Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

In John Hughes' cult comedy hit about one high school student's one last day of cutting class (after faking illness) and enjoying life on the streets of Chicago:

  • in the opening scene, malingering rich-kid, trouble-making student Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) described (with graphics) how to fool his parents Tom and Katie (Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett) and skip a day of school at Shermer High, two months before graduation: ("The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It's a good non-specific symptom. I'm a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh, you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor's office. That's worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you're bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It's a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school. Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it"); he had cleverly set up his Emulator II+ synthesizer to deliver convincing fart and vomit sound effects
  • after showering (with his hair wrapped inside a towel spiral on his head), Ferris continued his monologue - breaking the 4th Wall and speaking to the camera/audience: ("It's not that I condone fascism or any 'ism' for that matter. Ism's, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an 'ism,' he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: 'I don't believe in Beatles. I just believe in me.' A good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off of people")

Economics Teacher: "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?"

Bueller's Empty Chair in Classroom

Economics Student Simone:
"Uhm, he's sick..."
  • Ferris' Economics teacher (Ben Stein) monotonously called student names alphabetically from his attendance roll, and repeatedly asked for "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?..."; there was a view of Ferris' empty chair, and fellow student Simone Adamley (Kristy Swanson) gave a confused excuse about how Ferris was sick: ("Uhm, he's sick. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavours last night. I guess it's pretty serious"); she responded to his thank you with the oft-quoted, cheerful: "No problem whatsoever"
  • and shortly later, the Economics teacher delivered a boring lecture to his half-asleep students on the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act, when he repeatedly paused for them to fill in the blank answer: ("Anyone? Anyone?"): "In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the --- Anyone? Anyone? --- the Great Depression, passed the --- Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered? --- raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something D-O-O economics. Voodoo economics"
  • in the office of Dean of Students Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), he explained how dangerous Ferris was: ("I don't trust this kid any further than I can throw him...What is so dangerous about a character like Ferris Bueller is he gives good kids bad ideas...The last thing I need at this point in my career is 1500 Ferris Bueller disciples running around these halls. He jeopardizes my ability to effectively govern this student body")
  • but then, Dean Rooney's secretary Grace (Edie McClurg) explained how popular Ferris was: ("He makes you look like an ass is what he does, Ed...Oh, well, he's very popular, Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude")
  • Ed Rooney received what he believed was a crank phone call from Ferris, but it was actually made by Ferris' friend Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), who was impersonating Ferris' cheerleader girlfriend Sloane's (Mia Sara) 'father' Mr. Peterson - it was a fake request to excuse Sloane from school due to the grandmother's death, so that Sloane could join the two guys for a day off in downtown Chicago; Rooney was fooled into delivering a sarcastic and insulting response: ("Tell you what, dips--t, you don't like my policies you can just come on down and smooch my big ol' white butt!...Pucker up, buttercup!"); and then, he received another phone call announced by Grace: ("Ferris Bueller's on line two...")
  • Ferris impersonated Sloane's father when he picked up his girlfriend Sloane from the front of the school, driving Cameron's father's 'borrowed' 1961 red Ferrari 250 GT convertible - while he was suspiciously watched from afar by Rooney standing on the school steps; Ferris asked Sloane: "Do you have a kiss for Daddy?" - and engaged in a long, deep and passionate kiss - to Rooney's consternation
  • the foolhardy Rooney attempted to catch the truant Ferris at home, where he was confronted by the slobbering family Rottweiler and lost his shoe and wallet - and then by Ferris' sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) who was also skipping class and had returned home; when Jeanie came face-to-face with Rooney in the kitchen, thinking he was a prowler, burglar, or rapist, she karate-kicked him in the face three times, and then ran upstairs to hide in her bedroom and call the police; while Rooney fled, the police arrived and arrested her for making a prank call and filing a false report
Police Station Conversation

Ferris' Resentful Sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey)

Garth Volbeck, a Boy in Police Station (Charlie Sheen)
  • after being brought to the police station, Jeanie reluctantly engaged in a conversation with drugged-up juvenile delinquent, drug-dealing stranger named Garth Volbeck (Charlie Sheen) about her frustrations and outrage over Ferris always getting away with things: ("All right, you want to know what's wrong?...In a nutshell, I hate my brother. How's that?...See, I went home to confirm that the s--thead was ditching school and when I was there, a guy broke into the house. I called the cops, and they picked me up for making a phony phone call...Why should he get to ditch when everybody else has to go?"); when he offered advice: ("Your problem is you...You ought to spend a little more time dealing with yourself, a little less time worrying about what your brother does - that's just an opinion"), she snapped back: ("What are you, a psychiatrist?... Why don't you keep your opinions to yourself?"); his suggestion that she speak to someone (possibly Ferris!) brought a threat: ("If you say Ferris Bueller, you lose a testicle"), and he replied: "Oh, you know him?" - she clenched her fist; however, when Jeanie's mother arrived to pick her up, she was making out with Garth
  • Ferris' cute, sun-glasses wearing girlfriend Sloane Peterson (with Ferris and Cameron ducking down to hide) sent a mouthed Hi and Kiss to Ferris' father Mr. Bueller (Lyman Ward) who had done a double-take - he was seated in the back seat of a nearby taxi-cab also caught in traffic; when Ferris asked what his father was doing, Sloane exaggerated: "He's licking the glass and making obscene gestures with his hands" - before she broke into hysterics
  • as the film's title stated, Ferris Bueller's Day Off from high school was spent in downtown Chicago with his friends Cameron Frye and girlfriend Sloane; they visited many typical sites, including a Cubs' Wrigley Field baseball game, the Sears Tower, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
  • atop a Von Steuben Day parade float, Ferris made an unexpected announcement: ("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 favorites 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"); after the lip-synching of Wayne Newton's Danke Schoen, Ferris segued into the playing and lip-synching of The Beatles' Twist and Shout, inspiring the large crowd to join in dancing; Ferris also deceptively pretended to be Chicago's Sausage King Abe Froeman in order to dine at a Rush Street upscale restaurant
  • at the end of his day off, Ferris, Jeanie, their mother, and Rooney all met up at the Bueller household at about the same time; with a change of heart, Jeanie covered for Ferris by scolding him for walking home from the hospital; she also reminded Rooney of his lost wallet and his confrontation with the family dog before Rooney was again chased off
  • the rolling credits were prefaced by Ferris' repeat statement from his bedroom as he broke the fourth wall: ("Yep, I said it before and I'll say it again. Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it")
  • in the film's rolling credits epilogue, the humiliated Rooney - completely defeated, dirtied, battered and disheveled - had to be picked up and ride in the back of a school bus full of students; he had illegally parked in front of the Buellers' home near a fire hydrant and his car had been towed
  • his bespectacled, nerdy blonde seat-mate asked: "I bet you never smelled a real school-bus before," and then reached into her pocket and offered him a warm, melting red gummy bear: "A gummy bear? They've been in my pocket. They're real warm and soft"; he looked up and saw graffiti that read: "ROONEY EATS IT!!", and a notebook cover with a scrawled: "SAVE FERRIS"
  • Ferris again appeared in his bathroom in the curtain-closing post-credits telling the audience (fourth wall) to leave: "You're still here? It's over! Go home. Go!"

Ferris Bueller's Malingering Lesson

Ferris' Opening Monologue

Dean of Students Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones)

Dean Rooney's Secretary Grace (Edie McClurg)

Ferris' Friend Cameron Frye's (Alan Ruck) Crank Phone Call to Rooney

Ferris Impersonated His Girlfriend Sloane's Father: "Do you have a kiss for Daddy?"

In Ferris' Home, His Sister Jeanie Karate-Kicked Intruder Rooney in the Face

Sloane's Flirtatious Hi and Lip-Kiss Toward Ferris' Father in a Nearby Taxi Cab

Ferris Skipping School in Downtown Chicago (Street Parade Sequence: Twist and Shout)

Rolling Credits: Rooney on School Bus Offered Red Gummy Bear

Post Credits: "You're still here? It's over! Go home. Go!"


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