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.
Even though they played siblings, stars Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey would later become engaged after this movie. Tragically, approximately a year later, after Broderick finished filming Biloxi Blues, and before Grey's premier for Dirty Dancing, the couple was involved in a fatal crash in Ireland, where the passengers of the other vehicle, a mother and daughter, died in the accident.
In 2010, Edie McClurg told "Vanity Fair" magazine that her character's hairdo should be from the 1960s, "because Grace felt she looked best in the [1960s] and kept her look from that era." However, the womens hairdresser on the set had mainly been hired to blow out Mia Sara's long, straight hair and didn't know how to set the big 1960s hairstyles--so McClurg teased, set and styled her own character's hair. Once she arrived on the set, John Hughes looked at her hairstyle and the first thing he said was, "How many pencils do you think you can fit in that hair?" They tested it with one pencil, then two and three, but the fourth one fell out--so that was the origin of Grace's first scene in the movie, in which she pulls several lost pencils out of her hair.
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.
After working together on Weird Science (1985), 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.
According to the Inside Story (1986) documentary, Charlie Sheen's character's name is actually Garth Volbeck. There was going to be a whole back story to his character and family. It was also revealed that the Volbeck's was the family to whom Ferris' mom was showing the house for sale in her job as a realtor. If you look closely, the tow truck that towed Rooney's car was from Volbeck's Wrecking Service.
John Hughes personally designed Ferris' bedroom, mirrored mostly on his own bedroom when he was in high school. Hughes said that the room was a disorganized series of pop references and other things because it would represent Ferris' mind.
The line Ferris says in the bathroom at the French restaurant about Cameron's house being very pretty and very cold was originally supposed to be said by Allison in The Breakfast Club (1985) regarding her home life.
The outfit Ferris is wearing (hat, sunglasses and trench-coat) when he picks up Sloane from school can be seen on a mannequin in his room behind his door as his parents leave his room at the beginning of the movie to go to work.
The text that appears on the screen when Ferris is explaining how to fake being sick to his parents was added later because John Hughes thought the scene was too flat and not funny enough (according to him in the DVD Commentary).
Polly Noonan, who plays the girl Rooney sits next to on the bus, wore glasses that were specially made by the prop department. The lenses distorted her vision so much that they made her nauseous. Also, the glasses were so heavy that she had to hold her head in a certain position to keep them from falling down.
Deleted scenes: - 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 - 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".
When Ferris hacks into the school's computer to change the number of absences he had, it is a subtle reference to a scene in WarGames (1983) when Matthew Broderick hacks into the school's computer to change his grades.
The song "Danke Schoen" is heard four times in the movie; When Ferris sings it in the shower, when Ed Rooney sings it after ringing the Buellers' doorbell, when Ferris lip-syncs the Wayne Newton version during the parade, and when Jeanie sings it while walking down the stairs at the police station.
The bus scene that plays during the ending credits was a scene cut from the movie. It was meant to take place after Jeanie announced that she called the police, and Rooney had to find a place to hide. This explains why the sky isn't dark, and why a bus is taking students home at 6:00 pm.
A number of key moments in the movie were created in the editing room: Jeannie kicking Rooney three times in the face (when there was in fact only one kick filmed); Ferris and Sloane's kiss in front of Rooney was originally just a brief kiss, but was later edited into the long kiss seen on film.
The final scene in the garage was shot in early fall, so each of the leaves on all the trees outside had to be hand-painted green every morning before shooting. In the shot looking up from the wreck at the three friends, the yellow tree with most of its upper leaves gone can be seen reflected in the window.
During the scene where Rooney fights with the intercom at Ferris' house, there is a shot of the kitchen. On the refrigerator in that shot is a drawing of John Hughes, done by his son who was six at the time.
The Cubs game depicted in the movie that Ferris and his friends attend was an actual game played against the Atlanta Braves on June 5, 1985, based on research by Larry Granillo published in his Wezen-ball column at baseballprospectus.com on February 6, 2011.
The yellow and red insignia on Ferris' beret is that of the US Army's 32nd Armored Regiment; the motto at the bottom--illegible in the film--reads "Victory or Death". This was Elvis Presley's unit when he was in the army and in G.I. Blues (1960).
There is a theory circulating the internet that Ferris is just a figment of Cameron's mind. The theory states that although Cameron wants to be more adventurous and rebellious, he is afraid to, and so he creates Ferris. Ferris is all the things that Cameron is not. The theory also states that Ferris becomes a creation Cameron uses to finally assert himself against his father's cruelty and, more importantly, his own hypercritical conscience.
Early drafts had the Ferris family having younger siblings. When it came time to edit, the final draft actually has evidence that Ferris in fact does have younger siblings, such as drawings on the fridge and a family photo seen in his dad's office.
The Ferrari was originally supposed to smash through the window of the garage and land in the backyard. It overshot its mark, however, and hit a fence that was dividing the house from the yard next door.
In the scene where Sloane is sitting in the taxi with Ferris and Cameron in the floor, Ferris' dad is in a taxi next to them reading the newspaper. As the scene ends you can see the headline "Community Rallies Around Sick Youth", but the wording in the actual article indicates that it was about a Chicago policeman who killed himself.
After the girl in the arcade spits her soda on Ed Rooney, a video game sound effect is heard in the background. Appropriately enough, it's the sound effect that denotes when a player has lost a life in the game Pac-Man.
The woman playing the accordion on the parade float was a local named Vlasta Krsek. She gained a degree of notoriety from the film, even appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962). On the show she played and sang the song "Twist and Shout", which was one of the songs from that famous scene.
Although one of the key scenes in the film has Ferris, Sloane and Cameron enjoying a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, John Hughes stated on the DVD commentary that he was not a Cubs fan. The scene was set there because of its iconic status and due to the Chicago White Sox rarely playing day games in 1985 during production.
When Ferris picks up Sloane from school, they are standing in front of the entrance to the theater of Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, IL, director John Hughes' alma mater They then drive the car past the high school's soccer and baseball fields.
Although Charlie Sheen used tricks such as sleep deprivation to look the part of his character 30 years ago, he did not feel it necessary to alter his appearance or personality to play the role in the recent The Goldbergs (2013)' homage to "Ferris Bueller" in the "Barry's Day Off" episode.
The scenes shot at Cameron's house began in September 1985 and finished in October of that year. The scene where the Ferrari was crashed was shot in mid-October. In order to have continuity and depict the garage scenes as the end of the school year, all of the leaves on the nearby trees were painted green. There is one scene after the Ferrari goes through the glass and the camera is down in the ravine looking up at the three actors standing in the garage looking down through the missing window. In the pane of glass next to them you can see reflections of distant trees which are yellow/orange as the fall colors were in full force by the time the scene was shot.
According to John Hughes in the DVD Commentary (original DVD release), the voice Cameron uses while talking to Rooney pretending to be Slone's father was modeled after a stage director both Alan Ruck and 'Matthew Broderick' had worked for.
"The Ferrari in the movie was a replica of a Ferrari 250GT California Spyder (only 104 of which were actually produced). This version of Ferrari's already famous 250 series was designed specifically for the American market, featuring only two seats, a convertible top and more horsepower than in the standard European version.
A theory arose that Ferris doesn't actually exist and he is just a more outgoing, brave alter-ego of Cameron that he made up to deal with his father. This begs the question: Was the whole day just Cameron day dreaming in his bed while sick?
The name of the detective Ferris' mother talks to when picking up Jeanie is Stephen Lim (the name can be seen on door when mother exits office.) This is also the name of First Assistant Director Stephen Lim,
The passage that Ed Rooney quotes when he is trying to console Sloane ("man that is born of woman hath but a short time to live...") is the "First Anthem" for the Burial of the Dead from the Book of Common Prayer produced by the Anglican church. The anthem is based on Job 14:1-2.
Louie Anderson had a small role as a flower deliveryman in this film. One of the episodes of his 1995 television show, Life with Louie (1995) was titled "Pains, Grains and Allergy Shots," a reference to the John Hughes film Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987). Anderson's TV show also featured the voice talents of Edie McClurg, who is notable for appearing in many of Hughes' films, including this one.
Kristy Swanson was originally cast in the small role of the girl who talks on the phone with Ferris in the school hall. However, the role was re-cast with Kristin Graziano because John Hughes felt it was better to film the scene in Chicago. Hughes had liked Swanson so much,l though, that he offered her the part of the Economics student, which was shot in Los Angeles.
At one point in the film there was a line that Ferris was going to say about how "come next year, I'll be the first kid to ride on the Space Shuttle". It was even featured in the preview for theaters. However, less than five months before the film's release on January 28, 1986, the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch due to an O-ring failure in the right SRB, resulting in the deaths of all seven aboard, including New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe. Because of this, John Hughes had the preview recalled from theaters and the line was edited out of the final film.
When the trio is back at Cameron's house, attempting to push the mileage back, nearly four minutes pass between Ferris saying,"We'll have to break the glass on the odometer and roll it back by hand" and after the Ferrari speeds through the glass to the foliage down below when Ferris says "You killed the car." During Cameron's rant about his problems with his father, neither Sloane nor Ferris say anything or make any sort of noise. Neither makes a sound, such as a scream, even when the car goes out of the window.
Cameron wearing a Detroit Red Wings hockey jersey is actually an insight to his character. For the last 20 years or so, the Red Wings have been a top team in the NHL. However, back during the time this film was made, the Red Wings were the worst in the league with an embarrassing win/loss record. Cameron wore a Red Wings jersey to show that not only is the character "a lovable loser down on his luck" but that even the team he supports are losers. The Red Wings have also been long time rivals to the Chicago Blackhawks.
can be seen in a tiny cameo in one of the early Chicago downtown montage sequences, climbing literally across traffic, from right to left of screen, wearing a light blue jacket and big "'80s hairdo" (from DVD director's commentary.)
Ferris lip-syncs The Beatles' cover of "Twist and Shout". He quotes John Lennon's song "God" ("I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.") Cameron's Detroit Red Wings jersey references Paul McCartney and Wings, as his Epiphone Texan acoustic guitar (which he played on The Beatles' "Yesterday") sported a Detroit Red Wings sticker from the mid-1970s onward.