It wasn’t a movie that overwhelmed you with its plot: a popular teen tries to outwit his high school principal, ducking class and other responsibilities for a glorious, what-the-heck day with his best friends. Nonetheless, John Hughes’ 1986 teen classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” had so much offbeat charm that nobody ever seemed to mind its simplicity.
The film’s many, many fans are now celebrating Ferris Bueller turns 25. Released on June 11, 1986 the movie influenced countless films with its wit and character. For fans of the film, Ferris is not only teacher of life’s lesson but a student as well. In the end the film isn’t so much about skipping out on life and responsibility but to take a chance every once and while and enjoy it.
10. Location, Location, Location Part of the fun of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is its whirlwind tour of Chicago. Actual locations included Wrigley Field, the Sears Tower and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The parade that Ferris single-handedly takes over is the town’s Von Steuben Day Parade.
Meet Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago.
9. Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? While the movie starred Matthew Broderick a nasally nerd named Ben Stein nearly stole the show, Stein played the Economics teacher with the personality of a sleepwalker. Stein voiced the movie’s most quoted line, turning a class roll call into numbing torture. Stein has since been a recognizable presence in movies and television commercials, as well as being a political pundit – a role that makes total sense. Why? His first job was writing speeches for President Richard Nixon back in the early 1970s.
8. Famous Fans Fans of the film include filmmaker Kevin “Clerks” Smith, Simon “American Idol” Cowell and Justin Timberlake, each of whom has listed the movie as their favorite film of all time. Another fan, Charlie Sheen, also made a brief appearance in the film as bad boy. Funny how life imitates art.
7. Home Alone In the film, Ferris’ pal, Cameron, lives in an modernist house. Later, in a jaw-dropping scene, a vintage 1961 Ferrari GT250 (really a modified MG sports car) is driven directly into the iconic residence. It’s not a set but a real house. Use Google’s street view to see how it looks today: 370 Beech Street, Highland Park, IL 60035. Ferris’ house isn’t actually in Chicago, it’s in California: 4160 Country Club Drive, Long Beach, CA.
6. Classic Art Ferris made taking in a museum cool. The famous paintings shown in the movie’s Art Institute of Chicago scene included the iconic diner painting “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper and Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist,” as well as works by Matisse, Jackson Pollock and Marc Chagall.
5. Music Makes A Movie “Ferris Bueller” contained a mixed bag of offbeat tunes, from the Beatles’ manic “Twist and Shout” to Wayne Newton’s lounge classic, “Danke Schoen” to New Wave cuts from the 80s, like Yello’s “Oh Yeah.” The blend of songs was so offbeat (and probably a licensing nightmare) that no official soundtrack album was ever released. Why? Sadly, Director John Hughes said he felt it would have had no commercial appeal and didn’t work as an album.
4. Big Screen Blockbusters Make Good TV After the movie’s surprising success, NBC rushed a television series based on the concept into production. Only thirteen episodes aired. A young actress named Jennifer “Friends” Aniston played Ferris’ TV sister. (In the film, the same role was played by Jennifer Gray, she would later become a star in another 80s classic: “Dirty Dancing.”)
Ben Stein shot to stardom on the basis of one line.
3. Script Supervisor At the time “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” was nearing shooting, a looming writer’s strike threatened to halt production. So Director Hughes, eager to get his script finished before the strike began, hammered out the script – in less than one week.
2. Connect With The Audience Part of what made “Ferris” unique is the way Ferris speaks directly to the audience. Although certainly not the first movie to employ this technique, it’s probably one of the most memorable. (Way back in1966, Michael Caine became a star in the original “Alfie” by doing the same thing. Ray Liotta also talks directly to the audience in “GoodFellas”.) Even today, this technique (called “breaking the fourth wall“) is only used rarely in film, although it’s been turning up in plays since theater’s early origins.
“Life moves pretty fast…”
1. Ferris Makes Bank Instantly beloved upon its release, “Ferris” has become even more respected over time. “Entertainment Weekly” magazine named it number 10 among “the 50 best high-school movies,” while film channel Bravo listed it as number 54 among “the 100 funniest movies.” In 2000, readers of “Total Film” magazine voted the movie the 23rd greatest comedy film of all time. And “Ferris” delivered big-time at the box office: Made for around $6 million, the movie earned more than $70 million in its domestic release. Not too shabby for cutting class.
When John Hughes passed away in 2010, he left behind a personal body of film work that defined “teen” movies, with a filmography that included hits like “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles,” and “Weird Science,” as well as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” A multi-talented writer and director, Hughes coupled his passion for filmmaking with an unbeatable set film production skills. Are you an aspiring filmmaker looking to sharpen or develop your movie-making skills?
This summer, Digital Media Academy will be teaching Digital Filmmaking Summer Camps and courses using Final Cut Pro, the industry standard among editing software. Take a week-long or three-day certification course or a film & video production course and start your career as a filmmaker.
Cover Final Cut Pro from all the angles – everything from an overview of the software all the way through advanced editing courses that put you in the editor’s chair. See for yourself why legendary filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, Walter Murch and the Coen brothers use Final Cut Pro – John Hughes may have even used it if Final Cut were available when he was shooting “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
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