On June 11th, 1986, a movie with a very distinct Illinois flavor and vibe was released by Paramount Pictures. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, with a budget of $5 million, went on to become the tenth-highest-grossing film of 1986 in the United States, grossing over $70 million.

I thought Ferris Bueller's Day Off would have ranked higher on a list of the top movies of 1986, but there were plenty of contenders that year. These 9 films made more money that year (hat tip to BoxOfficeMojo.com):

  1. Top Gun ($176,781,728)
  2. Crocodile Dundee ($116,849,307)
  3. The Karate Kid Part II ($115,103,979)
  4. Back to School ($91,258,000)
  5. Aliens ($85,160,248)
  6. The Color Purple ($83,993,103)
  7. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home ($72,742,016)
  8. Ruthless People ($70,788,212)
  9. Out of Africa ($70,365,426)
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Getty Images

The Movie Was Set In Fictional Shermer, Illinois, But Featured Plenty Of Well-Known Chicago Area Spots...Except For The Bueller Home, Which Was A House In Long Beach, California

Director John Hughes, a Chicago-area guy, was really in to the idea of showing off the area in a sort-of cinematic love letter, according to Wikipedia:

"Chicago is what I am," said Hughes. "A lot of Ferris is sort of my love letter to the city. And the more people who get upset with the fact that I film there, the more I'll make sure that's exactly where I film. It's funny—nobody ever says anything to Woody Allen about always filming in New York. America has this great reverence for New York. I look at it as this decaying horror pit. So let the people in Chicago enjoy Ferris Bueller."

As we know now, Chicago and its surrounding environs really did enjoy the movie, and the way the film treated area locations like:

  • Wrigley Field
  • Downtown Chicago
  • Winnetka
  • Northbrook
  • Glenbrook North High School
  • Highland Park
  • Lake Forest College
  • The Art Institute of Chicago

Here's one of my personal favorite scenes, in 3 photos:

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About to go. (Getty Images)
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Going. (Getty Images)
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And gone. (Getty Images)

The Movie May Have Been Released On June 11th, 1986, But Ferris Bueller's Actual Day Off Was June 5th, According To The Movie

Which means that the Chicago Cubs game Ferris and company attend didn't really turn out in real life the way it did in the movie.


Perhaps the most fun fact is that Ferris Bueller's actual day off was June 5, 1985. A few blogs have done the research including Baseball Prospectus, who say that the game Ferris, his girlfriend Sloane Peterson and his best friend Cameron Frye attended during their infamous day off in was the June 5, 1985 clash between the Cubs and the Atlanta Braves (the Braves won, 4-2.). However, production on the flick ran during the fall, so the game they filmed at was actually in September when the Cubs played the Expos.

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