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Film / Ferris Bueller's Day Off

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"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Ferris Bueller

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 teen comedy movie written and directed by the legendary John Hughes and produced and distributed by Paramount. It's considered one of the most influential films of The '80s.

The film follows Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), a high school senior in suburban Chicago, who pretends to be sick and skips school one beautiful spring day. He's able to convince his neurotic best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and his carefree girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) to come along with him. The three of them "borrow" Cameron's father's prized sports car, heading into the city to spend one more day together before graduation. Meanwhile, Ferris's resentful sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) and Dean of Students Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) are both hot on his trail, ready to prove that he's skipping school.

In 1990, a TV series based on the film began to air on NBC (which can now be viewed in its entirety on YouTube). Due to poor ratings, it was cancelled during its first season. Dueling show Parker Lewis Can't Lose was its Spiritual Successor (and some say was the real TV adaptation).

Also happens to be movie critic Richard Roeper's favorite film.

This film provides examples of...? Anyone? Anyone?

  • The '80s: One critic on the Internet Movie Database hails this film as a superb distillation of "the decade of grim optimism."
  • '80s Hair: And clothes, and music.
  • Abusive Parents: Cameron has these of the emotional variety; his father cares more about restoring a classic car than his own son.
  • The Ace: Ferris has a bizarre, Mary Poppins-like ability to come out on top in any situation.
  • Action Girl: Jeanie Bueller's 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.
  • Actor Allusion: Ferris hacks into the school's system from his computer to change the number of absences he's had. That's not the first time Broderick hacked into his school's system. Though Bueller is less enthusiastic about it:
    Ferris: I asked for a car, I got a computer. How's that for being born under a bad sign?
  • All There in the Script:
    • Charlie Sheen's stoner character is named Garth Volbeck. The film doesn't mention this.
    • Also, a deleted backstory shows that Ferris and Garth were friends in the eighth grade. Garth's family's pretty messed up, and Ferris tried to help him and be his friend, but Garth eventually dropped out of high school and wound up in the police station next to Jeannie. That's why Ferris is so intent on giving Cameron a good time - he blames himself for not helping Garth enough when he could.
    • According to the original script, Sloane has a brother and her father left the family for a twenty-five year old bimbo.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Ferris and Jeanie were certainly not meant to be interpreted this way (their parents are as WASP-y as they come). But the fact is that they're both played by actors who both are Jewish and "look" very Jewish (until Jennifer Grey got her nose job, of course). The name "Bueller" is German, which could go either way.
  • Angry Guard Dog: The Buellers' family Rottweiler, which foils Rooney's attempts - twice.
  • Angst Coma: Cameron 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.
  • Answer Cut:
    Ferris: I'm so disappointed in Cameron. Twenty bucks says he's sitting in his car right now debating about whether or not he should go out.
    (cut to Cameron sitting in his car)
    Cameron: (sniffs loudly) He'll keep calling me. He'll keep calling me until I come over. He'll make me feel guilty...
  • Anti-Hero: Ferris is a nice guy, but he lies to his parents so he can ditch school, and persuades Cameron to steal his dad's fancy car.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Cameron: It could get wrecked, scratched, stolen, breathed on wrong, a bird could shit on it...
  • Artistic License – Cars: Cameron's dad's Ferrari has a back seat, while the real 250 GT Spyder California was a two seater, and the odometer is unable to turn back when put in reverse. The mechanism to prevent that was not mandated or even available until the 1970s, meaning the odometer on a 1961 model would roll back when driven in reverse (or, better yet, disconnect the odometer cable and roll it back with an electric drill).
  • Aside Glance: When Ferris isn't directly addressing the audience, he's constantly doing this.
  • Author Appeal: John Hughes freely admitted that the museum scene was self-indulgent on his part.
  • Batman Gambit: Ferris has his doorbell rigged to play a recorded message, just in case Rooney comes round. Not to mention the mannequin in bed and the snoring SFX. Ferris left no stone unturned in planning for his day off. Rooney still figures it out when he attempts to ring the doorbell more than once.
    Rooney: You knew what you were doing when you woke up this morning, didn’t you?
  • Berserk Button: The car, for Cameron, who blows his gasket twice. Ferris lampshades the first incident.
    Ferris: Here's where Cameron goes berserk.
  • Bifauxnen: Mr. Rooney finds who he believes is Ferris at the pizza parlor, but turns out to be a girl (with some Pepsi), who proceeds to spit on him. See Mistaken from Behind below.
  • Big Bad: Dean of Students Edward Rooney.
  • Big "NO!": Where Cameron goes berserk. See also: Skyward Scream, Eat the Camera, Overly Long Scream, The Scream.
  • Bookends: The movie starts and ends with Ferris in bed.
  • Born Lucky: Ferris has come within a hair's breadth of being caught many times, and only escapes through dumb luck.
  • Bowdlerization: The original script for the movie is quite a bit edgier than the finished film.
    • Ferris was going to be a smoker, the gang was going to visit a local strip club, and (perhaps most crucially) Ferris was going to be revealed to have stolen money from his parents for his titular "day off." These ideas were dropped once John Hughes decided they would make the characters seem like juvenile delinquents, making this movie a good example of bowdlerization being for the better.
    • In some TV edits of the film, Grace's infamous but hilarious line, "Mmm-mmm-mmm, what a little asshole" is replaced with "Mmm-mmm-mmm, motorhead."
    • Early in the film, Ferris says the line, "Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you'd have a diamond." One of the TV edits replaced "up his ass" with "in his fist." He still says "Pardon my French," but now it makes no sense.
  • Brick Joke: At the beginning, we see Ferris preparing something with his trophy, and start singing "Danke Schoen." Later, we see that he has used his trophy as part of a Rube Goldberg Device to deceive his parents, and even later, he sings "Danke Schoen" in one of the great scenes of the movie. Rooney is even humming "Danke Schoen" when at Ferris' home.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Cameron puts on a ridiculous "prep" accent when posing as Sloane's father on the phone. Since Sloane's family is quite rich, it's probably not too far-fetched that Rooney bought it (at least after he realized that Ferris was on Line 2). Hilariously, Australian viewers have often found Cameron's accent to be oddly familiar.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: This is the dynamic Cameron and Sloane appear to have, despite not actually being a couple.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Ferris has regular asides and even conversations to the audience, not noticed by anyone else.
    • Rooney also gives the audience a withering look at the very end.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: If Ferris put half the effort into school that he puts into avoiding school...
  • Butt-Monkey: Both Rooney and Jeannie. Rooney gets the worst of it, though, being humiliated and ending the film with Jeannie having blackmail material on him, as well as no car. Jeannie ends up spending the whole afternoon on a police precinct courtesy of The Lopsided Arm of the Law.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Inverted with Ferris, played straight with Jeannie.
  • Cassandra Truth: Jeannie 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.
  • Caught on the Jumbotron: Ferris catches a foul ball at Wrigley Field. It's shown on national TV, although Rooney looks at the television a second too late and misses seeing Ferris.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The scene at the pizza parlor where Rooney mistakes a girl for Ferris; Ferris is actually on the TV in a baseball game, catching a baseball on camera. Much later (at the end of the movie) in order to turn off the snoring sound effects playing on his stereo while he's still in bed, he retrieves the baseball from his pocket and throws it at the stereo's "off" button.
  • Chewing the Scenery: When Cameron realizes 100 miles have been added to the car, he lets out an epic scream. Take it here for the deliciously bitten off scene!
  • Central Theme: You'll only enjoy life if you take a few chances now and then.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Cameron does one of these.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The nerdy girl Rooney sits next to on the bus. She asks if he's ever smelled the inside of a real school bus before, and then offers him warm jellybears that she keeps in her pocket.
  • Cold Ham: Ben Stein's role as the...anyone? Anyone? Anyone?...the boring economics teacher; one of his most memorable moments.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The film takes place toward the end of the kids' senior year. They talk about how their lives will soon be changing as they finish school and join the adult world. Cameron is really the only character we see change, however. Through the course of the story he goes from a depressed hypochondriac to a more assertive adult who plans on having it out with his emotionally distant father.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: The scene in the art gallery brilliantly uses this trope in regards to Cameron, who has been worrying about nearly every detail of their journey. As his gaze zooms in on the pointillistnote  Seurat painting to find the details within it, he sees less and less of those details, finding only contextless dots. The realization to let go and enjoy his journey shows up in his eyes, and works — at least until he notices the odometer on the car.
  • Cool Car: "The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California.". The car featured in the film is actually a fibreglass replica built on an MGB, though a real one was used for extreme closeups at the beginning. Today, a real version would cost upwards of $10 million, almost the entire budget in 1986 dollars.
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority
  • Cool Shades: Nope; the juxtaposition of stereotypical detective music and Rooney's sleazy character, combined with cheesy flip-up aviators clearly point out these are the least-cool shades in the movie.
  • Creative Closing Credits: A screen alongside the credits reel shows the now-humiliated Rooney get on a standard school bus (because he illegally parked in front of the Buellers' near a fire hydrant and his car was towed) and meet a bunch of students, almost all of whom give him a Death Glare (there's also a Take That! directed towards Rooney scribbled on the roof of the bus).
  • Crowd Song: "Twist and Shout", which involves everybody on a parade running down the Magnificent Mile.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Jeanie answers the door and there's a "nurse telegram".
    I heard that you were feeling ill
    Headache, fever and a chill
    I've come to help restore your pluck
    Cause I'm the nurse who likes to [door slams]
  • Dean Bitterman: Rooney.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Ferris. The fun of the movie is in watching Ferris's antics, but the point of the movie is Cameron's personal growth.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Ferris.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Ferris might have only five minutes to run home from Sloane's, but that doesn't mean he won't stop to flirt with a couple of swimsuit-clad blondes.
  • Eat the Camera: Inverted when Cameron has his screaming moment when he notices how much mileage is on his father's Ferrari after he and Ferris pick it up from the garage.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Averted when Ferris threatens to do this in the restaurant.
  • Environmental Symbolism: A very subtle one that you probably won't notice on first watch. In the class that Sloan is pulled out of, the teacher is discussing prison in fiction, and the background behind Sloan is patterned in vertical stripes; that is, prison-like bars.
  • Erudite Stoner: Charlie Sheen's ene scene at the police station. He nails Jeanie's problem in less than a minute, and is halfway towards nailing her when her mother shows up.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Ferris uses his sound synthesizer, which had coughing noises on it, to play "The Blue Danube".
  • 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?
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The whole movie takes place over the course of a single day, starting in the early morning and ending in the late afternoon.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Ferris frequently addresses the audience as a sort-of narrator. The other characters never notice he's doing it.
  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: The upscale French restaurant that Ferris and company visit has the requisite snooty maître d’. Also parodied, in that the restaurant is named Chez Quis note , as a pun on the pizza chain Shakey's.
  • Funny Background Event: Several:
    • When they go to pick up Cameron's dad's 1961 Ferrari 250GT California at the end of the day, they stand outside the parking garage talking... while, in the corner of the screen, we see the garage attendants bringing the car in through a different entrance after having spent the day joyriding in it.
    • You can also see the car pulling out of the garage right after the gang has dropped it off, and the second attendant jumps in and shouts "Go! Go!"
    • Audio example: Earlier in the film, when Ed waits for Sloan's "father" to pick her up, the action is briefly shot from inside the school, where the economics teacher (Ben Stein) is still heard droning on and on.
    • After a scene where it looked like Jeanie will punch the stoner guy out at the police station, we have her mom talking with a police officer while in the background we see Jeanie and the stoner guy starting to kiss each other.
  • Fun with Subtitles: when Ferris is explaining to the camera the best way to fake an illness to get out of school, they appear on screen.
  • The Ghost: Morris Frye (Cameron's dad), as well as Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago, never appear on screen.
  • Gossip Evolution: The reports of Ferris' "illness" grow more and more dire as the school day wears on. "Save Ferris!"
  • Gratuitous French: "Les jeux sont faits."note 
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Jeanie is 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.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Rooney notices the Cubs game on TV at the pizza joint:
    Rooney: What's the score?
    Cook: Nothing-nothing.
    Rooney: Who's winning?
    Cook: (sarcastically, after a beat) The Bears.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Ferris is a con artist without much empathy for other people (or at least a warped sense of empathy that sees manipulation as compassion), and Rooney is on a personal vendetta that involves assaulting a student's dog, not to mention breaking and entering. Neither of them are particularly great people.
  • Handwave For years, viewers (especially those who enjoy hockey) wondered why Cameron wears a Detroit Red Wings jersey in the middle of downtown Chicago where the rival Blackhawks play. Alan Ruck revealed in an interview 30 years later that Cameron's grandfather in Detroit, whom he actually has a great relationship with, took him to Red Wings games when he visited him.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When Rooney finally nails Ferris at the end, it's Jeannie of all people who bails him out (part of this could be because Rooney broke into the Buellers' to catch Ferris and met Jeannie in the kitchen).
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Ferris and Cameron, possibly. They've been best friends since at least the fifth grade, and when Ferris's girlfriend jumps into the car with him she looks down where Cameron is crouched and says cheerfully, "Hi, Cameron, are you comfortable?" as if this sort of thing has happened before. ("Hi, Sloane, no.")
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Cameron 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.
  • High School Hustler: Ferris, naturally. Runs cons so elaborate that they need custom gadgetry and even computer hacking.
  • Humiliation Conga: The entire film is one for both Rooney and Ferris' sister Jeanie. Jeanie at least manages to learn Know When To Fold Them and even may get the last laugh on the long term.
  • Impairment Shot: Despite the fact that the audience knows Ferris is faking, Jeanie knows Ferris is faking, and Ferris is lampshading that Jeanie knows Ferris is faking — the camera still gives an out-of-focus view of Jeanie as she walks in to complain their parents are letting Ferris stay home.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Cameron has them, 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.
  • Insert Cameo: In Cameron's first scene, we see his hand press a button on his speakerphone. The hand was actually that of John Hughes; Alan Ruck didn't get the movement quite right, so Hughes did it himself after everyone else had left for the day.
  • Inspector Javert: Dean Rooney. 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.)
  • Invisible Backup Band: "When Cameron was in Egypt's land ... let my Cameron goooooooo!"
  • Iris Out: What ends the movie... before Ferris telling the audience to go home.
  • It Amused Me: Why Ferris does anything. Ferris 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 Ass: Rooney and Jeannie.
    Jeannie: Do you know anything? [hangs up phone]
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Jeanie gets arrested by the police for making a legitimate call about an actual intruder in her house.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ferris is pretty much this. He's manipulative and keeps pressuring Cameron into doing things he doesn't want to do, among other things, but 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.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Ferris's plot to get Sloane out of school: he has Cameron pose as her father and call Rooney, asking for him to excuse her because her grandmother just died. Rooney doesn't buy it, but thinks the fake Peterson is Ferris himself and tries to set a trap for him. Then Ferris calls on the other line and the rest is history.
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted in Ferris' case. 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.
  • Large Ham: Del Close as Sloane's teacher really tries his best to engage a terrifyingly apathetic class.
  • Last of His Kind: Along with Pretty in Pink, which was released in the same year, and Some Kind of Wonderful, which was released a year later, this film pretty much marked the end of an era for John Hughes. After making those three films, Hughes decided that it was time for him to grow up cinematically, and thus he began cranking out films that were more oriented towards adults, such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles and The Great Outdoors.
  • 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.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Kind, innocent Sloane (light) and angry, sassy Jeanie (dark).
  • Listing The Forms Of Degenerates: Edie "Grace" McClurg's line...
    Grace: Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads — they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.
  • Literal-Minded: Grace
    Rooney: I don't trust this kid any further than I can throw him.
    Grace: Well, with your bad knee Ed, you shouldn't throw anybody... It's true.
  • Lovable Rogue: Ferris. 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.
  • Love Triangle: Does Cameron have a crush on Sloane or not?
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl:
    • A male version. Ferris does get Cameron to finally stand up for himself.
    • There are even some who think that Ferris is just a figment of Cameron's imagination.
  • Meaningful Name: With Ferris, every day is a carnival.
  • Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Parody: During the "Twist & Shout" dance sequence a group of Afro-American people are seen dancing in a similar style.
  • Missed Him by That Much: If Rooney had looked at the TV in the diner two seconds earlier, Ferris would be caught.
  • Mistaken from Behind: Rooney mistakes a short-haired woman at a pizza parlor for Bueller from behind and yells "Your ass is mine!". She reacts by spitting her soda at him. See Bifauxnen above.
  • Monochrome Casting: As was ever the case with John Hughes films.
  • Mood Whiplash: Despite being a pinhead, Grace acts differently around Jeannie.
  • Naughty Nurse Outfit: The singing nurse. Justified in that she is a performer, and is supposed to dress according to this trope, not reality.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Inverted at Chez Quis, moreso after Ferris 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. Ferris 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. Ferris slips him a nice tip, and the attendant gives him a very happy thank you.
  • Non-Giving-Up School Guy: Rooney. 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.
  • Not So Different: Partially the reason for Jeanie's Heel–Face Turn is that she sees how trashed and tarnished Rooney is from pursuing Ferris and trying to catch him. It shows that if she kept pursuing the matter further, she could get in worse trouble.
  • Not So Stoic: Sloane's 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.
  • Obviously Evil: The parking attendant who took Cameron's car for a joyride.
    Attendant: Please, I'm a professional.
  • Oh, Crap!: Rooney, when Grace tells him that Ferris is on Line 2.
    • Also when he confronts "Ferris" in the pizza parlor, but actually a short-haired girl. Enjoy your Pepsi, Ed!
    • Ferris, when Rooney confronts him.
    • Again Rooney, when he sees the Buellers' dog.
    • Again Rooney, when Jeanie produces his wallet.
    • Cameron, and to a lesser extent Ferris and Sloane, when the car gets kicked off the stand.
    • The trio come within an eyelash of getting caught by Ferris's dad, TWICE.
    • And, of course, when "Cameron goes berserk."
  • Playing Sick: The whole movie is kicked off by Ferris 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.
  • Police Are Useless: They arrest Jeanie when she calls to report a "prowler" in her home and they find no one there. Perhaps they are suspicious since she's skipping school, but a halfhearted search would have immediately turned up Rooney's wallet...
    Jeanie: SPEAK-A DE ENGLISH?! (slams phone down) DICK-HEAD!
    • Also odd in that they didn't check in on Ferris to make sure he was okay...
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Ferris' bedroom seems to be covered with posters or other memorabilia on every possible square inch.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Cameron states that his father loves his Ferrari more than him.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Cameron's fears in leaving the 1961 Ferrari 250GT California at the garage come true when the attendants take it on a joyride.
    • Also Rooney, about Ferris. And vice-versa.
  • Protagonist Centred Morality: Ferris is hard-core hustler and many film viewers believe him to showcase the signs of being a sociopath. Not that Rooney is a saint either.
  • Recursive Canon: In the sitcom, the movie is considered a fictionalized version of Ferris' "real" life.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Performed by Ferris at the restaurant. When the waiter calls his bluff, the only way to make his "crime" work is to make it so hilariously ostentatious as to leave the waiter dumbfounded.
  • Running Gag: Ferris speaking directly to the audience, Edward Rooney suffering mishaps while trying to get Ferris, Ferris narrowly avoiding his father in Chicago, "Save Ferris." Also, people singing "Danke Schoen", starting with Ferris Singing in the Shower.
  • Sadist Teacher: Rooney. Technically he's a dean, but still hits the same notes.
  • School Idol: Ferris is so much this than the rumor of him being terminally ill triggers a Running Gag of "Save Ferris!" graffiti being on the weirdest places all throughout Chicago.
  • The Scream: Cameron does one of these.
    Ferris: Here's where Cameron goes berserk.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Combined with a Skyward Scream to intensify Cameron's reaction to the high mileage count on his father's car.
  • Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: Believe it or not, a few have been created, mainly by high-school drama departments. Here's a clip from one.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Happened with both Matthew Broderick and Mia Sara. Broderick later went on to voice Hubble in Good Boy!, while Sara went on to play Ondine in Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story as well as go on to marry Jim Henson's son, Brian Henson.
  • Selective Enforcement: Jeanie is a victim of this from her and Ferris' parents, who seem completely oblivious to Ferris' antics.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: A lot of what Jeanie 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.
    • Also Rooney's fate. That bus becomes a symbolic hell for him.
  • Shave and a Haircut: A florist truck continually blows its horn at Rooney, trying to get him to move out of Ferris' driveway. The flower deliveryman playfully honks the first five notes of "Shave and a Haircut", and Rooney gives the driver the finger in time to the last two notes.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Beatles receive several.
    • Ferris has a Cabaret Voltaire poster in his room.
    • The Star Wars theme blares as the Ferrari flies over the camera, similar to the opening shot of the Star Destroyer.
    • The fancy French restaurant looks like the same layout as the one in The Blues Brothers (The scene in The Blues Brothers was filmed at famous (at the time; it's since been closed) Chicago restaurant Chez Paul. The one used in this film was designed to look similar, since it is also based in Chicago. Also, the dance sequence at the end of the Parade Scene was taken from the people dancing in front of Ray's Music Exchange, and when Cameron "Goes Berserk", the same statues seen when the Bluesmobile falls apart are shown again.
    • Ferris using his computer to hack his school attendance records is a call back to Broderick's previous role in WarGames where one of his earliest acts is to hack the school computer to give himself a passing grade.
  • Shrinking Violet: Cameron. All of the film's plot (at least so Ferris says) is to get his friend to stop being this.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Ferris uses a very elaborate version of this, complete with a recording of himself snoring and an elaborate pulley system to make said dummy roll slightly in its sleep. His mother falls for it; Jeannie doesn't.
  • Slo-Mo Big Air:
    • Parodied with the garage attendants joyride.
    • And more famously with Ferris leaping over obstacles in his last dash home.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ed Rooney. 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).
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Simone Adamley is responsible for (unintentionally) kicking off the "Save Ferris" social movement in her only scene in the movie.
  • Smug Smiler: Ferris in the movie posters. It seems to be one of his standard facial expressions.
  • Society Marches On: A school administrator sees one of his students sucking face with someone he believes to be her own father, and dismisses it as unimportant?
    Rooney: So that's how it is in their family...
  • Spiteful Spit: At the pizza joint, when Rooney accosts a young woman from behind (mistaking her for Ferris) and tells her "Your ass is mine", she draws a strawful of soda and spits it into his face.
  • Spoiled Sweet: All thee main characters are from wealthy families, but are good-hearted (if somewhat irresponsible) people.
  • Stealth Pun: "Chez Quis" pronounced aloud is "Shakey's". without the s, "Qui" translates to "Who?"
  • The Stinger: Rooney getting picked up by the school bus during the end credits.
  • Stopped Caring: After his freakout, Cameron 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: Cameron is a supporting character, but the film is his journey to standing up to his father. who experiences the most development.
  • Taking the Heat: Ferris offers to do this for Cameron, who's just destroyed his father's Ferrari. Cameron refuses.
  • That's All, Folks!: At the very end, Ferris asks the audience why they are still watching when the movie has ended. (To see if he'd do something funny, of course! And he did!)
  • This Is the Part Where...: When Cameron figures out that the car's been taken on a joyride while it was supposed to be parked and it now has like three or four hundred extra miles on the odometer...
    Ferris: Here's where Cameron goes berserk. (Cut to Cameron's Skyward Scream).
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: When Grace mentions that Rooney sounded like Dirty Harry, he was actually taken aback by it. Even following with a Clint Squint, before thanking her.
  • Time Stands Still: Inverted for Ferris, whose landing off the trampoline is in excruciatingly slow motion, meanwhile Jeanie is racing home and rushing into the house in real time.
  • Totally Radical: Grace, Principal Ed's secretary, attempting to explain popular perception of Ferris, says "The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude."
  • The Un Favourite: Jeanie complains that their parents let Ferris get away with everything, while she can't.
  • Vanity License Plate: The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California's plates say "NRVOUS". Seems appropriate for the situation.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Cameron and Ferris are best friends, but completely opposite in personality, which prompts them to argue.
  • Watch the Paint Job: The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California.
    Cameron: It is his love... It is his passion...
    Ferris: It is his fault he didn't lock the garage.
  • What Are You in For?:
    Boy in Police Station: Drugs?
    Jeanie: Thank you, no, I'm straight.
    Boy in Police Station: I meant, are you in here for drugs?
    Jeanie: Why are you here?
    Boy in Police Station: Drugs.
  • Wham Line: Ed is insulting "Mr. Peterson" on the phone, thinking it's Ferris. He thinks that, until his secretary comes in and says, "Ferris Bueller's on line 2." Subverted, though, because it's Cameron. But the sheer look on the dean and the secretary's faces as Ed goes on line 2, then back, is hilarious to watch, whether or not you've seen this before.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's a good thing the real Abe Frohman never showed up to claim his reservation...
  • You Don't Want to Catch This: Jeanie, thinking that Rooney is an intruder and fearing for her virtue, tells him via intercom that she has her father's gun and "a scorching case of herpes."
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: The look on Jeannie's face when the "naughty nurse" shows up instead of the police.

"...You're still here? It's over! Go home.....go." note