“What is so dangerous about a character like Ferris Bueller is he gives good kids bad ideas.” So says Principal Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), who’s out to catch the most popular — and most mischievous — student at Shermer High School. The question I have for you is, how many of you “good kids” did “bad things,” like skipping school, after watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)? If I had been in high school when I first saw this movie I probably would’ve skipped, though I doubt my day off in my southwest Ohio town would have been anywhere near as fun as Ferris and his friends’ trip to Chicago.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was another in a string of hits for John Hughes in the ’80s. Matthew Broderick stars as the title character, an underachieving high school senior in the Chicago suburbs who’s become a master at skipping school by pretending he’s sick, much to the chagrin of his older sister, Jeannie (Jennifer Grey), and the aforementioned Principal Rooney. One fine spring day he convinces his uptight best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck), and his girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara), to join him in taking a day off, “borrowing” Cameron’s father’s 1961 Ferrari and embarking on an adventure through downtown Chicago. While Ferris and his friends gallivant about the city, Rooney and Jeannie set out to prove that Ferris is a faker, with hilarious results.
John Hughes had a pretty good year in 1986: his teen drama Pretty in Pink was released in late February, and Ferris showed up in early June. The two films are quite different from each other but offered the likable characters, snappy dialogue, and incredible soundtracks that audiences had come to expect from Hughes. Ferris was the bigger box-office hit, grossing $70 million, almost twice as much as Pretty in Pink. Maybe that’s because Ferris was released in the summer, when kids are out of school. Or maybe it’s because Ferris is a comedy. Or maybe it’s because Hughes wrote and directed Ferris but only wrote Pretty in Pink (it was directed by Howard Deutch, who also helmed Some Kind of Wonderful in ’87 and The Great Outdoors in ’88, both written by Hughes). Who knows? Well, I’m sure some critic knows, or would at least claim to know.
Now, I realize I’ve already written about a few John Hughes movies from the ’80s, but I wouldn’t have to in the first place if the films’ soundtracks were complete and in print. The one for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has been particularly elusive to collectors: an official soundtrack album was never released, so fans of the film have taken to gathering up the tracks and creating their own album. I don’t blame them — Ferris features some fantastic mid-’80s pop and new-wave tracks. I have to thank the lovely Jeff Giles and Robert Cass for helping me round up all the tracks, and Robert (via his friend Chris Batty) for contributing the dialogue clips. I believe this is the complete soundtrack, minus the score by Ira Newborn. Please enjoy, and remember: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
“Fertilize the Lawn”
Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Love Missile F1-11
“It’s a Little Childish”
“When Cameron Was in Egypt Land”
Hugo Montenegro – Jeannie (Theme From I Dream of Jeannie)
“Call Me Sir”
Yello – Oh Yeah
“Take It Back?”
The Flowerpot Men – Beat City
“Carlton Brothers Mortuary”
Big Audio Dynamite – B.A.D.
“You Speak English?”
John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra – Star Wars (Main Title)
“We Gotta Do This Again”
The Dream Academy – Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
Wayne Newton – Danke Schoen
The Beatles – Twist and Shout
Zapp – Radio People
Blue Room – I’m Afraid
General Public – Taking the Day Off
The Dream Academy – The Edge of Forever
The English Beat – March of the Swivelheads
Yello – Oh Yeah (Dance Mix)