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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie

Aug 26, 2022
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the Principal thinks of that.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Trailer

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Reviews

Here is one of the most innocent movies in a long time, a sweet, warm-hearted comedy about a teenager who skips school so he can help his best friend win some self-respect.

The therapy he has in mind includes a day’s visit to Chicago, and after we’ve seen the Sears Tower, the Art Institute, the Board of Trade, a parade down Dearborn Street, architectural landmarks, a Gold Coast lunch and a game at Wrigley Field, we have to concede that the city and state film offices have done their jobs: If “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” fails on every other level, at least it works as a travelogue.

It does, however, work on at least a few other levels. The movie stars Matthew Broderick as Ferris, a bright high school senior from the North Shore who fakes an illness so he can spend a day in town with his girlfriend, Sloane (the astonishingly beautiful Mia Sara) and his best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck).

At first, it seems as if skipping school is all he has in mind – especially after he talks Cameron into borrowing his dad’s restored red Ferrari, a car the father loves more than Cameron himself.

The body of the movie is a lighthearted excursion through the Loop, including a German-American Day parade in which Ferris leaps aboard a float, grabs a microphone and starts singing “Twist and Shout” while the marching band backs him up.

The teens fake their way into a fancy restaurant for lunch, spend some time gawking at the masterpieces in the Art Institute, and then go out to Wrigley Field, where, of course, they are late and have to take box seats far back in the left-field corner.

(The movie gets that detail right; it would be too much to hope that they could arrive in the third inning and find seats in the bleachers.)

There is one great, dizzying moment when the teens visit the top of the Sears Tower and lean forward and press their foreheads against the glass, and look straight down at the tiny cars and little specks of life far below, and begin to talk about their lives. And that introduces, subtly, the buried theme of the movie, which is that Ferris wants to help Cameron gain self-respect in the face of his father’s materialism.

Ferris is, in fact, a bit of a preacher. “Life goes by so fast,” he says, “that if you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it.” He’s sensitive to the hurt inside his friend’s heart, as Cameron explains how his dad has cherished and restored the red Ferrari and given it a place of honor in his life – a place denied to Cameron.

“Ferris Bueller” was directed by John Hughes, the philosopher of adolescence, whose credits include “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty In Pink.” In all of his films, adults are strange, distant creatures who love their teenagers, but fail completely to understand them.

That’s the case here, all right: All of the adults, including a bumbling high-school dean (Jeffrey Jones), are dim-witted and one-dimensional. And the movie’s solutions to Cameron’s problems are pretty simplistic. But the film’s heart is in the right place, and “Ferris Bueller” is slight, whimsical and sweet.

  • Roger Ebert   – Roger Ebert
  • Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Credits

Ferris Bueller's Day Off movie poster

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Rated PG-13

103 minutes

Produced by

  • Tom Jacobson
  • Hughes

Written and directed by

  • John Hughes

Photographed by

  • Tak Fujimoto

Music by

  • Ira Newborn

Edited by

  • Paul Hirsch

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Plot

In Chicagoland, the month before graduation, high school senior Ferris Bueller fakes illness to stay home. Throughout the film, Ferris breaks the fourth wall to comment on his friends and give life advice. His parents believe he is ill, though his sister Jeannie does not.

Dean of Students Ed Rooney is determined to expose Ferris’s repeat truancy. Ferris persuades his best friend Cameron Frye, legitimately absent due to illness (though Ferris sees through his hypochondria), to help excuse Ferris’s girlfriend Sloane Peterson from school. Pretending to be Sloane’s father, Cameron calls Rooney and says that Sloane’s grandmother died.

To complete the ruse that Sloane’s father is picking up his daughter from school for a fictional family emergency, Ferris borrows Cameron’s father’s prized 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. Cameron is dismayed when Ferris wants to take the car on a day trip in downtown Chicago. Ferris promises they will return the car as it was, including preserving the original odometer mileage.

After leaving the car with parking attendants, who promptly go on a joyride, the trio explore the city including the Art Institute of Chicago, Sears Tower, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Wrigley Field; their paths occasionally intersect with those of Ferris’s father, Tom. Cameron remains worried.

Ferris attempts to cheer him up by joining a parade float during the Von Steuben Day parade and spontaneously lip-syncing Wayne Newton’s cover of “Danke Schoen”, followed by a rendition of the Beatles’ cover of “Twist and Shout”, which excites the gathered crowds.

Meanwhile, attempting to prove Ferris’s truancy, Rooney prowls the Bueller home, getting into several pratfalls. At the same time, Jeannie, frustrated that the entire school blindly supports Ferris, skips class and returns home to confront him. Surprised by Rooney’s presence there, she knocks him unconscious.

As Jeannie phones the police, Rooney gains consciousness and goes back outside accidentally leaving his wallet behind. When the police arrive, they are unconvinced and arrest Jeannie for making a false report. Waiting for her mother at the police station, she meets a juvenile delinquent friend of Ferris who advises her to worry less about what Ferris does and more about her own life.

Upon collecting the Ferrari and heading home, the friends discover many more miles on the odometer than they realistically could have added themselves. Cameron becomes semi-catatonic from shock, but wakes up after falling into a pool. Ferris is forced to save him, much to Cameron’s amusement. Back at Cameron’s house, Ferris jacks up the car and runs it in reverse to rewind the odometer.

This ploy fails and Cameron snaps, letting out his anger against his overbearing father. Repeatedly kicking the car causes the jack to fail and the car races in reverse through the plate glass window and into the ravine below. Ferris offers to take the blame, but Cameron declines the offer deciding to finally stand up to his father. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bueller arrives at the station, upset about having to forgo an important real estate sale only to find Jeannie kissing the delinquent.

After walking Sloane home, Ferris realizes his parents are due home imminently. As he races on foot through the neighborhood, he is nearly hit by Jeannie who is driving their mother home. Jeannie notices him, and races him home so his mom will catch him; she does this by driving recklessly and arguing with her mother in the car.

Ferris makes it home first, but finds Rooney there. Seeing Ferris through the window and remembering the advice of the delinquent, Jeannie has a change of heart. She thanks Rooney for helping return Ferris home safely after “he tried to walk home from the hospital” and presents Rooney’s wallet as proof of his earlier intrusion.

As Rooney flees from Ferris’s Rottweiler, Ferris rushes back to his bedroom to await his parents who are coming to check in on him. Finding him sweaty and overheated (from his run), they suggest he might want to take tomorrow off as well. As his parents leave, Ferris reminds the audience “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

During the end credits, a defeated Rooney heads home and is picked up by a school bus where he is further humiliated by the students.

In the post-credits, a surprised Ferris tells the audience the film is over and to go home.

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Box office

The film opened in 1,330 theaters in the United States, and had a total weekend gross of $6,275,647 . Opening at No. 2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off‘s total gross in the United States was approximately $70,136,369, making it a box office success.It subsequently became the 10th-highest-grossing film of 1986.

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Critical response

The film largely received positive reviews from critics. Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars, calling it “one of the most innocent movies in a long time,” and “a sweet, warm-hearted comedy.” Richard Roeper called the film: “one of my favorite movies of all time. It has one of the highest ‘repeatability’ factors of any film I’ve ever seen… I can watch it again and again.

There’s also this, and I say it in all sincerity: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is something of a suicide prevention film, or at the very least a story about a young man trying to help his friend gain some measure of self-worth… Ferris has made it his mission to show Cameron that the whole world in front of him is passing him by, and that life can be pretty sweet if you wake up and embrace it.

That’s the lasting message of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Roeper pays homage to the film with a license plate that reads “SVFRRIS”.

Conservative columnist George Will hailed Ferris as “the moviest movie,” a film “most true to the general spirit of the movies, the spirit of effortless escapism.

” Essayist Steve Almond called Ferris “the most sophisticated teen movie [he] had ever seen,” adding that while Hughes had made a lot of good movies, Ferris was the “one film [he] would consider true art, [the] only one that reaches toward the ecstatic power of teendom and, at the same time, exposes the true, piercing woe of that age.”

Almond also applauded Ruck’s performance, going so far as saying he deserved the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor of 1986: “His performance is what elevates the film, allows it to assume the power of a modern parable.”

The New York Times reviewer Nina Darnton criticized Mia Sara’s portrayal of Sloane for lacking “the specific detail that characterized the adolescent characters in Hughes’s other films,” asserting she “created a basically stable but forgettable character.”

Conversely, Darnton praised Ruck and Grey’s performances: “The two people who grow in the movie—Cameron, played with humor and sensitivity by Alan Ruck, and Ferris’s sister Jeannie, played with appropriate self-pity by Jennifer Grey—are the most authentic. Grey manages to play an insufferably sulky teen-ager who is still attractive and likable.”[63]

Co-star Ben Stein was exceptionally moved by the film, calling it “the most life-affirming movie possibly of the entire post-war period.”

“This is to comedies what Gone with the Wind is to epics,” Stein added. “It will never die, because it responds to and calls forth such human emotions. It isn’t dirty. There’s nothing mean-spirited about it. There’s nothing sneering or sniggering about it. It’s just wholesome. We want to be free. We want to have a good time.

We know we’re not going to be able to all our lives. We know we’re going to have to buckle down and work. We know we’re going to have to eventually become family men and women, and have responsibilities and pay our bills. But just give us a couple of good days that we can look back on.”

National Review writer Mark Hemingway lauded the film’s celebration of liberty. “If there’s a better celluloid expression of ordinary American freedom than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I have yet to see it. If you could take one day and do absolutely anything, piling into a convertible with your best girl and your best friend and taking in a baseball game, an art museum, and a fine meal seems about as good as it gets,” wrote Hemingway.

Others were less enamored with Ferris, many taking issue with the film’s “rebel without a cause” hedonism. David Denby of New York Magazine, called the film “a nauseating distillation of the slack, greedy side of Reaganism.”

Author Christina Lee agreed, adding it was a “splendidly ridiculous exercise in unadulterated indulgence,” and the film “encapsulated the Reagan era’s near solipsist worldview and insatiable appetite for immediate gratification—of living in and for the moment…”

Gene Siskel panned the film from a Chicago-centric perspective, saying: “Ferris Bueller doesn’t do anything much fun … [t]hey don’t even sit in the bleachers where all the kids like to sit when they go to Cubs games.”

Siskel did enjoy the chemistry between Jennifer Grey and Charlie Sheen. Ebert thought Siskel was too eager to find flaws in the film’s view of Chicago.[70]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 81% based on 73 critics’ reviews, with an average rating of 7.70/10. The website’s critical consensus reads: “Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.”

Metacritic gave the film a score of 61 based on 13 reviews, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A−” on an A+ to F scale.

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Accolades

Broderick was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 1987 for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Movie Info

Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) has an uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one last duck-out before graduation, Ferris calls in sick, “borrows” a Ferrari, and embarks on a one-day journey through the streets of Chicago. On Ferris’ trail is high school principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), determined to catch him in the act.

 

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