Idiots Guide: The 1980’s ‘Brat Pack’. Then and Now.

Ahhh…The 1980’s were something special weren’t they? It was a decade rich with all things American consumerism, and it was very good to be flying in the rarified air of the young, rich, and famous in Hollywood. The late great John Hughes’s movies were as much a part of popular culture as Sassoon jeans, and hairspray. The films have lasted the test of time, the hairspray? Not so much. They were coined ‘The Brat Pack’ by David Blum in his 1985 cover story in New York magazine. The actors themselves didn’t care for the tag, but it stuck. This group of young stars extended beyond the original four, and we thought it would be nice to revisit some of the more notable ‘Brats’ and see what life looks like for them, both aesthetically, and otherwise. Enjoy!

#12. James Spader / Pretty in Pink / Less than Zero / Mannequin 


Throughout his career James Spader has made an art form of playing quirky, eccentric. and somewhat unhinged film characters. The 1980’s saw his ascendency to the fine actor he has developed into. His performance in ‘Sex, Lies, and Videotape‘ (1989) was memorable. Currently James is still a highly sought after talent appearing in dozens of shows over the years, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

#11. Jennifer Connelly / Labyrinth / Once Upon a Time in America 

J connely

Jennifer Connelly has come a very long way since her appearance in ‘Labyrinth‘ (1986). She has enjoyed a long and successful career in Hollywood, playing everything from the girl next door, to tempting seductress. A true talent who has entertained millions, Jennifer continues to work in both film and television with the same charm we’ve always loved.

#10. Judd Nelson / The Breakfast Club / St. Elmo’s Fire 




Who can forget Judd Nelson‘s performances as the renegade, ‘burner’ John Bender in ‘The Breakfast Club‘, and the straight laced Alec Newbary in ‘St. Elmo’s Fire‘? We certainly haven’t forgotten. Judd has maintained a career full of wonderful character work and he continues to entertain well into the 21st century.

#9. Mare Winningham / St. Elmo’s Fire / Miracle Mile / Turner & Hooch


Mare Winningham managed to retain a very low profile even during the height of the ‘Brat Pack’s’ popularity. Her career has seen 8 Emmy Award nominations, and winning an Emmy in 1980 for Outstanding Supporting Actress for ‘Amber Waves‘. Her role opposite Rob Lowe in St. Elmo’s Fire was memorable, and her overall work unforgettable.

#8. Anthony Michael Hall / Johnny Be Good / National Lampoon’s Vacation


During the 1980’s it seemed as if Anthony Michael Hall was in every movie of the era. His work with legendary Director John Hughes during those years are a testament to this. Starring in iconic hits such as ‘Sixteen Candles‘, and ‘The Breakfast Club‘ made Hall a household name, and he continues his great work to this day.

#7. Molly Ringwald /  Sixteen Candles / The Breakfast Club / Pretty in Pink 

Molly Ringwald


There was a time that Molly Ringwald was the apple of many a teenaged boys eye. Playing the girl next door was her speciality in the 1980’s with starring roles in ‘Sixteen Candles‘, ‘Pretty in Pink‘, and ‘The Breakfast Club‘. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe in 1982 for her role in ‘Tempest‘. Molly may be all grown up now, but the crush hasn’t faded.

#6. Andrew McCarthy / St. Elmo’s Fire / Pretty in Pink / Less than Zero 


In the 1980s’ and 1990’s McCarthy starred in films such as ‘St. Elmo’s Fire‘, ‘Mannequin‘, ‘Weekend at Bernie’s‘, ‘Pretty in Pink‘, and ‘Less Than Zero‘. In the decades following he has starred in television shows such as  ‘Lipstick Jungle‘, ‘White Collar‘, and ‘Royal Pains‘. So it should go without saying that Andrew McCarthy has had a prolific Hollywood career.

#5. Ally Sheedy / The Breakfast Club / St. Elmo’s Fire / Oxford Blues 


Ally Sheedy broke on the 1980’s film scene with her role in ‘Bad Boys‘ (1983). She followed that up with starring roles in iconic films such as ‘The Breakfast Club‘, and ‘St. Elmo’s Fire‘. Ally’s career saw a brief resurgence in the 1990’s with her role in ‘High Art‘ for which she garnered nods from Independent Spirit Awards, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association, as week as the  National Society of Film Critics. Not bad Ally, not bad.

#4. Emilio Estevez / The Breakfast Club / St. Elmo’s Fire / Repo Man 


A by-product of the Sheen family business, Emilio Estevez has made quite a career for himself. Starting in the 1980’s with starring roles in films such as ‘The Outsiders‘, ‘Repo Man‘, as well as the mega hits ‘St. Elmo’s Fire‘, and ‘The Breakfast Club‘. Emilio has since followed up his tremendous 80’s emergence with the super successful ‘Mighty Ducks‘ film franchise. Everybody loves Emilio, his brother? Not so much…

#3. Patrick Dempsey / Can’t Buy Me Love / Loverboy 

P dempsey

Before he was the heart throbbing  neurosurgeon Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey was part of the 1980’s ‘Brat Pack’ brigade. With starring roles in hit films such as ‘Can’t Buy Me Love‘ (1987), and ‘Loverboy‘ (1989), Patrick Dempsey’s career took off like a bat out of hell. Audience’s worldwide have been entertained ever since.

#2. Demi Moore / St. Elmo’s Fire / About Last Night / Blame it on Rio 


What can we say about the incomparable Demi Moore? She broke into Hollywood, and our collective hearts in 1981 with her soap opera appearance on ‘General Hospital‘, she then went on to star in films such as ‘Blame It on Rio‘ (1984), ‘St. Elmo’s Fire‘ (1985) before blowing up the world with her stellar performance opposite Rob Lowe in ‘About Last Night‘ (1986), Demi Moore is a true Hollywood star in every sense of the word, and her career is still moving like the ‘energizer bunny’.

#1. Rob Lowe / St. Elmo’s Fire / The Outsiders / About Last Night / Oxford Blues

Rob Lowe then now

Rob Lowe‘s film and television career credits read like the Hollywood Walk of Fame star that he is, starting in the 1980’s he starred in blockbuster films such as ‘The Outsiders‘, ‘Oxford Blues‘, ‘About Last Night‘, and of course ‘St. Elmo’s Fire‘. He has followed up his 80’s success with dozens of films and a memorable role in the Emmy Award winning television show ‘West Wing‘. Rob seems to be ageless and his career, unstoppable. Hats off to Mr. Lowe and his accomplishments.