100 Movies You Need to See Before You Die

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Country: USA
Director: John Hughes
Screenwriter: John Hughes
Stars: Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, Paul Gleason

Like Martin Scorsese to Catholic guilt, or Stanley Kubrick to chilly sociology, John Hughes is the king of the teens, and The Breakfast Club is his best work. Written and directed by the late Hollywood maverick, The Breakfast Club takes an everyday high school set-up—kids locked up in detention—and uses the situation to explore the psychology of teenagers both popular and socially ostracized. It might be set in 1985, but Hughes' funny and revelatory flick speaks volumes about modern-day young adults, just like it did 26 years ago.

Cleverly, Hughes carefully chose the most stereotypical caricatures and systematically tears through the preconceptions. The abrasive hoodlum (Judd Nelson) is really a lonely basket-case with serious daddy issues; the star athlete (Emilio Estevez) makes his classmates envious yet can't seem to make his father happy; and the popular girl (Molly Ringwald) that all the guys want to sleep with is actually a mega-prude. The Breakfast Club is like a group therapy session, just much more fun to watch. —MB

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