The Breakfast Club is a quintessential teen film. This book analyzes how multiple factors coalesced to solidify the status of The Breakfast Club as one of the most emblematic films of the 1980s and one of the most definitive teen films of the genre. The film brings together genre-defining elements – the conflicts between generations and peer pressure, archetypical characters and breaking down stereotypes, the celebration and survival of adolescence, and the importance of this time in life on the coming-of-age process – and became a significant moment for John Hughes as an auteur and for teen films in the 1980s. More than just embodying these elements of the genre, filmmaker Hughes and the Brat Pack stars helped introduce and popularize multiple generic features that would come to be expected with the teen film formula. The content of the film combined with its context of production in the middle of a boom in teen filmmaking in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the marketing that focused on contemporary music, peer group dynamics, and oppositions between Generation X and baby boomers, merged with an enthusiastic reception by youth audiences. Its endurance speaks to the way the film’s level of importance as a critical, commercial, and influential film with tremendous impact has grown since its initial debut.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Breakfast Club and the Golden Age of the Teen Film
Chapter 1: The Right Place at the Right Time: How the Market Was Primed for the Production of The Breakfast Club
Chapter 2: Rules of the Genre: Creating Iconic Characters while Breaking Down Stereotypes
Chapter 3: Teen Problems in the 1980s, and Generation X and Baby Boomers Just Don’t Get Along
Chapter 4: The Synergistic Effects of the Marketing and the Music
Chapter 5: The Lasting Legacy: Historical Reception, Contemporary Impact, and Hughes as Auteur
Elissa H. Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Bronx Community College, CUNY. She has published work on 1980s Hollywood, digital distribution, and teen films. Her current research focuses on media industries, genre, soundtracks, and representations of youth.