Molly Ringwald Lobbied for John Hughes To Remove an Overtly Sexist Scene in ‘The Breakfast Club’

Through the 1980s and the 1990s, John Hughes was the king of Hollywood. Writing, directing, and producing movies aimed at teens, Hughes was thought of as a trailblazer. His humor was also crass and pretty sexist if you look back at it now. Molly Ringwald, who starred in several of Hughes’ most beloved films, revealed that The Breakfast Club was almost even more raunchy. She had to lobby to have Hughes remove what she says was a creepy scene.

Molly Ringwald accepts that The Breakfast Club has some problematic themes

In a 2018 piece for The New Yorker, Ringwald recalled her discomfort with the idea of her daughter watching the Breakfast Club. She noted that what she found is that she, instead, was uncomfortable with some of the themes. Ringwald stated that through the 2020 lens, she sees Judd Nelson’s character as particularly problematic. Specifically, she said, she felt uncomfortable with the fact that he waffled between sexualizing her character, Claire Standish, and raging against her, only to get her in the end.

The original post for 'The Breakfast Club' seen at Lincoln Center
Original post for ‘The Breakfast Club’ | John W. Ferguson/Getty Images

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Nelson’s character wasn’t the only issue. Ringwald points out that she was still a minor when she joined the cast of The Breakfast Club. Because of her age, an older actor was used when Nelson’s character, John Bender, snuck a peak up Claire’s skirt. Ringwald noted she felt embarrassed, even though the shot wasn’t of her. Hughes, however, was known for what was considered “crassness” back then. Ringwald thinks much of his writing wouldn’t fly today, even as he is still heavily celebrated by film buffs and studied in film schools.

Molly Ringwald lobbied for the removal of a scene she found creepy

Fans of Hughes largely argue that his humor and style were a product of the times. Still, Ringwald, who was often considered his muse, found some of his work offensive even in the 1980s. In her lengthy opinion piece in The New Yorker, Ringwald recalled that Hughes had added a peeping tom scene to The Breakfast Club after he had handed her the first draft.

Molly Ringwald as Claire Standish in 'The Breakfast Club',
Molly Ringwald in ‘The Breakfast Club’ | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

She explained that the scene found Mr. Vernon watching a naked teacher swim in the school pool. Ringwald said she lobbied for Hughes to remove the scene. He acquiesced, and Ringwald insists the film was better for it. The scene was far from necessary. From the sounds of it, it served as nothing but another creepy and highly inappropriate punch line.

What other films did John Hughes write?

Hughes died in 2009 after suffering a massive heart attack in New York. Fans and stars felt the loss. Before his death, however, he amassed a huge portfolio of works. Hughes was a triple threat. Not only could he write films, but he produced and directed them, too.

John Hughes in Chicago
John Hughes | Paul Natkin/WireImage

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Some of the 1980s and early 1990’s most beloved films had Hughes’ hands on them, and several modern-day directors count him as their biggest inspiration. Hughes was responsible for Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He also wrote and produced Curly Sue and Dutch. Home Alone and several other fan favorites also were the brainchild of the famed writer.