Facts & Trivia on The Breakfast Club
"I made the joke up. My line when I fall into the room is, 'I forgot my pencil' so we were tying to work backward from that, but what joke would have that punchline?" - Judd Nelson
"At that age, it feels as good to feel bad as it does to feel good." -- John Hughes
"The clothing is all very layered, [and as the film progesses] they shed these layers; each layer is a little piece of the person." -- Marilyn Vance, costume designer
Hughes actually wanted to make The Breakast Club before Sixteen Candles, but the studios insisted it be done the other way around. Fortunately through the first film he became acquainted with Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall, who he immediately cast in the second film. Sixteen Candles was released in the theaters toward the end of TBC filming.
Hughes wrote the script in two days: July 4th and 5th of 1982. He got the title from Bobby Richter (the son of a friend); Hughes asked him what detention was called at his school in Winnetka, IL -- "The Breakfast Club," referring to Saturday morning.
He felt pressured by studios to write in a scene featuring sex in some way, so he filmed one of Vernon spying on a teacher swimming nude. Obviously, this scene was later cut.
You'd never guess it, but the library set was constructed on three basketball courts of an abandoned school (Maine North High School - it is now a police station). The books were donations of discarded items from the Chicago Public Library.
Molly Ringwald originally wanted the role of Allison, and thought she was going to get it. Hughes considered switching her role with Ally Sheedy's, but stuck with his original plan. Molly later told Ally she had wanted her part, to which Ally replied, "I'm glad you didn't [get it] because I could never have played your part."
Bender was the last role to be cast, and it was between John Cusack and Judd Nelson. Cusack didn't look threatening enough for Bender (though he became pretty angry when he didn't get the role). Nicolas Cage also read for the role at one point. Rick Moranis was originally cast as Carl, the janitor.
"I didn't play him with 100 pens sticking out of his pocket," Anthony Michael Hall says of his brainy character Brian. "I just went in there and played it like a real kid...The geek is just a typical freshman."
Hughes had the actors mingle with students in a real Chicago high school for a while before filming.
Hughes insisted that the entire cast and crew eat their meals on location in the high school cafeteria.
The guidance counselor's name plaque reads "R. Hashimoto". Richard Hashimoto was the production supervisor.
The school's "Man of the Year" is none other than Carl Reed, the janitor who talks to the kids in the library.
A prom queen election poster contains the name of "Michelle Manning," the co-producer of the film.
Ringwald and Hall were only 16 and 15 at the time, so child labor laws kept them from filming more than four hours a day.
Every line of dialogue was shot from more than one angle. Hughes made sure most shots included the group as a whole, since the movie focused on a group going through this growing up, rather than one individual.
Judd Nelson was nearly fired for getting too much into his character. Hughes and the others would also keep reminding Nelson to tone down the meanness of his character so he would still stay likable to the audience.
"The Breakfast Club was an intense environment. When you walked into that library, you weren't just on a film set. John had this sort of cocoon around these guys." -- John Kapelos (Carl, the janitor)
The pot-smoking scene was completely ad-libbed.
The confession scene took a whole three days to film.
A little goof: After performing her trick, Claire puts her lipstick away twice. (Interestingly, we see Molly in this same repeat in Pretty in Pink.)
Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall dated toward the end of filming.
Hughes gave each actor a piece of banister from the set at the end.
The movie was filmed completely in chronological order. The last scene was filmed on the last day, the last shot filmed was of Bender walking away. The actors, naturally, were pretty emotional by the end.
Bender's Joke: I get asked this one a lot: What is the punchline to the joke Bender is telling himself as he crawls in the ceiling? Sorry folks, there isn't one. He was making it up as he went along.
Anthony Michael Hall's mother Mercedes played his on-screen mother at the start of the film (and the girl in the backseat was Hall's sister Mary), and John Hughes himself appeared as his father picking him up at the end of the day.
Why did Brian end up by himself at the end? Hughes tells Lollipop.com, "Other than the obvious technical matter, which is that there were five people in the film so somebody had to get left alone at the end, [Michael and I] decided that Brian was smart enough to know that wasn't on his agenda. He was the intellectual superior of the others, and it was enough for him to be accepted by them, that they'd think enough of him to let him represent the group on paper. I think Brian was intellectually mature enough to realize that he wasn't socially mature enough to handle a relationship anyway."
Hughes: "The most common question I'm asked is, 'What happened on Monday?' I used to say, 'Nothing.' But I think it's more complex than that. So complex that I can't do it in film. If I can finish it in prose, in a book, then the characters transcend the film."
In its short theatrical run The Breakfast Club took in $46 million, thrusting it into the top 20 highest-grossing films of 1985.
Sorry, Hughes does not allow TBC to be adapted for the stage. (An inquirer has written to Hughes for permission, but received a No reply from his lawyers.)
Anthony Michael Hall says, "MTV wanted to reunite us all and bestow this special award on us at the Movie Awards last year  but Judd had a family illness and had to go back to the east coast."
"I think I was able to get at something immutable, and I'm proud that it has lasted. I was desperately afraid of getting it wrong. It's really about characters and what they have to say. I've spent 15 years looking for that again." -- John Hughes