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August 5, 2009
Ferris Bueller's Day Off Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
21/8/198616/6/2009ParamountJohn Hughes
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Dolby TrueHD 5.1PGMatthew Broderick

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Ferris tells us how to 'chuck a sickie'.

The 1980's was a decade where comedies broke out and some classics were born. Titles such as Gremlins, Ghostbusters and Airplane! are still cemented in the pages of history of classics. To me though, Ferris Bueller's Day Off provided some of the most entertaining, and riveting, entertainment of the decade. I was only 10 years old when this movie hit cinemas, and while I didn't see it on the big screen, I fell in love with this movie a couple of years later when it came to TV. For a teenager, it was the perfect dream...

Ferris (Matthew Broderick) is a street-wise kid who knows all the tricks. Today he decides to take the day off school. When Ferris takes the day off, so must his best friends, Cameron (Alan Ruck) and Sloane (Mia Sara). Cameron is reluctantly persuaded to borrow his father's Ferrari, and together they hatch a plan to get Sloane out of class. Suspicious dean of students Ed Rooney knows all about Ferris, but can never catch him. Ferris' sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) is also frustrated that Ferris always gets away with his tricks and she doesn't. Furthermore, Ferris is an 'angel' in his parents eyes. It's Ferris' day off, he's out to enjoy himself, and he does!.

With the passing of 20 years this movie seems a little tame these days. What kids get up to when they skip school today probably doesn't even compare to what Ferris found 'cool'. Today the kids are out partying, drinking and getting up to other shenanigans not worthy of this review. Back in 1986 the idea that a high school student can get out of school, trick the parents go into the city and then avoid the principal is about as exciting as it got. Still, even to this very day there is no denying that the three lead actors, and in particular Matthew Broderick, are absolutely charming and delightful to watch on-screen. Their chemistry as about as perfect as you could have expected, and the direction by John Hughes gives each their own personalities and motivations.

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Alan Ruck is brilliant as Cameron.
There are simply so many memorable scenes in this movie that one can not help but smile. Ferris convincing Cameron to get out of the house, getting into the Chez Luis restaurant, participaing and performing in the street parade and of course taking Cameron's prized red car into the city, and then returning at home.

For me, Ferris Bueller's Day Off is one of the greatest comedies of all time. Acting is superb, direction is brilliant, and the soundtrack also lively. It's not offensive movie and is one of those movies that can be watched over and over to lift spirits even years after release. Brilliant.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and, thanks to the 1920 x 1080p maximum resolution of Blu-Ray the image certainly looks a lot sharper then the old DVD releases with a much better colour reproduction - especially in the scenes that take place outdoors. Some of the early scenes - such as those in Ferris' bedroom - look a but dull and lacking depth. The transfer also exhibits an inconsistent level of grain between some of the scenes and the transfer does exhibit some small marks and white spots. Still, given the movie is now over 20 years old this is understandable without a full restoration of the film.

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Jennifer Grey and Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller.
Comedies in the 1980's aren't really known for their great audio mixes, but Ferris Bueller's Day Off is something of an exception with some brilliant music used throughout the movie (not least of which is the parade song "Danke Schoen") and it shines with the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix on this disc. There isn't a lot of use of surround sound channels, but they are used on occasion. Dialogue is always clear and the sound design is probably best described as "better then what is expected of that in a 1980's movie".

Other languages on this disc include French Dolby Surround 2.0 at 192kbps and Spanish mono. Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. We sampled the English subtitles and noticed no major issues with pacing or the wording.

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The street parade is so entertaining.
While not overly loaded with features there is still quite a bit here worth checking out. If there is one disappointment it's that the audio commentary with director John Hughes from the original DVD release has been omitted.

Getting the Class Together - The Cast of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (27:45): Despite running for a bit less then 30 minutes, this is a great look at the making of the movie, from the casting of the actors, to the filming with a focus not only on the main stars, but also the actors the played lesser roles.

The Making of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (15:29): This is an EPK styled piece which looks at the making of Ferris Bueller's Day Off with plenty of on-set footage as well as more recent interviews with some of the participants.

Who is Ferris Bueller? (9:12): A look at who Ferris Bueller is, and how Matthew played the part so perfectly in line with his own personality.

The World According to Ben Stein (10:51): Basically a series of recollections, thoughts, and ideas from Ben Stein who played the economics teacher in the movie.

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Metthew Broderick is Ferris Bueller.
Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tapes (10:16): Matthew, Mia and Alan have a discussion on set about working together. Pretty light hearted but entertaining.

Class Album: A series of still images used to promote the movie.

If there is one thing that disappoints with this release it simply makes you long for a sequel even more. Rumours of Ferris Bueller's Day off Work surfaced years ago, but never materialised. This Blu-Ray from Paramount looks great and sounds pretty good too and is certainly worthy of being in any collection. Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a classic.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Paramount. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.