One of the most infamous cliques in Hollywood history was running wild in the 1980s, in a time before the internet and social media ruined celebrities’ privacy.
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The Brat Pack was a group of young actors in the 1980s, who tended to appear in a lot of films together. Most of these movies had similar themes: coming-of-age, finding your identity, and facing societal pressures.
Some of the most famous Brat Pack films include The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, and Sixteen Candles.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Brat Pack, and what they’re doing now.
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Who are the members of the Brat Pack?
The original Brat Pack were made up of a group of actors in the ’80s, who all starred in the hottest teen movies of the time. The eight main actors in the Brat Pack were:
- Emilio Estevez
- Anthony Michael Hall
- Rob Lowe
- Andrew McCarthy
- Demi Moore
- Judd Nelson
- Molly Ringwald
- Ally Sheedy
The actors really all were as close friends as they seemed. “We were all the best of friends,” Rob Lowe was quoted saying in director John Hughes’ biography.
“We really supported each other, and genuinely liked each other, and wanted the other to succeed,” he said, adding that they were all “growing up together”.
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Why are they called Brat Pack?
The term was coined by a journalist for New York magazine, who ran a cover story on the gang of actors.
“The Brat Pack” was inspired by the name of a previous group, who had come 20 years beforehand: the Rat Pack. Made up of members including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., they frequently performed and starred in movies together.
The article which started the name Brat Pack wasn’t exactly favourable, labelling the actors as a bunch of young, bratty, spoiled kids who were more interested in partying than focusing on their careers.
Emilio Estevez reportedly took the most offence to the moniker, apparently calling the journalist to tell him: “You ruined my life.”
“I thought that it was wildly unsophisticated,” Estevez told Yahoo! in 2023 of the interview. “To come up with that and sort of label us the way he did.”
Despite what the members of the Brat Pack thought, the name stuck.
Brat Pack movies in order
Between 1983 and 1990, there were 12 teen or coming-of-age films starring two or more Brat Pack members. Here they are in chronological order:
- The Outsiders
- Sixteen Candles
- Oxford Blues
- The Breakfast Club
- St. Elmo’s Fire
- Pretty in Pink
- Blue City
- About Last Night…
- Fresh Horses
- Betsy’s Wedding
Some other films from the ’80s with similar themes have been dubbed as ‘Brat Pack movies’, despite not starring any of the core group of actors in them – Red Dawn, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and The Lost Boys.
Who was the most successful Brat Pack member?
All the members of the Brat Pack continued their fame and success through the 1990s and beyond.
Commercially speaking, Rob Lowe is probably still the most recognisable and well-known star.
His star power faltered after a sex tape scandal in 1998. He made a comeback in the 1990s, starring in everything from Wayne’s World and Parks and Recreation to The West Wing.
Who is the richest member of the Brat Pack?
Financially speaking, Demi Moore was the most successful member of the Brat Pack. She went on to have roles in mega-hit films including Ghost, Charlies Angels: Full Throttle, and the series Brave New World.
In 1996, she became the highest-paid actress in film history after being paid $12.5 million to star in Striptease. The movie was a commercial success, but has been repeatedly labelled as one of the worst films of all time, and signalled the downturn of Moore’s career.
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Why did the Brat Pack break up?
By the late 1980s, most of the Brat Pack members had been leaning into their identity a little too hard, many of them dealing with scandals around drugs, alcohol, or, in Lowe’s case, a sex tape.
By the end of the ’80s, the Brat Pack had kind of fizzled out – there wasn’t one big scandal or fight which caused their break up. It was just time for them all to move on.
Who was the leader of the Brat Pack?
Emilio Estevez was undoubtedly the leader of the Brat Pack. In fact, that fateful New York profile on the group named him as such. In the article, Estevez was made out to be friends with everyone, and paying for everyone’s drinks on a night out.
As the son of esteemed actor Martin Sheen, he was already a big name in Hollywood, even before his big break in The Outsiders.
Estevez also starred in The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire, two of the Brat Pack’s biggest movies.
The Brat Pack: Who dated who?
Though they were all extremely close and did everything together, only two couples came from the Brat Pack.
Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez started dating after meeting on the set of St. Elmo’s Fire. in 1984. Within six months, the couple was engaged.
However, things went downhill quick when it was revealed that Estevez was having an affair. “Emilio and I had in fact just mailed out the invitations for our wedding when a friend told me she had seen him out with someone else in L.A.,” Moore wrote in her 2019 memoir Inside Out.
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It turns out that Estevez had slept with an ex-girlfriend, and had gotten her pregnant. “I postponed the wedding indefinitely,” Moore wrote in her book.
They did remain friends, however – Estevez introduced Moore to her future husband, Bruce Willis, 1987.
The second couple was Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall, who dated while starring in The Breakfast Club. Though the movie is set in high school, they were the only two members of the cast who were actually still in school, so they spent a lot of time together.
In 2020, Hall looked back on this relationship fondly in an interview with Page Six. “It was puppy love,” he said, revealing that she “didn’t have the time of day for me when we made Sixteen Candles”, the year before Breakfast Club.
Despite their fling, the pair remain friends. “She’s wonderful, a great lady. We’ve been friends since and I’ve seen her over the years,” Hall said.