Widely regarded as one of the greatest teen movies not only of the 80's, but also of all time, "The Breakfast Club" proved that its fairly inexperienced director and writer (at the time) John Hughes was able to capture the experience of being an American teen flawlessly. "The Breakfast Club" contained the perfect mixture of humor, melancholy and romance and its legacy is immeasurable. Who can forget the shot of Judd Nelson, fist raised, set to Simple Minds' iconic track "Don't You (Forget About Me)"? It seems hard to believe that the movie was released almost 30 years ago and the golden days of the Brat Pack are long gone. So what are the cast members of the iconic John Hughes flick doing now?
Although he originally auditioned for the role of rebel John Bender, Emilio Estevez was brought in to play handsome wrestling jock Andrew Clark when Hughes couldn't find anyone else to play him. Following "The Breakfast Club," Hughes immediately cast him to star in "St. Elmo's Fire," a coming-of-age film detailing the lives of post-graduates. Since then, Estevez has maintained a steady career, despite displaying an apparent shyness to publicity (quite unlike his younger brother Charlie Sheen). Aside from a brief two-year marriage to Paula Abdul, he starred in the wildly successful Disney franchise "The Mighty Ducks" and has turned a lot of his attention to screenwriting and directing. His most recent directorial output was 2010 film "The Way," starring his dad, Martin Sheen.
Ringwald got her first big break acting in John Hughes-directed movie "Sixteen Candles," and Hughes liked her so much in that that he asked her to appear in "The Breakfast Club." She did have to do some convincing so that she could play Claire, and not the role Hughes had planned for her, withdrawn basket case Allison. She quickly went on to become the most famous and iconic member of the Brat Pack, also starring in legendary film "Pretty in Pink." After the 80's, Ringwald decided to withdraw temporarily from Hollywood, turning down the lead roles in renowned 90's films "Pretty Woman" and "Ghost." She went to live in France as a way to retreat from all the attention her fame had gotten her from a young age. Since then, she has come back to star in several plays and musicals on Broadway. She is now starring on the guilty pleasure ABC Family show "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" as Shailene Woodley's mother.
As the withdrawn loner with an acute disposition for pathological lying Allison Reynolds, Ally Sheedy is often hailed as having one of the performances in "The Breakfast Club". She has stated that, for her, it wasn't difficult to get into character and in touch with the vulnerability necessary for the part. She also went on to star in "St. Elmo's Fire" with Emilio Estevez and other "Breakfast Club" alum Judd Nelson. However, after the 80's her career saw a steep decline, partly due to an addiction to sleeping pills that she later entered rehab for. She has since appeared in bit parts and cameos in various TV shows and movies like "Sugartown," "Kyle XY" and "Psych".
Another favorite of John Hughes, Anthony Michael Hall was cast fresh off the set of "Sixteen Candles," just like Molly Ringwald. The same year that "The Breakfast Club" was released, Hall also played a Hughes-directed nerd in "Weird Science." Although Hughes wrote the roles of Cameron in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and Duckie in "Pretty in Pink" specifically for him, Hall turned them down to avoid being pigeonholed as a 'nerd' actor. He has enjoyed modest success since his Brat Pack days, including roles in "Edward Scissorhands" and a 5-year run as the star of USA network show "The Dead Zone." Unfortunately, Hall has also not been a stranger to scandal, suffering through alcoholism and a 2011 arrest for disturbing the peace. This January, he was cast for a multi-episode arc in the upcoming season of MTV's hit teen show "Awkward." A rather lackluster trajectory for someone who was predicted to become one of the shining lights of comedy in his golden days.
Judd Nelson perhaps has had one of the most disappointing post-"Breakfast Club" careers. After starring in "St. Elmo's Fire" with other members of the Brat Pack (playing Ally Sheedy's love interest), his most notable career move is voicing Hot Rod and Rodius Prime in several animated "Transformers" movies and cartoons. Although he did receive several starring roles in movies following his breakout performance as the volatile and violent John Bender such as "Relentless" and "The Dark Backward", none of them received much critical or commercial acclaim. In the past decade, Nelson has mostly been relegated to bit parts on shows like "CSI" and "Two and a Half Men": maybe not so worthy of a triumphant fist-pump.
Unfortunately, "The Breakfast Club" represented the peak of many of its young actors careers. Despite the movie's massive success, it seems like none of its cast members could get past the stereotypes they had been playing (although, ironically, the point of the movie was to break down these categories.) Although most went on to receive at least some further success, they will always be primarily recognized and remembered as members of the greatest club of all time.