If you don’t know what the Brat Pack is, this road trip isn’t for you. For everyone else, we have compiled a list of the quintessential Brat Pack movies- Class , Sixteen Candles , The Breakfast Club , Weird Science , About Last Night , and Pretty in Pink and set out to find their locations. So get out your favorite mixed tape and a pair of leg warmers and lets hit the road!
Now, we should also add that this road trip could actually be called “Brat Packing Across the Prairie State” since we never have to leave Illinois to see locations used in each of our Brat Pack movies. This is in part due to the fact that Illinois is the home state of John Hughes.
John Hughes was the uber-director of the 1980s who happened to direct four of the films on our list, three of which star Molly Ringwald-what a team! All of you thirtysomethings remember spending Saturday nights watching these movies wishing you were Molly Ringwald or wishing you could get with Molly Ringwald, well, now you can stand in her footsteps, literally.
We’ll start in Elgin, Il. for our first Hughes film and the only film where we don’t see a filming location per se. Elgin is the speculated setting for Pretty in Pink. A street sweeper in the film has the word “Elgin” emblazoned on it’s side but this is also the name of a company that makes street sweepers so we leave this portion of the trip to your discretion. Unfortunately, we need to travel across the country to see locations actually used in the film, like the high school, which is John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, CA.
Next we move to 2300 Shermer Road, Northbrook, IL where we find Glenbrook North High School. If you walk to the back of the school you will see the football field Judd Nelson walks across in the final scene of The Breakfast Club. We can just see you now, walking across the field, fist in the air…..
While still in Northbrook we can check off one of the locations for our next film, Sixteen Candles. Remember that dreamy scene at the end of the movie when Sam (Molly Ringwald) walks out of the church and there is her crush Jake Ryan(Michael Schoeffling) waiting across the street? You can find the church, Glencoe Union Church, at 263 Park Avenue.
Travelling south to Des Plaines, Illinois, specifically, 9511 Harrison Street, we’ll find the Illinois State Police Station. This police station was once the Maine North High School which was used as the exterior of the high school in The Breakfast Club during the Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald kiss; you know the one where she gives him one of her diamond earrings, aw, so sweet.
Then we head to Skokie and kill two birds with one stone. If you make your way to 7700 Lincoln Ave you will find Oakton Community College which was once the site of Niles East High School used in both Sixteen Candles and Weird Science. Though it is sad the majority of the school has been torn down, part of the building remains and the name of the school can still be seen on the flag post in front of the college.
This leaves us with 2 non-Hughes movies, Class and About Last Night. It also brings us to the city of Chicago. The club featured in About Last Night was Mother’s at 26 W. Division St in Chicago. Now there is also some debate over whether they actually used Mother’s for the exterior shots or Bootleggers at 12 w. Division St, they are in the same block, we say check them both out- that is what any true Brat Packer would do. Mother’s is also the real life location of the Free and Easy club in Class. So you can hit two bars and two films in the same block, Chicago is a great town!
To get directions for this road trip click on the map below!