Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986

Director

John Hughes

Cast

visit the film locations

Chicago: Flights: O'Hare International Airport

CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) maps

Sears Tower Skydeck, Sears Tower, 233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago (tel: 312.875.9696)

CME Group Visitor Center, Chicago Board of Trade, 141 West Jackson Boulevard (CTA: Jackson Station; Red or Blue Lines)

Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago (tel: 312.443.3600) Monday-Wednesday, Friday, 10:30-4:30 Thursday, 10:30-8:00 Saturday-Sunday, 10:00-5:00 (CTA: Adams/Wabash Station; Pink, Orange, Green, Brown or Purple Lines)

Wrigley Field, 1060 West Addison Street (CTA: Addison Station; Red Line to Howard)

Northbrook: Metra North Line, to Fox Lake, from Union Station, Chicago.

Los Angeles: Flights: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)


in the area

Chicago has to be one of the most photogenic cities in the US, so there’s no shortage of film locations. Much has changed since John Landis brought mayhem to the city with The Blues Brothers, but The Untouchables finds plenty of the old Chicago. The Dark Knight showcases much of the new city.

The northern suburbs have Tom Cruise’s breakthrough movie Risky Business and Home Alone.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off location: Country Club Drive, Long Beach, Los Angeles

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off location: Ferris Bueller’s ‘Chicago’ home: Country Club Drive, Long Beach, Los Angeles

Most of the locations for slacker classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off can be found around Chicago, of course – though not all of them. Like many John Hughes films, it’s set in the fictitious Illinois town of ‘Shermer’ (Shermerville was the name of Hughes’ neighbourhood of Northbrook until 1923).

The school, from which Ferris (Matthew Broderick) bunks off to spend a day freewheeling around the big city, is Glenbrook North High School, 2300 Shermer Road, Northbrook, a northern suburb of Chicago on the Metra rail North Line from Chicago’s Union Station.

The frontage, where Ferris poses as her dad to pick up Sloane (Mia Sara), is not the school’s main entrance, but the Center for Performing Arts. The hallways previously of Glenbrook North had previously been used in John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club.

Just to the north of Northbrook Station, between Cedar Lane and Meadow Road, you can see the famous ‘Save Ferris’ water tower. It’s finally been repainted and the lettering is now gone.

Ferris’s mum, Katy, works fairly locally in the Winnetka branch of real estate company Koenig and Strey, 583 Chestnut Street at the northwest corner of Elm Street, Winnetka. His dad, though, commutes to Chicago itself where his office is in the glass fronted block at 333 West Wacker Drive, overlooking the Chicago River.

The home of Cameron (Alan Ruck), where the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, is kept in a state of pristine perfection, is 370 Beech Street, between Linden Avenue and Wade Street, Highland Park (Linden Avenue, by the way was home to Tom Cruise in his breakthrough movie Risky Business). With its glass walls overlooking a convenient gorge (the area isn’t called Ravinia for nothing), the location was ideal.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off location: Parking Garage, West Washington Street at Wells Street, Chicago

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off location: leaving the Ferrari safely at the parking garage: Parking Garage, West Madison Street at Wells Street, Chicago

It’s off to the city, with inevitable landmark shots – the elaborate Tribune Tower, the twin ‘corncobs’ of Marina City, and the LaSalle Street Canyon (familiar from such films as The Untouchables and The Dark Knight). The parking garage in which Ferris leaves the Ferrari in the care of the sensitive and trustworthy attendant, can be seen on West Madison Street at Wells Street, just beneath Washington/Wells ‘el’ station.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off location: Sears Tower, 233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off location: looking down on the city: Sears Tower, 233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago

First stop for Ferris, Sloane and Cameron is the Skydeck of Willis Tower, 233 South Wacker Drive – tallest building in the US and probably better known by its former name of Sears Tower – occupying the block surrounded by Franklin Street and Wacker Drive, Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard (CTA: Quincy Station; Pink, Brown, Purple and Orange Lines). Bruce Wayne goes one better, surveying the city from the very top of the building, in The Dark Knight.

The two guys in the bizarre hats, by the way, have no significance to the film at all. They were a couple of passers-by in town for the German-American parade seen later in the film.

Overlooking the trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, 141 West Jackson Boulevard, Ferris proposes to Sloane while Cameron practises his hand signals. The Board of Trade is the striking skyscraper at the foot of the LaSalle Street canyon (it served as the HQ of ‘Wayne Enterprises’ in Batman Begins). You can pop into the CME Group Visitor Center between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday, but to see the trading floor, you need to book ahead as part of a group tour – hey, you’re not Ferris Bueller, are you?

Ferris Bueller's Day Off location: 22 West Schiller Street, Chicag

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off location: ‘Chez Quis’, the posh restaurant: 22 West Schiller Street, Chicago

‘Chez Quis’, the posh restaurant, in which Ferris manages to pass himself off as ‘Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago’ is a combination of two locations. The restaurant itself was in Los Angeles, but the exterior – since remodelled – is a private home at 22 West Schiller Street, between North State Parkway and North Dearborn Street, north of the Loop. Also in Los Angeles was the pizza house, where Dean Rooney searches for Ferris, which was in Brentwood.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off location: Wrigley Field, 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off location: watching the ball-game: Wrigley Field, 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago

The Dean misses seeing the trio on TV as they enjoy watching a game at Wrigley Field, 1060 West Addison Street (CTA: Addison Station; Red Line), at North Clark Street in Wrigleyville. Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is home to the Chicago Cubs and, naturally, a staple of Chicago films – such as About Last Night and The Blues Brothers

Ferris Bueller's Day Off location: the Art Institute of Chicago, South Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off location: visiting the art gallery: the Art Institute of Chicago, South Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Slightly out of character (director Hughes admits it’s a bit of self-indulgence) there’s a visit to the treasures of the the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue at East Adams Street.

The painting which so entrances Cameron is Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. Fans of Stephen Sondheim will know this as the inspiration for his 1984 musical Sunday in the Park with George.

The Institute turns up again in a dfifferent guise, as a department store in the 1994 version of Miracle On 34th Street.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off location: Dearborn Street, Chicago

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off location: the parade: Dearborn Street, Chicago

The parade Ferris joins with a rendition of Twist And Shout is a real annual German-American parade filmed on Dearborn Street, intercut with a restaging for the movie on the following Saturday, when 10,000 locals turned up in response to ads on the radio and in newspapers. You can see the scary orange statue of a giant mantis ready to prey on passers-by (there’s a film just waiting to be made), at the junction of West Adams Street. Actually – it’s called Flamingo.

It’s at Glencoe Beach, at the end of Park Avenue in Glencoe on Lake Michigan between Highland Park and Winnetka, that Cameron gets catatonic after he notices the mileage on the Ferrari.

And it’s back home, which – in Ferris’s case is not Chicago at all but Los Angeles.

It’s 4160 Country Club Drive, just south of Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, which seems to be a popular house for filming: it was seen as the home of a murdered family in Red Dragon, and as the home of Preston Wasserstein (Robert Patrick Benedict) in the Risky Business parody in Not Another Teen Movie.


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