"Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" Turns 30! 17 Things You Didn’t Know About this Iconic 80s Film

by ParentCo. February 11, 2016

“Bueller? Bueller?” Saying these two words to anyone over the age of 14 usually evokes a smile and conjures up images of Ferris Bueller, the loveable high school slacker who ditched school to romp around Chicago with his friends all day in John Hughes’ iconic ‘80s film Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Can you believe it’s been 30 years since the movie’s debut?

Released in 1986 (the same year as Pretty in Pink, another Hughes’ cult classic), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off follows endearing rule-breaker Ferris (played by Matthew Broderick), his gorgeous girlfriend Sloane Peterson (played by Mia Sara) and nervous best-bud Cameron Frye (played by Alan Ruck) as they cleverly concoct a get-out-of-school alibi to explore Chicagoland for the day.  After sly slacker Ferris fakes an at-death’s-door illness to skip school, he teams up with Sloan to convince worrywart Cameron to come along for the ride. All hell breaks loose as they dodge the malevolent principal Ed Rooney (played by Jeffrey Jones) staying just one step ahead of him until the bitter end where Rooney boards a school bus disheveled and defeated. Ready to fall in love all over again with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Check out these fun facts from IMDB, Mental Floss and other sources:

1. John Hughes wrote the entire script for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in only six days.

Released in 1986, the movie was #10 at the box office that year. 

2. In the original script, Hughes had Ferris stealing from his father to fund his day-long shenanigans.

He ended up cutting the scene because he didn’t want Ferris to look like a thief. Also in the original version, Ferris had a younger brother and sister.

3. Can you imagine anyone but perfectly cast Matthew Broderick playing the role of lovable Ferris?

But a roster of A-listers were considered for the lead, including John Cusack, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr. Eric Stoltz and Michael J. Fox. 

4. John Hughes named the lead character after his childhood friend Bert Buehler.

5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was not the first time Broderick and Ruck had worked together.

They both appeared on Broadway in 1985 in Biloxi Blues, Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play.

6. Who needs teen actors when you can hire twenty-somethings to fill the roles?

Both Broderick (23) and Ruck (29) had been out of high school at least five years when they portrayed Cameron and Ferris. 

7. Ruck was not the first choice for the part of hypochondriac Cameron.

Emilio Estevez turned down the role first. 

8. In a 2015 interview with MovieFone, Ruck said he (gasp!) hated Ferris Bueller's Day Off for a short time since it typecast him as a “one-trick-pony” who couldn’t snag another role.

With hindsight, however, and a successful 30-year career behind him (including a six-year stint on Spin City), Ruck has grown to appreciate the movie and its cult following. 

9. Jennifer Grey (who played Jeanie Bueller, Ferris’ sarcastic older sister) and Matthew Broderick got engaged after filming wrapped.

But after they were involved in a fatal car crash while vacationing in Ireland, they ended their engagement. 

10. John Hughes loved the Detroit Red Wings hockey team.

This explains why Cameron wears a red Gordie Howe jersey throughout the entire movie. 

11. It pays to have friends in high places.

After they appeared in the 1984 movie Red Dawn together, Jennifer Grey recommended Charlie Sheen for the role of the spaced-out drug addict in the police station. To prepare for his scene-stealing cameo, Sheen didn’t sleep for two days. 

12. Hughes filmed the movie’s famous “Twist and Shout” scene---where Ferris takes center stage on a parade float---during a real parade.

Every year, Chicago hosted the Von Steuben Day Parade (an annual German-American event) that included a route through downtown Dearborn Street. However, according to Noah Graff in his documentary called Saving Ferris, the parade no longer runs the same route. Why? Since the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11, authorities felt that the federal buildings in the area posed too much of a security risk. 13. Some of the best moments in the film are unscripted.
These include the dancing construction worker and window washer who got their groove on during the parade. Finding it funny, Hughes told his cameramen to film the spontaneous dancing.

14. Another unscripted moment?

Broderick, who could not play the clarinet at all, improvised the scene by picking up the prop, squeaking out a few horrible notes and deadpanning to the camera, “Never had ONE lesson!”

15. Hughes wrote no dialogue for the droning economics teacher (played by Ben Stein).

Instead, Stein delivered an actual lecture on supply-side economics in his now-trademark dry delivery. According to a CNN interview transcript, Stein’s impressive resume includes former presidential speech writer, attorney and economist.

16. Check out these 10 Bueller blunders in this fun YouTube video compiled by Movie Mistakes.

17. Ferris Bueller the movie spawned Ferris Bueller the TV series which ran for only 13 episodes from 1990-91.

Guess who played Jeanie Bueller in the TV show? None other than Jennifer Aniston before she hit it big in Friends. ferris-bueller-group-shot-431x300-opening-sequence-for-ferris-bueller-tv-show-with-jennifer-aniston-could-be-the-weirdest-thing-you-watch-t-jpeg-150162

In the infamous words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Arguably the most famous (and most loved) let’s-play-hooky movie of all time, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is currently available on Netflix. But their movies can go in and out pretty fast, so if you don’t stop to watch it soon, you could miss it.



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