Hughes’ best remembered and most referenced film, The Breakfast Club looms large over every teen movie that followed. What’s perhaps most remarkable about this genre archetype, therefore, is how skilfully it manages the tropes and clichés of the form; playing with recognisable situations and narratives, but never descending into pastiche.
The story of a group of ill-matched classmates forced together during Saturday detention, The Breakfast Club is crafted with chamber drama simplicity and populated by deliberately archetypal characters. But Hughes combines these minimal elements to create a sum greater than its parts. Coaxing powerful performances out of his ensemble of young stars, he fleshes out the stereotypes and imbues his protagonists with an authenticity and relatability that makes them much more than simply a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess or a criminal.