Analysis of Group of Students from the Movie 'The Breakfast Club' through Tuckman's Model

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The movie I chose for the film response paper is ‘The Breakfast Club’ written by John Hughes. This movie was famous and relevant because it allowed teens everywhere to relate to at least one of these characters. This movie is a dramatic comedy that is destined to make people laugh, cry, and angry all brought together in one film. This movie had great humor along with love. ‘The Breakfast Club’ is full of comedy, drama, and mostly rebellion. These four high school students represent every cliché in the 1980s school life. These four students will soon realize that they each have something in common. Each of the kid’s parents don ‘t treat them fairly or don‘t even notice them. It is ironic at first, because they think that they have figure each person out and they know everything about them. But soon into the movie they quickly realize they are all too similar. This movie takes place in a high school in Shermer, Illinois. ‘The Breakfast Club’ is based on a group of high school kids from completely different backgrounds and social groups that wound up in Saturday detention. The movie classifies these individuals as ‘the brain’, ‘the athlete’, ‘the basket case’, ‘the princess’, and ‘the criminal’. They all had one goal in mind; to not grow up to be like their parents. They are all dropped off by their parents (except Bender) and are assigned to write an essay titled ’Who we think we are’. Despite the differences, the group is able to triumph and work together to get through the difficult detention time and instead of making enemies, they become friends. During this movie they go through five different stages in the Tuckman model to complete the process of going from enemies to friends.

The forming stage is based on each student ending up in detention for various reasons, but their behavior is driven by acceptance. For example, Brian stops making walrus sounds when he notices Bender giving him a weird look. Also, they judge each other when they first meet by asking each other why they ended up in detention, what cliques they belong to, what clubs they are in, etc. They also formed by avoiding conflict, like when the principal asks them to raise their hands they comply (sarcastically).

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The next stage is storming (the stage if conflict and obstacles) which the students seemed to partake in quite a bit during the movie. Whether it be challenging one another or objecting to ideas and/or beliefs of other group members. For example, Bender tends to confront the other members of the group quite often. He tends to try to be the ‘alpha’. Confrontations do occur, and the social circles they come from have a role in how they handle the situations.

In the norming stage is important because this is the stage where they begin to appreciate and accept one another. They somewhat give up their own ideas to agree with others. They tend to call each other out and stick up for one another or try to make light of the situations they catch themselves in. For example, when Bender and Andrew are arguing, Claire makes fun of them. Also, the others stick up for Claire when Bender makes jokes about her lipstick. The scene that comes to mind for acceptance is the smoking scene where they dump out the items in their purses and wallets to learn more about one another. This allowed for a better understanding for one another.

The performing stage is when the group focuses on completing their essays, therefore, they are forced to share stories and ideas with one another in hopes of successfully completing their essay while making the best of the detention stay. At this stage they no longer care as much about status and/or hierarchy. The true beginning of the performing stage is when they are able to share personal things after being unable to talk to each other at all. They share these things in hopes of gaining a better friendship and trust of one another. At first, I thought the whole movie would be about the students striving to finish their essays, but on the flipside, the purpose is actually a desire to understand one another by being more open-minded.

Lastly, the adjourning stage is the final stage where the group disperses and goes their separate ways. They leave detention as friends, but joke that they will all go back to the people that they were when they came in. For example, Claire and Andy will be popular still, and Bender will be the outcast.

Each group member had an important role in the Tuckman model:

  1. Bender: Opinion giver, dominator. He is not afraid to voice his opinion and he promotes ideas that benefit himself in some way.
  2. Claire: Opinion seeker, encourage. Makes others feel worthy, inclusive, seeks approval or opinions of others before making a decision.
  3. Allison: Summarizer, encourager. Does not speak throughout most of the movie, very submissive, tries to promote change in the group by displaying her ‘weird’ behavior.
  4. Brian: Clarifier, mediator, info seeker. Tries to be the peacemaker of the group. Example: “Guys let’s all calm down!”. Discusses the actual purpose of the essay to the principal at the end of the movie.
  5. Andy: Gatekeeper, dominator. Fights to be the dominant group member, acts like the tough ‘jock’ guy, does not display many signs of weakness.

In conclusion, despite their differences in the beginning when they entered detention together, trusting and advising one another allowed them to put their differences aside and gain a strong friendship. As stated on the website Weebly, they were able to write the dreaded paper that they longed to finish by saying: “You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is: a brain…And an athlete…And a basket case…A princess…And a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club” (2019).


  1. The Breakfast Clubbers. (n.d.). Retrieved from weeby:
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Analysis of Group of Students from the Movie ‘The Breakfast Club’ through Tuckman’s Model. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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