Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the perfect combination of silly antics, memorable characters and genuine comedy. But the flick is best remembered for its commitment to a simple yet outrageous plot: Ferris Bueller wants to skip class, so he concocts an elaborate scheme to dupe adults and have some fun in Chicago.
But is it truly logistically possible for Ferris to accomplish his legendary day off? Using the latest technology—Netflix and Google Maps—we investigate.
Ferris begins his day on the later side, according to two well-placed clocks that appear in the film. Before Ferris and Cameron leave the house to pick up Ferris’ girlfriend Sloane, our hero calls a few freshmen to spread the word about his “sickness.” During the call, a clock in the background reads 11:40 a.m. Ferris still hasn’t left the house, and his parents will be home at 6:00 p.m. sharp.
Jump ahead. Ferris and Cameron have picked up Sloane and are headed into downtown Chicago. In the next scene, we return to Ferris’ sister at the school. There’s another clock in the background that reads 11:50 a.m.
Looks like they’re driving a fast car.
Ferris attends Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook. The parking garage where he and his friends leave their borrowed Ferrari is on Washington and Wells, a 33-minute car ride away. But according to the movie, the trip took only 10 minutes—which would mean Ferris was driving 136 mph. His day of hooky is not off to a realistic start.
Ferris and his friends spend the next six hours and 10 minutes touring iconic Chicago landmarks. Based on the scene where their taxi pulls up next to Ferris’ father at the red light, we can assume that they use a cab for transportation. Still, the schedule looks pretty tight.
To read the rest of this story and to find out whether Ferris Bueller's day was actually possible, pick up a copy of North by Northwestern magazine on Friday, Nov. 22, anywhere on campus.