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Behind The Scenes Of The Famous Parade Scene In 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'

Updated September 11, 2019 46.8k views11 items

There are plenty of fun facts about Ferris Bueller’s parade scene, and no wonder: It's one of the most beloved moments in this '80s cult classic. It features stellar music alongside colorful visuals as a crowd of dancers and brass band members shimmy down a street in Chicago.

Considering how essential Bueller's impromptu performance is to the movie, you might have wondered how they filmed this elaborate setpiece. Stories from behind the scenes of Ferris Bueller's Day Off reveal the surprising drama that occurred while trying to coordinate thousands of actors, performers, and extras. From unscripted lines to licensing troubles, everybody in the cast and the crew worked diligently to produce one of the most memorable movie moments from the '80s. 

  • There Were Backup Songs In Case They Couldn’t Get The Rights To 'Twist And Shout' 

    Negotiations with EMI for the rights to "Twist and Shout" progressed slowly, and music supervisor Tarquin Gotch began looking at alternative songs. In case record executives or the Beatles refused to allow the filmmakers to use their first choice, they considered other English rock groups that might be persuaded at the right cost. Gotch told Yahoo!:

    John [Hughes] was a huge Beatles fan - huge! But it was a nightmare getting permission for that. At the time, there was this snobbish attitude from big bands who didn't like to license their songs. So I was lining up alternatives, other songs by English groups from that era who weren't the Beatles: Herman's Hermits, the Searchers - somebody who you knew the money would work.

  • Matthew Broderick Injured His Knee And Couldn't Perform Complicated Choreography

    Matthew Broderick was supposed to perform a complicated dance routine while lip syncing to "Twist and Shout." Unfortunately, he twisted his knee while filming the scene where he runs through his neighbors' backyards to make it home without getting caught.

    He recalls, "I was pretty sore. I got well enough to do what you see in the parade there, but I couldn't do most of [choreographer] Kenny Ortega's knee spins and things like that."

  • The Rights To 'Twist And Shout' Cost $100,000

    It is highly unusual for music by the Beatles to appear in films, other than those created by the band or focused on the group. But when it came to the parade scene in Ferris Bueller, director John Hughes and music supervisor Tarquin Gotch were adamant that they wanted "Twist and Shout."

    Gotch told Yahoo!, "We paid EMI a huge sum of money at the time - I think it was $100,000."

  • The Movie Shows The Annual Von Steuben Day Parade

    The parade scene was filmed at Chicago's annual Von Steuben Day parade. Von Steuben Day is a German-American holiday honoring Baron Friedrich von Steuben. Von Steuben was a Prussian general who lent his aid to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, training American troops to help them defeat the British.