Casting Gag: Buggin' Out, who says Sal is racist for not putting any black people on his Italian-American exclusive "Wall of Fame" is played by Giancarlo Esposito, who is himself half-black, half-Italian American.
Doing It for the Art: Spike Lee funded the entire film himself by maxing out his credit cards, surely as a way to maintain creative control over a film with such a personal, controversial subject.
Rick Aiello, who played Officer Long, is the real life son of Danny Aiello, who played Sal in the film.
Ossie Davis and wife Ruby Dee, as Da Mayor and Mother Sister.
Ripped from the Headlines: This film was inspired by an actual incident in New York where some black youths were chased out of a pizzeria by some white youths in a section of New York known as Howard Beach.
Throw It In: The key scene when Danny Aiello and John Turturro talk alone approximately midway through the film was partly improvised. The scripted scene ended as the character Smiley approached the window. Everything after that until the end of the scene was completely ad-libbed.
All of the scenes of the corner men were improvised.
Wesley Snipes turned down a role in the film in order to star in Major League.
In the original scripted ending, Sal and Mookie reconcile. Sal, although upset, tells Mookie that he understands that Mookie had to do the right thing. Spike Lee changed the ending during filming and has never explained why he did.
Barack Obama and his future first lady Michelle saw this film on their first date.