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:

  • the opening scene of malingering rich-kid, trouble-making student Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) describing (with graphics) how to fool parents and skip a day of school at Shermer High: ("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")
  • the scene of Economics teacher (Ben Stein) monotonously calling student names alphabetically from his attendance roll, and repeatedly asking 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 teacher's boring lecture to his half-asleep students on the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act, when he would repeatedly pause 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"
Economics Teacher: "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?"
Bueller's Empty Chair
"Uhm, he's sick..."
  • the scene in Dean of Students Ed Rooney's (Jeffrey Jones) office, who 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") - and then his 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")
  • the scene of Ed Rooney receiving what he believed was a crank phone call from Ferris, but it was actually being made by Ferris' friend Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), who was impersonating Ferris' girlfriend Sloane's (Mia Sara) 'father' Mr. Peterson - it was a fake request to excuse Sloane from school due to her grandmother's death, so she could join them for a day off in downtown Chicago; Rooney was fooled into delivering a sarcastic and insulting response: ("Tell you what, dipshit, you don't like my policies you can just come on down and smooch my big ol' white butt!...Pucker up, buttercup!") until another phone call was received and announced by Grace: ("Ferris Bueller's on line two...")
  • Ferris' impersonation of Sloane's father, when he picked girlfriend Sloane up 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 scene of Rooney trying to catch Ferris at home and being confronted by the slobbering family Rotweiler - and then Ferris' sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) who was also skipping class and had returned home - when she came face-to-face with him in the kitchen, thinking he was a prowler, she karate-kicked him in the face three times, and then hid in her bedroom and called police
Police Station Conversation
Ferris' Sister Jeanie
(Jennifer Grey)
Boy in Police Station
(Charlie Sheen)
  • after being brought to the police station, Jeanie's reluctant conversation with drugged-up juvenile delinquent stranger (Charlie Sheen), about her frustrations with 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 to 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
  • the brief sequence of Ferris' cute, sun-glasses wearing girlfriend Sloane Peterson (with Ferris and Cameron ducking down to hide), sending 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
  • Ferris' day off from high school in downtown Chicago with his friends Cameron Frye and girlfriend Sloane, including Ferris' unexpected announcement from the top of a Von Steuben Day parade float ("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 Shein, Ferris segued into the playing and lip-synching of The Beatles' Twist and Shout, inspiring the large crowd to join in dancing
  • during the rolling credits, prefaced by Ferris' repeat statement ("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"), the sequence of a humiliated Rooney - completely defeated, dirtied, battered and disheveled - he was picked up and riding in the back of a school bus full of students; his bespectacled 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"
  • and the curtain-closing post-credits appearance of Ferris from his bathroom telling the audience (fourth wall) to leave: "You're still here? It's over! Go home. Go!"

Ferris Bueller's Malingering Lesson

Opening Monologue

Dean of Students Ed Rooney with Secretary Grace

Crank Phone Call to Rooney From Ferris' Friend Cameron

"Do you have a kiss for Daddy?"

Jeanie Karate-Kicking Intruder Rooney in the Face

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

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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