Bratty Facts About John Hughes Films

October 8, 2023 | Miles Brucker

Bratty Facts About John Hughes Films

“I don't think of kids as a lower form of the human species.” —John Hughes

Without John Hughes, we wouldn’t have such coming of age classics as The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, nor would we have the rollicking family fun comedies Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Uncle Buck. Though he brought about the “Brat Pack,” John Hughes shunned the media and only made rare public appearances in his career, as he let his work do the talking for him. However, his memory still lives on, generation after generation, for his infectious humanity. Take a trip into his wonderland of nostalgia today with the most interesting and wacky facts about John Hughes’ films.

1. Detained Improvisation

The Breakfast Club is a great film because it was able to capture so much emotion and energy from its actors. This was due, in part, to the fact that Hughes gave his young stars a lot of breathing room and had them improvise from deep down inside of themselves. The most famous improvisation scene was the scene where each character details how they ended up in detention. That's right, all of those lines are coming from the actors themselves.


2. Bratty Kids

The term “Brat Pack” originates from a profile that the journalist David Blum wrote about Emilio Estevez for New York Magazine in 1985. Blum came up with the term as a derogatory moniker because when Blum met them, Estevez and his friends were acting in a way that he considered spoiled: they'd ask to get let into a movie theater for free and demand the center table at restaurants so they could be seen.

John Hughes Films factsMental Floss

3. A Night on the Town

One night during the filming of Uncle Buck, John Candy decided to have a night out at the bar along with the film’s music supervisor. No bueno. After staying out all night hanging out with locals, John Hughes heard a someone call into the local radio station the next day to talk about their amazing experience of drinking with Candy. Hughes was so upset that he canceled all of the actor’s scheduled scenes for that day.

John Hughes Films factsFanpop

4. Picking on Molly

Judd Nelson took his character, Bender, quite seriously and decided to create a tension on the set by picking on Molly Ringwald in between takes, the way his character would have to Claire. In an attempt to protect Ringwald, Hughes considered getting rid of Nelson, but the other actors stepped in and argued in favor of keeping him around.

John Hughes Films factsGoodMad

5. Keeping It in the Family

The car that Claire is brought to school in in The Breakfast Club was Hughes’s own BMW, and the mother who drops off Brian is Anthony Michael Hall’s real mother.

John Hughes Films factsWwu

6. Helping out

In order to help out a young Macaulay Culkin in Uncle Buck, John Candy had the dialogue attached on top of his own head during the interrogation scene so that Culkin could more easily keep up with the pace of the scene.

John Hughes Films factsFanpop

7. Historically Significant

The films of John Hughes have proven to stand the test of time. In 2014, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was chosen to be preserved by the United States National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. But that’s not the only one: In 2016, The Breakfast Club was also chosen.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - actors are driving in red car with open top ,looking happy - from Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)Paramount, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

8. Boring

Ben Stein has a degree in Economics from Columbia University and was a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon before filming Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Knowing this, John Hughes didn’t give him any lines but instead told him to simply give an actual economics lecture to the class.

John Hughes Films factsAZCentral

9. Actors' Favorite

You know you’ve made a great film when two of your generation's greatest comedians name it as their favorite film they've acted in. Those two actors are Steve Martin and John Candy, and the film is Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

John Hughes Films factsGeek and Sundry

10. On Standby

John Hughes was inspired to write Planes, Trains & Automobiles after a flight he was on was diverted and put him in travel limbo for five days in Wichita, Kansas.

John Hughes Films factsThe Stream

11. Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw

To this day, Macaulay Culkin still has a scar on his finger from when Joe Pesci went a little too method and actually bit his finger during the filming of Home Alone.

John Hughes Films factsLife & Style

12. Don’t Scare the Spider

A tarantula on the face is nothing to mess with. Before the days of good CGI, Home Alone had to resort to using a real tarantula to crawl on actor Daniel Stern’s face, something that required a great deal of nuance. Stern agreed to shoot the scene only once, and he had to fake the scream he lets out in the film in order not to spook the spider and get bit.

John Hughes Films factsIcepop

13. Carried Away With a Kiss

Weird Science got...well, weird during filming. In the scene where Ilan Mitchell-Smith gets to kiss Kelly LeBrock, the 14-year-old kid got a little bit carried away and went for it all with his tongue. Yeah, LeBrock wasn’t having it, and bit back by scolding him with the line, "If you ever do that again I'm going to kick your but !"

Lisa Teaches Wyatt How to Kiss - from Weird Science (1985)Universal, Weird Science (1985)

14. Crappy Time

Robert Downey Jr. had some ups and downs with John Hughes on the set of Weird Science, and took it out the best way he knew how to: by taking poops in the trailers of his co-stars. In 1997, Downey Jr. admitted to being a "serial dumper" while on set.

John Hughes Films factsUniversal, Weird Science (1985)

15. Famous Choreography

The famous “Twist and Shout” group dance number in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off looks familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because the choreography sequence was lifted directly from the iconic “Thriller" video by Michael Jackson. Hey, why mess with a good thing?

Screenshot: dancing scene from - Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)Paramount, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

16. Parental Engagement

Ferris Bueller’s parents sure had some good chemistry in the movie. So good that the actors who played them decided to actually get together and get married after the movie.

John Hughes Films factsParamount, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

17. Sibling Love

Not only did the Bueller parents get hitched after the movie, but onscreen siblings Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey also got engaged afterward.

John Hughes Films factsHuffington Post

18. May the Best Actor Win

As a testament to Matthew Broderick’s acting chops, he beat out a who’s who of actors for the role of Ferris Bueller. The other actors considered were Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Michael J. Fox, Robert Downey Jr., Rob Lowe, and Tom Cruise.

Screenshot: Matthew Broderick is looking at stereo - from Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)Paramount, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

19. Wiggin’ Out

After Pretty in Pink wrapped, the cast and crew had to re-unite and reshoot the ending to the film. Because they were working actors, some had moved on to other jobs, like Andrew McCarthy, who took a role in a play that required him to shave his head and lose a bunch of weight. This means that at the end of Pretty in Pink, he is actually wearing a wig.

John Hughes Films factsParamount, Pretty in Pink (1986)

20. Fake Ferrari

Ferris Bueller goes out for a joy ride in his father’s Ferrari. Except, well, he didn’t. The film’s production didn’t actually have the funds to rent a real Ferrari, so instead, they produced three fakes for the film, all made with a fiberglass body to mimic the real models. Imagine how much a Ferrari costs to merely rent if you can make three other fake cars and still come in under budget.

John Hughes Films factsParamount, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

21. Super Senior

In order to do research for his role as Bender, Judd Nelson decided to enter into his local high school and pretend to be a student there. As a way to grow close to the students at the school, the 24-year-old actor bought the kids beverage with his really, unbelievably good “fake” ID.

John Hughes Films factsMedium

22. Strung Out

Charlie Sheen looks really, well, I guess like we’ve come to expect him to look, when he shows up in the detention station during Ferris Bueller. This wasn’t acting. Sheen claims he had kept himself awake for over 48 hours in order to get the desired tired look. Sure, Charlie, sure you did. Anything for the job, right?

John Hughes Films factsParamount, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

23. Busy, Busy

When John Hughes finally got his big break, he made sure to start grinding. Within only 15 months he directed Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science.

Screenshot: Alan Ruck & Matthew Broderick standing outside  - from Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)Paramount, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

24. No Place Like Home

John Hughes created the fictional town of Shermer, Illinois for his films Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Sixteen Candles, but the town was based on his hometown of Northbrook, Illinois, whose original name was actually Shermerville.

John Hughes Films factsPinterest

25. Comedic Inspiration

Richard Pryor inspired just about all comedy during the 1980s, and Weird Science was no exception. During the shoot, Anthony Michael Hall and John Hughes would watch Pryor movies together, which led to the idea for Hall to walk into a bar and play a Pryoresque character of an old African-American bluesman.

Richard Pryor is smiling at camera - 1986Alan Light, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

26. Real Clothes

Judd Nelson showed up to audition for the role of Bender wearing the clothes that you see in the movie.

John Hughes Films factsA&M , The Breakfast Club (1985)

27. Just in Time

While Nelson waiting for his turn to audition as Bender in The Breakfast Club, the receptionist called for security to take him out of the room because of the trouble he was causing. Lucky for him, he was called into his audition right as they showed up.

John Hughes Films factsPinterest

28. Cheesy Hair

The dandruff that Allison shakes all over the place in The Breakfast Club was not real, thankfully. Rather, it was some parmesan cheese, which is a hard pill to swallow, because parmesan is not a thing to waste.

John Hughes Films factsHuffington Post

29. Pen Name

Just because Hughes retired from the public spotlight didn't mean he stopped writing screenplays. Using the pseudonym Edmond Dantes (an homage to the lead character in The Count of Monte Cristo) he wrote the screenplays for some surprising films such as Drillbit Taylor, Maid in Manhattan, and even the Beethoven franchise.

John Hughes Films factsRetro-Daze

30. Rapid Write

It took John Hughes only two days to write the first draft for The Breakfast Club. Sounds like genius to us.

John Hughes Films factsVanity Fair

31. Caging Bender

In what would have been a...well, interesting take on the character of Bender, Nicolas Cage was the original choice to play the troubled youth. This idea would be dropped though because Cage cost way too much money at the time.

Nicolas Cage factsShutterstock

32. Anti-Joke

“A blonde without clothes walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm...” Yeah, that’s it. When Judd Nelson started this joke as Bender, he didn’t have a punchline. Instead, he just improvised it and hoped for the best. They wanted to add a punchline when Bender walks back in for his pencil, but no one could think of any good ones.

John Hughes Films factsAol

33. A Kiss to Rule Them All

Molly Ringwald actually wanted Viggo Mortensen to play the part of Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles. When a young Strider auditioned for the role in the future classic, he didn’t pull his punches and kissed Ringwald, going for it. This made her lobby in his case for the part, but it would end up going to Michael Schoeffling instead.

John Hughes Films factsPinterest

34. Jimmy the Geek

Could you imagine Jim Carrey as “The Geek” in The Breakfast Club? Yeah, neither can we, as it surely would have been a different film. But, it almost happened, and Carrey was in the running for the part.

John Hughes Films factsStar Fights

35. The Power of Music

You can taste the tension on screen between Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall in many of their onscreen appearances. However, at first at least, they couldn’t stand each other. Realizing that his two young stars needed to mesh, Hughes remedied this problem (for all our sakes) by bringing them to a record shop so that they could connect over music.

John Hughes Films factsTumblr

36. The Cake Is a Lie

The iconic kiss in front of a blazing cake at the end of Sixteen Candles is etched in all of our memories. But guess what? It was all a lie. The cake wasn’t real and was actually made out of cardboard! Ahhh! Everything we know is a lie!

John Hughes Films factsAmazon

37. Spot the Director

Can you spot John Hughes in his movies? He shows up uncredited in some of his hits. First, he plays Brian’s father in The Breakfast Club, and the following year he showed up, again uncredited, in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as the “Guy Running Between Cabs” during the Taxi scene.

John Hughes Films factsPinterest

38. Taste of Success

John Hughes' first screenplay to be produced was the National Lampoon flop Class Reunion. He got another shot with National Lampoon, however, and this time made his name by penning the screenplay for 1983’s National Lampoon's Vacation. When his screenplay Mr. Mom was also a hit, Hughes was given a three-picture deal.John HughesGetty Images

39. Fraught Relationship

Judd Nelson nails the role of Bender, but it came with a price. John Hughes and the actor had a feud, which ruined the plans to film a sequel to The Breakfast Club. Hughes found Nelson so difficult to be around that Hughes said he would never work with him again.

John Hughes Films factsRooftop Film Club

40. The Darkest Timeline

Hughes originally intended The Breakfast Club to have a mammoth two-and-a-half hour run time. Unfortunately for Hughes-heads everywhere, most of the scenes were cut and the negatives totally destroyed, and John Hughes once said that he had the only uncut copy of the film. Even more unfortunately for Breakfast Club fans, some of the deleted scenes give further (and darker) insight into the beloved characters: in one, Carl the Janitor predicts that in the future, Bender will loose his life, Claire will have had multiple boob jobs and facelifts, Brian will die of a heart attack from his stressful job, Allison will be a great but unknown poet, and Andrew will marry an airline stewardess. In a reunion interview, Ally Sheedy confirmed that a director's cut exists, but that Hughes' widow would not disclose its whereabouts.

John Hughes Films factsNetflix Movies

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

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