Where Was 'Ferris Bueller’s Day Off' Filmed? A Look Back at the Iconic '80s Flick

Mustafa Gatollari - Author
By

Dec. 1 2023, Published 11:17 a.m. ET

Where Was Ferris Bueller's Day off Filmed?
Source: Getty

The Gist:

  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off was filmed primarily in and around Chicago.
  • The movie features several iconic Chicago locations, like Wrigley Field.
  • The city is in full display when the valets take the vehicle for a joy ride.
  • Chicago has a long history of filming that takes back to the early 1900s.
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When rattling off a list of iconic '80s flicks, you'd look like an absolute goober if you managed to leave off Ferris Bueller's Day Off from that list. The movie helped to successfully launch the careers of several actors and has been referenced and re-referenced several times. The brilliance behind the movie is rooted in a simple premise taken as far as it can go: What if you ditched school and made the most of your day?

But where did the cast go in the flick to make the most of the day? Where was it filmed?

Where was 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' filmed?

If you've spent a decent amount of time in Chicago and the neighborhoods surrounding the Windy City, then many of the flick's locations may seem familiar to you: that's because the entirety of Ferris Bueller's Day Off was filmed in Chi-town and a bunch of areas surrounding the major metropolitan city.

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matthew broderick as ferris bueller reclining in chair with hands behind head
Source: Getty Images

While Chicago in recent years may be making headlines for massive spikes in violent crimes, and areas being so prone to theft and burglary that major retailers are opting to simply not do business there any longer, the city holds a cherished place in America's history. The virtue of its geography helped it become a hot spot for commerce, but Chicago is also the setting for numerous iconic films and TV shows, Ferris Bueller's Day Off included.

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Chicago has a long filming history.

The first major film production company established in Chicago was Essanay Studios, which was founded in 1907 and featured a number of Charlie Chaplin shorts. One might argue that it's due to Chaplin's historic ties to the Chicago film scene, effectively launching it in the Midwest city, is what eventually paved the way for it to become a hotbed of comedic talent.

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John and Jim Belushi, Bill Murray, John C. Reilly, Bernie Mac, Jack Benny, John Mulaney, Bonnie Hunt, Harold Ramis, Chris Farley, Redd Foxx, and countless other prominent comics and actors emerged from the region, which was one of the biggest proving grounds for improv comics and emerging talent who would later go on to have successful film and TV careers.

Although the early days of the Chicago film industry saw great success in the early 1900s, there was a cooling off period in the '20s and then a massive revival where tons of major productions took place in and around the city.

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Of course there's the slew of Dick Wolf series like Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, Chicago Fire — but also Empire, Shameless, numerous Transformers movies, Divergent, Home Alone, The Batman, Batman Begins, and tons of other notable films have all picked the Windy City as a backdrop for its filming.

matthew broderick and alan ruck pose together
Source: Getty Images
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You can check out the full list of noteworthy flicks that were filmed either partially of entirely in Chicago here.

And like many areas in the United States, in an effort to bring more money into the area, Chi-town has expanded its tax credits for filming incentives, meaning that production companies can get more bang for their buck filming there.

While Illinois state's tax credit program has been panned by some as being "theatrically bad," there are those who speak highly enough about it, in what seems like a bid to draw more production companies into the state. And any lambasting of its tax credits haven't seemed to slow the roll of movies being shot in the state, either.

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