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Trivia / Ferris Bueller's Day Off

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  • Ability over Appearance: Cameron Frye was originally envisioned as being chunky and "homely in a lovable way". John Hughes then remembered the tall, thin, very attractive (29-year-old!) Alan Ruck from auditions for The Breakfast Club (he didn't make the cut that time), and cast him based on that performance. What followed was what is considered to be one of the most soulful, enduring portrayals in Hughes' oeuvre. It probably also helped, however, that Ruck and Matthew Broderick had previously co-starred together in Biloxi Blues, and as a result of this, according to Ruck, "We didn't have to invent an instant friendship like you often have to do in a movie. We were friends."
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  • Actor Allusion: Ferris hacks into a computer to change one of his school records.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Alan Ruck has the same birthday as Cameron.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Ben Stein as the economics professor never says, "Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?" He does say these lines but separately. He first says, "Bueller? Bueller?" while taking attendance and then later during his lecture asks, "Anyone? Anyone?"
  • California Doubling: Ferris' house is actually in Long Beach, California and the restaurant they go to is in West Hollywood.
  • Cast Incest: On-screen siblings Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey dated and were even engaged for a while after appearing in this film together.
  • Creator Backlash: John Hughes actually disliked the TV adaptation and actually tried to block its release. Unfortunately, however, he was unable to do so, and the best that he could do was to stipulate that NBC and Paramount not use his name to promote the series.
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  • Dawson Casting: Averted with Mia Sara, (Sloane) who was 18 (playing a high school junior). Played straight with Matthew Broderick (Ferris) who was 23, Jennifer Grey (Jeannie) who was 25, and Alan Ruck (Cameron) who was 29 when the film was shot during the fall of 1985.
  • Deleted Role:
    • In an early draft of the script, Ferris had two additional younger siblings named Todd and Kimberly, and Jeanie was to be the middle child. If you look closely, you can see a child's drawing on the Buellers' refrigerator.
    • The flower deliveryman had a dialogue scene with Rooney that was cut down to him leaving the house.
    • Lara Flynn Boyle made her film debut in a small part, but none of her scenes made it into the final movie.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • Ferris asks his dad on the phone about bonds his father purchased when he was born, he then takes one of them from a shoebox in his father's closet, cashes it at the bank with his girlfriend (telling the hard-of-hearing teller they are pregnant with a jeep), and uses the money to pay for his day off. It was removed because it made Ferris look like a thief rather than a lovable rogue
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    • At one point in the film there was a scene in which Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane would visit a Chicago radio station and Ferris would talk about how "come next year, I'll be the first kid to ride on the Space Shuttle". It was even featured in the film's trailer. Unfortunately, however, less than five months before the film was to be released, the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch, resulting in the deaths of all seven aboard, including New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe. Because of this, John Hughes had the trailer recalled from theaters and the line was edited out of the final film.
    • Ferris orders something in French on the menu, and after everyone at the table tastes it, he is informed by the snooty waiter that he ordered "sweetbreads", which is a French dish made from the thymus gland. It was removed because it showed the waiter getting the better of Ferris, but later in the movie when Ferris is recounting the day to Cameron, he remarks "we ate pancreas".
    • Extended scenes with the garage attendant and his co-pilot in Chicago avoiding run-ins with Ferris, Cameron, and Sloan; such as at Wrigley field.
    • The trio go on a Chicago riverboat.
    • Extended Cab scene downtown where John Kapelos plays the cab driver.
    • Extended dialogue between Cameron and Sloan while Ferris sings Danke Schoen in the parade.
    • Extended scene where Charlie Sheen's character's name is revealed to be Garth Volbeck.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Charlie Sheen stayed awake for 48 hours before filming his scene so that he would appear tired and strung-out. Now he prefers the quicker method of good, all-natural cocaine.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In the cab, when Ferris tickles Sloan. Actress Mia Sara's laughter was real, because Matthew Broderick and Alan Ruck actually took off her shoe and tickled her foot.
  • Flip-Flop of God: The DVD commentary pegs Ferris as a spoiled jerk. However, Hughes intentionally cut a scene that explicitly makes Ferris a thief, and cast Matthew Broderick in the role because he felt Broderick was the only one who could make Ferris likable. So do we empathize with Ferris or not? Either interpretation of the character is equally valid. And it doesn't help that both interpretations can work concurrently with each other (i.e. Ferris is a jerk and trickster, but he's OUR jerk and trickster).
  • Follow the Leader: After this movie became hugely successful, many teen shows throughout the next decade or so (particularly those aimed at children) implemented a Ferris Bueller-like character (i.e. Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell, Ronnie Pinsky from Salute Your Shorts, Parker Lewis from Parker Lewis Can't Lose, etc.). Some of these were just shallow/one-dimensional caricatures of Ferris; others weren't.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The scenes with Mr. Rooney become harder to watch after learning that actor Jeffrey Jones was arrested for sex crimes involving a minor.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Ben Stein originally only had his iconic "Bueller......Bueller" scene, but John Hughes thought he had such distinctive voice that he asked Stein to just talk about any subject he knew a lot about, which led to the short scene of him teaching a class on the Great Depression.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The restaurant Ferris and co. visit is the same one from The Blues Brothers. It also featured in St. Elmo's Fire.
  • I Am Not Spock: For a long time, Matthew Broderick never liked talking about this movie, though it seems he's eased up about it, since he appeared in a 2012 Super Bowl commercial that parodied the film.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The movie didn't have a soundtrack album for decades because Hughes himself blocked one back in the 1980s, because he felt the movie's music was too eclectic to make a coherent album. Many were delighted when La-La Land Records released an official album (there have been bootleg releases) in 2016.
  • Old Shame: Charlie Sheen said a few years later that watching his one scene in the movie made him want to punch himself in the mouth. He seems to have made peace with it, reprising his character in his exact scene from the John Hughes tribute episode of The Goldbergs in 2015.
  • Orphaned Reference: When telling Cameron about how great the day was, Ferris says, "We ate pancreas". The restaurant scene originally had Ferris order sweetbreads, only to later be told that it's in fact pancreas. As mentioned above, it was deleted because it portrayed Ferris as a complete Butt-Monkey as opposed to the Loveable Rogue John Hughes wanted to portray him as.
  • Playing Against Type: Most of Matthew Broderick's roles, before and after this film, are more milquetoast than Ferris.
  • Recycled Set: The hall scenes in which Jeanie is seen walking down the hall and the kid collecting money to save Ferris are the halls from The Breakfast Club.
  • Recycled: The Series: Lasted barely a season, mainly because it was heavily changed to the point where it could be considered In Name Only. Among other things, the setting was changed from Chicago to L.A., Ferris was now an obnoxious nerd who only believed he was wildly popular (and attended school without complaint!), Cameron was still neurotic but lacked the tragic backstory from the film, thus making him a figure of fun, Sloane was now catty and shallow (the spelling of her name was also changed to Sloan), Ferris's parents were now named Bill and Barbara instead of Tom and Katie, and the list goes on and on. Not even a very young Jennifer Aniston (as Jeannie) could save it.
  • Romance on the Set: The actors who played Ferris's parents (Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward) later got married in real life. Unfortunately, however, they divorced in 1992.
  • Shout-Out: Sloane got her name from Sloane Tanen, daughter of then Paramount Film Group president Ned Tanen.
  • Star-Making Role: Three years prior, WarGames is what got Broderick noticed. But this movie clearly is what made Broderick a star, and it is arguably his most famous role.
  • Stillborn Franchise: The idea of a sequel had gone around for years, with Ferris in college, or on the job somewhere, but the idea was dropped. Matthew Broderick felt that the film didn't need a sequel, that this film was about a specific time and place that we'd all like to revisit, and didn't need updating.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • If mobile phones were as widespread then as they are today, it'd be harder for Ferris to bluff his parents if he could be contacted anytime, anywhere.
    • A video of Ferris dancing on the parade float or him catching the foul ball at Wrigley Field would have most likely made its way to Youtube today, and the jig would be up.
    • Ferris' line, "I asked for a car. I got a computer. How's that for being born under a bad sign?" doesn't work the same as it did. While a modern teen expecting a car would still be disappointed to only get a computer, computers are now much more desirable for teens than they were in the 1980s, and virtually every teen would expect to get their own eventually. For that matter, plenty of teens back in the '80s would have dreamed of having their own computer.
    • A contemporary viewer born after the 80s might be caught off guard to hear that Ferris's suggestion to run the car in reverse to take miles off the odometer isn't him being naive or a smart aleck. When the odometer was measured mechanically on older cars, there was no fail-safe to prevent it from running backwards when the car ran in reverse; this didn't come around until electronically measured odometers. Of course, his suggestion proves to be moot anyway since they racked up too many miles on it.
  • Throw It In!:
    • "They think he's a righteous dude" was improvised by Edie McClurg, the actress who played Grace. She also improvised the bit where she pretends to be Rooney on the phone.
    • The shot of Ferris playing the clarinet was done on the spot. Someone spotted the instrument as part of the set, and Matthew Broderick said he could play it, which of course he couldn't.
    • The short scene, with the coughing keyboard, was also improvised by Broderick.
    • Ben Stein improvised the entire lecture about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.
    • Rooney's line about leaving "my cheese in the wind" was ad-libbed. John Hughes wanted a comment that was complete nonsense.
    • During the parade several of the people seen dancing (including the construction worker and the window washer) originally had nothing to do with the film. They were simply dancing to the music being played, and John Hughes found it so humorous, that he told the camera operators to record it.
    • Matthew Broderick throwing Mia Sara into pool after pushing Cameron in was unscripted. Her screams of surprise were genuine and the playful nature of the moment convinced Hughes to include the shot in the final cut if the film.
  • Too Soon: As mentioned above, John Hughes originally shot a scene in which Ferris would discuss on a radio show wanting to be the first kid to ride the Space Shuttle, but ended up excising that scene due to the Challenger accident.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Ferris' leopard pattern vest he wears throughout the film places it firmly in the eighties. '80s Hair and suspenders add to it.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • John Hughes' first choice to play Ferris was Michael J. Fox. Amusingly, Broderick was the first choice to play Fox's role of Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties. However, Broderick declined, partially because his father, James Broderick, had become terminally ill, and partially because he did not actually want to commit to a weekly TV series. Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr. and Eric Stoltz were also considered.
    • Mia Sara almost didn't play Sloane because at the same time she auditioned, she was simultaneously auditioning to play Sarah in Labyrinth.
    • Molly Ringwald missed out on Sloane. According to Ringwald, "John wouldn't let me do it: he said that the part wasn't big enough for me".
    • Anthony Michael Hall turned down the role of Cameron, as he didn't want to get typecast. Emilio Estevez was offered the role, but declined. For some reason, John Candy auditioned.
    • The script contained a scene where Ferris, Sloane, and Cameron go to a strip club. Paramount executives told John Hughes there were only so many shooting days left, so the scene was scrapped.
    • Choreographer Kenny Orteganote  had originally choreographed an elaborate dance sequence for when Matthew Broderick sang atop the float at the parade. Unfortunately, however, Broderick had dislocated his knee a few weeks earlier filming the scene at the end of the movie where he’s running through yards on his way home, so the choreography had to be scrapped. Despite this, however, Ortega still remained credited in the closing credits.
    • After working together on Weird Science, John Hughes offered Bill Paxton the role of the garage attendant. However, Paxton turned it down because he felt the role was too small. He admits that he regrets turning it down because Hughes never offered him a role again.
    • Kristy Swanson was cast as a different character — the girl who picks up the phone in the school hall. John Hughes accidentally recast her, as it was filmed in Chicago. But he liked Kristy's audition and thus wrote the Economics student just for her to play.
    • When Cameron is looking down the Sears Tower and says, "I think I see my dad.", he actually was looking at his dad (according to the original script) who was standing on the sidewalk. Later, there was supposed to be another scene where Cameron's dad sees his Ferrari parked along the street downtown. When he attempts to reach in the glovebox to confirm it, the garage attendant confronts him.
    • Check out the original script.
  • Word of Dante: A researcher discovered the titular day off was June 5, 1985, based on the Cubs game that Ferris goes to in the movie. If true, that would add extra relevance to Ferris' thoughts about life after high school, as the gang would be mere days away from graduating. The game where scenes from the film were shot was actually played on September 24.
  • What Could Have Been: A&M Records was annoyed at Hughes for not putting out a Ferris Bueller's Day Off soundtrack album. "A&M was very angry with me over that; they begged me to put one out, but I thought "who'd want all of these songs?" I mean, would kids want "Dankeschöen" and "Oh Yeah" on the same record? They probably already had "Twist and Shout," or their parents did, and to put all of those together with the more contemporary stuff, like the (English) Beat - I just didn't think anybody would like it. But I did put together a seven-inch of the two songs I owned the rights to - "Big City" on one side, and... I forget, one of the other English bands on the soundtrack... and sent that to the mailing list. By '86, '87, it was costing us $30 a piece to mail out 100,000 packages. But it was a labor of love. I cared about my audience and I cared about these movies."
  • Word of God: John Hughes said in 1999 that several of his "Shermer" movies, including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, are all a part of the same universe. According to Hughes, Samantha Baker knows Ferris.
  • Word of Saint Paul: According to Alan Ruck, the reason Cameron wears a Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings jersey is because Cameron had a grandfather in Detroit, whom he had a great relationship with, that used to take him to Red Wings games. He also claimed that an alternate ending had Cameron's father killing him by throwing him out the window upon coming home and that Ferris and Sloane later got married.
  • Write Who You Know:
    • Cameron and Charlie Sheen's character were both based on people John Hughes knew in high school.
    • In addition, Alan Ruck based Cameron's phony impression of Sloane's father on legendary stage director Gene Saks, who had previously directed both him and Matthew Broderick in Biloxi Blues.

Other Trivia:

  • This is former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle's favorite movie.
  • Three replica 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California replicas were used in filming.
    • The Hero car was built by Mark Goyette and leased to Paramount for filming. This one was used in almost all exterior shots, and is the one that jumps over the camera. When filming was completed, it was returned to Mark, with the exhaust crushed and the rear body panels cracked. He repaired it and sold it to a young couple in California. The husband ran it off the road, and Mark rebuilt the front end. The couple later sold it in the '90s, and it resurfaced in the early 2000s, but hasn't emerged again since.
    • A kit was sold to Paramount for their stunt car, but they did such a poor job assembling it that it was unusable for anything but falling out the window of Cameron's house at the end. It was later rebuilt and ended up in Planet Hollywood Minneapolis, but fell off the map along with Planet Hollywood Minneapolis.
    • A third kit, meant to be a shell to be dropped out of the window, was bought but never completed. Mark Goyette mentions he heard it was completed and sold off, but it could just as likely be sitting in a backlot at Paramount.


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