The Breakfast Club: Where Was the 1985 Movie Filmed?

Widely regarded as one of the pivotal coming-of-age movies of all time, iconic filmmaker John Hughes’ ‘The Breakfast Club’ is a raw portrayal of the trials and tribulations in the lives of teenagers as they transition from youth to adulthood. It centers upon five stereotypical teens — Andrew, the athlete; Brian, the goody-two-shoes nerd; Bender, the rebel; Claire, the popular girl and Allison, the outcast — who are compelled to serve an all-day detention at their high school library on a Saturday. To ensure they’re on their best behavior during their punishment, Vice Principal Richard Vernon asks each to write an essay of around 1000 words describing who they think they are as individuals.

Owing to its profound contribution to the genre and the world of cinema, the 1985 teen movie was touted as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and rightfully reserved its place in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2016. It has also been acclaimed for the relatable and well-rounded characters, sensitive tackling of teenage archetypes and issues, and last but not least, the isolated but lively setting of the library of Shermer High School that transforms into a character as the kids gradually open up about their inner turmoil. In case you’re wondering where the entire melodrama unfolds, we’ve got you covered. Here are all the places where ‘The Breakfast Club’ was filmed!

The Breakfast Club Filming Locations

‘The Breakfast Club’ was filmed entirely in Illinois, especially in Cook County. As per reports, the principal photography for the John Hughes directorial commenced in late March 1984 and wrapped up in late April or early May of the same year. The cast rehearsed their scenes for three weeks and then recorded the movie sequentially. Now, without much ado, let’s join the five high school students in detention and learn about the specific locations that appear in the comedy-drama movie!

Cook County, Illinois

All the pivotal sequences for ‘The Breakfast Club’ were lensed in Cook County, with the production team setting up camp in different locations, including the county seat — Chicago. The filming unit utilized a couple of actual institutional establishments to shoot the comedy movie, which is set in the fictional Shermer High School. Maine North High School at 9511 Harrison Street in the city of Des Plaines served as the primary production location as its entrance can be spotted during the scene where the teenagers are dropped off by their respective parents.

Closed in May 1981, the school was empty at the time of production. Its exterior, hallways, and library were used to record several key portions of the Judd Nelson starrer. The filming unit found Maine North High School’s library too small for the movie, and since most of the drama unfolds in the library, they decided to construct a virtually identical but bigger set in the school’s gymnasium instead. Currently, the building is used as a headquarters for the Illinois State Police.

Glenbrook North High School at 2300 Shermer Road in the village of Northbrook, a suburb of Chicago, is yet another site that doubled as the fictional Shermer High School in ‘The Breakfast Club.’ Interestingly enough, it was the director John Hughes’ alma mater. Some interior areas of the school, including the hallways and corridors, appear in numerous scenes. Furthermore, the scene where John walks across the football field at the end of the movie was taped on this school’s field.

Some reports also suggest that additional portions of the coming-of-age movie were recorded in Park Ridge High School in the city of Park Ridge. Specifically, the scene where Principal Vernon is caught going through his teachers’ personal files by the school janitor was lensed in this school. Moreover, the football field of Park Ridge High School features in the fist-pump scene.

Read More: Movies Like The Breakfast Club