“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
- Ferris Bueller
Truancy is no laughing matter, unless it is presented through the eyes of director John Hughes, whose coming-of-age films in the 80s and 90s are some of the most beloved from the era. This time around, we were introduced to a high school student, too intelligent and devious for his own good, who decided to skip school with his friends and embark on a rather adventurous day in the 1986 comedy, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The film would become one of Hughes’ most successful endeavors, and make Ferris a hero to millions.
Ferris (Matthew Broderick) is a high-school senior in the Windy City of Chicago who marches to his own drum, rules be damned. When a beautiful spring day arrives, he can’t fathom spending it in a classroom, and creates an elaborate ruse to ditch school with his best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck) and his love interest, Sloane (Mia Sara). Standing in their way is a diligent but bumbling Dean named Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) who is intent on catching Mr. Bueller red-handed, and a disillusioned sister (Jennifer Grey) who has had just about enough of her brother’s antics.
With the entire high school convinced that Ferris is on his deathbed (and raising donations to “Save Ferris”), the trio take to the streets of Chicago in Cameron’s dad’s cherished Ferrari, and proceed to explore all the city has to offer, from visits to the Sears Tower and Art Institute to participating in the city’s German-American parade and taking in a ball game at Wrigley Field. Meanwhile, Dean Rooney is in hot pursuit and it will take every bit of ingenuity Ferris has if he and his friends hope to emerge unscathed from his adventurous day.
With its stellar cast, including cameos by Edie McClurg, Ben Stein and Charlie Sheen, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off quickly won the hearts of moviegoers and critics alike, becoming one of the top box-office draws of 1986. And, it’s a film that continues to resonate with young people of any era, who can’t help but admire the “road less traveled” free spirit of the movie’s hero.
If this endearing film spoke to you in your youth, or if Ferris Bueller’s Day Off resides on your list of most beloved films from the 80s, we welcome all of your thoughts in our comments section. Meanwhile, we tip our hats to the late John Hughes, for compelling every high school student to look out the classroom window on a beautiful day and think “Hmm, what else could I be doing?” Yes, a day is truly what you make of it.