Any discussion of the greatest high school movies ever made—or the greatest comedies of all time, period—will undoubtedly include a mention of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Shockingly, John Hughes wrote the script for the movie in less than a week. The whole film takes place over the course of one day as three high schoolers take a personal day and see the sights in Chicago. It doesn’t sound like a great movie, but Hughes is a masterful storyteller with a strong command of character and plot. Here are the 10 Most Relatable Quotes From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
10 “How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?”
We all had days like this when we were in high school. You’d wake up, realize it’s not a Saturday or a Sunday, or even a Friday—God forbid, it might even be a Monday!—and just think to yourself, “how could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?” It doesn’t need to be a particularly tragic or remarkable day. It just has to be one of those days. That’s all it takes to feel disillusioned with the idea of going to school and sitting through a series of lessons. It’s a great line.
9 “This is the part where Cameron goes berserk.”
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off famously breaks the fourth wall on a few occasions. It’s only Ferris who does it. He’s the only one who talks to the camera, so he’s the only one who knows that he’s in a movie. In many ways, this was an early template for the Deadpool character, who even referenced Ferris in the post-credits scene of his first movie. At one point, when Cameron realizes how many miles they have driven in his dad’s car, long before they put a brick on the reverse pedal in an ill-advised attempt to reverse the odometer, and long before Cameron kicks the car in anger and it goes flying into the woods, Ferris turns to the camera and says, “This is the part where Cameron goes berserk.” We had a feeling.
8 “‘Ism’s, in my opinion, are not good.”
What a lot of people have been learning—especially in the last couple of years—is that there’s something problematic in every single belief system that ends in “ism.” Even if it seems great at first, there’s something wrong about it. All the things that are unequivocally good, like democracy, don’t end in “ism.” Ferris preaches peace and love: “It’s not that I condone fascism or any ‘ism,’ for that matter. ‘Ism’s, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an ‘ism,’ he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: ‘I don’t believe in the Beatles. I just believe in me.’ A good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I’d still have to bum rides off of people.”
7 “Pardon my French, but you are an a*****e!”
When Ferris and Cameron are coordinating Ferris’ scheme to get the day off school, Cameron has to impersonate Ferris’ dad on the phone to the principal. The principal buys it and immediately begins apologizing to Cameron, who takes the opportunity to yell, “Pardon my French, but you are an a*****e!” at the principal of his high school.
Wouldn’t we all have loved to opportunity to say this to the principal over the phone under the guise of someone else? You have complete anonymity, yet it’s you saying the words directly to them. Cameron’s a bit of a square, but he still owns this moment.
6 “It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.”
This is the punchline of that great monologue in which Ferris explains how to get a day off school: “The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom. I’m a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a deadlock, but you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor’s office. That’s worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.”
5 “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home.”
This is how everyone feels after waiting until the end of a movie’s credits like a chump. Long before it was cool to have a scene after the credits and moviegoers were sitting through every single end credits sequence to see a sequel setup, Ferris Bueller stepped out in his bathrobe and told the few viewers who’d stuck around, “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home.” The hilarious surprise of this moment is lost now that post-credits scenes are the norm, but back in 1986, it was unheard of. In fact, this was the post-credits scene that inspired Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige to put a post-credits scene at the end of every movie in the MCU.
4 “Cameron is so uptight, if you stuck a lump of coal up his a**, in two weeks, you’d have a diamond.”
We all know someone who’s as uptight as Cameron Frye. Upon first glance, he might not seem like the kind of guy who would be friends with someone like Ferris Bueller, but they balance each other out nicely. They’re the ultimate pessimist/optimist duo. Ferris explains, “If anybody needs a day off, it’s Cameron. He’s got a lot of things to sort out before he graduates. He can’t be wound up this tight and go to college. His roommate will kill him. Pardon my French, but Cameron is so uptight, if you stuck a lump of coal up his a**, in two weeks, you’d have a diamond.”
3 “What are you interested in?” “Nothing.”
It’s kind of depressing how relatable Cameron is, because the movie frames him as the biggest loser on the planet, yet so many of his beliefs and opinions are echoed by all of us. Sloane asks him, “What are you interested in?” and he simply replies, “Nothing.”
We’d probably all say we are interested in something, but are we really interested in these things or do we just use them to pass the time and keep ourselves from getting bored? Maybe there’s some truth to Cameron’s claim that he’s interested in nothing. Either way, there’s something about Cameron’s nihilism that speaks to a part of all of us.
While Ferris and his friends are off gallivanting around Chicago, the rest of his classmates are sitting in a classroom, being bored to death by their teacher. As he goes through roll call, he gets to Ferris’ name and starts saying, “Bueller...Bueller...Bueller...” The fact that he doesn’t just give up and accept that Ferris isn’t there, while it’s blatantly obvious to everyone else, pretty much encapsulates the boredom and mundanity of high school education. The teachers don’t care, so why should you? The droning sound of Ferris’ teacher saying, “Bueller...Bueller...Bueller...” is pretty much all most kids heard during classes in high school.
1 “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
This is the quote everyone remembers from the movie, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s a good phrase to live by, especially when you’re young and bright-eyed and looking into the future. Stop and look around every now and then! Ferris follows up this brilliant line with a deconstruction of the pointlessness of most education: “I do have a test today, that wasn’t bulls**t. It’s on European socialism. I mean, really, what’s the point? I’m not European. I don’t plan on being European, so who gives a crap if they’re socialists? They could be fascist anarchists and it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car.”