(Photo by Universal / courtesy Everett Collection)
20 Movies To Watch If You Loved The Breakfast Club
If you’re looking for more movies like The Breakfast Club, you’ve come to the right place, princess. Or criminal. Or basket case. Or whoever you identify with from John Hughes’ timeless high school classic of disaffected youth. If you’re new to school, Hughes was the outsider king of ’80s cinema. The other movies of the era he was involved with — Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, and Some Kind of Wonderful — are nearly equal in stature to Breakfast Club.
A lot of high school movies are about partying, and there’s certainly some of those necessary classics in this guide (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dazed and Confused), but Breakfast Club is beloved for synthesizing the emotional and mental states of those further down the social ladder. A lot of these stories are told from male perspectives, like in broad comedies Weird Science or Better Off Dead, the fight-ready My Bodyguard or Lucas, the sincerely devastating Dead Poets Society, and the bring-on-the-’90s Pump Up the Volume.
Of course, much of the appeal of John Hughes movies is that they aren’t just boys clubs. Thanks to his groundbreaking works, high school cinema opened up for female-centric stories, including the black comedy satire Heathers and the frothy Clueless, which would lead the way into the new century for Mean Girls and The Edge of Seventeen.
The 21st century got its high school outsider poster boy with Napoleon Dynamite in 2004. As the internet became ubiquitous and we became more connected and young people more empathetic (we hope), high school movies evolved into ground zero for a new class of protagonists we wouldn’t have seen even in prior years. For proof, see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, or the LGBTQ-focused Booksmart and Love, Simon. The movies of John Hughes, who sought to save the hearts and souls of the young before they were sacrificed to society and class hierarchy, helped make these movies possible.
What would you recommend to someone who loved The Breakfast Club?
Adjusted Score: 60968%
Critics Consensus: Hardly in the same league as John Hughes' other teen movies, the resolutely goofy Weird Science nonetheless gets some laughs via its ridiculous premise and enjoyable performances.
Two high-school nerds (Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith) computer-generate a magic beauty (Kelly LeBrock) who shows them how to meet... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72702%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
School bullies pick on a scrawny 14-year-old (Corey Haim) in front of his 16-year-old summer dream-girl (Kerri Green).... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77425%
Critics Consensus: A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.
A gawky teenager (Jon Heder) from an odd family (Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell) helps his new friend run for class... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77756%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
After his girlfriend dumps him for a skier, a teen (John Cusack) meets an exchange student (Diane Franklin) from France.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82578%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
The teen scene includes a party-animal surfer (Sean Penn), a pregnant girl (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and a fast-food worker (Judge... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82457%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
An Arizona teen (Christian Slater) blasts his suburb as the late-night DJ of his own pirate talk-radio show.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90108%
Critics Consensus: A funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati.
A Beverly Hills teen (Alicia Silverstone) plays matchmaker for teachers, transforms a bad dresser (Brittany Murphy) and examines her own... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77998%
Critics Consensus: Molly Ringwald gives an outstanding performance in this sweet, intelligent teen comedy that takes an ancient premise and injects it with insight and wit.
A rich teen (Andrew McCarthy) asks an unpopular student (Molly Ringwald) to the senior prom, creating problems among their separate... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87870%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
A cool teen (Matthew Broderick) plays hooky in Chicago with his girlfriend (Mia Sara), his buddy (Alan Ruck) and the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78853%
Critics Consensus: Some Kind of Wonderful is above-average '80s teen fare for people who need as much John Hughes in their lives as possible.
A grease monkey's (Eric Stoltz) tomboy friend (Mary Stuart Masterson) helps him woo a popular girl (Lea Thompson) in their... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90757%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully scripted and perfectly cast, Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a coming-of-age movie with uncommon charm and insight.
An awkward high-school senior (Thomas Mann) and a gravely ill classmate (Olivia Cooke) surprise themselves by becoming inseparable friends.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86012%
Critics Consensus: T. Bill debuts as an affectionate director, keenly aware of growing pains.
A shrimpy Chicago teen (Chris Makepeace) hires a big, brooding classmate (Adam Baldwin) to protect him from bullies.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89340%
Critics Consensus: Affecting performances from the young cast and a genuinely inspirational turn from Robin Williams grant Peter Weir's prep school drama top honors.
A teacher at a New England prep school uses unconventional methods to instill spirit into the lives of his students.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89963%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by a brilliant screenplay and outstanding ensemble cast, Mean Girls finds fresh, female-fronted humor in the high school experience.
Attending high school for the first time, a teenager (Lindsay Lohan) becomes friends with three popular but manipulative students.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86788%
Critics Consensus: Significantly more mature than the teen raunch comedies that defined the era, Sixteen Candles is shot with compassion and clear respect for its characters and their hang-ups.
A girl turning 16 likes another girl's guy (Michael Schoeffling) and feels nobody cares about her birthday.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96974%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Assorted teens waste another day of school before getting down to wasting summer in 1976 Austin, Texas.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103489%
Critics Consensus: Love, Simon hits its coming-of-age beats more deftly than many entries in this well-traveled genre -- and represents an overdue, if not entirely successful, milestone of inclusion.
Teenager Simon Spier hasn't told his family or friends that he's gay, and he doesn't know the identity of the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96879%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Cool Veronica (Winona Ryder) and her quirky new boyfriend (Christian Slater) topple a high-school trio of too-cool Heathers.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103154%
Critics Consensus: The Edge of Seventeen's sharp script -- and Hailee Steinfeld's outstanding lead performance -- make this more than just another coming-of-age dramedy.
A high school junior (Hailee Steinfeld) develops an unexpected bond with a thoughtful teen (Hayden Szeto) after learning that her... [More]
Adjusted Score: 116682%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
Two high school overachievers decide to cram four years of not-to-be missed fun into one night -- a chaotic adventure... [More]