- Ability over Appearance: The intent was for an American girl to play Pollyanna, but they struggled to find someone suitable. Walt Disney's wife Lillian saw Hayley Mills in Tiger Bay and convinced Walt to fly over to London to meet her.
- All-Star Cast: Walt Disney called this the most important cast the Disney studio ever had; Karl Malden, Jane Wyman and Richard Egan were all Hollywood heavyweights. Agnes Moorhead, Adolphe Menjou and Nancy Olson were all respected character actors as well.
- California Doubling: Although the book is set in Vermont, the film changes it to Maryland (Aunt Polly and Pollyanna take a train to Baltimore in the end) - but it was all shot in California.
- Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: The quote from Abraham Lincoln that Pollyanna reads to inspire Reverend Ford is something he never actually said. The Disney studio realised this right before they were about to sell a lot of tie-in lockets with that quote enscribed. The quote itself is a paraphrased line from the original book.
- The Danza: Nancy Olson as Nancy Furman.
- Dawson Casting: Hayley Mills is an aversion, as she was only thirteen when she played Pollyanna, who is twelve in the book.
- Executive Meddling: Inverted. The director wanted to cut a load of footage, including Pollyanna getting the doll at the bazaar. Walt Disney, however, had fallen in love with the movie and would not allow a single scene to be cut.
- Never Work with Children or Animals: Downplayed compared to some examples. But Hayley Mills's first day was the powerful scene of Pollyanna helping Reverend Ford with his sermon. Distracted and losing her concentration, she hadn't given the filmmakers anything they could use by lunch time. It took a pep talk from her father (in which he compared her to "a great white cabbage") to get her to improve afterwards.
- Real-Life Relative: Minor example. The mother of the boy who jumps naked into the river in the opening (William Betz) is one of the ladies at the train station as Pollyanna arrives.
- Star-Making Role: Hayley Mills' performance won her the Juvenile Oscar and helped make her a child star in the 60s.
- Stillborn Franchise: The book had sequels, but the film's bad box office reception ensured that it wouldn't.
- What Could Have Been:
- Writer Revolt: David Swift found the Pollyanna of the book to be far too annoying, so he made her a bit shyer and more socially awkward to make her defrosting of the town a bit more incidental. For example, Reverend Ford has to coax advice out of her when it comes to his sermons. He also felt the car accident that cripples her in the book was "too coincidental" and expanded it to falling from the attic room - adding an extra punch to bring about Aunt Polly's Heel Realization.
Trivia / Pollyanna (1960)