The 2001 film provides examples of:
- Adaptational Context Change: The U2 song "Pride" is turned from a celebration of the individual's role in effecting social justice to an appeal for a one-night stand.
- AFIS 100 Years 100 Songs:
- #85, "Come What May"
- AFIS Greatest Movie Musicals: #25
- All There in the Manual: Each of the courtesans at the Moulin Rouge has a specific name, along with a costume that reflects that name. Examples include French Maid, Petite Princess (a dwarf), Madame Fromage (a Big Beautiful Woman in clothing that suggests desserts), Travesty (which anyone who listens to Eddie Izzard will know is French for "transvestite", who wears a man's suit and top hat on the top of her body, and a can-can dress on the bottom), and Pearly Queen (who wears various expensive-looking items, such as furs and pearls).
- Fake Nationality: The French characters are played by Australian and British actors (and one Colombian actor), and an Argentinian character is played by a Polish actor.
- Non-Singing Voice: Whilst the cast for the most part do their own singing, some of Zidler's more operatic notes are dubbed by singer Anthony Weigh.
- Non-Singing Voice: Averted with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, who performed their own singing, but played straight with Jim Broadbent (Zidler) whose more operatic notes are dubbed by singer Anthony Weigh.
- Retroactive Recognition: We find out Slughorn's previous profession.
- Sleeper Hit: Made a modest $50 million at the box office (maybe not-so-modest considering the musical genre was sagging), but became an even bigger hit on DVD via word-of-mouth.
- What Could Have Been:
- The Green Fairy was initially more monstrous and drew inspiration from Iggy Pop, Marilyn Manson, and Ozzy Osbourne before evolving into her final incarnation as Kylie Minogue. Ozzy himself supplied that the warped roar her voice turns into.
- Tim Wheeler from Irish band Ash auditioned for the part of Christian.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones was in consideration for the part of Satine.
The 1952 film contains examples of:
- Talking to Himself: José Ferrer plays both Henri and the Comte.