It's a beautiful spring day in suburban Chicago, so high school senior Ferris Bueller naturally decides to play hooky.
He tricks his well-meaning parents into believing he's sick. His sister, Jeanie, who has a stick up her you know what and attends the same high school, declares it utterly unfair. Like any good sister would.
Ferris calls up his hypochondriac best friend, Cameron, to join him. Cameron resists repeatedly, but ultimately relents because young Matthew Broderick is super dreamy.
The icing on the cake? Ferris also talks Cameron into taking his dad's beloved Ferrari out for the day.
First stop: they break Ferris's girlfriend, Sloane, out of school by phoning in a bogus story about a dead grandmother. Ed Rooney, the dean of students, is onto the trio and vows to bring Ferris down. Because adults just don't get it.
Meanwhile, the three high schoolers speed off for Chicago.
Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane reach the city and drop the Ferrari off at a parking garage. Behind their backs, the attendant immediately takes it out for a joyride that makes us queasy even thinking about it. Meanwhile, Mom pops home to check on Ferris and is fooled by a very '80s contraption involving a mannequin.
Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane get their tourism on, visiting Sears Tower, the Chicago Board of Trade, a ritzy restaurant where Ferris impersonates "the Sausage King of Chicago" in order to score them a table, a Cubs game, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
In one word: shenanigans.
Since it wouldn't be a movie without some complications, twice they almost run into Ferris's dad: once after their fancy lunch, and once in a cab after scoping out some famous paintings.
They're not the only ones who ditched school that day, though; Jeanie leaves in a jealous rage, and Rooney departs to hunt down Ferris. After striking out at a neighborhood pizza joint, he heads straight to the source, Casa de Bueller, where he encounters the menacing family dog. He drops a flowerpot on the poor pup's head, knocking it out, and then enters the house through the doggie door. There he runs into—and scares the poop out of—Jeanie, who high-kicks him in the face, knocking him out.
So far so good.
Then she calls the cops.
Ferris wraps up his day by commandeering a float in the Von Steuben Parade and lip-synching "Twist and Shout." If you haven't already, that's a scene you'll want to watch.
When they pick up the car, they realize the parking attendants put 175 miles on it. Uhhh...yeah. Cameron freaks out and goes catatonic. When he comes around, he realizes he doesn't want to be afraid anymore and he needs to stand up to his dad. Cameron's newfound confidence will come in handy sooner than he thought: in an attempt to erase the car's mileage by driving it in reverse, Cameron accidentally sends the car crashing out of the garage and into the woods below.
Rooney wakes up and leaves the Bueller house, unknowingly leaving his wallet behind. Jeanie gets hauled into the police station for allegedly making a phony phone call about an intruder. There, she meets a cute junkie who advises her to worry about herself, not her brother. Mrs. Bueller picks her up and they head home.
In the street, they almost run over Ferris, who's racing to beat his parents home. Once again, he's almost spotted by his dad. Ferris gets home first, but he's locked out and then busted by Rooney. Jeanie, surprisingly, comes to his aid. She thanks Rooney for bringing Ferris home, and then tells him he left his wallet behind.
Oh snap—Rooney's stunned.
Ferris makes it back to his bed just in time to once again fool his parents, who don't suspect a thing, while Rooney rides away on a school bus in shame.
And that's how you play hooky.