* ActingForTwo: Candy Clark plays both Mary-Lou and the wife Thomas left behind. This isn't obvious because the latter is a RubberForeheadAlien who has no dialogue. (She also played Thomas himself in one scene, with a hat pulled over her face, when David Bowie was ill.)
* ActorAllusion: [[WebVideo/BrowsHeldHigh Oancitizen]] put it best (to the tune of [[Film/{{Labyrinth}} "Magic Dance"]]):
--> ''Now, [[Music/DavidBowie Ziggy Stardust]] was an alien on Earth''\\
''And he was doomed''\\
''To fall to human vice, and leave his people blue''\\
''Director knew!''\\
''Nicholas Roeg must have known 'bout this''\\
''Banned from space, this is a case''\\
''Of casting your actor... based on his works!''
* BadExportForYou: The original US distributor cut 20 minutes from the film, rendering it even more confusing. They were restored in the 2011 re-release.
* TheCastShowoff: Amusingly {{subverted}}; Newton is a ''terrible'' singer!
* PlayingWithCharacterType: David Bowie started getting film offers almost as soon as he had his commercial breakthrough via his AlterEgoActing persona of Ziggy Stardust, a flamboyant alien (or TouchedByVorlons) rock musician, MessianicArchetype, and TragicHero who succumbs to SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll, ego, and his own fans. But virtually all of the roles he was offered were Ziggy expies. He was drawn to the character of Newton because he ''wasn't'' an {{Expy}}. Yes, Newton is also an alien MessianicArchetype TragicHero...but he's TheStoic, {{Moe}} before Moe was trendy, and his succumbing to Earthlings and their vices comes not from success going to his head but because HumanityIsInfectious.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: For TheSeventies.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen
** Peter O'Toole was originally cast as Newton.
** The novel was primarily set in Kentucky, but the movie used New Mexico to take advantage of a tax break for British filmmakers (this was the first British-produced film shot entirely in the U.S.). Its deserts also provided a useful backdrop for the scenes set on Newton's home planet.
** Bowie originally was tapped to write the score and worked on it with Paul Buckmaster. For various reasons, it wasn't used and has never been formally released, though a backwards bass part on ''Low'''s "Subterraneans" was taken from what they worked on.