AFI Movie Club: THE BREAKFAST CLUB – American Film Institute

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AFI Movie Club: THE BREAKFAST CLUB

THE BREAKFAST CLUB, a coming-of-age story that takes place in one day of high school detention, features editing by AFI Honorary Degree recipient Dede Allen. Both director John Hughes and producer Ned Tanen trained AFI Fellows at Harold Lloyd Master Seminars.

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THE BREAKFAST CLUB – Reelgood

Watch Abigail Breslin announce THE BREAKFAST CLUB:

Movie Trivia About THE BREAKFAST CLUB

DID YOU KNOW?

THE BREAKFAST CLUB was set to be filmmaker John Hughes’ directorial debut. He optioned the script to A&M Films in 1982 and agreed to make the movie for $1 million, limiting production to a single location with an ensemble cast. However, the project was put on hold and Hughes wrote four feature films in 1982 and 1984 – including what would become his directorial debut, SIXTEEN CANDLES – before eventually revisiting THE BREAKFAST CLUB.

DID YOU KNOW?

THE BREAKFAST CLUB was originally titled DETENTIONbut John Hughes changed the name after he heard a friend’s teenage son refer to his school’s morning detention class as “The Breakfast Club.”

DID YOU KNOW?

With the commercial success of MR. MOM – for which he’d written the script – John Hughes was offered a three-year, $30 million contract with Universal Pictures. Producer Ned Tanen, who had recently left his presidency at Universal, agreed to absorb THE BREAKFAST CLUB into the deal on condition that SIXTEEN CANDLES be released first.

DID YOU KNOW?

John Cusack was initially cast as John Bender, but when production was delayed for SIXTEEN CANDLESCusack was replaced by Judd Nelson. At that time, Molly Ringwald, who was originally slated to play Allison Reynolds, insisted on taking on the role of Claire Standish instead, and the part of Allison went to Ally Sheedy.

DID YOU KNOW?

Principal photography for THE BREAKFAST CLUB took place at the abandoned Maine North High School in Des Plaines, IL. The school’s gymnasium was used as a soundstage for construction of the film’s central location – a two-story library – as well as the principal’s office. The high school also housed editing facilities, a screening room and production offices.

DID YOU KNOW?

Set decorator Jennifer Polito made six movies with John Hughes. THE BREAKFAST CLUB marked her second production with the filmmaker.

DID YOU KNOW?

THE BREAKFAST CLUB was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress’s Nation Film Registry in 2016.

DID YOU KNOW?

THE BREAKFAST CLUB was made for a budget of $1 million but earned over $50 million worldwide at the box office. It was re-released in over 400 theaters on its 30th anniversary in 2015.

Learn more at the AFI Catalog

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-THE BREAKFAST CLUB was released at a time in which there was a dearth of movies told from teenagers’ perspectives, and most that existed focused on a boy’s point of view. John Hughes deviated from the norm by creating female protagonists that navigated through the difficult waters of high school – as with SIXTEEN CANDLES, PRETTY IN PINK and THE BREAKFAST CLUB. How do you think Hughes navigates these stories as a male filmmaker? Do his women protagonists feel authentic to you?

-Molly Ringwald’s Claire Standish endures a day-long deluge of sexual harassment from her schoolmate, John Bender, and ends up gratifying his negative attention with a kiss and a diamond earring. What does this communicate about the role of gender in high school? Do you believe that Claire would really fall for John? How do you feel about John Hughes’s storytelling in a post #MeToo world?

-THE BREAKFAST CLUB explores teenage stereotypes that provide clear identities to the five main characters – the Brain, the Athlete, the Basket Case, the Princess and the Criminal – and yet each teen goes through a transformation to explore the boundaries of their own comfort zones. Can you relate to any of these types? Do you find them sympathetic in their isolation and in their collective efforts to outwit their principal? Does your impression of the characters change over the course of the film?

-THE BREAKFAST CLUB follows one day of weekend detention for five high school teens who are trapped inside a library, but instead of reading, they end up tearing pages out of books. What does this tell you about their interest in literacy and their preference for learning more about each other?

-How would you rate THE BREAKFAST CLUB?

In this exclusive AFI Archive video, John Hughes talks about casting THE BREAKFAST CLUB:

 

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

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