This Is What the Stars of The Breakfast Club Are Doing Today
Written and directed by the late John Hughes, The Breakfast Club (1985) is a classic ’80s movie about five high school students who form close bonds over the course of a Saturday afternoon detention. Recently listed as one of the best ’80s high school films to re-watch by Vogue and one of the 30 best ’80s movies by Timeout, the film still resonates with audiences today. The following is a look at six of the main actors in the film and what they’ve done since.
One of the most popular teen movie stars of the ’80s, Molly Ringwald played The Breakfast Club’s female lead Claire Standish. She starred in the equally popular Sixteen Candles the year prior and, in 1986, played the lead character Andie in Pretty in Pink (both directed by Hughes). She had only five acting credits before Sixteen Candles but was in high demand in the following years. After Pretty in Pink, she had feature roles in The Pick-up Artist, Fresh Horses, Betsy’s Wedding, and Face the Music, among other films. She reportedly turned down the lead roles in Pretty Woman and Ghost, which went to Julia Roberts and Demi Moore, respectively.
Ringwald appeared in lesser-known films throughout the late 1990s and 2000s including Teaching Mrs. Tingle, The Giving Tree, and The Wives He Forgot. She also played the role of Anne Juergens through 96 episodes of The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She has played the role of Mary Andrews on the CW series Riverdale since 2017.
She will be remembered by most, however, for her roles in the three 1980s John Hughes films which, as put by Rotten Tomatoes, established her “as a teen kindred spirit who awkwardly navigated secret crushes, school dances, and bitter clique wars, inching closer to adulthood by the time a triumphant pop song signaled the end credits.”
Judd Nelson was in his early 20s when he played John Bender, a tough guy with a tender heart, in The Breakfast Club. He is also responsible for one of the movie’s most iconic moments when he raises his fist in the air on the school football field in the closing scene.
Nelson had only appeared in three films before The Breakfast Club, but he has since been involved in more than 100 different projects. He is also known for roles in St. Elmo’s Fire, which was also released in 1985, and New Jack City.
A career actor, Nelson has played roles big and small in films and TV series. In addition to the aforementioned projects, he recently played recurring character Billy Beretti in the FOX series Empire and has also made appearances on TV series such as Two and a Half Men and Nikita. His more recent films include Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Lethal Eviction, and Billionaire Boys Club.
The oldest son of Martin Sheen and half-brother of Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez hasn’t acted much in recent years but is slated to reprise his role as ice hockey coach Gordon Bombay in The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers for Disney+, set for release in 2021. He previously played the role in three Mighty Ducks films, all of which were released in the 1990s. Though he starred in the 2018 film The Public, he hadn’t had an acting credit in the six years prior.
In the years following The Breakfast Club, Estevez capitalized on the success of the film and his performance by securing starring roles in noteworthy films such as Stakeout and Young Guns. He also starred as a Vietnam War veteran adjusting to civilian life in The War at Home. His father, Martin, starred alongside him as his character’s father.
Similar to Nelson, Ally Sheedy has been acting on a relatively consistent basis since starring in The Breakfast Club as Allison Reynolds. She also appeared in St. Elmo’s Fire alongside Estevez and Nelson and reunited with Ringwald in the 1990 film Betsy’s Wedding. Sheedy has more than 90 acting credits to her name, including recent projects X-Men: Apocalypse and Little Sister.
Anthony Michael Hall
Anthony Michael Hall has appeared in several prominent films and TV series since portraying the character of Brian Johnson in The Breakfast Club. He appeared in 12 episodes of Saturday Night Live in 1985 and later had roles in the films Edward Scissorhands and Six Degrees of Separation, as well as TV series Touched by an Angel and The Dead Zone. More recently, the 52 year old has appeared in War Machine, Live by Night, and Foxcatcher.
Best known for his role in The Breakfast Club, Paul Gleason played strict principal Richard Vernon in the film. He had already appeared in dozens of projects prior to the John Hughes film and subsequently garnered guest roles on TV series including Miami Vice, The A-Team, and 21 Jump Street. He continued to find guest work in TV during the 1990s on popular series such as Seinfeld, Nash Bridges, and Melrose Place. Gleason passed away in 2006 due to mesothelioma. He was 67 years old.