Review: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

The Disney Animated Marathon needed a bit of a break, and what better film to take a break with than a classic I grew up with!

Written By: John Hughes
Directed By: John Hughes

I never had the sort of day Ferris, Cameron and Sloane had in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But, like most teens I really wanted to, and that is why no matter your situation in life I think everyone should be able to connect with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Whether you are an adult who was once a teen, or a kid about to become a teen, a great majority of us want to rebel and have fun. John Hughes understands this, he was a teenager once, he gets the innate desire of the teenager to throw all caution to the wind and just have fun while they still have the chance to. He infuses Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with this sort of devil may care energy, and energy that was much welcomed by this moviegoer.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a call back to a time that has since left us, I think. What I said above is now far too often the case. It’s not an exemplification of having the day that Ferris, Cameron and Sloane had, but rather it has dwindled to a wish for that day. Teenagers find themselves responsible far too early in life now, and yes I know they were even more responsible in much earlier times, and not able to do anything but dream of something like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But, that doesn’t mean Ferris Bueller’s Day Off loses any of its resonance, because the dream of such an experience still carries a lot of power within the individual. This is a film that retains its ability to connect with each passing generation, the fact that it remains a favorite among the teens I work with is proof of its staying power.

As far as a functioning film goes, Hughes crafts characters that are instantly likable and that we want to know. He makes the locale of Chicago come alive, and in my mind helps to prove why Chicago smokes New York every day of the week. Mainly, with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Hughes has created a film that is funny, easy to get into and the sort of movie that makes you want to stick around. I know all of this sounds very general, but Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a big film. It isn’t concerned with little nudges this way or that, it is a film wholly concerned with engaging the viewer in the quickest and easiest fashion. That isn’t always the best type of film making, but Hughes allows Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to be comfortable in its own skin. This is a movie that just feels right.

Some movies are timeless, they are called classics for a reason. They stick in your mind well after they are done, individual scenes remain with you throughout the rest of your life and you can envision yourself as the characters in the movie you have decided to label a classic. Different people have different classics, one of my classics has always been and always will be Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I find it to be a timeless work about growing up, friendship, having fun and being a kid while you can still be a kid. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a movie that has stayed with me throughout the years, I can envision myself as one or more of the characters, and perhaps most importantly it is a film that I always watch when I stumble across it on TV. I don’t know about you but I consider that a sign of a great movie.




13 responses to “Review: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

  1. Steven Flores

    Bill Thompson, you’re my hero!!!!

  2. Great review Bill. Ferris is one of those John Hughes moives that gets better every time I see it. His others – Breakfast Club, Weird Science – were all great first time round, but Ferris has a charm that grows with each viewing.

  3. Ferris Bueller is one of the best characters in film, and it’s just awesome to be with him this whole movie. Check out my review when you can!

  4. Ferris Bueller.. what a dick. would anyone really like to hang around with a guy like that in real life? and i thought Ross McD was bad

  5. Agreed. I had a problem the first time I saw this film with the Bueller character but since then I realized that most of his character is what a teenager would like to be like, not an actual real teenager. It’s also one of those films that gets better and better with each viewings.

  6. Melissa/oneaprilday

    Excellent write-up, Bill. I think you’re spot-on about what makes the film so fun, so good.

  7. Steven – I do so try. 🙂

    Dan – Ferris certainly has a charm that grows on you, something I haven’t really found in the rest of Hughes’ work.

    Rok – He is indeed a very awesome character.

    Ross – Nope, no one would, but that doesn’t stop him from being interesting in film.

    James – Yep, Ferris is an idealized version of a teenager’s dream self-image.

    Melissa – Awesome, OAD is commenting on my blog, I am now legit, yo! 🙂

    P.S.: There’s a good chance I will start calling you Melissa all the time now, it’s just my way. 🙂

  8. Melissa/oneaprilday

    🙂 I’ll try to be better about following people’s blogs, and yours in particular. To be honest, I keep up with few to no blogs – not because I don’t like the author/content – I just get overwhelmed by all the stuff I want to read online – and so end up reading almost nothing (besides Filmspotting) – obviously, not the best solution!

    P.S. I’m cool with your calling me Melissa. 🙂

  9. Trust me, I understand how overwhelming following blogs can be. I have about 15 saved in my Google Reader, but I’m always so swamped with stuff in life that I never get around to them and then I feel really crummy when I see people posting comments on my blog and I know I have a backlog of over half a year worth of blog posts to read.

  10. I have always been a ‘parker lewis can’t lose’ kind of guy, myself. Just kidding. People seem to lump this movie into the ’80 goofy’ territory, but let’s be fair. When I heard Ferris wax philisophical about his best friend in terms I couldn’t emulate at the age when I heard them, i.e. – “Cameron has never been in love – at least, nobody’s ever been in love with him. If things don’t change for him, he’s gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.” , it resinated with me in a way that sticks. That, right there, is just great dialogue for a ‘teen’ movie. I would like to see ANYTHING in this day and age hold up to that kind of wisdom. The kind that kids need to hear at that age. God bless Mr. Hughes.

  11. mcarteratthemovies

    Everyone goes on and on and on about Ferris, but the character I really loved was Cameron. He was dark and bitter and damaged — you know, just my type!

  12. Pingback: Tuesday Crush: Ferris Bueller « Annie.

  13. Sherlock – That is a great point, and that is a great moment in the film. There is a smartness to Ferris that is not seen in many teen movies these days.

    M – Cameron is pretty awesome.

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