Thirty Years After Detention: The Breakfast Club Then & Now

By Niall McArdle

The internet has been mining the 1980s recently. The untimely passing of Harold Ramis a few weeks back kickstarted a wave of nostalgia for the decade.

Then Kevin Bacon – arguably, the decade’s leading icon explained the decade to Millennials.


Bacon followed this up by deciding to recreate the finale of Footloose.


Suddenly, the 1980s never seemed so relevant, at least in the viral video stakes (which are the only stakes worth talking about in the digital age).


This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Saturday morning detention of five teenagers at Shermer High School in John Hughes’ classic angsty teenage film The Breakfast Club. The internet went a little crazy with warm memories of Simple Minds and  a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.



John Hughes didn’t invent teenagers of course, but for those of us who came of age in the 1980s, he seemed to tap into our adolescent anxieties, hopes, cynicism and fears like nobody else. If you’re feeling nostalgic for the film and want to know what happened behind the scenes, click here.


It’s just possible that younger viewers may wonder what all the fuss is about, especially if their only familiarity with John Hughes is through internet memes.



So, thirty years after The Breakfast Club, where are they now?

MOLLY RINGWALD1.162742For several years Molly Ringwald was the John Hughes It Girl, starring in Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. Then she seemed to drop off the planet for a bit. She moved to France, surfaced in a few films, and recorded an album. She had a major role in ABC’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager.





Serena Williams' Pre-ESPYs House PartyBad boy Judd Nelson was one of the more smug and obnoxious members of the Brat Pack and could frequently be seen partying with Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Anthony Michael Hall. If you don’t know who the Brat Pack were – or how annoying they could be – watch St. Elmo’s Fire.Nelson was on the verge of being just another casualty of the 1980s, a washed-up cokehead whose career had floundered. Then in the 1990s he wound up on Suddenly Susan, a hit NBC comedy with Brooke Shields.




Anthony-Michael-Hall-1Fun fact: Hughes’ other go-to actor (Weird Science, Sixteen Candles) is godfather to Robert Downey Jr’s son. Perhaps Hall and Downey bonded over rehab stories: by 18, he was a full-blown alcoholic. Another 80s actor who was almost forgotten, he returned to fame in the TV series of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone.




Emilio-Estevez-188848-1-402One of the more successful of the Brat Packers. Once upon a time he was married to Paula Abdul. The star of Young Guns (with brother Charlie Sheen) has written and directed several films (one with dad Martin).



allyimagesAlly Sheedy (War Games, St. Elmo’s Fire) received much critical acclaim for her performance in High Art. She is also an author, and wrote a children’s book when she was 12.



paulgleason060529_paul_gleason_vsml_7a.grid-4x2Principal Vernon of Shermer High School carved a niche for himself playing consumate pricks in Trading Places and Die Hard. He died in 2013.



indexindexAnother Hughes veteran  – most recently seen in Justified.


3 thoughts on “Thirty Years After Detention: The Breakfast Club Then & Now

  1. Still love Molly Ringwald in ‘Pretty In Pink’, and I do still have a soft spot for ‘The Breakfast Club’.
    Thirty years Niall? Seems like only 35!
    Cheers mate, Pete.


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