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Molly Ringwald Said She Was ‘Taken Advantage of’ During Brat Pack Days: Everything She’s Revealed About the 1980s

The Pretty in Pink star admitted that her rise to fame happened within ‘questionable’ environments


Molly Ringwald, the queen of 1980s teen movies, rose to fame after starring in cult classics like Sixteen Candles (1984) and The Breakfast Club (1985). But 40 years after the release of the films that brought her fame, Ringwald has revealed the dark truths behind being a child actor in the famous decade and as a member of the Brat Pack.

What has Molly Ringwald said about the 1980s and the Brat Pack? 

Ahead of the June release of Andrew McCarthy’s documentary, Brats, Ringwald spoke with Marc Maron of the podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, and shared how being a young, shy girl during the height of her fame was not easy. Being only 16 when Sixteen Candles was released, Ringwald recalled that she was very introverted, despite the spotlight she was under.

MUST-READ: The Brat Pack Is Back! Learn All About the ’80s Actors, Who Was in the Group, and What Happened to Them

Young actresses in Hollywood often share how they were taken advantage of, on many levels, and Ringwald said she was no exception. The Pretty in Pink actress shared, “I was definitely in questionable situations. But I do have an incredible survival instinct and a pretty big super-ego and managed to figure out a way to protect myself. But it can be harrowing.”

Girl with hat smiling; Molly ringwald
Molly Ringwald (1985) Bob Riha Jr / Contributor / Getty

Ringwald went on to share how she was certainly “taken advantage of,” recalling a few of the movies she starred in that had less-than-appropriate themes. And while many actresses at the time used the spotlight to their advantage, the Brat Pack member shared that she was definitely not doing the same things.

“I wasn’t into going out to clubs. I feel like I’m more social now than I was then. I was just too young,” she shared.

MUST-READ: Molly Ringwald Movies: A Look Back Through the ’80s Teen Icon’s Best Films

What has the actress said about her hit 1980s movies? 

Girl and boy sitting on table in front of a cake
Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling in ‘Sixteen Candles’ (1984)

While times have certainly changed since the era of John Hughes films, some themes in 1980s movies have been deemed problematic by today’s standards. Although many of these movies have reached cult classic status and are loved by fans worldwide, many of them contain inappropriate content, not just for young audiences but for the young cast members as well.

In 2018, Ringwald penned a personal essay in The New Yorker, where she gave more insight into how problematic some of her hit movies are, not only today but when they were released. In the essay, she shared how The Breakfast Club has “plenty of cursing, sex talk, and a now-famous scene of the students smoking pot,” as well as a bit that includes a form of sexual harassment. But when her daughter asked to watch the film, she agreed.

“Back then, I was only vaguely aware of how inappropriate much of John’s writing was, given my limited experience and what was considered normal at the time,” she explained.

MUST-READ: ‘The Breakfast Club’ Cast Then and Now — Catch Up With The 80s Teen Icons

Three people posed together
Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy and Jon Cryer in ‘Pretty in Pink’ (1986)

In the podcast with Marc Maron, which was released just weeks before Brats , Ringwald reiterated her thoughts on the effect John Hughes films have had on society. While they are often used for teaching purposes in schools, many of these films can cause more harm than good, by her estimations.

“I feel very differently about the movies now and it’s a difficult position for me to be in, because there’s a lot that I like about them,” the actress explained in the May 27 podcast. “And of course I don’t want to appear ungrateful to John Hughes, but I do oppose a lot of what is in those movies.”

Molly Ringwald changed her film career after the 1980s 

Although Ringwald was at the height of her fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the actress made a big move to France, which changed the course of her career. But she still looks back fondly on her time in John Hughes movies, as well as the other films that made her life what it is.  

And despite her opposition towards the content in some of her best-known films, Ringwald remains proud of her work and the film culture it created.

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