John Hughes is often cited by critics as the godfather of teen movies. His films focused mainly on young people trying to survive the social pressures of teenage life, as well as high school issues. He is known for mixing comedy and drama with popular synth music of the 1980’s.
The Breakfast Club is considered his greatest film. It tells the story of five students who are forced to spend their Saturday morning in detention as punishment for their misdeeds. The principal informs them that they must write an essay explaining who they think they are.
Throughout the course of their morning each member of the group opens up a little more and they realise they are all connected. A key theme is stereotyping and social groups. One of the characters is a typical jock. He later discovers that he has more in common with the “nerd” of the group than he first thought.
They all sit together and talk about what it is like to be a teenager. The range of topics they discuss include sex, parental neglect, violence and depression. By the end of the film they have each formed a tight bond. Despite this they worry that they will just ignore each other when Monday comes.
When the film was released it soon gained a cult following. It was popular due to its dealing with complex and dark issues. The teen comedies of the time were more reluctant to focus on heavy subjects. In contrast, The Breakfast Club felt like a breath of fresh air.
John Hughes also managed to make the movie fun. It is first and foremost a comedy. There are several side splitting scenes, especially ones where the youths rebel against their principal. The humour of the film helps to make the five characters even more endearing.
Hughes was aware of the popular music of the 1980’s. This can be seen in the quote by David Bowie which is used to open the movie. Throughout it’s running time The Breakfast Club features a number of pop hits. Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds plays during the end sequence. It has since been recognised as one of the most iconic endings of all time. New generations continue to find this gem and enjoy it. The music helps to bring universal appeal, even to the young audiences who were not born when it was first released.