(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: 59.078%
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.
John Hughes's third directorial effort, Weird Science, follows in the tradition of his previous teen-centered films, Sixteen Candles and The... [More]
Adjusted Score: 71.141%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Corey Haim plays 13-year-old Lucas, a bespectacled, bookish type who attracts school bullies like a magnet. Lucas befriends 16-year-old Maggie... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75.746%
Critics Consensus: A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.
The directorial debut of filmmaker Jared Hess, who also co-wrote the screenplay, Napoleon Dynamite is a quirky, offbeat comedy set... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78.287%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
After being rejected by the object of his affection and suffering a series of other humiliations, a depressed teenager decides... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80.368%
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.
Based on 22-year-old Cameron Crowe's undercover exposé on life in a Southern California public high school, this groundbreaking effort presents... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83.003%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Teenage angst finds a new voice in this drama. By day, Mark Hunter (Christian Slater) is a quiet, studious student... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86.447%
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.
Jane Austen might never have imagined that her 1816 novel Emma could be turned into a fresh and satirical look... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79.566%
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.
John Hughes crafts an exemplary '80s Brat Pack romance out of the standard Cinderella story in Pretty in Pink. Andie... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87.171%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
Teenaged Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a legend in his own time thanks to his uncanny skill at cutting classes... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80.852%
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.
In a gender-reversed version of his previous hit Pretty in Pink, John Hughes retreads all-too- familiar ground in Some Kind... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88.945%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully scripted and perfectly cast, Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a coming-of-age movie with uncommon charm and insight.
Winner of the 2015 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86.267%
Critics Consensus: T. Bill debuts as an affectionate director, keenly aware of growing pains.
In this coming-of-age comedy-drama from director Tony Bill, a diminutive high schooler (Chris Makepeace) decides to defend himself against the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88.179%
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.
Robin Williams toned down his usually manic comic approach in this successful period drama. In 1959, the Welton Academy is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89.242%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by a brilliant screenplay and outstanding ensemble cast, Mean Girls finds fresh, female-fronted humor in the high school experience.
Tina Fey from Saturday Night Live wrote and appears in this comedy about the alternately funny and terrifying pecking order... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87.008%
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.
On the eve of her sister's wedding, suburban teenager Samantha (Molly Ringwald) suffers silently as her family forgets her birthday.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.693%
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.
Like George Lucas' American Graffiti, Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused is an affectionate look at the youth culture of a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100.615%
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.
Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year old Simon Spier it's a little more complicated: he's yet to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.994%
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.
A deliciously nasty black comedy, Heathers is set at a cliquish high school in Ohio. The most exclusive of those... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102.101%
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.
THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN is a new coming-of-age movie in the vein of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club -... [More]
Adjusted Score: 111.862%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
The story follows Dever and Feldstein's characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high... [More]