How Old Was Molly Ringwald in ‘The Breakfast Club’?

When talking about a teen movie that became a cult classic from the mid-80s, The Breakfast Club always comes to mind. The teen coming-of-age drama revolved around of group of teens from different social standings in high school who get stuck in detention together. While the movie was all about teenagers in high school, not all of the movie’s actors were the same age. Actor Molly Ringwald became a teen movie sensation for her role as Claire Standish, the “Princess.” When the movie was being filmed, she and another cast member were the only ones who were actually teenagers.

Molly Ringwald, The Breakfast Club, wearing a black turtlenck sweater
Molly Ringwald of ‘The Breakfast Club’ | Dia Dipasupil via Getty Images

A Teen Movie Classic For All Generations

The Breakfast Club premiered in 1985 and was a hit from the start. The movie’s storyline resonated with audiences as it brought together characters who would have never associated with each other outside of school due to high school cliques. They struggle to be understood by others and themselves. Ringwald played the upscale female character named Claire, who is used to a luxurious lifestyle and popularity.

Alongside Claire was the resident bad boy tagged as “The Criminal,” John Bender played by Judd Nelson. To round out the group was a misunderstood athlete, a “Basket Case” loner, and the high school nerd. This completely different group of teenagers get stuck in Saturday detention but find common ground and learn to accept each other outside of the stereotypes created by high school.

Molly Ringwald was 16 during filming

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At first watch, audiences might have believed that all the actors in the movie are roughly the same age. The actors looked like young teenagers in high school, but only two main cast members were actually their supposed movie character ages. According to IMDb, Molly Ringwald was 16 during filming and would turn 17 only a few days after the movie premiered.

Ringwald wasn’t the only teen actor in the cast. Her co-star Anthony Michael Hall, who played Brian Johnson, was also 16 during filming. The rest of the cast were already into their early 20s but played high school teens convincingly and helped bring the teen storyline to life on the big screen. The movie’s actors would be known as “The Brat Pack,” a group of rising young actors on the fast track for success.

Molly Ringwald became a teen icon and more

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Before The Breakfast Club, Ringwald already broke ground as a notable teen actor in another cult classic movie that premiered a year earlier. She starred as high school sophomore Samantha “Sam” Baker in Sixteen Candles alongside actor Michael Schoeffling. After her success in both teen movies, she established herself as a teen icon and starred in various movies in the 80s and 90s, such as Pretty in Pink, Fresh Horses, and For Keeps.

Besides her cult classic teen characters, Ringwald gained notoriety for more serious roles like in the 1992 television movie Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz Story. She played the lead character based on real-life AIDS activist Alison Gert. In 1994, Ringwald was the lead role as Frannie Goldsmith in the post-apocalyptic horror mini-series based on a Stephen King novel titled, The Stand.

To date, Ringwald’s most current role is in the 2017 CW show Riverdale as the mother of Archie Andrews (KJ Appa), Mary Andrews. Ringwald has played Mary Andrews as a recurring character that slightly deviates from the storyline often seen in the original comic version.

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