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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

February 21, 2011

745. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Directed by John Hughes
USA, 1986
IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Ally
First viewing


Illinois high-schooler Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) convinces his parents that he’s under the weather, getting off school for the day. He goes to Chicago with his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) and neurotic best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck), the trio somehow getting away with a series of increasingly absurd capers. Meanwhile, convinced Ferris is playing truant, Dean of Students Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) takes great joy in trying to catch him out.

Essential Scene:

Cameron and Sloane lose Ferris in the crowd at a parade. Cameron begins to rant, thinking Ferris may have gone back to school just to annoy him. Just then, they hear Ferris’s voice over a PA system.

Ferris: Ladies and gentlemen, you’re such a wonderful crowd. We’d like to play a little tune for you. It’s one of my personal favourites, and I’d like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today. Cameron Frye, this one’s for you.

Cameron and Sloane turn to a parade float. A group of women in traditional German dress disperse to reveal Ferris at the centre, holding a microphone and miming to Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schön.” His friends try to talk him down, but are ordered back to the crowd by police.

After “Danke Schön,” Ferris performs “Twist and Shout.” A marching band dance in unison before the float, adding brass accompaniment to the Beatles recording. Soon the entire crowd is dancing, as well as nearby construction workers and window cleaners.


Ferris Bueller took a while to grow on me. This is pure conjecture, but it has the feel of a film shot in scene order, somewhat like A Hard Day’s Night. The opening scenes feel stilted, and Ferris’s habit of directly addressing the camera takes a little while to accept. It also took me a while to get over Ferris’s smugness. Yes, school is boring — a feeling which is expertly captured in the film — but he’s a bit of a prick for putting his best friend through such a guilt trip to “borrow” his Dad’s car.

However, the infectious joy of the parade scene made me surrender to the film, and from then on I loved it. It’s a wonderfully absurd farce, reminiscent of classic screwball comedies. Had it been made in the 1930s, it would have been Cary Grant and Irene Dunne bunking off school, pursued perhaps by Eric Blore or Edward Everett Horton. Hmm… I’d much rather watch that, come to think of it. Still, I cannot deny that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is great fun.

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