The Breakfast Club recently turned 30 years old, so let’s celebrate with a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes trivia.
1. John Hughes wrote the first draft of the script for The Breakfast Club in two days over July 4th weekend, 1982.
2. After writing that draft, the script sat is a drawer for a few years. Originally, Hughes wanted to shoot Breakfast Club before Sixteen Candles, but the studio flipped the order.
3. Arguably the film’s most touching scene, in which the students sit together and share their stories, was 100% improvised.
4. Judd Nelson improvised some of his most famous lines, including his joke about the blonde and the salami, and the phrase “Neo-Maxi Zoomdweebie.”
5. Also improvised was the iconic end-of-movie fist pump.
6. That joke of Bender’s, by the way, which is interrupted as he falls through the ceiling, was never meant to have a punchline.
7. Robin Wright, Jodie Foster, and Laura Dern all auditioned for the role of Claire.
8. Molly Ringwald was originally cast as Allison, but convinced John Hughes and the studio to recast her as Claire.
9. Emilio Estevez was originally cast as Bender before switching roles.
10. John Cusack and Nicholas Cage were both considered for the role of Bender before it finally went to Judd Nelson.
11. Ally Sheedy’s Allison doesn’t speak a single word until 33 minutes into the movie.
12. The film was shot almost entirely in sequence. Because many of the actors were so young, they weren’t aware that that wasn’t how all movies were done.
13. Before shooting, Hughes also had the actors rehearse as if they were in a play, running through the whole thing a few times in sequence.
14. John Hughes makes a cameo at the end of the film, as Brian’s father.
15. However, Brian was dropped off at the beginning of the film by Anthony Michael Hall’s own real life mother and sister.
16. John Hughes’ BMW makes its own cameo, driven by Claire’s father.
17. The snowstorm of dandruff Allison sprinkled on her drawing was actually parmesan cheese.
18. Principal Richard Vernon’s name was a nod to an actor with a small role (Man on Train) in the Beatles’ Hard Day’s Night.
19. You can catch a glimpse of Carl the janitor’s Man of the Year days from when he was a student himself.
20. A scene in which Principal Vernon watched some female faculty members use the school swimming pool was filmed before being cut.
21. Additionally, a nude shower scene (the kind typical of 80s teen comedies) was cut before ever being shot.
22. Rick Moranis was originally cast as the janitor, but showed up to set with a gold-toothed, heavily accented caricature in mind, and was immediately replaced with John Kapelos.
23. Ally Sheedy nicknamed Anthony Michael Hall “Milk and Cookies” because he was so sweet. Understandably, Hall wasn’t thrilled with that moniker.
24. Judd Nelson has said that Milk and Cookies went through a major growth spurt during production, claiming that when the two auditioned in New York, he was about two inches taller than Hall, but by the time filming ended, Hall was taller than Nelson.
25. It was Ally Sheedy who suggested the David Bowie quote that opened the movie.
26. Judd Nelson came into his audition dressed and acting like Bender. His attitude was so off-putting that the receptionist at the audition called security.
27. Nelson’s commitment to his character remained a problem through shooting. He was almost fired for harassing Molly Ringwald on set.
28. For research, the cast pulled a 21 Jump Street and spent time in a real high school, posing as students. Judd Nelson perhaps got the most into character, buying students beer and being sent to the principal’s office.
29. During some opening shots of the high school, a wall can be seen with the phrase “I don’t like Mondays” carved into it. This is a reference to a 1979 school shooting in San Diego in which 16-year-old Brenda Spencer killed the principal and a custodian, and injured eight students at an elementary school across the street from her home. When asked why she did this, she said “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”
30. It was originally proposed that there would be periodic sequels to The Breakfast Club, checking in on the characters as time passed. A number of burned bridges (most notably between John Hughes and Judd Nelson, as well as Hughes and Molly Ringwald), made sure these movies never happened.