Later this week on June 11, a generation of moviegoers will cry out in unison, “$#*%! We’re old!”
Why? Because Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is celebrating its 35-year anniversary.
This movie holds such a special place in my heart that I actually framed its poster (this version) and have it hanging proudly in our TV room. No small part of my love for this John Hughes classic is due to the fact that it’s set in my home city of Chicago, and that its title character Ferris (Matthew Broderick), his friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) hit some of my favorite spots when they skip school one gloriously sunny afternoon: Wrigley Field (a 10-minute walk from my house), the Chicago Board of Trade trading floor (where I used to work!) and the Art Institute of Chicago (which I can’t wait to visit again soon now that things are opening up).
Like with many Hughes films from the ‘80s, people of all ages identified with FBDO’s teenage characters as they tried to figure out who they really were while navigating life’s hard lessons. Don’t forget that while much of Ferris’s day of hooky is lighthearted and fun (Sausage King of Chicago, anyone?), there were some deeper scenes in there — particularly regarding Cameron and his relationship with his dad. But that realness only served to cement the movie’s place in history: in 2014, the Library of Congress proclaimed Ferris Bueller’s Day Off worthy of preservation in the National Film Registry, which is dedicated to movies deemed historically, culturally or aesthetically significant. They literally Saved Ferris!
So what became of its star trio?
Mia Sara is the only one of the three to have left Hollywood behind. But some readers may remember that in 1985 — the year before Ferris debuted — Sara starred alongside Tom Cruise in Ridley Scott’s fantasy epic Legend. So she was enjoying “It Girl” status in those years, and then experienced another career highlight in 1994 when she starred opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in the sci-fi hit Timecop. What I find really interesting is that while Ferris was immediately loved by critics and audiences alike, Legend and Timecop weren’t as strong coming out of the gate, but now have both achieved “cult classic” status and have strong fan followings.
Despite her popularity and success, Sara has since left the acting world, with her last film credit being in 2013 for the short Pretty Pretty. I know I’m not the only one who hopes that maybe, just maybe, one day she’ll agree to some sort of reunion with Broderick and Ruck!
Speaking of Alan Ruck, I would love to know what his character ended up doing with his life after destroying his dad’s favorite car. But we know what Ruck’s been up to! He’s been on both the big and small screen consistently since playing Cameron, most recently as a horrible wood shop teacher in the horror-comedy Freaky with Vince Vaughn. And since 2018 he’s been hamming it up in HBO’s smash-hit series Succession as the clueless eldest son of a media magnate. Succession’s third season is expected to premiere before the end of the year.
And finally we come to Ferris himself. Broderick has worked in film, on Broadway and on TV consistently over the past 35 years, with some of his standout films being WarGames, Glory, The Lion King (he voiced Simba!), The Cable Guy, Godzilla, Election and Tower Heist. And of course The Producers, which was adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name that Broderick starred in alongside Nathan Lane. But that wasn’t the stage production that earned him either of his two Tony Awards — he won those for Brighton Beach Memoirs and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
But wow, even after reviewing everything that the Ferris Bueller stars have been up to for the past 35 years, it still doesn’t seem like it’s been 35 YEARS!!! I can still clearly picture laughing at the end credits of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in the theater. You know, where he tells everyone the movie’s over and to go home? Classic.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be re-watching the movie to celebrate this huge milestone. Doo, bow bow. Chick… chicka-chickaaaaaaaaaaa!