Movie Reviews

25 Best Quotes From The Breakfast Club

Summary

  • John Hughes’ iconic teen dialogue in The Breakfast Club still resonates with fans today.
  • The film’s heartfelt quotes explore self-image, pressure, and the struggles of adolescence.
  • The characters in The Breakfast Club challenge stereotypes and reveal their true selves through memorable lines.



John Hughes was a master of writing teenage dialogue and The Breakfast Club quotes remain incredibly memorable for that reason. A tale of five students undergoing detention on a Saturday, this movie was an immediate sensation for teens and general audiences everywhere. It became regarded as one of the definitive movies of the 1980s as it’s easy to relate to at least one of the film’s characters, if not more. They each get plenty of memorable lines as they joke, argue, and begin to reveal their true personalities and anxieties.

The best Breakfast Club quotes still hit home for many movie fans. While some of the movie’s humor and cultural references might be a little dated today, the heartfelt sentiments shared between the characters as they bond due to their forced proximity still strike a chord. Whether they’re about self-image, social pressure, or just witty banter, the best Breakfast Club quotes are a timeless reminder of why John Hughes’ writing is held in such high regard and why The Breakfast Club is still a movie that has its scenes recreated for a parody or homage even today.


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25 “Well Brian, This Is A Very Nutritious Lunch.”

John Bender

Brian and Bender looking at Brian's lunch in The Breakfast Club

“All The Food Groups Are Represented. Did Your Mom Marry Mr. Rogers?”

It’s an iconic scene when the kids all pull out their lunches and the eclectic meals speak volumes about all of their lives and personalities. Claire (Molly Ringwald) has her perfectly arranged sushi, Andrew (Emilio Estevez) is eating like he’s training for a triathlon, Allison (Ally Sheedy) constructs a fascinatingly gross sandwich out of what appears to be Pixy Stix and cereal, and Bender (Judd Nelson) decides to eat with Brian (Anthony Michael Hall).


Bender hasn’t brought any food, resulting in this brilliant Breakfast Club quote as he critiques Brian’s wholesome lunch. This is a rough spot where Bender shows his bullying ways, and Brian is mostly oblivious to the entire situation. However, when Bender pulls out a note where Brian’s mom tells him to study hard and loves him, Bender is cruel and shows a very unlikable trait as he becomes relentless.

24 “I Am The Eyes And Ears Of This Institution, My Friends.”

Carl Reed

Carl smiling as the teens leave school in The Breakfast Club


Mr. Vernon is remembered as the authority figure who is so hard on the teenagers in detention, but there is another adult in the school with them when they have Saturday detention. That is Carl (John Kapelos), the janitor. He’s the one responsible for keeping the entire high school clean – and seemingly, the only one. He’s a little more observant than Mr. Vernon, and he understands that teenagers and school officials are not going to see eye-to-eye, something he even voices to Mr. Vernon at one point.

Carl seems more amused by the antics of the teenagers than anything else. This comes into play later when Carl talks to Mr. Vernon and he clearly sees the troubles the teacher is going through mentally, and he understands the problems the kids are going through. In the end, Carl is right — he might be the wisest character in the entire movie because he watches everyone.

23 “You Know, I Have Just As Many Feelings As You Do, And It Hurts So Much When Someone Steps All Over Them.”

Claire Standish

Bender and Claire walking and talking in The Breakfast Club


One of the running themes in The Breakfast Club is that the teenagers only think they know one another. What they really know is the images projected by one another to fit into their particular cliques. Bender repeatedly refers to Claire as cold or even frigid early in the movie, but she eventually points out that she has feelings just like everyone else does. Over the course of her time in detention, she becomes more vulnerable, and loosens up to be honest with everyone, saying some things that everyone in the room, and in the audience, can identify with.

Claire’s quotes reveal there’s more to her than her just being the most popular person in town. It is also a hint at what she reveals later when she laments about how hard it is to always look perfect when she knows she isn’t and when she just wants to be a normal teen — something her parents won’t allow and something she doesn’t even understand how to do.


22 “Sweets, You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried.”

John Bender

Bender turning to his left in The Breakfast Club

John Bender might be one of the most beloved characters in the movie, but his Breakfast Club quotes prove that he’s not exactly a nice guy. His rebellious nature leads him to lash out at those he doesn’t like and to try to get under the skin of those he does. When he takes an interest in Claire, he repeatedly insults her, needles her with remarks that he knows she doesn’t like, and won’t allow her to just ignore him.

He very much has the attitude of a little boy pulling the pigtails of a little girl on the playground to get her attention. It’s immature, and in the confined space of detention, it doesn’t win him any favors until he starts being less antagonistic with the others. This is early on and he eventually warms up to the others, but he needs to show his dominance first, if only for his own satisfaction.


21 “I’ve Seen Her Dehydrate Sir, It’s Pretty Gross.”

Andrew Clark

Claire, Andrew, Brian and Bender In The Library in The Breakfast Club

Though the teenagers in the library might not initially get along, they are united in hiding their antics from the authority figures in the school. When they ask to be able to get water, go to the restroom, and things like that just to get out of the library, Mr. Vernon (Paul Gleason) isn’t interested in letting them. Andrew backs Claire up, deadpanning this line about having seen Claire dehydrate in the past.


It’s not going to be the most memorable line against some of the other quotes from The Breakfast Club, but Emilio Estevez’s delivery of Andrew’s line is perfect. It is also funny because Andrew might be the jock, but he is also one of the most uncomfortable when it comes to talking to others and understanding how to carry on a conversation. As a jock, he is mostly used to small talk, and when things get intellectual and confrontational, he is stilted and uneasy, and this quote is a nice example of his awkward manner of fitting in.

20 “Why, Because I’m Telling The Truth? That Makes Me A B***h?”

Claire Standish

Molly Ringwald looks shocked in The Breakfast Club

Claire gets a lot of insults from the rest of the group because she’s seen as cold and unfeeling. Claire, however, also appears to understand the cliques of their school better than anyone in the room. She understands the fears they all have of not fitting into their respective friend groups, of being ostracized by the student body for not sticking to the status quo. She’s the only one willing to point out that despite the bonding in Saturday’s detention, none of them will be hanging out together at school the next week.


For that, the others think she’s being callous, but with how well everyone sticks to their roles, she’s likely right. There is very little chance these five will ever do anything together in the future. They are likely never to talk again, although they might give each other familiar nods along the way. Claire knows that they will go on with their lives, but this doesn’t mean they won’t learn something. It just means they won’t connect again in the real world outside of detention.

19 “Eat. My. Shorts.”

John Bender

John Bender from The Breakfast Club


Bart Simpson might be known for using this particular phrase to taunt other characters in The Simpsons, but he’s far from the only pop culture character to use it. In the 1980s and ‘90s, the phrase was a fairly common insult that was considered PG, marking The Breakfast Club as a product of its time. The term almost feels out of place since The Breakfast Club isn’t afraid to use more colorful language or curse words even in some of the movie’s best-known quotes.

It is also one of the Breakfast Club quotes that feels a little dated. With Bart Simpson saying it for so many years, it feels almost unnatural to hear it coming out of the mouth of someone like Bender. He is someone who is rough around the edges, and he is someone who says what he is thinking and what he feels. Using a quote that is now just a silly playground insult from a cartoon doesn’t hit as much as it might have when the movie was released so many years ago.


Claire Standish

Claire smoking in The Breakfast Club

When the group decides to smoke together, despite Andrew’s initial protests, they all begin to be much more open with their comments. Though Claire has, at that point in the movie, started to open up more and become a bit more vulnerable, this is the point where she also starts to loosen up. Claire remarks on her own popularity, but it’s not meant in a serious way.

It helps to humanize Claire a little bit and give her some levity instead of leaving her as the serious one of the group as everyone starts spilling secrets. It is a fun moment and one that shows that Claire doesn’t like her place as the popular girl in the school. She knows that people make fun of her behind her back, even those people who claim to be her friends. Despite this, she keeps up the charade, pretending to be happy that she is so popular, while knowing it is fleeting and doesn’t mean anything in the end.


17 “I See Me, And I Don’t Like What I See, I Really Don’t.”

Brian Johnson

Anthony Michael Hall as Brian Johnson In The Breakfast Club

It doesn’t take long into their day of Saturday detention for the group to start spilling their deepest secrets to one another. Their insecurities and their fears are all laid out on the table despite them all thinking that they’ll never talk to one another after detention is over. In this Breakfast Club quote, Brian admits that he doesn’t like what he sees when he looks in the mirror.


Brian’s struggle with self-esteem and satisfaction is one anyone can relate to on some level, which is part of what’s made the movie’s appeal so enduring. Bender spends a lot of time early making fun of Brian. Andrew mocks him, as one might expect a jock to do to a nerd. However, Brian has it tough at home. He has an abusive life with his family and he isn’t a happy person. He knows he is smart, but he also knows that paints a target on him with other kids. Brian hates who he is, and his admission is heartbreaking.

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16 “You Do Everything Everyone Tells You To, And That Is The Problem.”

Allison Reynolds

Allison (Ally Sheedy)looking shocked in The Breakfast Club.


Allison hits the nail on the head when it comes to the more popular people in the school with this Breakfast Club quote. They are yes-people, not thinking for themselves, but quickly succumbing to the effects of peer pressure. It’s the pressure that sees both Claire and Andrew eventually break down during the day. Allison, on the other hand, does what she wants, or tries to. Allison points out that doing exactly what other people want is a problem.

She might lie to get reactions out of people, but Allison is more in tune with who she really is than anyone else in the room. While she seems like the weird girl in this group, she knows that she is weird, and she is seemingly comfortable in her own skin. She clearly has problems, but she at least will speak up about things and be honest. She knows that Caire fakes her happiness at being popular, and Andrew is doing what he does for his dad. She won’t hesitate to call them out on their hypocrisy.


15 “Does Barry Manilow Know That You Raid His Wardrobe?”

John Bender

Judd Nelson sits in the library in The Breakfast Club

With this line, the audience knows exactly what they are getting from John Bender. He wastes no time in insulting Mr. Vernon as soon as detention begins. The reference might be a bit dated for teens watching the movie today if they’re not familiar with the singer, but his particular style would have been fresh in the minds of 80s audiences. It’s clearly meant to be an insult, despite contention from Manilow fans.

This is also where Bender shows that he is a self-destructive young man. He doesn’t care if he gets in trouble and doesn’t care if he gets everyone else around him in trouble. He has the most abusive homelife of anyone in the movie, and his father physically harms him. Bender likely pushes his own dad and receives even greater punishment. When he keeps talking back to Mr. Vernon, no matter how many weeks are added to his detention, it is a sign of someone who has given up on caring about his own well-being.


14 “Don’t Mess With The Bull, Young Man. You’ll Get The Horns.”

Richard Vernon

Vernon making the bull horn sign in The Breakfast Club

This is such a great and weird saying for an authority figure to use when they believe they’re above reproach and just don’t have time to deal with any kids challenging them. That’s exactly the kind of figure Vernon presented in the movie. So focused on wielding his own power over the students, Vernon can’t deal with the fact that Bender, or any of the kids, would question him at all.


This is one Breakfast Club quote repeated in movies and television series since, mostly sarcastically. It is also a weird moment because Vernon does the horns sign to Bender, and it makes it look like he is trying to look cool in front of the teens, although he mostly comes across as a joke in their eyes. When Vernon is later sitting in his office talking to Carl, it is clear he doesn’t want to be there any more than the kids, and this shows he is as immature as Bender when it comes to lashing out at others.

13 “Two Hits. Me Hitting You. You Hitting The Floor.”

Andrew Clark

Andrew in The Breakfast Club

This Breakfast Club quote comes from Andrew early on in the movie when he’s really aggressive towards Bender and his whole attitude. He never fully drops his criticisms of Bender, but his opinion does clearly soften by the end of the movie. This is partly because Andrew gets in touch with the fact that his aggression stems from a desire to gain approval from his father, and this line smartly sounds like something Andrew heard someone else say, maybe even his own father.


He even repeats it in order to put up his tough-guy facade. Bender seems to be the biggest bully in the movie, but Andrew is a close second. He is more soft-spoken, but it is clear he has learned a lot from his father, and it is hinted that he is only a jock and successful athlete because his dad pushes him so hard. His father is nowhere near as abusive as Bender’s, but that does not mean he hasn’t learned aggression from his dad, and he exerts that here against the other alpha male in the room.

12 “Could You Describe The Ruckus, Sir?”

Brian Johnson

Brian wearing sunglasses in The Breakfast Club


This particular question is a fan favorite for the audience members who identify with The Breakfast Club’s Brian. He is the kind of kid who always does what he is told and pushes himself to be the perfect student. The line is innocent enough to come across as helpful but hints at the guy who wants to climb outside the box society put him in. When Vernon returns to the library and says he “heard a ruckus,” it is early enough in the movie that any of the kids could give each other up, but they don’t.

Even Brian keeps his head with a smart comeback. Brian is the last person anyone would expect to talk back, so when he does, it takes Mr. Vernon by surprise and gives him some cred with the other kids around him. While he is the nerd of the group, he wants to be so much more and this was a small step in that direction and a possible chance that Brian could come out of this afternoon a changed person, possibly for the better.


11 “I Don’t Have To Run Away And Live In The Street.”

Allison Reynolds

The five students sit on the floor in the library in The Breakfast Club

“I Can Run Away And Go To The Ocean, I Can Go To The Country, I Can Go To The Mountains.”

Bender is the character labeled as the rebel, but maybe Allison should have been. She ends up as “the basket case” because she says outlandish things that surprise people, tends to have sticky fingers, and doesn’t conform to anyone’s idea of what a teenage girl should be.

While all the characters get the chance to voice their unhappiness, Allison is the one character who actually seems like she is ready to leave her hometown behind and go somewhere where she can just be herself. A lot of teenagers and adults have identified with that aspect of her character over the years.


This is a case of Allison saying what the others have possibly only dreamed about. They all likely want out. Claire wants less expectations to be the popular girl, Brian wants less expectations about being smart, Andrew wants less expectations about being a perfect athlete, and Bender wants to escape completely. Allison is just the only person honest about wanting out of her situation.

10 “It Is Now 7:06. You Have Exactly 8 Hours And 54 Minutes To Think About Why You Are Here – To Ponder The Error Of Your Ways.”

Richard Vernon

Principal Vernon looks back before leaving the library in The Breakfast Club

Assistant Principal Richard Vernon gives the perfect start for a quiet Saturday of detention for five students with unclear crimes. With his full authority and obvious skepticism about the character of the kids from different cliques, he gives out the ultimate goal of the detention – a self-evaluation essay.


It establishes his character really well, not just the premise of the movie, and it’s become one of the most memorable Breakfast Club quotes as a result. The line is interesting because Mr. Vernon sees this as a room full of losers who should think about why they can’t do things right.

His only reason for making the statement is to mock them and dismiss them for what he thinks they are. However, a deeper meaning comes from what the kids should take from it. They need to think about why they are there, and figure out what they want to do with their lives instead of what society tells them to think. For Mr. Vernon, that is an idea too great for his mind to comprehend.

9 “I Hate It. I Hate Having To Go Along With Everything My Friends Say.”

Claire Standish

Allison looks at Claire while they sit next to each other in The Breakfast Club


The gang shares their hidden sentiments beneath their stereotypical traits. Claire confesses that she constantly has to succumb to peer pressure. When Brian brings up how the five will go on being friends after their detention, Claire says that she doesn’t believe that will happen.

When Brian suspected her of being conceited, Claire revealed, “I hate having to go along with everything my friends say,” before she goes on with a tirade about feeling peer pressure. The line speaks volumes to those who have felt social pressure in their lives before.

This is also a line that shows how different she is from Allison, who lives like her way and doesn’t care if everyone around her thinks that makes her weird. She seems comfortable in her skin, even if she acts like she is always trying to climb out of it. On the other hand, Claire looks perfect, but she knows she isn’t and wishes she could just be someone else, showing that appearances are often misconstrued.


8 “You Ought To Spend A Little More Trying To Do Something With Yourself And A Little Less Trying To Impress People.”

Richard Vernon

Richard Vernon pointing in The Breakfast Club

Principal Vernon may be an oftentimes unjustly harsh authority figure, but he raises good points for the kids. All he is concerned about is the rebellious state of the current generation of children he is overseeing. So it’s understandable why he would use a tough tone towards the gang, particularly towards Bender, when he drops this pearl of wisdom.

This also shows how oblivious Mr. Vernon is about the kids he is tasked with watching over. He thinks that Bender is always trying to impress people when in fact Bender is always trying to escape his own pain. This movie hit in the 1980s, and in that era, it was easy to dismiss what kids were going through because they needed “discipline.” However, this caused trauma to many kids, and to see one of the people charged with leading them be so dismissive and wrong about what he sees makes this a troubling quote.


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7 “You Wanna Know What I Did To Get In Here? Nothing… I Didn’t Have Anything Better To Do.”

Allison Reynolds

Allison points with one hand while holding a pen in her mouth in The Breakfast Club

This Breakfast Club quote is one of the most surprising. To break the ice from Brian’s dark reveal of why he ended up in detention, Allison shares that she did not have a reason to be there at all. It is a much-needed bit of levity for the gang after a long sharing session wherein each one shared their impressions of themselves and of each other.


It is also funny because no one knows if she is serious or not, and this includes the movie’s viewers. Was Allison just there because she was bored and didn’t have anything better to do? That seems unlikely, and she was surely there as punishment for something. However, by throwing out this quote to the group, Allison draws a line in the sand between her and the others that makes it sound like she does what she does because she wants to and everyone else is busy following orders from those around them.

6 “I Could Disappear Forever And It Wouldn’t Make Any Difference.”

John Bender

Bender and Andy stare one another down in The Breakfast Club

This is a line shared by Andrew earlier and brought up by Bender during their sharing session when he begins to berate Claire after her trick of putting on lipstick using her cleavage. Andrew once again begins to get aggressive with Bender and his attitude, so the group goes back to arguing again.


Bender is clearly a character with a lot of personal issues and an abusive life at home, the way that he acts out and triggers negative behavior in other people, almost on purpose it would seem, all feels very naturalistic. The way that Bender repeats this line really makes it sound like he believes it.

This is a sad and disturbing Breakfast Club quote because it sounds like a person who is on the edge and is almost ready to give up. Bender really feels he is worthless, invisible, and means nothing to society in general. His father likely makes him feel like that with his abuse, and out of all the kids in this room doing detention, Bender seems to be the one who needs help the most but doesn’t think he deserves it.

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