5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller

The ending to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off gives hope to slackers everywhere. Ferris getting himself home, managing to maintain his ruse and seemingly avoid any repercussions for his ill-gotten day of freedom from the rules is an ending that epitomizes the sense of rebellion that ran rampant through ’80s cinema. This lovable rogue was able not only to flaunt the system, but effectively beat it through a little grit, determination, and the profound belief that the rules need not apply to him.

As Ferris’s antics throughout the film make him a larger-than-life character who’s more than a little sympathetic to the audience, his ending seems a positive one. The unpleasant authority figure (who was only doing his job, by the way,) is made to look ridiculous, and Ferris’s lies go undiscovered. However, when viewed through a more pragmatic lens, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has an ending that’s far less happy than it seems.

Ferris is a teen that shows worryingly little regard for the rules not just of the law, but of society in general. He has no issue with lying and cheating to get what he wants, and throughout the film it seems as though the walls are closing in on the charming rebel. However, the film’s ending dispels any notion of consequence, and that isn’t something that paints a hopeful picture of Ferris’s future. With even more confirmation that he’s above the rules that apply to everyone else, Ferris’s behavior isn’t likely to ever change. In fact, his rebellious ways seem to give way to a recklessness that will one day undoubtedly land him in trouble, making the character’s most likely fate a particularly tragic cautionary tale.