* ActorAllusion: Lincoln and Mary Todd go to the opera to see Gounod's Faust, the same opera featured at the start of ''Literature/TheAgeOfInnocence'' (which also starred Daniel Day-Lewis) set 10 years later in the 1870s.
* AllStarCast: Creator/DanielDayLewis, Creator/SallyField, Creator/TommyLeeJones and Creator/JosephGordonLevitt
* CastingGag: Possibly. Hal Holbrook, who plays Francis Preston Blair, is well-known for his Emmy-winning portrayals of Lincoln in TV miniseries such as ''Sandburg's Lincoln'' and ''Series/NorthAndSouthUS''.
* DoingItForTheArt:
** Spielberg has been researching for this film for '''12 years''', down to the correct wallpaper and books in the White House of 1865 and the right ticking noise for Lincoln's watch (Recorded from the actual one!)
** Creator/DanielDayLewis [[MethodActing accepted the role on the condition that he got a year to prepare.]]
** When he was still up for the role, Liam Neeson read thirteen books about Lincoln, as well as copies of Lincoln's own personal documents, in preparation.
* FakeAmerican: British-Irish Creator/DanielDayLewis, Scottish Peter [=McRobbie=], and Brits Jared Harris and David Oyelowo all play Americans.
* LifeImitatesArt:
** This film led to Mississippi officially ratifying the 13th amendment 150 years after it passed. To explain, after seeing the movie, Dr. Batra of the University of Mississippi and his colleague Ken Sullivan were interested in the history of the amendment and found to their surprise that Mississippi's vote was missing from the national record. Sure enough, it turned out their vote had never been sent to the US Federal Register, though the 13th had long become common law in the state. They wrote to their congressmen to correct this error, and February 7th 2013 Mississippi officially ratified the 13th Amendment.
* MethodActing: A rare director self-enforced case. Steven Spielberg eventually started addressing his principal actors by character name while on set, and even took to wearing a suit while filming so he didn't clash with the scene.
* OldShame: Has been an ''audience'' reaction during the voting scene; if they're from a state that had congressmen who did not vote yea, a groan can be heard in the theater (unless you're from Connecticut, in which case you'll be mad that the movie shows two House members voting against the amendment when in RealLife all four were in favor of it).
* PlayingAgainstType: Sally Field, who normally nowadays plays sweet, [grand-]motherly types, as controlling, bitter, mentally unstable Mary Todd Lincoln.
** While he's certainly played heroic characters before, Daniel Day-Lewis' turn here is generally subtler than some of his more recent work in ''Film/ThereWillBeBlood'' and ''Film/GangsOfNewYork''.
* RealitySubtext: Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field had only met in passing prior to this film. Mary's and Lincoln's relationship is fraught, to say the least; however, over the course of filming the two actors quickly came to adore each other.
** The great-grandfather of Michael Stanton Kennedy was a newspaperman from the town where his character, Hiram Price, lived. When filming the scene where the 13th Amendment passes, Kennedy started to cry and couldn't explain why until later, when he told Steven Spielberg "We're in this room recreating one of the most important moments in American history... and up there [in the balcony] with the press sat my great-grandfather."
* RetroactiveRecognition: In the scene where Lincoln discusses Euclid, one of the soldiers is [[StarWarsTheForceAwakens Kylo Ren]].
* SavedFromDevelopmentHell: The movie had been in various stages of production for over 10 years before finally coming to screen.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** The film was initially conceived as a miniseries covering the entirety of Lincoln's presidency. Spielberg and Tony Kushner ultimately decided it would be easier to focus on the struggle over the 13th Amendment.
** Creator/LiamNeeson was attached to play Lincoln through most of the film's development, but dropped out in January 2010, believing he had become too old to play the part.
** Creator/HarrisonFord was at one time rumored to cameo as UsefulNotes/AndrewJohnson (who does not appear in the film.)

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