The Breakfast Club cast was an all-star ensemble made up of Hollywood greats: Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall. The 1985 cult classic, set in a high school in Shermer, Illinois, captures the essence of teenage angst and rebellion as five students from different social backgrounds are required to spend their Saturday together in detention. Despite their initial differences and prejudice, they begin to understand and empathize with one another, discuss their personal struggles, share stories about their lives and form unexpected connections.
Directed by the legendary, late John Hughes — often dubbed the “teen movie king” for directing other great ’80s flicks including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink — The Breakfast Club is one of the most popular coming-of-age movies of a generation, and it’s celebrated for its portrayal of social stereotypes and the enduring quest for identity.
To capture the feeling of confinement and isolation, Hughes shot nearly the entire film within a single library set. The characters’ interactions, emotions, and personal growth were the focus, rather than a wide variety of locations.
The song Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds featured prominently in the film and became an anthem of the ’80s.
The film’s enduring popularity can be attributed, in large part, to its unforgettable cast.
Judd Nelson as John Bender
John Bender, the rebellious “criminal” of the group, brought a charismatic edge to the film. Bender’s unforgettable character was not only a troublemaker but also a deeply misunderstood teen with a troubled home life. Judd Nelson‘s portrayal was so iconic that it remains one of his career-defining roles.
Nelson has had a prolific career in Hollywood. In starred with Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Demi Moore in St. Elmo’s Fire (1985). He also had parts in Billionaire Boys Club (1987), From the Hip (1987) and New Jack City (1991).
Surprising Fact: While John Bender may have been a thorn in the side of the school’s authority figures, Judd Nelson was reportedly a well-behaved student during his own high school days.
Molly Ringwald as Claire Standish
Molly Ringwald played Claire, the wealthy popular girl of the group. Ringwald was a favorite of director John Hughes and played in back-to-back teen movies, Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985) and Pretty in Pink (1986).
Later, she starred in For Keeps (1988) a drama about teen pregnancy, The Pick-up Artist (1987), a romantic comedy with Robert Downey Jr. and The Stand(1994), a TV miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic novel. She most recently was in the TV series Riverdale.
In addition to acting, Ringwald is also a singer and author. She released her debut jazz album, Except…Sometimes in 2013. She also wrote several books including a collection of essays titled Getting the Pretty Back and a novel called When It Happens To You.
Ringwald married writer Panio Gianopoulos in 2007. Together they have three childen: Mathilda, and twins Adele and Roman.
Surprising Fact: Molly Ringwald was originally cast to play Allison, the “basket case,” but she lobbied to play Claire, and John Hughes eventually agreed.
Anthony Michael Hall as Brian Johnson
Anthony Michael Hall portrayed Brian, the “brain” of the group and the classic overachiever. Hall’s portrayal was endearing, showing the vulnerability beneath all of the academic success.
Besides being in The Breakfast Club cast, Hall is known for his roles in other John Hughes films like Sixteen Candles and Weird Science. He joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1985 when he was just 17. In 1990, he was in Edward Scissorhands and he was later featured on the TV series The Dead Zone, Awkward, Murder in the First and The Goldbergs. Hall also starred in 2021’s Halloween Kills. More recently, he’s appeared in the popular TV series Riverdale.
The actor, now 55, is married to actress and model Lucia Hall (they met when they starred in the 2017 film War Machine.) The couple welcomed their first child — Michael Anthony Hall II — in July of this year.
Surprising Fact: John Hughes initially considered John Cusack for the role of Brian before casting Anthony Michael Hall.
Ally Sheedy as Allison Reynolds
Allison, the “basket case,” was an enigmatic character who added depth to the The Breakfast Club cast.
Ally Sheedy continued to act in a variety of films and TV shows, including St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), Short Circuit (1986) and High Art (1998). She also starred in Bad Boys (1983) with Sean Penn. In 1988 she starred in the sequel to Short Circuit 2.
Interestingly enough, she turned down the role played by Kelly McGillis in Tom Gun (1986). She also auditioned for (and didn’t make) the starring role in 16 Candles (1984).
Sheedy pursued a career in writing. She published several books including a book of poems called Yesterday I Saw the Sun.
Surprising Fact: Sheedy’s aunt is Angela Lansbury!
Emilio Estevez as Andrew Clark
In The Breakfast Club cast, Andrew, the “athlete” with a strong sense of responsibility, was an important character in the group. Emilio Estevez‘s portrayal showcased the pressures and expectations placed on young athletes.
Estevez has continued to act, direct, and write in the film industry. He’s known for directing and starring in The Mighty Ducks franchise. He was also in Stakeout (1987), Young Guns (1988) and its sequel. He also starred in and directed The Public (2018).
Surprising Fact: Emilio Estevez is the brother of Charlie Sheen, who was also a prominent actor during the ’80s and ’90s. Their father is actor Martin Sheen.
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