- The many references to Superman, all of which are actually plot-relevant.
- Hogarth and Annie's last name is Hughes in honor of Ted Hughes, the author of the original book.
- The movie contains at least one nod to The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming - the two boys with the binoculars falling off the balcony is straight from the movie.
- Hogarth also mentions The Spirit as one of his comic books. Brad Bird is a huge Spirit fan and tried to get it made into an animated feature in The '80s.
- The scene where the Giant is chasing Rogard & Mansley's jeep is reminiscent of the T-Rex chase scene in Jurassic Park, complete with Mansley demanding the driver go faster.
- "Hogarth? That's an embarrassing name. She might as well have called him Zeppo or something."
- The Western that General Rogard was watching when Mansley was contacting him was the exact same one the Dalmatian puppies were watching in Disney's 101 Dalmatians.
- The "scary movie" that Hogarth was watching was a shout out to the cheesy sci-fi movies of the fifties (more specifically, The Brain from Planet Arous).
- Likewise, one of the weapons on the Iron Giant when he goes berserk in vengeance for the apparent death of Hogarth heavily resembles the cannons used by the Martian war machines in The War of the Worlds (1953).
- The Signature Edition has a moment where the Giant's hand appears to watch Disneyland.note
- Many fans of classic Toku and Television have noted the Giant's Heroic Sacrifice seems almost identical to Giant Robo's in the Tokusatsu version aka Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot though in this case the Giant had to destroy a nuclear missile and Giant Robo had to stop Big Bad Emperor Guillotine from causing a Suicide Bombing and a oncoming Meteor.
- Dean describes espresso as Coffeezilla.
Shout Out / The Iron Giant