How has “The Breakfast Club” aged after 30 years?

John Hughes’ classic “The Breakfast Club” turned 30 this year. To put this in perspective, we are as far removed now from “The Breakfast Club” as the “The Breakfast Club” was from James Dean’s “Rebel Without a Cause” (let that one sink-in, GenXers).

Daniel Drezner asks in The Washington Post how “The Breakfast Club” has held up after three decades. Drezner says that he watched “Rebel Without a Cause” in 1985 and found it completely outdated and unrelatable as a teen-angst drama. He wondered if that’s how teens would view “The Breakfast Club” now. So he decided to watch “The Breakfast Club” with his 14-year old son to gauge whether the movie still communicates now as it did back then.

What happened? His son was genuinely engaged in the story and with the characters, and he watched right through to the end. But his son also thought much of it to be laugh-out-loud corny. Some of it has aged well, and some of it… not so much. You can read the rest of it here.

Over the years, my wife and I have re-watched some of the iconic films from our teen years—”The Breakfast Club” among them. What always strikes us is not so much how dated the movies are but how much we have changed since the time when we were originally engrossed by such films. The big drivers of so-called “teen angst” don’t seem so big 30 years on. Also, after you get some years under your belt, you find that the easy immorality and self-regard endemic to the whole genre doesn’t wear well in real life. You’ve seen too many friends and loved ones wrecked by those things to be enthralled by them like you were 30 years ago.

In short, as you grow up, so do your tastes. Yes, there are still some things to appreciate. But it is impossible to watch these films with the same eyes that you had 30 years previous. What once put stars in your eyes now often leaves a tear. And that is a good thing.

14 Responses to How has “The Breakfast Club” aged after 30 years?

  1. James Harold Thomas February 26, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    Some other films that turn 30 this year:

    Back to the Future
    Rocky IV
    The Goonies
    Fletch
    Clue
    Spies Like Us

    If I was relaxing and flipping channels and any of those movies were on, I’d watch. And maybe also for:

    Brewster’s Millions
    National Lampoon’s European Vacation
    Police Academy 2

    Man I miss the 80’s.

  2. Ian Shaw February 26, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    Movies were original in their content back then and into the early/mid 90’s. Breakfast Club has and will stand the test of time. You’ve got some great ones on that list James. The entire Back to the Future Trilogy (yes…even the western) are classics. Movies today just don’t have the original content or are as creative. I loved Tim Curry in Clue.

    What’s making me feel older now? 20th anniversary of ‘Independence Day’ will be next year. That makes this Gen-Y feel like I’m a little long in the tooth at 30….

  3. Bart Barber February 26, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    But “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” will endure.

    Why? Because it’s bona fide.

    • Christiane Smith February 27, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

      we loved the baptism scene with Alison Krauss’ Down To The River To Pray . . . so beautiful in its simplicity and joy

  4. Sam Dillon February 26, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Just looking through the list of movies from 1985 I’m reminded of a just devastating scene from the movie Runaway Train. Youtube Runaway Train ‘little bitty spot’ speech. Jon Voight just nails the desperation many people feel. Serious language warning.

  5. brian darby February 26, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    I saw The Breakfast Club back in 85 and the old centuries I think it was. I found it so one sided, shallow and well silly. I could not stop laughing even during the emotional scenes. But I am strange, even at 15 I loved movies like Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, the Yearling and Sergeant York. Still my favorite movie is Jesus of Nazareth along with Ben Her and The Robe.

  6. brian darby February 26, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

    OOps Ben Hur sorry about that

  7. Esther O'Reilly February 27, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    Denny…

    YOU’RE TEARING ME APART!!!!

  8. Christiane Smith February 27, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    My fifteen year old daughter had the (mis)fortune of being a Molly Ringwald look-a-like in prep school. She was asked to model hair styles and we consented.
    Problem: she reacted to some hair dye and developed a severe allergic reaction, which meant we spent the night at the hospital with the poor child receiving her first IV (she cried) and oxygen therapy. I was very contrite, not having foreseen the possibility of this happening to my beautiful child. Thank God, she was fine in the morning and that ended her venture into the fashionable world as her father wisely put the kibosh on the whole thing.
    I made it all up to her by allowing her for her sixteenth to tour in England and France with a school group under the supervision of their French teacher . . . more trouble, but that’s a different story. 🙂
    Ah, Molly Ringwald, the memories . . . and yes, my daughter remains enduringly beautiful and her mother is much wiser now

  9. Ian Shaw February 27, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    1.21 Gigawatts!!!!!!!

  10. Larry Geiger February 27, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    Kids, these days. I suppose that you aren’t watching “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “Sound of Music”, etc. from your childhood days? 🙂 Kids…

    • Ian Shaw February 27, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

      A Fistfull of dollars, For a few Dollars more, Pale Rider, Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven. Not much appreciation from younger crowd, but classics. Glad my dad introduced me to those at a younger age.

  11. Brett Cody February 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    The Breakfast Club is classic. No contest! Such a great film!

  12. Ian Shaw February 27, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

    Speaking of entertainment news, I just caught that Leonard Nimoy has passed away. Sad day for those of us that are sci-fi nerds. LLAP Mr. Spock

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