Revisiting “The Breakfast Club” 30 years later

Ah, 1985. A great year to be a movie-loving youngin’. Whether the youth was into fun and adventure (“The Goonies,” “Back to the Future”), plain old silliness (“Clue”), or something a little more serious (“St. Elmo’s Fire”), 1985 catered to the tastes of a wide variety of kids and teens. A lot of classics were spawned that year, but one film truly resonated with teens (and anyone who has ever been a teen) for its hilarious, heartbreaking depiction of young adulthood: “The Breakfast Club.”

Originally released on Feb. 15, 1985, “The Breakfast Club” is returning to Bozeman theaters on Thursday, March 26 and Tuesday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m. It was John Hughes’ second film (after “Sixteen Candles”). He would go on to cement his Hollywood legacy by writing or directing classics such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Home Alone” and a host of other films. “The Breakfast Club” — for those poor souls out there who don’t know — tells the story of five diverse teenagers trapped in Saturday detention together. Though they are simply (and famously) labeled as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal, the movie works to show that the five kids aren’t as dissimilar as they initially appeared to be.

“The Breakfast Club” is currently enjoying a string of re-releases courtesy of its 30-year anniversary. A remastered version of “The Breakfast Club” was released on Blu-ray and DVD March 10, and the film will be screened in select theatres across the nation at the end of the month. But what about this movie makes that justifiable?

To put it simply, the film didn’t talk down to its young audience. It spoke to them. In fact, it spoke with them. Whereas other films of the era treated teens like they were pests — hormonal in-betweeners that had no point other than to grow up — “The Breakfast Club” treated its protagonists like people and addressed the very real problems one faces during adolescence. Rarely had a movie sympathized with teen angst as strongly as “The Breakfast Club.” Stereotyping, bullying and mental illness are all tackled in the film, lending the film a weighty message that still resonates with teens today.

Anyone who has felt like an outcast, anyone who has felt the overwhelming pressure to be perfect, can see themselves in the characters of “The Breakfast Club.” And if you think that just because you’re out of high school, you’re safe, you’d be wrong. What college student doesn’t feel an ounce of sympathy for brainy Brian, who ruined his straight-A report card with an F in woodshop, of all things? Or feel the fear that comes with Allison’s iconic line, “When you grow up, your heart dies”? The pressure of being on the brink of adulthood, yet not quite there, has been felt by teens and students across the country for decades, giving “The Breakfast Club” an enduring resonance with young adults that (along with the deluge of other teen films released in the ‘80s and beyond) lent depth and variety to the way teens are portrayed in film.