The 12 Best Brat Pack Movies That We Can Still Watch on Repeat

Here’s everything to know about the Brat Pack’s 1980s superstar films

<p>Everett/Shutterstock ; Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock </p> Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling in

Everett/Shutterstock ; Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock

Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling in 'Sixteen Candles'. ; Judd Nelson in 'The Breakfast Club'.

While the Brat Pack wasn't a nickname they came up with (or particularly loved), the movies this group of superstar actors made in the 1980s, like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, live on as modern classics.

There’s no official list of Brat Pack actors, but the ones most commonly associated with the group are Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy. (Other actors who appeared often in Brat Pack movies include Robert Downey, Jr., James Spader and John Cusack.)

They were coined the Brat Pack by a New York Magazine writer in 1985 — and deeply resented the label. "It did have personal ramifications,” McCarthy told PEOPLE of the nickname ahead of his Hulu documentary BRATS, which reunites the iconic '80s stars to discuss their movies and experiences. “Were we brats? We were certainly privileged. But there wasn’t anything great about us. We were just in the right place at the right time and represented that seismic change in pop culture. You’re easy prey when you’re exposed in that way.”

Still, the Brat Pack has become a permanent fixture in nostalgia for the 1980s — and changed the movie industry forever. "Suddenly Hollywood realized kids go to the movies way more than adults,” McCarthy explained. "We've been inundated with movies for young people ever since, but before that, movies were not for the young."

Among those movies were plenty of popular coming-of-age films like Sixteen Candles and The Outsiders. And just like there’s no official list of Brat Pack members, there’s no official list of Brat Pack movies — but 12 feature at least two of the group in them. Ahead, read all about the Brat Pack’s movies.

The Outsiders (1983)

<p>Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise, C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, and Matt Dillon in 'The Outsiders'.

Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise, C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, and Matt Dillon in 'The Outsiders'.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Stay golden, Ponyboy,” then you definitely know something about The Outsiders. When it debuted in 1983, the movie introduced the world to a new generation of A-list actors like Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze and Matt Dillon. Based on the 1967 novel by S.E. Hinton, the film was directed by Frances Ford Coppola and centered on teenagers of different socioeconomic statuses clashing in 1965 Tulsa. The Outsiders featured Lowe in his first feature film role (as Sodapop) and Estevez in one of his earliest roles (as Two-Bit).

Related: The Outsiders Cast: Where Are They Now?

Class (1983)

<p>Orion/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy in 'Class'.


Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy in 'Class'.

McCarthy’s first feature film appearance was a starring role in 1983’s Class, which was also Cusack’s film debut and Lowe’s second film. In the movie, McCarthy’s “Jonathan” is new to a posh private school, where Lowe’s “Skip” is his roommate. After a bumpy start, they become fast friends — until McCarthy becomes involved with an older woman and the relationship threatens everything.

Sixteen Candles (1984)

<p>Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling in 'Sixteen Candles'.


Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling in 'Sixteen Candles'.

The film that introduced the world to Jake Ryan, Sixteen Candles, premiered in 1984 and was John Hughes’ directorial debut. The movie features Molly Ringwald as Sam, who’s navigating life as a teenager, surviving high school and turning 16 as her extended family descends on her house for her sister’s wedding. When they do, they forget her birthday — but one very important boy doesn’t. Anthony Michael Hall plays The Geek, who has an unrequited crush on Sam, and John and Joan Cusack have small roles.

Oxford Blues (1984)

<p>Mgm/Ua/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Rob Lowe in 'Oxford Blues'.


Rob Lowe in 'Oxford Blues'.

A less memorable entry into the Brat Pack canon, 1984’s Oxford Blues starred Lowe as a lovesick teenager trying to woo the object of his affection, the British Lady Victoria Wingate. He follows her to England, enrolls in Oxford, meets Rona (played by Ally Sheedy) and, as expected, hijinks ensue. A young Cary Elwes also appears in one of his earliest roles, just a few years before The Princess Bride.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

<p>Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Anthony Michael Hall in 'The Breakfast Club'.


Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Anthony Michael Hall in 'The Breakfast Club'.

One of the most iconic 1980s movies, The Breakfast Club had an almost all-Brat Pack cast. In the John Hughes classic, five high school students from different social groups — “a brain, an athlete, a basketcase, a princess and a criminal” — have all-day Saturday detention, and are tasked with writing essays that day with the topic “who you think you are.” What they find out is that the five of them, who seem extremely different at the outset, have a lot more common ground than they realized.

The 1985 film stars Ringwald as Claire, the popular, preppy girl; Estevez as Andy, the jock wrestler; Sheedy as Allison, the reclusive weirdo; Hall as Brian, the brainy nerd; and Judd Nelson as Bender, the rebellious outcast.

“The movie has this message that in spite of people’s differences, there is something unifying in the experience of growing up and trying to find yourself,” Sheedy told PEOPLE in 2015.

St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)

<p>Moviestore/Shutterstock </p> Andie Macdowell and Emilio Estevez in 'St Elmo's Fire'.


Andie Macdowell and Emilio Estevez in 'St Elmo's Fire'.

The same year, another of the seminal Brat Pack films debuted: 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fire. The film, set in Washington D.C., follows a group of friends who have recently graduated from Georgetown University as they hang out at their favorite watering hole, St. Elmo’s Bar, and try to navigate adult life for the first time. Alec (Nelson) is a politico who’s in a relationship with Leslie (Sheedy); he’s pressuring her to get married, but she suspects he’s unfaithful. Kevin (McCarthy) is an aspiring writer who’s secretly in love with Leslie. Kirby (Estevez) is hopelessly obsessed with Dale (Andie MacDowell), and takes a questionable job to impress her. Jules (Demi Moore) is wealthy but troubled by her absent parents. Party boy Billy (Lowe) dropped out from partying too much, and is now reluctantly married with a baby and struggling to meet his responsibilities. Sheltered good girl Wendy (Mare Winningham) is longing for independence and is endlessly helping Billy because of her unrequited crush on him.

Of his role as Billy, Lowe told PEOPLE, "I became so identified with it — the wild, fun, rock and roll, quasi-debauched with the heart of gold [guy]: that's my early twenties in a nutshell."

Related: 'St. Elmo's Fire' Cast: Where Are They Now?

Pretty in Pink (1986)

<p>Moviestore/Shutterstock</p> Andrew Mccarthy and Molly Ringwald in 'Pretty In Pink'.


Andrew Mccarthy and Molly Ringwald in 'Pretty In Pink'.

Another John Hughes film, 1986's Pretty in Pink was named after a Psychedelic Furs song — and New Wave music plays a big role in the film. In 2013, Rolling Stone named the Pretty in Pink soundtrack among the 25 best of all time.

In it, Andie (Ringwald) is an artsy, offbeat teenager who’s keeping her underemployed dad afloat by working at a record store. Her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) is a loveable weirdo desperately in love with her — but she’s enamored with one of the “richies” in high school, Blane (Andrew McCarthy). They try to date, but are pulled apart by their friends: Duckie is adamantly against Blane, questioning his intentions; Blane’s best friend Steff (James Spader) sows resentment against Andie because he’s burned by her rejection of him. They finally reconnect at the prom, where Andie has repurposed an out-of-date prom dress into her own creation, and the sparks fly.

Blue City (1986)

<p>Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> David Caruso and Judd Nelson in 'Blue City'.


David Caruso and Judd Nelson in 'Blue City'.

Another rare box office flop for the Brat Pack was the 1986 thriller Blue City, starring Nelson as Billy, who has returned to his Florida hometown to discover that his father was mysteriously killed. In seeking revenge, Billy reconnects with his best friend Joey and Joey’s sister Annie (Sheedy). After traumatic losses, Billy and Annie escape together.

About Last Night (1986)

<p>Tri-Star/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Rob Lowe and Demi Moore in 'About Last Night'.


Rob Lowe and Demi Moore in 'About Last Night'.

In this steamy 1986 comedy-drama, Lowe and Moore play Dan and Debbie, who are figuring out their first serious relationship together. They meet at a softball game, have an immediate connection and spend the night together. After a conversation “about last night,” they decide to keep seeing each other, but things inevitably get complicated despite their strong feelings for each other.

Talking to Good Morning America in January 2024, Moore opened up about the impact of the “Brat Pack” moniker on her and her costar. “For Rob, it kind of just slid off his back,” she said. “For me, I didn’t love it, being thought of as a brat because I thought it kind of diminished us as professionals.”

“It’s really interesting cause you know, the Brat Pack moniker that came about really didn’t have anything to do with us as people, as professionals,” she added. “It was just a clever headline.”

Wisdom (1986)

<p>Courtesy: Everett</p> Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez in 'Wisdom'.

Courtesy: Everett

Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez in 'Wisdom'.

This 1986 crime drama, written and directed by Estevez, is the actor’s filmmaking debut. He plays John Wisdom, who was convicted of grand theft auto and, struggling to find a job, feels detached from society. He and his girlfriend Karen, played by Moore, go on a Robin Hood-style crime spree — but instead of stealing money, they break into banks to erase records and give struggling people relief from their debts.

Fresh Horses (1988)

<p>Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett</p> Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald in 'Fresh Horses'.

Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett

Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald in 'Fresh Horses'.

In this 1988 film, McCarthy stars as Matt, a college student who meets Jewel (Ringwald) by chance and tries to help her out of desperate circumstances. Jewel is a teenager in an abusive marriage, who married only to escape her abusive stepfather — but despite his feelings for her, Matt can only do so much to help. Fresh Horses also features Ben Stiller and Viggo Mortensen in some of their earliest film roles.

Betsy’s Wedding (1990)

<p>Moviestore/Shutterstock </p> Madeline Kahn and Molly Ringwald in 'Betsy's Wedding'.


Madeline Kahn and Molly Ringwald in 'Betsy's Wedding'.

Released in 1990, Betsy’s Wedding is generally considered the final Brat Pack movie. In it, Ringwald plays Betsy, who’s engaged to be married to Jake (played by Dylan Walsh), a man from a much wealthier family. In order to impress his future in-laws, Betsy’s father Eddie (Alan Alda, who wrote and directed the film) gets himself in way over his head financially, and resorts to some unsavory characters to pay the bills. Sheedy plays Betsy’s sister Connie.

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