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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Fan Theories, Ferrari Facts, and a New 4K Release

Steve Palace
Credit: Paramount Pictures / MovieStillsDB
Credit: Paramount Pictures / MovieStillsDB

Who knows where Ferris Bueller is now, but in the 1980s he was one of cinema’s ultimate teenagers. He broke the rules, and he got away with it, too! So just what did it take to bring Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to the big screen? A lot.

Here are 10 fourth wall-breaking facts about the John Hughes classic and news about a 4K release coming in 2023.

It wasn’t summer

Ferris Bueller is very much a summer movie and was released around the same time. As for when it was actually shot, that’s a different story – cameras rolled the previous autumn.

Mia Sara as Sloane Peterson, Alan Ruck as Cameron Frye and Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller.  (Photo Credit: CBS via Getty Images)
Mia Sara as Sloane Peterson, Alan Ruck as Cameron Frye and Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller.  (Photo Credit: CBS via Getty Images)

Hollywood doesn’t let a little detail like the seasons get in the way of a good flick – so leaves were painted a healthy shade of green! Audiences would be none the wiser. Environmentalists may cringe, but it got the foliage ready for its close-up.

Paul McCartney reportedly wasn’t a fan

In a masterly musical moment, Ferris struts his stuff to ‘Twist and Shout’ at Chicago’s Von Steuben Day parade. Written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns, the famous 1960s Beatles version was used.

Matthew Broderick in the parade scene
Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller on a float in the General Von Steuben German-American Appreciation Day Parade. (Photo Credit: CBS via Getty Images)

Paul McCartney gave director John Hughes and company the go-ahead for the track to be included. When the scene came, it was accompanied by a brass band. A rather loud brass band. Apparently, the Liverpudlian legend didn’t appreciate the move, because it blasted across the Fab Four’s dulcet tones.

Website 80s Kids writes: “Hughes explained later that the use of the brass band made sense in the scene, as many brass musicians were part of the parade, and it seemed logical to hear them play.”

This wasn’t the only snafu for Ferris involving a well-known band.

The Cure wrote a song for the movie

For the art gallery sequence, an exciting rock treat was planned. Eighties chart-toppers The Cure had a spanking new song lined up to play alongside Ferris and his friends’ antics.

As fans probably know, an instrumental song from The Smiths is what ended up in the flick. What happened? It was a classic case of that old chestnut… “creative differences.”

The Cure in a promotional photo dated 1986
Guitarist Pearl Thompson, bass player Simon Gallup, musician, songwriter and lead singer Robert Smith, drummer Boris Williams and keyboard player Laurence ‘Lol’ Tolhurst, all members of the English rock band The Cure, pose for a portrait on July 14, 1986, in Clarkston, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Ross Marino/Getty Images)

“The Cure had been enlisted to record the track by music supervisor David Anderle,” writes 80s Kids, “who was fired from the production following disagreements with John Hughes.” That meant a problem requiring a whole other remedy. “When Anderle left, he took the rights to The Cure’s song with him.” Talk about a bum note.

They used replica Ferraris

Bueller and his group spend the movie driving around in a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. The dream car belongs to his best friend Cameron’s dad. It surely isn’t the biggest spoiler to reveal that the sweet ride gets totally trashed.

Film scene with the red Ferrari after it crashes into Cameron's house
Seen here from left, Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, Mia Sara as Sloane Peterson and Alan Ruck as Cameron Frye facing a Ferrari. (Photo CreditL CBS via Getty Images)

The production took the Ferrari and its well-being very seriously! Replicas were made for scenes where things got rough and ready, but in a showbiz twist these fakes are now pretty valuable in themselves. In 2013 a ‘Ferris Bueller’ special went under the hammer for a cooler than cool $235,000.

There wasn’t a sequel, but Charlie Sheen came back

A ‘Bueller Part 2’ was in the air at some point, yet never materialized. Josh Gad brought the main cast together for his online Reunited Apart series, where Jake Gyllenhaal popped up and suggested playing Ferris Bueller Jr.

Charlie Sheen reprising the role of "Guy in police station" on The Goldbergs
Charlie Sheen in The Goldbergs (Photo Credit: Gilles Mingasson / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images via Getty Images)

That was a bit of mischief-making. But one way the concept did come back was in the shape of Charlie’s Sheen wild boy role… “Boy in Police Station.”

1980s-set sitcom The Goldbergs made a tribute episode to the much-loved movie in 2015. The familiar scene was recreated with the star – then in his late 40s – joining in the retro fun. In the original, Sheen is said to have stayed up for 48 hours to get into character. Whether he did the same this time around isn’t clear…!

John Hughes wouldn’t let Molly Ringwald take part

Hughes was known for his teen movies, and often worked with the same young actors. Molly Ringwald was one. She’d starred in his iconic The Breakfast Club the previous year, and it made sense for her to try and appear in the director’s latest.

Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club
Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald in a scene from the film The Breakfast Club, 1985. (Photo Credit: Universal Pictures / Getty Images)

She was up for playing Ferris’s sweetheart Sloane, but Hughes turned her down. The reason given was that she deserved a bigger role. Mental Floss adds: “Hughes wanted an older actress to play Ferris’s girlfriend.”

The guys weren’t teenagers

Eventually, the director cast Mia Sara, 18, as 17-year-old Sloane. According to 80s Kids, he thought “an actual teenager wouldn’t have the gravitas and maturity he was looking for, until Sara’s audition proved him wrong.”

Alan Ruck as Cameron, left, and Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller
Alan Ruck as Cameron Frye and Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller at Wrigley Field. Initial theatrical release June 11, 1986. Screen capture. Paramount Pictures. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

For Ferris and Cameron however, Hughes stuck to his original policy. They were written as 18-year-old dudes. Broderick was a dude in his early 20s. As for Ruck… well at 30, he wasn’t far off playing Bueller’s father!

Ferris was a Dirty Dancer

Future Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey played Ferris’s sister Jeanie. And she wasn’t the only hot stepper in the mix.

Jennifer Grey in character in the police station scene
Jennifer Grey as Jeanie Bueller (Photo Credit: CBS via Getty Images)

Choreographer Kenny Ortega went on to work with Grey and Patrick Swayze on the dance-fueled screen sensation. Before that “time of his life” rolled around, however, he collaborated with Matthew Broderick on that famous Chicago float performance.

It was between Matthew Broderick and John Cusack

Hughes set his sights on Broderick, yet as is common in the movies, various names were mentioned in connection with the title role.

Promotional photo of John Cusack against a black background
John Cusack (Photo Credit: Aaron Rapoport / CORBIS OUTLINE / Corbis via Getty Images)

Chief among these was John Cusack. He’d worked with the director before on 1984’s Sixteen Candles and it’s said he came very close to jumping aboard that Ferrari.

Hughes favorite Anthony Michael Hall was also in the frame, though it appears they stopped working together following a dispute of some kind. “According to Alan Ruck, Hall was offered the lead role but turned it down,” writes Screen Rant. “It’s believed Hall wanted to avoid being too typecast in the type of role he’d played previously in John Hughes movies.”

Ferris is really Cameron?

Did Ferris Bueller even exist at all? The MetaTalk forum went deep in 2009, with a theory putting the character squarely in the imagination of his buddy Cameron.

Matthew Broderick looking into the camera as Ferris Bueller
Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller. (Photo Credit: CBS via Getty Images)

Like Tyler Durden in Fight Club, Ferris can be seen as a manifestation of Cameron’s fractured personality. If that sounds a little involved for such a bright and breezy comedy movie, then avoid this next observation courtesy of The Atlantic.

To them, Ferris’s much-talked-about sick day is “about the soul-sickness of an abused and neglected teenager and the extent to which a hero figure is necessary to mitigate it, and we do the movie and Hughes’s memory no favors by forgetting this.”

At least it shows Bueller still has a hold on people’s imaginations…!

Ferris in 4K

Paramount Home Entertainment has announced the release of a restored version of the 1986 classic. The 4K Ultra HD reissue features original commentary by director John Hughes and plenty of exclusive bonus content including behind-the-scenes footage.

Water tower painted with the words 'Save Ferris.'
A water tower with a campaign appeal to ‘Save Ferris.’ (Photo Credit: CBS via Getty Images)

More from us: Steven Spielberg Says 7-Year-Old Drew Barrymore Asked Him to Be Her Dad While Filming ‘E.T.’

The remaster, which includes Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound, will be available on August 1st, 2023.