The Breakfast Club

John Hughes shot The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming of age comedy-drama film written and directed by John Hughes and starring Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy

In 1999, Hughes said that his request to direct the film met resistance and skepticism because he lacked filmmaking experience. Hughes won the investors over with his argument that due to the film’s low budget of $1 million and its single-location shoot, the risks involved were minimal.

Hughes originally thought that The Breakfast Club would be his directorial debut. Because of his own inexperience, he set the film in one room and wrote it about high school students, who would be played by younger actors.

Principal photography began on March 28, 1984, and ended in May of that year. Filming took place at Maine North High School in Des Plaines, Illinois, which had closed in 1981. (The building was later used for some of the scenes in Hughes’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, released one year after The Breakfast Club.) At the end of the film, John Bender walks through Glenbrook North High School’s football field, which is also where some of the outside shots of Ferris Bueller were filmed.

The Breakfast Club

The library at Maine North High School was considered too small for the film, so the crew built the set in the school’s gymnasium. The actors rehearsed with each other for three weeks and then shot the film in sequence. Some of the posters on the walls during filming of The Breakfast Club were still there when Ferris Bueller was filmed. On the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off DVD commentary (featured on the 2004 DVD version), John Hughes revealed that he shot the two films back-to-back to save time and money, and some outtakes of both films feature elements of the film crews working on the other film.

The first print was 150 minutes long. During a cast reunion in honor of the film’s 25th anniversary, Ally Sheedy revealed that it was Hughes’ director’s cut, but Hughes’ widow did not disclose any details concerning its whereabouts.

The film’s poster, featuring the five characters huddled together, was photographed by Annie Leibovitz towards the end of shooting. The shot of five actors glaring at the camera influenced the way teen films were marketed from that point on.