Any discussion of the greatest high school movies ever made—or the greatest comedies of all time, period—will undoubtedly include a mention of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Shockingly, John Hughes wrote the script for the movie in less than a week. The whole film takes place over the course of one day as three high schoolers take a personal day and see the sights in Chicago.
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It doesn’t sound like a great movie, but Hughes is a masterful storyteller with a strong command of character and plot. Just as important, it’s one of the most quotable movies ever made. Ask any fan for their favorite Ferris Bueller quotes, and they’re sure to come up with several with no hesitation.
Updated on Jan. 21, 2022 by Colin McCormick: Nearly 40 years since it was released in theaters, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off remains a beloved teen classic that is still as quotable as ever. Part of the fun of revisiting the movie is repeating the timeless Ferris Bueller’s Day Off quotes that are as funny now as they were in 1986. While Ferris and his friends might have a more epic day away from school than most young students, the classic Ferris Bueller quotes can make anyone nostalgic for those high-school days when anything seemed possible.
18 Taking Out The Car
“It’s His Fault He Didn’t Lock The Garage.” — Ferris.
One of the key elements in Ferris’s grand adventure is taking Cameron’s father’s sports car out on the town. As they open the garage and look at the car, Cameron remarks how much his father loves it while Ferris is just happy the garage was open.
Ferris’s mischievous behavior can not be condoned, but most young people have had those situations before. Though a situation might be obviously wrong and just asking for trouble, if the opportunity is there, it can be hard to ignore.
17 The Most Popular Kid In School
“They All Adore Him. They Think He’s A Righteous Dude.” — Grace.
As fun as Ferris and his friends are to follow, the adult characters in the movie can be very funny as well. Grace, the receptionist at the school is one of the standout characters with some hilarious moments of her own.
Even she recognizes the popularity the students have for Ferris, explaining how much they love him. Her remark that he is seen as a “righteous dude,” however, sounds like the typical older person trying desperately to show they connect to the younger generation.
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16 Rooney Finds His Target
“Les Jeux Sont Faits. Translation: The Game Is Up. Your Ass Is Mine.” — Ed Rooney.
Principal Rooney makes for a great antagonist for Ferris in the movie. He abandons his whole day in order to track down this troublesome student and catch him in the act of skipping school.
While these escapades mostly backfire on Rooney, he does go in with a lot of confidence. When confronting someone he thinks is Ferris, he makes this assertive tough-guy line only to realize it is a girl with a similar haircut as Ferris. Those moments of confidence turning into humiliation are the kind of memories that haunt people forever.
15 Ferris Plays Sick
“They Bought It. Incredible. One Of The Worst Performances Of My Career, And They Never Doubted It For A Second.” — Ferris.
As Ferris goes through his various preparations for pulling off his “home sick” scheme, there is the sense that this is not the first time he has done something like this. And while he is a loving son, he is an expert at lying to his parents.
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Of course, there are few children that have never lied to get out of doing something they didn’t want to do, including going to school. And Ferris being able to judge his own performance and be amazed that it worked speaks to how much experience he has.
14 Giving Cameron A Pep Talk
“You’re Not Dying. You Just Can’t Think Of Anything Good To Do.” — Ferris.
Cameron is a great character as he is the total opposite of his best friend, Ferris and feels like the more typical John Hughes character. He is also home from school on the fateful day of the story, but instead of playing out a fun-filled day, he is in bed feeling sorry for himself.
Cameron actually feels so sick that he believes he might die. But of course, it’s all in his head, as Ferris points out: “You’re not dying. You just can’t think of anything good to do.” It’s easy to get those two things mixed up.
13 Cameron Tricks Ferris
“Ferris Bueller, You’re My Hero.” — Cameron.
There are times when Ferris feels almost like a superhero in the incredible things he is able to pull off and maintain a positive attitude at all times. However, Cameron is the one who can help remind the viewer that Ferris is just a kid and make him relatable again.
After pretending to drown and be rescued by Ferris, Cameron sarcastically calls Ferris his hero, making the rare times Ferris is caught off-guard in the movie.
12 Ferris Plans An Epic Day
“The Question Isn’t, ‘What Are We Going To Do?’ The Question Is, ‘What Aren’t We Going To Do?'” — Ferris.
While few fans have ever accomplished as much as Ferris Bueller did with a day off, everyone can relate to that feeling of endless possibilities with a free day ahead of them. As Ferris looks out over the day ahead, he sees it as an epic journey where anything is possible.
When younger, those days when students were able to escape a day of school and have some fun were like wish-fulfillment. Even if all they did was sit at home and watch television, it felt anything could happen. That’s what makes this movie such a fun teen movie to revisit.
11 Future Plans
Sloane: “What Are You Interested In?”Cameron: “Nothing.”
Even with the “seize the day” message of the movie through the eyes of Ferris, Cameron also represents a more realistic look at teens. He does not have big plans or ideas for his future which he freely admits.
When talking about what they would do in the future, Sloane asks Cameron about what he is interested in. He very honestly answers, “Nothing.” As funny as the line is, it is a feeling a lot of people can relate to.
10 Ferris Isn’t Going Down Easily
“If I’m Going To Get Busted, It Is Not Going To Be By A Guy Like That.” — Ferris.
Ferris is incredibly confident. Throughout his day off, as he darts across Chicago, he’s sure that he’s not going to get caught. That confidence remains strong even when he comes up against a rude maître d’ at a fancy restaurant who isn’t buying Ferris’s story.
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His friends worry that he’s gone too far, but Ferris delivers two brilliant nuggets of wisdom: “A, You can never go too far. B, If I’m gonna get busted, it is not gonna be by a guy like that.”
9 Too Beautiful Of A Day To Pass Up
“How Could I Possibly Be Expected To Handle School On A Day Like This?” — Ferris.
As important as school is for young people, every student has had more than a few days when they wake up on a beautiful and promising day only to realize they are going to be stuck inside a classroom the whole time.
Whereas most of those students simply lament their situation and get ready for school, Ferris actually decides that it is unfair to him and makes plans of his own.
8 Cameron’s Breakdown
“This Is The Part Where Cameron Goes Berserk.” — Ferris.
One of the standout aspects of the movie is how Ferris often breaks the fourth wall and recognizes that people are watching all of this. But even though this doesn’t allow him to tell the future, he knows enough to recognize when his best friend is about to lose his mind.
After realizing his father’s prized car was taken for a joy ride, there is that sinking feeling that many teens have faced when they realize the trouble they’ve gotten themselves into. Ferris recognizes that as well and turns to the camera to let the audience know Cameron is about to break down.
7 Words Of Wisdom
“‘Isms, In My Opinion, Are Not Good.” — Ferris.
Along with taking the audience on his wild adventure, Ferris also imparts his own pearls of wisdom through his fourth-wall-breaking. Though he is a teenager, he does have a certain laidback intelligence about him that is easy to agree with.
When discussing fascism at one point, Ferris declares his distaste for “isms” of all kinds. At first, it just sounds silly, but then it starts to seem like he might have a point there.
6 Cameron Tells Off Rooney
“Pardon My French, But You’re An A–hole.” — Cameron.
When Ferris and Cameron are coordinating Ferris’ scheme to get the day off school, Cameron has to impersonate Ferris’ dad on the phone to the principal. The principal buys it and immediately begins apologizing to Cameron, who takes the opportunity to yell, “Pardon my French, but you are an a*****e!” at the principal of his high school.
As great as educators are, there are few people who wouldn’t have loved to pull off something like this. Not only did Cameron get to perform a hilarious and successful prank call, but he did so while telling off their terrible principal.
5 Ferris Is Honest
“It’s A Little Childish And Stupid, But Then, So Is High School.” — Ferris.
A lot of detail goes into Ferris pulling off his elaborate sick act which makes for one of the most entertaining sequences in the movie. He demonstrates the various ways he convinces his parents of his illness without seeming too sick.
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To replicate clammy hands, Ferris recommends licking his palms. He admits it is “childish and stupid,” but since that is his opinion of high school, he finds it acceptable. And it is hard to argue with him.
4 The End
“You’re Still Here? It’s Over. Go Home.” — Ferris.
Thanks to the MCU, post-credit scenes have now become expected in just about every blockbuster movie. but back when Ferris Bueller’s Day Off hit theaters, it was a rare surprise for those few people who stuck around.
But instead of offering some tease at more to come, Ferris points out how silly the whole post-credit thing is by wondering why the viewers are still watching and urging them to go home.
3 Cameron’s Tension
“Cameron Is So Uptight That If You Stuck A Lump Of Coal Up His Ass, In Two Weeks You’d Have A Diamond.” — Ferris.
Quite opposite to Ferris’s easygoing approach to life, Cameron is a very uptight and nervous person. This leads Ferris to make the rather rude yet hilarious observation about just how tense Cameron can be.
Most people know people like this and it’s hard not to just want them to relax. But while this might seem like a harsh thing for Ferris to say about his best friend, he is only concerned for him in a loving way.
2 Taking Attendance
“Bueller…? Bueller…? Bueller…?” — Economics Teacher.
Perhaps the most well-known quote from the entire movie comes from Ben Stein as Ferris’s particularly boring teacher. As Ferris is out starting off his wild day of fun, his teacher is slowly taking attendance in the class.
The monotone droning on of the teacher is enough to transport anyone back to those unbearably boring days in the classroom where time seemed to simply stand still. It can make viewers drowsy just watching the hilarious scene unfold.
1 Making The Best Of Life
“Life Moves Pretty Fast. If You Don’t Stop And Look Around Once In A While, You Could Miss It.” — Ferris.
This is the quote that helps wrap up the movie in a wonderful way. After Ferris had such a great day, he settles into bed, content with his accomplishments. And while it might have seemed like pure fun and indulgence, Ferris makes a good point about seizing the day.
While people can’t just take a day off from their responsibilities whenever they feel like it, Ferris delivers a message about making the most of his time by embracing life whenever he is able.
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About The Author
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Ben Sherlock is a writer, comedian, independent filmmaker, and Burt Reynolds enthusiast. He writes lists for Screen Rant and features and reviews for Game Rant. He’s currently in pre-production on his first feature (and has been for a while, because filmmaking is expensive). You can catch him performing standup at odd pubs around the UK that will give him stage time. Previously, he wrote for Taste of Cinema, Comic Book Resources, and BabbleTop.
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