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These Are the Best Brat Pack Movies, Ranked

In the 1980s, a group of young actors and actresses known as the Brat Pack ruled the box office and pop culture. Teens of the day wanted to be a part of the exclusive club that included Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwaldand Ally Sheedy. Collectively, the Brat Pack made some of the most memorable movies of the decade. Where would we be without such seminal films as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and St. Elmo’s Fire?

The term was coined in 1985 New York Magazine cover story which chronicled the rise of a group of actors and actresses in their early 20s. The group was called the Brat Pack as a reference to the Rat Pack, the group of actors and performers from the 1960s that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop.

The Brat Pack became known as a group because the members frequently appeared in a number of coming-of-age movies together. The biggest year for the Brat Pack was 1985, when both The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire were released. Estevez, Ringwald, Sheedy, Hall, and Nelson appeared in the John Hughes film, while McCarthy, Moore, Lowe, Estevez, and Nelson appeared in Joel Schumacher’s St. Elmo’s Fire.

If you grew up in the 80s or have nostalgia for that decade, you know that the Brat Pack very much embodied the decade of excess and hopefulness. Let’s take a look at the greatest Brat Pack movies, ranked.

7 Class

Orion Pictures

Class from 1983 starred Brat Packers Andrew McCarthy and Rob Lowe at an expensive preppy boarding school, where Jonathan (McCarthy) arrives at his new prep school to meet his roommate, Skip (Lowe). Basically, Skip bullies Jonathan, but since this is a movie, they eventually become the best of friends. On a trip to Chicago, Jonathan has an affair with a beautiful older woman who, he finds out over the Christmas holiday, is Skip’s mom. Ah, the 1980s! The film may not be a masterpiece, but it’s noted for being the film debuts of the fun Andrew McCarthyJohn Cusack, and Virginia Madsen, and is only the second film from Rob Lowe, just four months after his debut.

6 Oxford Blues

Oxford Blues

Brat Packers Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy starred in this 1984 remake of the 1938 film A Yank at Oxford. Oxford Blues is Rob Lowe’s first fully headlining role in a film. Lowe played Nick, a Las Vegas casino employee working to make enough money to pursue his crush, Lady Victoria Wingate, to Oxford. He applies and gets into Oxford University, joining the rowing team in an effort to win her over. Unfortunately, she’s got a boyfriend who’s also on the rowing team. Sheedy plays Rona, another American at Oxford, who is the coxswain of the rowing team.

Related: The Outsiders Shoot Had Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe Sleeping in a Stranger’s Basement

5 St. Elmo’s Fire

St Elmos Fire 1
Columbia Pictures

Joel Schumacher co-wrote and directed this 1985 film starring Brat Packers Emilio EstevezDemi Moore, Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Andrew McCarthy, and a top-of-his-game Judd Nelson. The film revolves around a group of recent Georgetown University graduates who are navigating post-college life personally and professionally. The group gathers at St. Elmo’s Bar to catch up on their lives, and they always have a lot of catching up to do as each and every single one of their lives are a complete mess, like so many other recent college grads. St. Elmo’s Fire is considered an important film in the Brat Pack genre even though it is typically darker and more subdued than other films in the genre or the Brat Pack filmography.

4 About Last Night…

TriStar Pictures

Rob Lowe and Demi Moore starred in 1986’s About Last Night …, which is based on the great 1974 David Mamet play Sexual Perversity in Chicago. The film is about Lowe and Moore’s characters (Dan and Debbie) as they meet, hook up, move in together, break up, and learn about falling in love in their 20s. Dan and Debbie’s relationship is messy, but their love is true; equally, the film is messy (and probably better on stage), but the young Brat Packers are almost embarrassingly authentic, vulnerable, and true here.

3 Pretty In Pink

Paramount Pictures

Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy represent the Brat Pack in this classic 1986 high school romantic comedy Pretty in Pink. Ringwald plays Andie, who comes from a working-class background. McCarthy plays Blaine, the upper-class preppy who asks Andie to prom and then stands her up. Andie, of course, gets the last word. John Hughes wrote this film, making it a prime entrant in the Brat Pack oeuvre, no matter how poorly it’s aged or not.

Related: These Were the Most Memorable “Best Friends” in Romantic Comedies

2 The Breakfast Club

The brat pack cast of The Breakfast Club sits down
Universal Pictures

“They only met once, but it changed their lives forever. They were five total strangers, with nothing in common, meeting for the first time. A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse.” That’s the tagline for the 1985 movie The Breakfast Club written and directed by John Hughes and starring Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy. This is the seminal film in the Brat Pack catalog, due to the fact that the entire main cast (spending a Saturday in detention at their high school) are all members of the Brat Pack. While it may be problematic in ways, Hollywood should take note: do NOT remake this classic film.

1 Sixteen Candles

Universal Pictures

Whatever happened to Jake Ryan is a question women have been asking for decades. Officially, Michael Schoeffling retired from acting after making 10 films and moved to Pennsylvania to make furniture, but we digress. Sixteen Candles is another film written and directed by John Hughes. The 1984 movie starred Brat Packers Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall as Samantha “Sam” Baker and Ted; Sam is a sophomore turning 16, and Ted is a geeky freshman obsessed with Sam. Sam, however, has a crush on senior Jake Ryan (to reiterate, swoon). Sixteen Candles holds up today, 38 years after its release, even if it is an indelible time capsule of its period and, like most of the great Brat Pack films, culturally dated.

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