Many things made the 1980s a unique decade, including big hair, brightly colored outfits, and MTV music videos.

The movies of the ’80s were especially iconic. This decade gave us The Goonies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and many more greats.

It was also the period when the Brat Pack was taking Hollywood by storm.

The Era of Teen Movie Cast Repetition

On February 15, 1985, the John Hughes classic coming-of-age teen flick The Breakfast Club, about five teens stuck in Saturday detention, premiered.

A few months later, St. Elmo’s Fire was released.

It was another hit movie about the ups and downs of relationships and love featuring stars like Andrew McCarthy.

Related: 11 Characters Who Have the Worst Luck in Love

Other teen movies, such as Sixteen Candles (1984) and Pretty in Pink (1986), also premiered around that same time.

As a young kid in the ’80s, I vividly recall noticing that many actors who appeared in those movies were the same.

For instance, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Emilio Estevez starred in The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire together.

Sheedy and Nelson starred in the thriller Blue City (1986) together, too.

The repetition was noticeable but in an exciting way rather than an annoying one.

The stars became familiar to us, almost like friends we could all relate to.

Many of us even developed crushes on our favorites, so seeing them regularly was a bonus, not a bad thing.

But things took an odd turn on June 10, 1985.

That was the day the Brat Pack was born.

A Night on the Town with Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe, and Emilio Estevez

St. Elmo’s Fire, which also starred Andie MacDowell of The Way Home, was soon to be released, and The Breakfast Club was already out when a reporter named David Blum pitched a story.

He wanted to spend the night with Emilio Estevez and his friends under the pretense of writing about Estevez specifically.

Related: Emilio Estevez Reveals Why He Left The Mighty Ducks

On a Thursday night at the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles, Blum, Estevez, Judd Nelson, and Rob Lowe got together.

Blum spent the evening watching the three interacting with others at the bar, especially young girls.

It turned out that his impressions of the group were not very favorable at all.

At the end of the night, they all went their separate ways and probably went to bed thinking all was what passed for normal in Hollywood in the 1980s.

They, and all of us, also spent the weekend ignorant of what was about to happen, except perhaps for Judd Nelson.

He was pretty sure there was something fishy about Blum.

Then Blum’s New York Magazine article dropped on the following Monday, and suddenly, “Brat Pack” was the new term for the young actors.

He adapted the name from the 1960s Rat Pack, which famously included Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford.

The Rat Pack was a group of ladies’ men out for a good time, as was the Brat Pack in Blum’s eyes, but Blum’s article didn’t paint the guys in the best light.

Blum’s Brat Pack Picks

One major issue with Blum’s article was he seemed to make snap judgments about Lowe, Nelson, and Estevez based on a single evening out.

Another was that they weren’t even the only Hollywood stars he labeled in that article.

He named five others: Matt Dillon, Timothy Hutton, Nicholas Cage, Sean Penn, and Tom Cruise, who were not even present at the Hard Rock Cafe that evening.

Related: Check Out These Sizzling Stars

Blum’s article was especially unkind to Judd Nelson, whom he called “overrated” before insulting his performance in St. Elmo’s Fire.

Presumably, he had access to the film beforehand since its official release was not set to occur until about two weeks later.

That review was probably not surprising to Nelson, who has since repeatedly said he didn’t like David Blum when he met him and had to resist the urge to punch him.

It was unclear what system Blum used to create his list of Brat Pack members.

The only clear things were that they had to be young, male, and living in California.

The latter fact was evident when he commented that Matthew Broderick and Matthew Modine were excluded from the group because they lived in New York.

His article implied that all young, virile Hollywood males at the time were both brats and automatically buddy-buddy with each other.

Several Brat Packers have said that wasn’t necessarily true in the years since.

Public Opinion and Brat Pack Membership

Blum also said Kevin Bacon, who started acting on soaps, was geographically excluded from the Brat Pack.

Yet, he’s considered at least on the Brat Pack periphery today.

The general public has subtracted from and added to Blum’s original list quite a bit, even expanding it to include females.

Molly Ringwald of The Breakfast Club and recently of Riverdale was added early on.

Related: Quit Your Day Job: What 11 Stars Did Before Making it Big

That’s not surprising since she also starred in Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and other ’80s movies we loved, not to mention early episodes of The Facts of Life.

Based on public opinion, her Breakfast Club co-stars, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy, were soon added. Demi Moore and Andrew McCarthy of St. Elmo’s Fire were also included shortly after the original article was published.

Interestingly, McCarthy is directing the new documentary about the Brat Pack, Brats, premiering on June 13, 2024.

Blum’s article specifically listed him as not having the success of a full-fledged Brat Packer.

Yet he was almost instantly considered one after it was published and St. Elmo’s Fire was released.

Over the years, different fans developed their own opinions about what should make an actor a member of the Brat Pack.

Some judged them based on how fast their careers seemed to take off at any given time.

Others judged them based on their perceived attitudes and the publicity they got.

Certain people have also gotten mistaken for Brat Pack members by association over the years. A good example is Rob Lowe’s brother, Chad.

The Lowe brothers are close and even appeared on 9-1-1 Lonestar together, but Chad was never a Brat Pack member.

Officially, the eight-member Brat Pack, as we know it today, consists of the five stars of The Breakfast Club, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, and Rob Lowe.

Yet many other great young talents were acting in the 1980s and had Brat Pack associations.

Over the years, possible Brat Pack member lists have often included brothers of the Brat Packers, like Charlie Sheen, and other big stars of the ’80s, such as Corey Feldman.

I would add all the stars of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to my list, despite Blum’s comment that Matthew Broderick was geographically out at the time.

What’s your mental Brat Pack list?

Reach out in the comments below and let us know.

Jessica Kosinski is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.

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