Lessons from The Breakfast Club

Do you know where your VHS tapes are hiding?  Well, go and find them my friends…because this week marks the 25th anniversary of The Breakfast Club.     

At my house I have my own Saturday morning Breakfast Club ritual.  It consists of me…in my jammies…watching morning news…sipping coffee…and fighting for couch space with a lazy cat named Buster.     


Because my Saturdays aren’t typically screenplay worthy, let’s cut back to the movie.  The Breakfast Club was one of those movies that captivated teens not only for its humor, but also for the deepness of its message.  If you haven’t seen the film, think of a 1980’s version of a modern-day reality show.  Trap five high school students from different social clicks in Saturday detention, assign them a task to complete, and watch the drama unfold.     

Mr. Vernon:  Well, well. Here we are. You have exactly eight hours and fifty-four minutes to think about why you’re here. You may not talk.  You will not move from these seats.  Any questions?      

Bender:  Yeah. Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?    



As five kids sit around teasing each other and delving into their teenage thoughts on life (dating, sex, drugs, parents, school, etc.), they discover that they are more similar than different.  Over the course of the day, they learn about each other’s personalities that are hidden beneath their looks and social circle stereotypes.      

The movie doesn’t have great cinematography.  Its stars were not accomplished actors.  It didn’t win any awards.  So, why is this movie memorable enough to celebrate a 25th anniversary with a New York City screening and spots on the national news?     

I think it’s because there is a moral to the story, and one that’s rarely told from the teenage point-of-view.  To have a meaningful relationship with another person, you need to take the time to know the person that lies beneath the exterior, because what lies on the outside only tells a very small part of the story.    

 Dear Mr. Vernon:     

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.     

 But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal…Does that answer your question?    

 Sincerely yours,    

The Breakfast Club    

Have you ever judged someone before you really knew them?

10 responses to this post.

  1. I think we all have jumped to a judgement at one point in our life. I think if we don’t admit that then we are kidding ourselves.

    The key for me is that even though I may jump to a judgement I really work to push the thoughts down and not outwardly display them until I have had a chance to learn a bit more about the person & their story.

    This movie connects with so many of us because we each could relate to one of them in the movie. We each understood how untouchable the other “type” seemed.


    • Hail to the 80s movies! I really appreciate your perspective of needing to “push down” our first impressions of people until we can figure out if they justly hold true.


  2. I don’t think I do. I get an impression and then I wait to see what other stuff is there. I probably give some people more time than others but that is usually intuition not judgment.


  3. I wish I could add a really thoughtful comment to this post but all I can say is:



  4. The Breakfast Club! I haven’t seen that movie in way too long!

    I have definitely judged people before I really knew them…I bet we all have. It’s just too easy to make a snap judgment based entirely on what you can SEE. But obviously those judgments are usually wrong, or at least incomplete. It’s up to each of us to keep challenging ourselves to go beyond those initial judgments.


  5. Posted by suzicate on September 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Guilty! I try really hard not to judge any more, but still catch myself sometimes. The weirdest thing for me has been reconnecting with people from high school on Facebook. I find that now in life I seem to have a lot in common with people I hardly knew or gave the time of day back then, and I have less in common with some who were my closest friends. I think back then our lives were more filled with impressing others and fitting in rather than finding who were really were. That’s the good thing about maturity…the wisdom to find yourself and comfort to find to be that person. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I poked around yours a bit and I like it.


  6. I sat and watched the Breakfast Club the other evening too – and read up about the cast on Wikipedia too. Was amazed to find out that Ally Sheedy was older than everybody except Judd Nelson…

    Anyway – great post. There are a lot of movies from back then that have stood the test of time – for lots of reasons. Some Kind of Wonderful stands out in my mind… and St Elmos Fire of course.


  7. Posted by IchiruFanGurrl on November 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I’m fifteen and a sophomore in high school, I’m not popular, I’m kinda a loner myself and I have cliques at my school so I can related to TBC. To me the life lesson is that in high school we become a person who are friends want us to become and we stereotype ourselves so that were accepted in a certain way. That we aren’t really ourselves in high school that we play the character our friends want us to play. . . . .


    • TBC plays out in the grown up adult world sometimes too…but much less. Your perspective is insightful…and you’re one step ahead already by recognizing that YOU as a PERSON are much MORE than a character or a stereotype. Thanks for your comment!


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