Ferris Bueller's Day Off
It's one of my favorite movie scenes. Matthew Broderick, as Ferris Bueller, jumps up onto a parade float on its way through downtown Chicago. Surrounded by a bevy of Germanic ladies, he mimes and swaggers his way through Wayne Newton's 'Danke Schoen', then the Beatles' 'Twist and Shout'.
He's the baby-faced rich kid who runs rings around everyone, infuriating but likeable. The precocious teen who takes his friend's dad's priceless Ferrari and lives it up in Chicago for a day – while everyone thinks he's home in bed, on death's door.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is classic Eighties comedy, with fashion and hairdos to match its spirit. But what's great for the purposes of this Movie Atlas is its whirlwind tour of the Windy City.
Much of the movie is filmed around Ferris' house in the fictitious Illinois town of Shermer. Ferris' home was actually located in Long Beach, California, and many interior shots were filmed in California as well. But Cameron's house and garage are the Ben Rose house in Highland Park, Illinois, and their school is also roughly where it's supposed to be – at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, a Chicago suburb.
However, those locations aren't really what's interesting about Ferris Bueller. About one third of the movie is a wild ride through Chicago's best-known sights, and this is the bit to pay attention to. First stop is the dramatic Skydeck of the Sears Tower on South Wacker Drive (above, which now boasts a dramatic glass Ledge for viewing the streets below). Then Ferris and co hit the trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade on West Jackson Blvd, and a baseball game at Wrigley Field in Lake View, home to the Chicago Cubs.
Then director John Hughes indulges his love for art at the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue (above). Ferris, Cameron and Sloane explore the modern art galleries, and Cameron stares intently at Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.
And then it's time for the crowd-pleasing parade scene, which was partly filmed during a real German-American event that the crew stumbled upon, the Von Steuben parade along Dearborn Street (above). Its clever choreography features a mix of actors and real people like a window cleaner and a gyrating builder – offering a chance to see the people of Chicago in action, as well as the locations. Before they return home, the teens make one final stop – at Glencoe Beach on Park Street on Lake Michigan – while Cameron freaks out over the mileage on his dad's prized car.
The movie feels like a homage to a much loved city, and – surprise, surprise – director John Hughes grew up locally. Watch it, cringe at the hairdos, enjoy the parade scene, and visit Chicago. – Roshan McArthur