Save Ferris...Or Arrest Ferris? : Blog Of The Nation "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around and once in a while, you could miss it," says Ferris Bueller. But when life slows down, you get into trouble. Fans of Ferris Bueller's Day Off list crimes he committed while playing hookie.
NPR logo Save Ferris...Or Arrest Ferris?

Save Ferris...Or Arrest Ferris?


Last weekend while I was in Michigan, I ran into a Hallmark store to pick up a few things for my twin brother and sister. Feeling overwhelmed and a bit pressured for time, I flew through the rows of wedding and birthday cards and stumbled upon a witty get well greeting in the Pop Culture section. The quote on the front was from one of my favorite movies of all time, Ferris Bueller's Day Off:

Oh, I'm sorry.

I can't make it to the door right now...

I'm afraid that in my weakened condition, I could take a bad spill down the stairs.

You can reach my parents at their places of business.

Thanks for stopping by.

I appreciate your concern for my well-being.

Have a nice day!

Then, I had flashbacks to this scene, where you see Ferris' answering machine contraption in action. Yet again, I asked myself, as I usually do each time I watch Matthew Broderick dupe everyone (including the school principal) and take the city of Chicago by storm: How did he do it? Better yet, how did he not get arrested in the process? Stealing Cameron's dad's Ferrari (like in the video above) must be illegal or something.

Well, a simple search on the Internet led me to a group of people with similar thoughts. A fellow Ferris Bueller requested that he would like:

"... a comprehensive list of each offense Ferris and his friends commit during the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". Ideally, please list the offense (criminal trespass to vehicle, battery, etc.) and the category of crime if it was committed by an adult (eg, felony, Class A Misdemeanor, etc.) Illinois jurisdiction. Thank you very much."

And his wish was granted. The 80 or so results, compiled over a month period, lay out the true criminal Ferris was on his day off. And the person who requested the list really just needed examples of teenage crime for an attorney training event "about how to handle juvenile criminal record expungement cases, so I need some adorable and sympathetic examples of teenage crime." You can check out the complete list here, but I'll share a few of my favorites below:

There's got to be some kind of disorderly conduct involved in stepping onto someone else's parade float, singing your own songs, and generally disrupting the planned program.

720 ILCS 5/26‑1 Minimum 30 hours' community service.

Lots of statutes and case law regarding fraudulent charities. IANAL.


At the restaurant, on the phone with the Maitre D' he says, "This is Sgt. Peterson, Chicago Police."

Violation of 720 ILCS 5/32-5.1: False Personation of a Peace Officer. A person who knowingly and falsely represents himself or herself to be a peace officer commits a Class 4 felony.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:39 AM on April 25, 2009

Add a couple of federal laws…

Odometer fraud (tampering): 49 U.S.C. § 32703(2)
Odometer fraud (conspiracy): 49 U.S.C. § 32703(4)

Ferris isn't alone in the dirty deeds. The thread even includes Cameron and Principal Rooney's wrongdoings. In the end, though, it's just a movie after all, right? Needless to say, I bought (not stole) the card just for kicks -- I couldn't resist.