These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alternate Character Interpretation: One recent production managed to change how we view the entire cast and story by performing the musical completely normally, but with the only change being Jud is played by the only black man in the cast.
Broken Base: The movie adaptation has one version filmed in 70mm TODD-AO, and one in 35mm CinemaScope. Practically each scene required twice as many takes as that of a normal movie (the cast would act out a scene a few times in front of TODD-AO cameras, then a few more times in front of CinemaScope cameras), which resulted in the versions boasting different line deliveries and compositions. Viewers seem torn over which version provides superior performances.
Designated Hero: The hero tries to drive a lonely, unstable young man to suicide over a girl? That's pretty messed up.
Designated Villain: Jud is a big scary looking drunk, but the worst thing he ever did to deserve the scorn from Laurey was.. ask her out on a lovely night out on the town?And for that Curley tries getting him to kill himself? Eventually it all drives him over the edge into a drunken violent attack.
Several productions subvert this by implying that Jud has every intention of raping Laurey as soon as they're alone. For those that don't though, it all comes off fairly unjust.
Hilarious in Hindsight: An R&H tribute that aired about a year before this movie's release contains a scene in which Gordon McRae and Florence Henderson sing, "People Will Say We're In Love". McRae went on to play Curley in the movie alongside Shirley Jones as Laurey. Henderson and Jones eventually became matriarchs of Dueling ShowsThe Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family, respectively.
Older Than They Think: A lot of the ground-breaking elements featured in this musical were also featured Hammerstein's collaboration with Jerome Kern, Show Boat, almost twenty years earlier. They didn't catch on until this one, though.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: It is really hard to see what the big fuss is about this show unless you know the history of theater.
They Just Didn't Care: The 50th Anniversary DVD presents the TODD-AO version with so much flickering and softness, and so many specks, that a lot of people consider it the ugliest DVD ever released by a major studio. To add insult to injury, the other disc presents the CinemaScope version in a way that makes it look near-perfect, despite using an inferior brand of film.