RELEASE DATE: 11/06/1986
RUN TIME: 1HR 43MIN
It’s true, Ferris Bueller was the Optimus Prime of high schoolers back in 1986, brought to life by Matthew Broderick and the genius, generation-defining filmmaker John Hughes. Having an older sister and brother I was introduced to Ferris, Cameron and Sloane at a young age and it has been my favourite movie ever since (with challengers by ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ for a spell). ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ is a rare and special film that’s lustre has not faded in the 30 years since its release, frequently topping lists such as Greatest 80s Movies, Greatest High School Movies, Teen Movies, Comedies and the illustrious “All Time” lists - even being selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2014.
Written in only a week, pitched from a note in a logbook and filmed over three months during the autumn of 1985, yet the longevity and impact of this film is endless. Just look at this year’s ‘Deadpool’ to find out - something as simple and innocuous as a post-credit scene has now become iconic. Even taking a shower has gone from an act of hygiene to making shampoo-induced mohawks and renditions of ‘Danke Schoen’. The characters, language and actions of ‘Ferris Bueller’ have been emulated, fantasised and straight up ripped off for three decades now, but none more so than its unforgettable one-liners that have permeated popular culture - Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?... and how many ‘Save Ferris’ t-shirts have we seen in or lives? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t own one. And lets not forget the music; chicka chick-a! Mmmmbowbow.
Writer, director and producer John Hughes became famous and idolised for his teen movies including ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Sixteen Candles’. He gave a voice to the voiceless and popularised teen angst and made it digestible to an adult audience who might have looked the other way. Sadly ‘Ferris Bueller’ (his most successful film as a director) was his last teen movie, moving on to write and direct more adult-focused films such as ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ and on the other end of the spectrum, films for and about small children - his last directed film being ‘Curly Sue’. He also wrote ‘Home Alone’, ‘Beethoven’ and ‘Flubber’. Hughes’ legacy is so powerful his works have been publicly attributed to the inspiration and success of people such as Judd Apatow, ‘Community‘ creator Dan Harmon and Kevin Smith. Hughes’ impact has even invoked many a failed pilgrimage to Shermer, Illinois - the fictitious town in which Hughes sets almost all of his movies. As for ‘Ferris Bueller’ itself - just last month, to celebrate this anniversary, ‘Ferris Fest’ was created and hosted in Chicago with events like recreating the parade sequence, recreating Ferris’ bedroom and an 80s themed dance, attended by many of the film’s stars themselves.
Since it was the tenth-highest grossing film of 1986, its success of course sparked rumors of a sequel. Both Broderick and Hughes agreed that a follow up was not fitting to the character and the original, despite ideas flying around, however it didn’t stop NBC from producing a prequel television series in 1990. It lasted a whole 13 episodes before being canned, but it did star little-known actress Jennifer Aniston in the role of Jeanie. I wonder what ever happened to her?
This film will live on forever.
Alan Ruck has been quoted as saying Cameron Frye was his favourite roll and the cause of his future success as an actor. Ruck was 29 at the time of shooting, with the roll originally being offered to Emilio Estevez. Thank God he turned it down. Mia Sara never really topped her role of Sloane Peterson. While she still acts in small parts from time to time, her most noteworthy role has been that of real-life wife to Sean Connery’s son from 1996-2002 and Jim Henson’s son since 2010. Jennifer Grey dated her on-screen brother Matthew Broderick in real life for a period (Ew! I know they’re not really siblings but still...Ew!) and of course went on to play Baby in ‘Dirty Dancing‘ a year later. Then “Hollywood” got to her. She got a nose job, no one, and I mean no one recognised her anymore, so she went on to marry Clark “Agent Coulson” Gregg and win ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in 2010. Matthew Broderick - probably more famous now for his wife than his work - grew up to dominate Broadway as well as have continued success in Hollywood. But Ferris is surely his signature role, a role he (sort of) briefly recreated for a Honda Super Bowl commercial in 2012. And as for that 1961 GT Ferrari ... *deep breath* ... it wasn’t real! I can hear the sound of illusions shattering the world over. I’m afraid the cost of a real Ferrari was just too high for the production, instead opting to replicate it using a fiberglass body over an MG chassis. Come on people! Cameron himself said only 100 were made. Did you really think they were just going to send one crashing out the window of a multistorey house?
A quote here, a reference there and glimpse of a red Ferrari on occasion - ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ is everywhere: on screen, off screen, in your morning shower. This film will live on forever. Those who grew up with it are now having children of their own, and when those kids are old enough (unlike I was) they’ll be introduced to it too, giving birth to a whole new generation of Ferris Bueller wannabes. I still can’t believe it’s been 30 years. Where does the time go? "Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around every once in a while, you could miss it."