Make us your home page

'Breakfast Club' turns 25: The top 25 iconic moments from John Hughes' opus



The Breakfast Club
Twenty-five years ago today, a movie called The Breakfast Club opened in theaters and changed the way Hollywood looked at teenagers -- and the way teens looked at themselves.

Over those years, the movie has been passed along from one generation to the next, an heirloom of our youth, inspiring the latest group of princesses, athletes, brains, criminals and basket cases to re-examine their presumed places in the world.

"In my opinion, it will forever be considered one of the best films about young people," says Susannah Gora, author of the new book You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes and Their Impact on a Generation. "If it's second to anything, it would only be second to Rebel Without a Cause. It's a permanent part of our youth culture now."

[Click here to read more of my interview with Gora. And read more about her book at]

Everyone has their favorite moment from the movie. But here are my personal top 25 moments, my silver anniversary gift to the movie that changed many of our lives.


Allysheedyx390 25. THE OPENING CREDITS: Punctuated by a verse from David Bowie's Changes.

24. THE WHISTLING: The five students do the Colonel Bogey March whistling from The Bridge Over The River Kwai.

23. THE LUNCH MEAT: Allison throws her lunch meat on the sculpture in the library and puts cereal between the bread slices instead.

22. THE DANCE: The students smoke a joint and begin a short dance medley. Brian has sunglasses on. "Chicks cannot hold their smoke, dat's what it is."

21. THE NYMPHOMANIAC: Allison tells the other students "I'll do anything sexual, and I don't need a million dollars to do it either. I'm a nymphomaniac."

20. NO, NOT REALLY: Actually Allison is a compulsive liar ... and a pick-pocket.

Molly 19. THE MAKEOVER: Claire gives Allison a makeover. Actually, she just gets rid of "all that black sh-- under your eyes."

18. THE CAMEO: Brian's father picks him up at the end of detention. That part is played by John Hughes

17. THE PANTIES: Just like in Sixteen Candles, Molly Ringwald's panties are a plot point when Bender finds himself hiding under a desk only to discover he has a bird's eye view up Claire's skirt.

16. THE JANITOR SAYS HI: John Kapelos (Rudy in Sixteen Candles) as Carl the Janitor says hi to Brian, drawing disapproving looks from the other students. Several of Carl's scenes ultimately were cut to get the movie down to just 90 minutes (from its original 2.5 hour running time.

15. THE SWEATSHIRT SWOOSH: Out of boredom, Andrew does a swoosh movie with the ties around his sweatshirt hoodie.

14. BENDER GETS CAUGHT: Bender intentionally distracts Vernon by running through the halls singing. "I wanna be an airborne ranger / I wanna lead a life of danger."

13. ANDREW BREAKS DOWN: Andrew begins crying while telling the story of taping Larry Lester's buns together and the frustration over his father. "It's all because of me and my old man. God, I f---ing hate him. He's like this mindless machine that I can't even relate to anymore."

Paul_Gleason_Breakfast_Club 12. THE BULL: Principal Vernon gives the "bull" sign to Bender: "Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns."

11. FATHER AND SON: Bender recreates a fight between him and his dad. "No dad, what about you?"

10. THE UNFINISHED JOKE: Bender begins telling a joke -- "Naked blonde walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm, and a two-foot salami under the other" -- while crawling about the ceiling, which gives way before he can finish it. 

9. THE DOOR SLAMS: Andrew unsuccessfully tried to prop the library door open with a chair. The door slams so hard that Allison retreats under the hood of her coat. (In reality, that wasn't scripted. According to Gora's book, Ally Sheedy did it to hide her laughing.)

8. DEMENTED AND SAD: Bender coins a motto for our generation when summing up Brian's participation in the school's physics club: "So it's sorta social, demented and sad, but social."

7. ALLISON COMES CLEAN: Allison admits she came to detention because she didn't have anything better to do.

6. THE CONFRONTATION: Carl the Janitor finds Principal Vernon going through the kids' files, sparking the only adult-to-adult conversation in the film.

5. BRIAN BREAKS DOWN: "The brain" admits he was going to kill himself with a flare gun, before it went off accidentally in his locker.

Kiss 4. THE KISS: Claire kisses Bender, " 'Cause I knew you wouldn't."

3. THE EARRING: Claire gives Bender one of her diamond earrings.

2. THE ESSAY: Brian is elected to write the essay for all the students in detention, though each character gets to speak in the narration. "Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain and an athlete and a basket case...a princess... and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club."

1. THE FINALE: Bender crosses the football field, holds fist up triumphantly as Simple Mind's Don't You Forget About Me blares away.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:56pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours