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Brat Pack Film Facts That Have Us Feeling Major ’80s Nostalgia

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / MovieStillsDB

The Brat Pack was the moniker given to a group of actors who starred in a slew of teen movies during the 1980s. Including the likes of Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estévez, and Judd Nelson, they defined a generation who still think back on their films with fondness. Here are some facts you might not have known about these cult classics.

Molly is Andie

Jon Cryer, Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy standing beside each other
Cast of Pretty in Pink. (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / Getty Images)

Director John Hughes wrote the script for 1986’s Pretty in Pink after working with Molly Ringwald on Sixteen Candles. While he knew she was who he wanted to star as Andie Walsh, the film studio had other ideas. The role was offered to the likes of Justine Bateman, Jennifer Beals, and Jodie Foster before Ringwald was officially chosen.

This wasn’t the first time Hughes wrote a role specifically for Ringwald. During the planning stage for Sixteen Candles, he requested his agent send over pictures of promising actresses. The stack included an image of Ringwald. He put hers over his desk and ended up writing the first draft of the film in just one weekend.

Don’t underestimate the power of middle schoolers

The Outsiders cast sitting together
Cast of The Outsiders. (Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images)

If it weren’t for a group of seventh and eighth graders from Fresno, California, the film version of The Outsiders wouldn’t exist. The book was standard reading by the 1970s, and many students related to the characters’ search for identity. Even ardent non-readers enjoyed it.

One day, librarian Jo Ellen Misakian had her students sign a petition to have director Francis Ford Coppola adapt the book for the big screen. She sent it, along with a copy of the book, to his address in New York, prompting him to contact the book’s author, S.E. Hinton.

Hinton had previously turned down offers to turn the book into a movie, but allowed Coppola to do so because of his impeccable work on the film adaption of The Black Stallion. She was involved in every aspect of the filming process, and even makes a cameo in the movie.

No audition required

Anthony Michael Hall staring at Molly Ringwald
Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles. (Photo Credit: Universal Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

Many actors have to go through a rigorous audition process in order to land a role, but not Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. The pair made an impression on John Hughes while filming Sixteen Candles, so much so that he approached them and asked if they’d like to star in his new film, The Breakfast Club once filming wrapped up.

The pair accepted his offer and went on to star alongside fellow Brat Pack members Judd Nelson, Emilio Estévez, and Ally Sheedy. Honestly, could you think of a better group to star as this band of characters?

Don’t You (Forget About Me)

The Breakfast Club publicity still
The Breakfast Club publicity still (Photo Credit:  Universal Studios / MovieStillsDB)

One of the most iconic songs to appear in a Brat Pack movie is Simple Mind’s “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” However, did you know they weren’t initially meant to record the track? Billy Idol, The Fixx, and Bryan Ferry were all initially approached to perform it, but declined.

Bonus fact: Molly Ringwald recorded her own version of the song. It can be heard on her 2013 jazz album, Except Sometimes.

Demi Moore was more like Jules than you think

the cast of St. Elmo's Fire
Demi Moore (center) as Jules in St. Elmo’s Fire, 1985. (Photo Credit: Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

In 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fire, the character of Jules is known for her substance use. What many might not be aware of is that the actress who played her, Demi Moore, also struggled with addiction during filming. According to her autobiography, she was using an eighth of an ounce of her preferred substance every two days.

She would come to set high and was once ordered away because of it. Director Joel Schumacher finally had enough and gave her an ultimatum: get clean or be removed from the film. Moore sought treatment for 15 days and stayed clean throughout filming. To ensure her success, she had a counselor with her on set.

Judd Nelson, bad boy

Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald standing together in the sunset
Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club. (Photo Credit:  Universal Studios / MovieStillsDB)

Fans of 1985’s The Breakfast Club are familiar with bad boy John Bender. Did you know the actor who played him actually embodied his image? According to a friend, Bender’s behavior was similar to how Judd Nelson acted in real life, and he and Rob Lowe often partied together.

Co-star Molly Ringwald tried to have Nelson fired from the film because he was bullying her. He claimed he was simply getting in touch with his character’s “criminal” nature, but Ringwald felt he was terrorizing her. John Hughes didn’t grant Ringwald’s request, and Nelson was able to stay on.

Lukewarm reception

Ally Sheedy spraying Rob Lowe with a hose
Ally Sheedy and Rob Lowe in Oxford Blues, 1984. (Photo Credit: MGM Studios / Getty Images)

Not all movies get the recognition they deserve upon their release. For some, it takes being released for home viewing for fans to appreciate them. That’s true with many Brat Pack films, including The Breakfast Club, The Outsiders, Oxford Blues, and St. Elmo’s Fire.

In particular, The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire received relatively lukewarm reviews upon their initial release. They gained their cult classic status when released on video, and are now widely considered two of the best teen movies from the 1980s.

Based on true events

The cast of St. Elmo's Fire sitting in from of Saint Elmo's Bar
Cast of St. Elmo’s Fire. (Photo Credit: Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images)

Carl Kurlander, the scriptwriter for St. Elmo’s Fire, told MovieHole the idea for the film is based on a true story. He’d worked as a bellhop at the St. Elmo Hotel and fell in love with a waitress who didn’t reciprocate his feelings. That theme of unrequited love became central to the plot of St. Elmo’s Fire, and the St. Elmo Hotel became Saint Elmo’s Bar.

As well, since the film’s character’s attended Georgetown University, Saint Elmo’s Bar was stylized after a real watering hole college students frequented, The Tomb in Washington, D.C.

Fire is no joke

The cast of The Outsiders standing on a street at night
The Outsiders, 1983. (Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images)

Remember the scene in 1983’s The Outsiders where the Greasers rescue kindergarten students from an abandoned church that catches fire? Well, that fire became a bit too real during the filming process.

Francis Ford Coppola was known for wanting his films to look realistic, and sometimes he was a bit overly ambitious. To make this scene look more authentic, he asked the technicians to add more fire, but it spread too much and the flames engulfed the church steeple. Thankfully, the local fire department and a miraculous rainstorm prevented it from spreading any further.

Where are the shoes?

Jon Cryer standing in a record store
Jon Cryer in Pretty in Pink. (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / movienutt /  MovieStillsDB)

Fans of Pretty in Pink are familiar with the shoes Jon Cryer’s character, Duckie Dale, wore. The signature pointy-toed white kicks are as iconic as the character himself, and were a one-of-a-kind item. They were handpicked by the film’s costume designer at LA punk shop, NaNa, which also provided the thigh-high boots Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman.

More from us: Dean Martin: The Rat Pack Star And Amateur Boxer Who Was Afraid Of Elevators

Unfortunately, the current location of the shoes is unknown. Cryer lent them to Planet Hollywood in the 1990s, but there appears to have been some miscommunication. Contrary to what the documents stated, the company thought Cryer was giving them the shoes. Since then, they’ve disappeared into the abyss.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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