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Characters / Ferris Bueller's Day Off

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     Ferris Bueller 
  • The Ace: He has a bizarre, Mary Poppins-like ability to come out on top in any situation.
  • Afraid of Doctors: He goes through a lot of trouble to play sick and claims being in a doctor's office is worse than being in school.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: His girlfriend Sloane is one.
  • Anti-Hero: He's a nice guy, but he lies to his parents so he can ditch school, and persuades Cameron to steal his dad's fancy car.
  • Aside Glance: When he isn't directly addressing the audience, he's constantly doing this.
  • Born Lucky: He undeniably accomplishes some of his achievements through his own cleverness, but he had a hell of a lot of luck with some of them.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At many points (most specifically the beginning and the end) he talks directly to the audience while setting up the stereo and moving model in his bed.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: If he put half the effort into school that he puts into avoiding school...
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: He's the coolest cat in Chicago and has skipped school nine times, to not mention God-only-knows how many scams off-screen.
  • Decoy Protagonist: While the movie is named after him and is told from his narrations, the film really is about Cameron and how he deals with his depression and daddy issues.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Even if the idea of him being a full-blown sociopath is strictly in the realm of fanon, he still is a pretty big jerk (even bigger in the original screenplay) and can convince most grown-ups he's an angel with immense ease.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: He frequently addresses the audience as a sort-of narrator. The other characters never notice he's doing it.
  • Freudian Trio: He's the id - the leader of the group and hustling mastermind.
  • High School Hustler: A classic example. It's not clear how much hustling he does in the day to day, but he's apparently well-liked by all the cliques at school and has worked out scams on his parents and school down to an artform.
  • Iconic Outfit: His ugly orange-and-black sweater vest, worn over a plain white T-shirt.
  • It Amused Me: Why he does anything. He says he's doing it to give Cameron a fun day.
  • It's All About Me: "They could be fascist anarchists and that still wouldn't change the fact that I don't have a car."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's manipulative, selfish, and keeps pressuring Cameron into doing things he doesn't want to do, among other things. However, he genuinely cares about Cameron and his girlfriend. He's surprisingly well-meaning despite how troublemaking he is, as he genuinely believes he's helping Cameron by forcing him to have fun with him on their day off and does feel bad when Cameron kicks the car over the glass, even offering to take the blame for it.
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted. Although he never gets caught by his parents or punished by Dean Rooney, Mrs. Bueller tells Jeanie that had she been able to close the Vermont deal, which she lost due to having to pick Jeanie up from the police station, she would have used the money she earned from the commission to buy Ferris a car.
  • Lovable Rogue: Although time has made many people really deliberate whether or not "lovable" truly fits with him. At the very least he says he wants to give his friends a good time, and succeeds after a fashion. He even tries to take the heat for trashing the Ferrari, and considering how neurotic Cameron was up until that exact point, he had no reason to believe Cameron would turn him down.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's intended to be this and something of a sociopath, according to the Director's commentary.
  • Meaningful Name: With Ferris, every day is a carnival.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Inverted at Chez Quis, more so after he pulls off the trick, and partially justified as the maitre'd is a bit of a French Jerk (well, at least, it's a French restaurant). To be fair, Ferris started by trying to be nice, but that got nowhere.
    • Subverted with the parking lot staff. He attempts to treat them well to get special treatment for the car, and they go and do the exact opposite.
      • Though perhaps they were just as insulted at being slipped a mere "fin" as the maitre d' was.
    • Played straight with the Chez Quis bathroom attendant. He slips him a nice tip, and the attendant gives him a very happy thank you.
  • Playing Sick: The whole movie is kicked off by him pretending to be sick to get the day off and go out on the town. Neither Rooney nor Jeannie buy this, and try to catch him.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: We can tell he's cool (as if there was ever any doubt), because he has a Cabaret Voltaire poster.
  • School Idol: So much that the rumor of him being terminally ill triggers a Running Gag of "Save Ferris!" graffiti being on the weirdest places all throughout Chicago.
  • Singing in the Shower: He starts singing "Danke Schoen" in the shower, using the shower head as a mike. This of course foreshadows his performance when he hijacks a float in a parade later on that day.
  • The Sociopath: Some viewers see him as this. Even the final film has him showing a lack of care to most (most - he acknowledges he screwed up big time with the Ferrari) things that don't directly affect him, and the original draft had more scenes such as taking the money for his purchases right out of his dad's wallet.
  • Smug Smiler: In the movie posters. It seems to be one of his standard facial expressions.
  • Taking the Heat: He offers to do this for Cameron, who's just destroyed his father's Ferrari. Cameron refuses.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Cameron must have the patience of a saint.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: The thing he's trying to teach Cameron (and the audience) is "carpe diem".

     Cameron Frye 
  • Abusive Parents: Cameron's dad seems to care more about his precious car than him or his mother.
  • The Alleged Car: His car is a piece of shit, according to Ferris.
  • Angst Coma: He goes into one after finding out how much the odometer has been run up on his father's precious car. He only snaps out of it when he almost drowns.
  • Berserk Button: The car. He blows his gasket twice. Ferris lampshades the first incident.
    Ferris: Here's where Cameron goes berserk.
  • Character Development: The movie is really about his development and not Ferris.
  • Chewing the Scenery: When he realizes 100 miles have been added to the car, he lets out an epic scream. Take it here for the deliciously bitten off scene!
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: He does one of these once he decides to confront his dad.
  • The Eeyore: Almost to suicidal sense.
  • Freudian Trio: He's the superego - the poor fella that is dragged along and really doesn't want to be there.
  • Heroic BSoD: He undergoes one when, after thinking that maybe things won't go so bad after all, and maybe he's just being a worry wart, he notices the "slightly" increased mileage on the odometer on his dad's car, and proceeds to go catatonic.
  • Iconic Outfit: His Red Wings jersey.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: A perfect representation of being a Shrinking Violet. Sad, sweet, and so, so beautiful that John Hughes saw fit to give them a few close-ups on the museum scene.
  • Leitmotif: It's kind of a subtle hint to the author's intentions when the sidekick, not the title character, gets his own theme music.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Add "neglected" and "emotionally abused" to "lonely", and you're there.
  • Properly Paranoid: He doesn't want to leave his dad's prized Ferrari at a garage in the care of a sleazy-looking attendant. He does so only after some persuasion by Ferris. It turns out his worries were absolutely justified as the attendant and his friend take the car on a joyride only seconds after they leave, adding dozens of miles onto the car.
  • Shrinking Violet: All of the film's plot (at least so Ferris says) is to get his friend to stop being this.
  • Stopped Caring: After his freakout, he decides he's going to let his Dad see that they took his precious Ferrari out for a joyride. He doubles down on that when they wreck it.
  • Supporting Protagonist: He's a supporting character, but the film is his journey to standing up to his father. who experiences the most development.

     Sloane Peterson 
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: A good-natured girl who's dating the rebellious scamp Ferris Bueller.
  • The Cheerleader: While we don't see her in action, she's a nice version of this.
  • Closer to Earth: One friend is the High School Hustler, the other is a hypochondriac. She is definitely the most adjusted of the three.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: In the script, during the scene where Ferris cites reasons why they can't get married, he claims that her father hates his guts.
  • Disappeared Dad: The script reveals that her father left the family for a twenty-five year old bimbo.
  • Flat Character: She may be the sane member of Ferris's group, but she also has less personality than them as well. Ferris is the High School Hustler with a heart of gold, Cameron's a hypochondriac with insecurities with his father, and Sloane is... Ferris's proposed girlfriend. Plus we don't get to learn much about her background, like we learned about Cameron's dysfunctional family.
  • Freudian Trio: She's the ego - the Only Sane Man.
  • Iconic Outfit: Her white fringed jacket.
  • Karma Houdini: Like Ferris, she faces no consequences for skipping school and going along with his lie about her grandmother dying to do so.
  • Love Interest: To Ferris.
  • Nice Girl: She's friendly, easy-going, caring and sweet-natured.
  • Not So Stoic: Her defining trait is her relaxed demeanor, with all her time spent with Ferris meaning that she's used to taking his antics in stride. However, even she freaks out when she sees him on the Parade Float.
  • Only Sane Man: She goes along with Ferris' scheme, but she's a lot more leve-headed than her male companions.
  • Satellite Love Interest: We know less about her than Ferris and Cameron and her role is Ferris' girlfriend.
  • Rebellious Princess: She clearly comes from a wealthy background and rebels along with Ferris in her own way.
  • Straight Man: Ferris is a rogue, Cameron is neurotic and Sloane the calming, normal presence.
  • True Blue Femininity: The kinder and gentler of the two female leads, she wears blue and white.
  • Women Are Wiser: She's a lot more grounded and rational than Ferris and Cameron.

     Edward R. Rooney 
  • Absurdly Powerful School Jurisdiction: He scours the city looking for Ferris to punish him, despite the fact that (in this case) he does have an excused absence according to his parents, thus meaning there should be nothing Rooney can do.
  • Big Bad: The closest the film gets to one. He does his best to ruin Ferris' day off and drag him back to school. Though he's rather bad at it, barely posing a real threat to Ferris.
  • Butt-Monkey: He ends up being humiliated and ending the film with Jeannie having blackmail material on him, as well as no car.
  • Cool Shades: Nope; the juxtaposition of stereotypical detective music and his sleazy character, combined with cheesy flip-up aviators clearly point out these are the least-cool shades in the movie.
  • Dean Bitterman: He's a pretty strict disciplinarian and has declared Ferris his Arch-Enemy because to him, the kid is the local High School Hustler with nine absent days (before Ferris hacked the computer). Take note that Cameron is also home sick and Rooney doesn't decide to personally visit him to make sure he's actually sick.
  • Evil Gloating: When Ferris tries to sneak in the back door but discovers the key is missing from under the mat, at which point Rooney puts his foot down and shows he has the key:
    Rooney: Looking for this? I got ya, Ferris. I have dreamed about this, and this time, you little bastard, I've got you right where I want you. So, how would you feel about another year at my school? Under my close personal supervision.
  • Inspector Javert: Say what you will about Ferris being manipulative, but dropping a flowerpot on a dog's head and breaking into a student's house is taking things too far. In retrospect, even if Rooney's plan had succeeded, he wouldn't have been holding Ferris back under his "personal supervision" - he'd have been fired for breaking and entering into Ferris's house, and probably faced Criminal Trespass charges. (At least in any real life situation.)
  • Jerkass: Jeannie eventually learns that keeping on hounding Ferris for the sake of a vendetta is a stupid thing. He doesn't. And he also hurts the Buellers' dog while he's at it.
  • Non-Giving-Up School Guy: It's a bit of a Deconstructed Trope though, since his single-minded mission to bring back Ferris led him to commit things like breaking and entering.
  • Sadist Teacher: Technically he's a dean, but still hits the same notes.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: His fate. That bus becomes a symbolic hell for him.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: He takes one student being a chronic class-dodger with all the seriousness of some kind of grand criminal mastermind (although Bueller pulls off some very elaborate cons, in Rooney's defense).

     Jeanie Bueller 
  • Action Girl: Her reaction to facing a possible burglar/rapist (actually Rooney, who just broke into the house to catch Ferris) in her kitchen? Kick him three times in the mouth and run all the way upstairs before he has even hit the ground.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She hooks up with the handsome drug addict at the police station.
  • Butt-Monkey: She ends up spending the whole afternoon on a police precinct courtesy of The Lopsided Arm of the Law.
  • Cassandra Truth: She simply cannot get adults to believe her about anything, even to the point where she is arrested for making a genuine 911 call to report a home intruder. Her all round Jerkass attitude is most probably the reason for this, which is in direct contrast to her much more likable Karma Houdini brother who gets away with everything.
  • Dark Horse Sibling: Ferris is loved by almost everyone around, while she is dismissed, even by her own parents. She's bitter about it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nearly everything she says is sarcasm.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: She's jealous of the fact that Ferris can do whatever he wants, and get away with it, while she ends up getting in trouble for something she didn't even do.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When Rooney finally nails Ferris at the end, she's the one who bails him out (part of this could be because Rooney broke into the Buellers' to catch Ferris and met her in the kitchen).
  • Jerkass: Abrasive, temperamental, rude and humorless. She becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold by the end.
  • Know When To Fold Them: Her day starts to go better once she finally learns that doggedly pursuing her vendetta on Ferris is wrong (and not in the sense of "it's morally wrong" but rather in the sense of "why wreck her life trying to wreck his?"). She even delivers karma to Rooney (who is a very visual representation of that lesson) and may even get the last laugh in the long term considering that her parents won't be able to buy Ferris a car as soon as they wanted thanks to the events of the day.
  • The Resenter: This is her entire motivation. Her brother gets away with everything, while she Can't Get Away with Nuthin' and can't even convince others of her brother's con when she unravels it.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell:
    • A lot of what she does to herself. Among other things she's ticked about why people seem to love Ferris and hate her... while Ferris treats everyone like his closest friend and she treats them all like dirt.
    • Similarly she thinks of herself as The Unfavorite of the two with her parents, despite the fact that they gifted her a car before the events of the movie. Again giving off the impression that she's ignorant to good in her life because of resentment towards Ferris.
  • The Unfavorite: She complains that their parents let Ferris get away with everything, while she can't.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: She never does anything immoral - rather she counters several of Ferris' immoral acts. However, being entirely motivated by spite launches her straight into antagonist territory. And she does experience a Heel–Face Turn of sorts.

     Tom Bueller 
Jeanie and Ferris' father
  • Adults Are Useless: He is well-meaning but is completely oblivious to his son's antics to skip a day of school even when he is literally right behind him.

     Kate Bueller 
Jeanie and Ferris' mother
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: She does love her kids but appears to be slightly rougher and irritated when it comes to leaving work to pick up Jeanie from the police office, its justified though.

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