What causes my car to thud and shudder when I brake?

When I press the breaks my car shudders and makes a thud-thud-type noise.
Do you think this might be a problem with the brakes or rotors or could it be something loose in the wheels?
Could it be an alignment problem?

This type of noise is often caused by a misaligned or loose part inside the brake assembly. A spring or actuator arm may have bent or worked loose.
When the brakes are applied, the loose part is pushed and grabs irregularly so it wiggles and vibrates. That makes the braking force non-linear. Instead, the braking force varies from firm to less firm force. That irregular braking force causes the shuddering and noise.

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