. Or maybe an allergic reaction to Emilio Estevez’s dancing. Variety was cruel at the time but, over 20 years on, has time been cruel to the Club? In the spirit of adolescent indecision, that’s a definite yes-no.

Calling it radical would be a stretch, yet in 1985 The Breakfast Club dressed differently from all the other teen comedies flying down the chutes. Director John Hughes wrote the script in a fortnight, constructing a simple, one-location talkie that brought a generation’s submerged angst to the surface. The result was a movie that’s confused, impatient, indulgent, naive, clumsy, unintentionally funny and prone to random outbursts of energy. Rather like the audience that lined the blocks to tune in and angst out.

To Shermer High, then, where five Kellogg’s Teen Pack archetypes — jock, weirdo, nerd, rebel, prom queen — are assembled for an all-Saturday detention. Over the course of eight hours, they pick at each other’s defences (fun) until an existential maelstrom hits and they come to learn some universal teen-truths (less fun). Estevez, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson are all volume, the last blasting out his bothers like a WWE wrestler, but Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall are great, even during the film’s more pompous moments.

The style might be flying in from another decade (Sheedy’s makeover from chic Goth to Bridesmaid Of Minnie Mouse is as laugh-out-loud as it ever was), but the emotional baggage has survived the journey. Really — and this is a compliment — it’s a movie for anyone who’s ever had zits. Which means all of us at some point.

So, if you had zits in the ’80s, there’s guilty retro-pleasures aplenty, like Estevez’s dance moves, an extraordinary piece of performance art that combines harassment by persistent wasp (arms) with prostate-popping squat thrusts (legs). And if you have zits now? There’s just about enough truth behind the banalities to still strike discord. 


Verdict
Hughes has made funnier (Ferris Bueller) and better (Pretty In Pink), but this is the only one you could get away with calling iconic. Good and bad, it's still the definitive '80s teen movie - and, to paraphrase Simple Minds - don't you forget about it.


Reviewed by Simon Crook

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Breakfast Club
Empire Star Rating

Without a shadow of a doubt: one of the most important films of the '80s. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 20:27, 18 November 2013 | Report This Post


The Breakfast Club

This John Hughes teenage film remains like a standalone classic and the best ever made before and since then because of its raw nature ,its sincere efforts to approach the teenage angst in an insightful manner and for its emotional frankness. Breakfast Club never preaches, instead leaves the matter as such which makes you to say at least once -"Hey, I've been through that before !" ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ajm1991 at 07:59, 10 November 2012 | Report This Post


Yours Sincerely, The Breakfast Club

Another classic from John Hughes, radical at the time, now more like an enduring feel-good, ice-cool moral poem of bonding, stereotypes and humanity captures the realms of teenage angst, rage and confusion anyone has ever experienced. Everything is funny, direct and breezy, and perhaps at times more intelligent on reflection, an example of Hughes at his most simple yet wise once again... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by twinpeaks4eva at 15:31, 12 February 2012 | Report This Post


The Breakfast club

Lets hope they don't remake this. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by antosh25 at 11:32, 06 December 2011 | Report This Post


"It'll be anarchy"

Epic film, getting 5* for how good this film makes you feel. In that respect, no one ever did it as good as Hughes, see also: 'Ferris Buller', 'Baby's Day Out', 'Home Alone', 'Dennis', 'Pretty in Pink' etc. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by plum bob at 21:44, 05 June 2011 | Report This Post


Movieaddict247 says it the best. The film isn't one of the finest ever made, but it certainly has one of the strongest didactic morals to ever come out of film. I'm a 17 years old in 2010 and this had more of an impact on me than any other teenage movie ever has. It suggests that youth is a time for trouble, for fun and for enjoyment. Iconic, yes. Cheesy in parts, yes. Absolutely brilliant, yes ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Blue Ryan at 23:22, 27 May 2010 | Report This Post


I'm giving this film five stars not because its an incredible film, but because of its impact. Every bit of angst in the film is brilliant, and it really gets teenagers (I watch it whenever I'm feeling stroppy, and its always brilliant). Also, its impact on recent teen movies is huge. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MovieAddict247 at 15:39, 06 June 2009 | Report This Post


1st half is incredible, 2nd half.. eh .. not so much.

the tension between the different stereotypes is so good at the beginning and middle, but then it gets sooo self indulgentand cringe-worthy. would be five stars if the second half delivered a more subtle message. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hollywooodgoldenage at 12:16, 17 April 2009 | Report This Post


The Breakfast Club

And so the brat pack returns, although, suprisingly, this a rather good film, and really has aged quite well, especially compared to many other teen films of the 1980's. Of course, it's nowhere near as good as Hughes' masterpiece, Ferris Bueller's Day off, and Judd Nelson's character can be really start to grate, it remains fun and with most of it's messages are as timeless as ever. Sure, the clothes and the music may have changed, but these social cliques remain to this day. So don't bother w... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jamesbondguy at 11:07, 28 January 2007 | Report This Post


A perfect example of the work of Mr Hughes - good, but not great ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cujo at 17:20, 30 March 2006 | Report This Post


Have you raided Barry Manilow's wardrobe?

The teen movie, an inspiration for American Pie and beyond, a funny, poignant, cool film. You just hope that Simple Minds' 'Don't You Forget About Me' plays at your prom night. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mufcgeorge7 at 00:56, 04 February 2006 | Report This Post



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