- Anvilicious: During the "Take Back the Night" rally, a woman in the crowd holds a sign that reads "Rape is A Crime". That said it's more nuanced than most films of its day when it comes to addressing racism and sexism.
- Cry for the Devil: "I wanted to build things! I wanted to be an engineer!"
- The Danza: Swanson's real first name is, in fact, "Kristen."
- Dawson Casting: Almost all of the actors were in their early to mid twenties playing college students. Michael Rapaport, Kristy Swanson, Ice Cube, Adam Goldberg, Regina King and Jennifer Connelly were all twenty-five and Tyra Banks and Omar Epps were both twenty-two.
- Ethnic Scrappy: Dr. Phipps is treated this way in-story (when some of the students mock his accent).
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: When the going gets tough, what do you do? Run away and drop out of college like Malik does at the end of the film.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Laurence Fishburne's first line is "Welcome to the real world."
- Misaimed Fandom: Some white viewers tentatively identify with Remy, arguing that his homicidal rampage in the climax was only an accounting for what had been done to him. They forget that 1) Fudge and his goons, for all their negative traits, are not bloodthirsty zealots; and 2) the two people actually shot to death by Remy are innocents who never tormented him and barely even knew him.
- The montage alternating between Kristen and Remy decorating their dorm rooms (to two radically different styles of music) is slightly wacky.
- That bizarre, pseudo-British accent the leader of the neo-Nazis uses.
- Remy's Mental Breakdown and attempts to escape from the campus police.
- Nightmare Fuel: Deja is shot in the stomach by Remy and suffers an agonizing death, vomiting up blood.
- Strawman Has a Point: John Singleton wants us to see Remy's behavior later on in the film as irrational and merely acting out. But when you take into consideration how Fudge's gang, including Malik, treat him, is there any wonder he went nuts?