Ferris Bueller's Day Off

  • Review Date: January 20, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Hilarious comedy classic; language makes it PG-13.
  • Review Date: January 20, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 103 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Despite the light-hearted take on some naughty behavior, Ferris never faces any consequences for the rules he's broken.

Positive role models

Young heroes lie, cheat, and cut class with abandon, and the script's rather loopy logic defends them as standing up to unfeeling, grownup society.


Mild scuffling.


Chaste puppy love between Ferris and his girlfriend, but a grownup chasing after the truant teens is falsely made out to be a pervert.


Surprising amount of profanity (ass, "s--t," "bitch," "f--k").


Ferrari automobiles and the city of Chicago couldn't ask for better promotions.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has surprising amounts of profanity (including "f--k" and "s--t") and thus isn't for younger kids. Also, it's about skipping school. So you might want to get a word in about not trying this at home. Ferris lies, shows off, and steals a car. It's a little disconcerting that he never faces any consequences -- even Bart Simpson usually has to take responsibility. Mostly, the movie glorifies defiance of authority. Sure, it's a little edgy, but teens can handle it.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) wants a break from classroom drudgery to have fun in Chicago. Faking illness, Bueller's parents allow him to stay in bed to "recover." Once they're gone he ropes his friends, Cameron (Alan Ruck) and Sloane (Mia Sara), into joining him. The trio, driving Cameron's dad's treasured 1961 Ferrari convertible, hit the town. Meanwhile. a grim school faculty member (Jeffrey Jones) pursues, eager to catch Bueller. And Ferris' kid sister (Jennifer Grey) resents her older brother getting away with such antics constantly, and tries to rat him out. Despite a few close scrapes, Ferris triumphs.

Is it any good?


It's both a key to FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF's popularity, and a little disquieting, that Ferris never faces any consequences. Even Bart Simpson usually has to take responsibility -- and as for Alfie, there's no indication the filmmakers approve his lifestyle. But Hughes justifies Ferris as a healthy response to self-centered and materialistic adults like Cameron's father. In the end it's poor Cameron who's going to take a fall for the gang, but even he looks forward to the opportunity to defy his (unseen) old man, accused of valuing the Ferrari more than the son. A good question, though, would be whether carefree Ferris will be any better when he grows up. If he grows up.

Back when this premiered in 1986, the clever Bueller was a refreshing change from a too-common movie image of teenage boys as sex- and drug-crazed dolts on the run from mad slashers. John Hughes made his reputation creating quirky young characters with rich inner lives and realistic personal concerns. The flip side of that is that his scripts leaned heavily to what film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel rightly diagnosed as the smart kids/dumb parents syndrome. You don't have to be as bright as Ferris Bueller to see how young viewers would patronize movies that show them as savvy and resourceful, outsmarting uncool authorities, moms, and dads at every turn. Exuberant and stacked hopelessly in favor of its chatty title character, Ferris Bueller's Day Off is both the most enjoyable and the smarmiest of the trend.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how people defy authority. Do your kids understand the difference between Ferris's fantasy presentation and what would really happen if they did what he did?

  • The filmmakers justify the hero's attitude as a healthy response to self-centered, dumb, and materialistic adults. Do you agree?

  • A good question would be whether the carefree Ferris is going to be any better when he grows up. If he grows up.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 11, 1986
DVD release date:October 19, 2000
Cast:Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Jones, Matthew Broderick
Director:John Hughes
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language

This review of Ferris Bueller's Day Off was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 12 year old Written byHuntingwithdaughters October 12, 2010

A fun romp

I see no danger in our A student stealing a car because she saw a comedy where kids do it. If she really wanted to take a day off we would let her, so I doubt the school skipping is an issue. When my wife gets angry her language is worse than anything in this movie.
Kid, 12 years old October 31, 2010
awesome,but 2 f--ks,tons of s--ts and b-tches, and other words
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old July 29, 2009

It's suitable for teenagers, just a little risky for tweens.

I think that this movie is hilarious and very well done, but it does have some inappropriate scenes. Like how Ferris and his girl-friend spread the love quite a bit, and using some bad language. The characters aren't the best role-models since they skipped school to have some fun in the city and how they get into some trouble along the way.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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