John Bender


John Bender




Student at Shermer High School




Mr. Bender (Father)
Mrs. Bender (Mother)

Significant Other:

Claire Standish


Allison Reynolds, Brian Johnson, Claire Standish, Andrew Clark

Reason for detention:

Pulling a false fire alarm yesterday, asking Mr. Vernon if Barry Manilow knew he had raided his wardrobe and talking back six times

Responsible for causing his detention:

Mr. Bender and Mrs. Bender

Portrayed by:

Judd Nelson

John Bender is one of the main characters in the The Breakfast Club, serving as the anti-hero. Keeping with the film's theme of acceptance of oneself and of others, Bender learns that being kind isn't necessarily a bad thing yet he comes off as the tough guy who couldn't care less, and no one really knows him at all. However he shows a significant change by the end. Initially he shows no respect towards anyone; especially the teachers and the school property. But by the end of the film he begins to accept the idea of kindness, and starts showing it towards the others; in particular, Claire.

Initially, Bender takes great pleasure in making the others uncomfortable, such as ridiculing Andrew for wrestling, using Brian as a target for humiliation and mockery and he sexually harasses Claire on multiple occasions. Though he always retaliates if provoked, he is neither rude or unkind to Allison but he only shows obnoxious reactions towards her disturbing quirky behavior. Bender has the most rivalry with Andrew and Claire, as they come from complete opposites of the "high-school spectrum".

Most of his interactions (both positive and negative) have happened with Claire. He drives her to tears repeatedly. At the start, Bender seems to inadvertently show her some kindness, by asking her who she would prefer to to live with if her parents, but when Allison shouts "HA!", he is somewhat startled out of his thoughts, and becomes more cutting - thus showing that he is not as cruel or sarcastic as one might initially think.

When talking to or about him, Bender often looks to Claire in surprise, as she is only particularly cutting at the very start, and she shows more sympathy towards him after Mr. Vernon "awards" Bender seven more weeks' detention. When allowing each other to rifle through their things, Bender uses one of Claire's cosmetic brushes as a toothbrush, and plays with her perfume. As she flicks through what is implied to be several pictures of girls, she asks if he believes in "one guy, one girl". When asked why he doesn't, he immediately becomes defensive,as he does not want to answer. Though he conflicts with Claire the most, he eventually becomes closest to her, with their kissing at the end of the film, and her giving him one of her earrings. When she shows the group her trick of applying lipstick from her cleavage, she makes them swear not to laugh, and they don't. They are all impressed, but Bender insults her, which prompts defensive insults from the others and Claire to cry again. Later in the cupboard, he confesses to her that he was not actually disgusted at all. He becomes very unnerved and nearly driven to tears by what "Dick" says to him in the cupboard. When Andrew belittles him for having no goals, and saying that "he would not even exist at this school" there is a similar reaction, as Bender falters and pauses before replying. He later repeats Andrew's words back to him, showing that they really did hurt.

Bender clearly hates his father as much as Andrew does his, and becomes very upset when Andrew assumes that Bender's reenactment of his home life, which involves his father abusing him, is all an act. After proving to Andrew that it wasn't by showing him a cigar burn on his right forearm, (which was inflicted upon him by his father for revenge after he spilled paint in the garage). His father and mother are responsible for causing his detention. Bender knocks books to the floor and climbs up the stairwell. Andrew appears to show remorse after this, but not so much as to admit his mistake; for when Claire calls him out for it ("You shouldn't have said that."), Andrew shrugs it off. ("Well, how was I supposed to know?")

Not a huge amount is known about Bender, aside from his abusive home life and his dislike of authority. When Vernon separates him from the group and is yelling at him in the closet, he shrinks in on himself, taking up less space and avoiding eye contact; this suggests that he fears older men or men that resemble his abusive father. When Vernon threatens him, he is shocked and visibly afraid. When Vernon leaves, he looks like he's on the verge of tears and is quite relieved. He seems to be quite good at basketball, and is surprisingly skilled at climbing and sports in general judging from his climbing around in the vents and his scaling the library stairwell. After he listened to Andrew's detention and hearing what he did to Larry Lester he hangs his head down and gets upset of what his father does. He thinks his father and Andrew father should get together and go bowling since they're much alike. He "could care less about trigonometry" but takes shop, and it's implied that he is quite good at it. He also says “who cares?” referring to Allison stating that “When you grow up your heart dies,” this insinuates that he doesn’t care although he appears slightly upset upon saying it.

Physical Appearance Edit

Bender has dark features, from his ear-length hair and brown eyes. His clothing is much different from the other students, as Bender wears multiple layers and ragged clothing. His white long sleeve shirt is believed by some to cover up his scars from his abusive home life, along with his long trench coat. Over his long sleeve is a red plaid button up and a jean jacket. Bender also wears black pants and shoes, with a red bandanna wrapped around his left shoe. He also wears black biker gloves. On top of Bender's clothing he also wears a long red scarf and sunglasses, with a few pins on the collar of his trench coat and one pin on his right glove, as well as his ear piercings.