The Breakfast Club

Movie review by
Marjorie Kase, Common Sense Media
The Breakfast Club Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Classic '80s teen movie has mature themes, profanity.
  • R
  • 1985
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 41 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 162 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A mixed bag of messages. Positive themes include communication and empathy. Stereotyping people is a bad idea. Though the movie pretends to disparage peer pressure and social falsehood, the five detained strangers all succumb to peer pressure immediately by not ratting on a disruptive boy who abuses them and also breaks the rules. High school students show disrespect toward authority figures and each other. A student defiantly destroys school property and verbally abuses his fellow detainees. A girl suggests that popularity is a burden, but she doesn't want to relinquish her position.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Students and a teacher are verbally abusive. Some students rise to defend others who are being taunted. A great student feels bad about doing well. A varsity wrestler feels bad about being pressed by his father to excel. A popular girl feels bad that her high status forces her to shun less popular kids. "Being bad feels pretty good" is a disruptive student's comment to another who is enlisted in a prank. A student vandalizes school and student property.


A student wields a knife but doesn't use it. He shows a scar, claiming it was caused when his father burned him with a lit cigar. Gallantly reacting to a bully, a student threatens to beat the bully up. A student describes taping a weaker kid's buttocks together. A student describes contemplating suicide because of a low grade. A teacher shoves a bully and threatens to beat him up. A janitor blackmails a teacher.


Kids are pressed to discuss virginity. A character places his head between a girl's knees. A student pretends to be a "nymphomaniac" and claims someone "nailed me." Many sexual references: "Did you slip her the hot beef injection?" "Riding the hobby horse?" A girl kisses a boy she seems to hate.


"Damn," "screw," "nuts," "turd," "dildo," "puke," "beaver shot," "slut," "ass," "s--t," "f--k," "bitch,"  "shut up," "prick," and "scumbag."


Students drink Coke.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke pot. One smokes cigarettes in the school library. A student claims to drink vodka.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Breakfast Club is a classic '80s film that deals with themes that may be inappropriate for younger teens. Topics such as suicide, depression, social alienation, materialism, sex, and parental physical and emotional abuse are discussed openly. Main characters use very strong language, including "f--k," smoke pot on-screen in the school library, and mock authority figures. One smokes cigarettes, draws a switchblade, and makes lewd gestures. He reveals cigar burns on his body as evidence of his father's abuse. The film does positively encourage the breakdown of social barriers as a means of identification and improved communication.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytobier January 19, 2015

If you're upset by the language in this film... need a reality check on how people talk.
Adult Written byhelsingmusique October 5, 2014

My Favourite High School Movie Ever

I adore the Breakfast Club, and have ever since I first saw the film. It is a film that centres around a person from each clique of high school and it shows the... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBrainKreig October 17, 2010

Don't you.....forget about me! Don't don't don't don't..........

I command you to rent this movie and show it to your kids
Teen, 14 years old Written byJessque July 29, 2019


The R rating makes it too extreme, when it's not but I do advise you to be mature, but it is a good movie with an excellent ending.

What's the story?

THE BREAKFAST CLUB is the story of five high school students who rank high and low in popularity and who are forced to spend nine hours together in Saturday detention. Without the whole school watching, Brian "The Brain" (Anthony Michael Hall), Claire "The Princess" (Molly Ringwald), Andy "The Jock" (Emilio Estevez), Allison "The Basket Case" (Ally Sheedy), and Bender "The Misfit" (Judd Nelson) eventually discard their differences, discussing the events that brought them to detention. Gradually they come to realize that underneath the trappings of the high school social scene, the problems they face are more similar than they think. Brian suffers extreme pressure by his parents to maintain a perfect grade point average. Claire insists that being rich and the most popular girl at school has its downfalls. Andy wants only to please his father, even if it means acting against his own moral code. Allison seeks attention from her father through aberrant behavior. And Bender reacts to physical and verbal abuse at home by defying authority, committing petty theft, and damaging school property.

Is it any good?

Despite its occasional heavy-handedness, the film is an earnest, engaging attempt at portraying teens and their problems in a realistic light. Writer/director John Hughes' film deals with very mature issues regarding family and school that both teens and parents can relate to. On the outside, the five may seem like clichéd stereotypes, yet as The Breakfast Club progresses, their confessions as to why they're in detention reveal a greater depth to their personas.

Ringwald, Nelson, Hall, Estevez, and Sheedy owe their careers to this film, and for good reason. The "Brat Pack's" solid performances coupled with Hughes' witty dialogue, choice direction, and his ability to balance drama and humor made it one of the most enduring, quotable teen films of all time. A great choice for older teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how relevant and realistic they feel The Breakfast Club is. Do teens feel that their high school has a similar clique structure?

  • Allison describes Bender's question about Claire's virginity as a "double-edged sword … a trap," stating, "Well, if you say you haven't ... you're a prude. If you say you have ... you're a slut." Her argument is nothing new, but it does present a good opportunity for families to talk about society's views on sex and gender. Do teens still feel this double standard is in effect?

  • Why is this movie considered a teen classic? If you could update it, how would you do it and whom would you cast?

  • How do the characters in The Breakfast Club demonstrate communication and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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