Tolerance, Acceptance, and Understanding in the Movie Breakfast Club

Last Updated: 18 Apr 2023
Essay type: Analysis
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Ask anyone who was a teenager during the 80s who John Hughes is, they’ll start reciting every movie he has been involved in. He has dabbled in writing, directing and even producing. He will forever be remembered as an icon of the 80s. John Hughes was a writer for National Lampoon magazine in 1979. He was inspired by the success of “National Lampoon’s Animal House”, written by an associate of National Lampoon Magazine Harold Ramis, Mr. Hughes took a shot at screenwriting. National Lampoon’s Class Reunion, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Mr. Mom were his first screenwriting credits.

These films allowed him to direct his first feature film, “Sixteen Candles”. His films such as “Weird Science”, ”Pretty In Pink” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” helped him become synonymous with “teen movies”. He focused on middle class life, which helped his films to be believable and interesting. He portrayed teens in a way that was relatable to his audience. According to Hollywood insiders, if a movie was to be made depicting teenagers and their emotions, John Hughes was the man to create it. Nowhere is this more evident than in “The Breakfast Club”.

Hughes portrayed his characters in five types: the brain, the jock, the princess, the misfit and the criminal. Everyone who has seen this movie can see themselves in one of these characters. I fell somewhere between the jock and the brain. At the beginning of the movie, the characters had little interaction, unless it was hurling insults at each other. Cliques just don’t mix, and they felt like there wasn’t any common ground between them. Then Brian (themisfit), Andrew (the jock), Clare (the princess), Allison (the misfit) and John (the criminal) are forced to spend detention together on a Saturday Morning.

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That’s when things start to get interesting. During the course of the movie, the characters spend time talking and relating to one another. Each one feels different and alienated. In their own worlds, they have been neglected, abused, bullied, or even ignored by both their families and their other friends. Throughout the movie they realize that although they may seem completely different on the outside, on the inside they are all experiencing the same things. Although this movie is twenty plus years old, the themes of commonality is still true today.

It speaks directly to young people. Kids/Students are still trying to find their way and fit in. The character’s of “The Breakfast Club” makes the audience think, learn, and grow. The film shows that people are wasting time hating someone they don’t know. It shows that if you take time to get to know someone, you may find they are more like you than you thought. You may find empathy for them, and you may find you can learn from them. You may even find that you like them. A reviewer at Reel. com called the movie “almost quaint in its depiction of disaffected high school students. That is true; parts of the movie is dated. If it was made today, Clare would have a baby. John would have done time for gang activity. Andrew, the jock would be on steroids. Brian and the kid who was beat up by Andrew would have formed the Trench Coat Mafia, and the flare gun in the locker would have been an assault rifle. Allison would not have even made it into the movie because she would have hung herself in her bedroom closet waiting to be discovered. Later “teen flicks” adjusted to the growing sophistication of teenage sensibility.

This movie had a message of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding. The Breakfast Club continues to be a classic because the issues presented in the movie about social class and acceptance remains hot topics for high school students. Although the movie is funny, it handles teenage issues with a bit of maturity. The set the standard for other teenage movies. It has made such an impact that MTV honored it with a Silver Bucket of Excellence award. The cultural significance of the movie can also be seen in the recent JC Penny commercial.

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Tolerance, Acceptance, and Understanding in the Movie Breakfast Club. (2017, May 05). Retrieved from

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