Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Why this ’80s teen movie is still a delight today

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Ferris Bueller's Day Off movie (1986)

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There’s a lot of magic and humor practiced in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Written and directed by John Hughes, and starring 24-year-old Matthew Broderick, this energetic and offbeat comedy captures the best feelings about being young.
Take the day off to see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Excerpt of a movie review by Kathryn Buxton – The Palm Beach Post (Florida) June 11, 1986

Ferris Bueller is the kind of person you either like immensely or hate deeply. He’s the kid who possesses the strangest control over people and situations.

He breezes his way through school and social situations — nearly everyone who knows him likes him.

And he gets everything he wants — almost. He wants a car, but his parents give him a computer instead.

Cheering in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Being that good is not as easy as it looks, and Ferris (Matthew Broderick) really works at it.

He knows just how to convince his parents (Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward) that he is sick and must take the day off from school. They, of course, agree, since they love him to distraction.

“How did you get to be so sweet?” Mom asks Ferris, brushing her hand over his fevered brow.

“Practice,” he responds wisely.

Scene from the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)


Ferris Bueller movie trailer

Ferris and Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Another hit for John Hughes

There’s a lot of magic and humor practiced in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

 Written and directed by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink), this energetic and offbeat comedy captures the best feelings about being young — discovering freedom, and learning how to enjoy it.

Ferris Bueller tells how a teenager’s short lifetime course in charm and good luck pays off in one flamboyant day of illicit adolescent freedom.

Ferris, once he’s engineered the day off for himself, connives to bring his best friend Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) and his girlfriend Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara) into his adventure.

Cast of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Cameron, already at home sick in bed, merely needs Ferris to convince him that he’s not really sick. Sloane, who’s at school, is tougher to extract.

To free her, Ferris and Cameron call the dean of students Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) and inform him there has been a death in her family.

To convince the ever-suspicious Rooney that this is not a ruse, Ferris talks Cameron into using his dad’s museum piece 1961 hot red Ferrari to retrieve Sloane from school. Rooney has to believe a car like that.

Oops the car - Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

SEE THE REAL MRS BRODERICK: Square Pegs: The ’80s TV series that starred Sarah Jessica Parker

Some tried and true gags

Hughes is at his zaniest in Ferris Bueller. Like Sixteen Candles, this movie explores the hyper imaginations of his young characters. But sometimes he opts for the tried and true gags of the teenage movie genre.

Yet what Hughes does best is examine the everyday teenager’s life from the healthily exaggerated point of view of a fellow teenager. He creates a giant grab bag of comic and poignant experiences and characters. each one memorable and fun.

Museum scene - Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

To Ferris and his friends, school is not a bad place — despite hysterically dreary monologues about the Laffer Curve and the dreaded intrigues of Dean Rooney.

But the world outside of school — the place Ferris and Cameron are going to graduate to in less than two months — is infinitely more interesting. There are ball games to go to, parades to march in, hoity-toity luncheons to attend.

MORE ’80s JOHN HUGHES: Why ‘The Breakfast Club’ was more than just another teen movie (1985)

Leisure rules movie poster - Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller movie characters hit home

Hughes peoples Ferris Bueller with an eclectic bunch of characters, and each hits home with comic honesty. Broderick (WarGames, Ladyhawke) gives Ferris the jaunty charm of a small-time con artist.

Even better is the strange collection of characters surrounding Ferris. Ruck, in his first feature film role, is wonderful as Cameron Frye, an unpresuming rich boy who is as uptight as Ferris is carefree.

The rest of the cast is excellent and too large to credit individually, although some of the funniest moments are from the large supporting cast. Edie McClurg is slyly humorous as the smart-mouthed school secretary.

Charlie Sheen (Martin Sheen’s son and Emilio Estevez’s brother) does a fine imitation of a sensuous James Dean-like character. And Jennifer Grey, playing Ferris’ spoiled, jealous, yet reformable sister makes a nice complement to the spitefully venomous Dean Rooney.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

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Ferris Bueller – Twist & Shout in a Chicago parade (video)

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