Audrey Hepburn's salary for the film was $750,000 (roughly equivalent to $7.3 million as of 2022), making her the highest paid actress per film at the time.
Holly Golightly is supposed to be just nineteen years old when she meets with Paul. Audrey Hepburn was thirty-one years old when playing Holly.
Holly Golightly wears the same dresses all the way through the movie, simply changing the accessories to give each outfit a different look. Her black shift dress features through the movie at least four times.
Although not visible on camera, hundreds of onlookers watched Audrey Hepburn's window-shopping scene at the start of the film. This made her nervous and she kept making mistakes. It wasn't until a crew member nearly got electrocuted behind the camera that she pulled herself together and finished the scene.
Henry Mancini wrote "Moon River" specifically for Audrey Hepburn. He later said that while many version of the song have been done, he feels that Audrey's was the best.
Tiffany's opened its doors on a Sunday for the first time since the 19th century so that filming could take place inside the store.
For the scene in which Holly throws a wild party in her apartment, Blake Edwards wanted to capture the free-wheeling lifestyle of Holly and her New York friends, using an intricate series of visual gags. Edwards ordered up cases of real champagne and let the bubbly flow among the actors, allowing everyone to contribute ideas of outrageous behaviour.
At a post-production meeting following a screening of the film, a studio executive, in reference to "Moon River," said, "Well, I think the first thing we can do is get rid of that stupid song." Audrey Hepburn stood up at the table and said, "Over my dead body!" The song stayed in the picture.
Audrey Hepburn felt that she was miscast as Holly Golightly, but it became one of her most popular roles.
George Peppard was a student of Method acting, a style Audrey Hepburn found difficult to work with. Nonetheless, the two actors remained close friends until her death on January 20, 1993. Peppard died barely almost a year and a half later (May 8, 1994).
Author Truman Capote envisioned Marilyn Monroe in the part of Holly Golightly. Monroe was originally cast as Golightly, but her drama coach, Lee Strasberg, told her that playing a call-girl was not good for her image. The film went on to be a huge success, with Monroe's replacement Audrey Hepburn receiving Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Actress.
Truman Capote was reportedly unhappy with the decision to cast Audrey Hepburn. His stated choice for the role was Marilyn Monroe. Consequently, Hepburn was very self-conscious when Capote was on set.
Although it's never explained why Holly is wearing a bed sheet at her cocktail party, an earlier scene (cut before release) established she'd been taking a bath and had to improvise a gown in the spur of moment. The cut scene was featured in a Life magazine pictorial shortly before the film was released.
In the 2006 short documentary Breakfast at Tiffany's: The Making of a Classic (2006), Blake Edwards said that when the movie was made, he didn't think about the implications of casting an actor of European heritage, Mickey Rooney, in a role as a Japanese person, but "looking back, I wish I had never done it... and I would give anything to be able to recast it."
The famous black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening scenes of this movie was sold for $807,000 on December 4, 2006 at Christie's Auction House in London, making it the second most expensive piece of movie memorabilia ever sold. The first is the Best Picture Oscar for Gone with the Wind (1939).
The song "Moon River" was written especially for Audrey Hepburn, since she had no training as a singer. The vocals were written to be sung in only one octave.
Director Blake Edwards was lunching with Mickey Rooney at a posh Hollywood restaurant when Rooney objected to how his salad was being tossed by the waiter and proceeded to show the 'proper' way to do it. Edwards thought Rooney's attention-getting routine so funny that he wrote it into the movie.
Holly's whistle when she hails a cab for Paul was actually dubbed in. Audrey Hepburn attempted to learn how to whistle with two fingers, but could never produce the desired sound.
Upon selling the rights to his novella to producers Richard Shepherd and Martin Jurow, author Truman Capote expressed a desire to play Paul himself. The pair dodged the issue successfully.
Patricia Neal's hair was dyed red so as not to compete with Audrey Hepburn's dark locks.
Not surprisingly considering his intensity, George Peppard didn't make many friends on the set. He and Blake Edwards locked horns many times throughout the filming, almost coming to blows on at least one occasion. No matter what kind of direction he was given, Peppard would end up playing the scene as he thought it should be played, which didn't endear him to anyone. Even Patricia Neal, with whom Peppard had been friendly in the past, noticed a change in the actor -- and not for the better. Peppard, she felt, had been "spoiled." Peppard felt from the outset that Neal's character was too dominant. "He wanted things as he wanted them," she later said of Peppard. "I dominated him a lot more in the script and he didn't want to be seen in that condition... His character was written with a battered vulnerability that was totally appealing, but it did not correspond to George's image of a leading man. He seemed to want to be an old-time movie hunk."
Though she had known him previously and got along with him fine during rehearsals, Patricia Neal said that George Peppard was unbearable to work with.
Elements of Holly's character in the original novel, such as her flirtation with bisexuality, were omitted in deference to the times, and to make the part more suitable for Audrey Hepburn. Notably however she still accompanies a visibly bored Paul to a strip club.
In the famous "It should take you exactly 4 seconds to cross from here to that door. I give you two." scene, it takes Paul exactly 4 seconds from when he starts walking to when he reaches the door.
Henry Mancini found his greatest inspiration in Audrey Hepburn. He said, "It's unique for a composer to really be inspired by a person, a face or a personality, but Audrey certainly inspires me. Normally, I have to see a completed film before I'll compose the music, but with Tiffany I knew what to write for Audrey just by reading the script."
The party sequence was reportedly the longest and hardest scene to shoot in the movie. Most of the gags that occur in the scene are not in the novel, but originally scripted by Blake Edwards.
While Audrey Hepburn was the ultimate professional during the shoot, her insecurities about playing the role took their toll and the stress resulted in weight loss that she didn't need.
One of the nine cats used in this film is called Orangey - he appears in the scene where Holly hears news about her brother Fred and throws a tantrum. Orangey was a top animal actor and even won his second Patsy award, which is the animal equivalent of the Oscar.
The very first scene filmed was the opening shot of Holly munching on a pastry in front of Tiffany's in an evening gown. The scene took place in front of the actual Tiffany's on 5th Avenue in Manhattan early on a Sunday morning. Tiffany's was extremely cooperative during the filming and allowed the crew unprecedented access to film its interiors.
After seeing Buddy Ebsen in his country role in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), the creator of The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) wanted him to play family patriarch Jed Clampett. At the time, Ebsen was thinking of retiring, but the producers sent him a copy of the script, and he changed his mind.
In the novel, the narrator describes how Holly would wash her hair, and then sit out on the fire escape strumming her guitar while waiting for it to dry. In the "Moon River" scene, that is why she has a kerchief around her head.
The movie was shot only three months after the birth of Audrey Hepburn's first son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer.
Tony Curtis stated in his 2008 autobiography that he asked his friend, director Blake Edwards, to cast him in the role of writer Paul Varjak. However, Mel Ferrer didn't want his wife, Audrey Hepburn, to make a movie with Curtis, so Edwards didn't cast him.
John Frankenheimer was hired to shoot the film with Marilyn Monroe. When the producers suddenly moved to Switzerland and Audrey Hepburn replaced Monroe, she said she had never heard of Frankenheimer and insisted that he be paid off and another director be hired. Frankenheimer's sudden freedom resulted in his directing The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
Audrey Hepburn hated Danish pastries, which made filming the famous opening scene a bit of a chore for her.
According to the screenplay, 2-E's real name is Emily Eustace, hence the nickname "2-E."
Truman Capote maintained that he based Holly Golightly on Carol Grace (the former wife of William Saroyan and future wife of Walter Matthau), who had been a friend of his while living in New York.
In the film's original trailer (included on the special edition DVD), the announcer mistakenly pronounces Truman Capote's last name as "Capot", without pronouncing the "e" at the end of his name. This mistake was repeated (on purpose) on The The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970) Show - Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) is demanding better writers and he says they should get "that Truman Capot fellow". Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) tries to correct him by saying just "E". Ted then says, "Oh yeah, Truman E. Capot."
For the scene where Paul and Holly attempt to have a Cracker Jack ring engraved at Tiffany's, the production crew reportedly went through two hundred boxes of Cracker Jacks before finding a ring. The toy-du-jour was apparently a whistle.
The uncredited voice of the "terrifying man" tearing up Holly's apartment is actually George Peppard, who years later used his voice talents as a hallmark of his master-of-disguise character on The A-Team (1983), where he always did his own alternate voices rather than having a dub double.
Shirley MacLaine and Kim Novak turned down the role of Holly Golightly.
The movie's poster was as #18 of "The 25 Best Movie Posters Ever" by Premiere.
Steve McQueen was offered the co-starring role. However, he was still under contract for the show Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958), which prevented him from appearing. The role eventually went to George Peppard. By the time this film was released, CBS had already pulled the plug on that series.
The location shots for the exterior of the apartment building where Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak reside is 169 East 71st Street, between Third & Lexington Avenues in Manhattan. The building is unchanged as of 2016.
The book Paul has written and brings to Holly's apartment is titled "Nine Lives" - a reference to Cat.
Holly's couch is really an old-fashioned bathtub split in half. In some scenes, you can still see the gold handles at one end and the legs on the bottom.
The film's song, "Moon River," was to be called "Blue River" until lyricist Johnny Mercer remembered that there had already been an earlier song by that name written by a friend of his. So as not to alter the meter of his lyrics, he substituted "moon" for "blue," though he later regretted not replacing the adjective in the passage "my huckleberry friend" with one more relevant (deep blue-hued huckleberries being appropriately descriptive of a Blue River, but not a Moon River).
It was Blake Edwards who brought Henry Mancini into the project, after Mancini had scored a hit with the theme from Peter Gunn (1958), though the producers were initially keen on a Broadway composer to fit the New York City milieu of the film. Mancini brought in Johnny Mercer as his lyricist, and so "Moon River" was born. Early titles for the song included "I'm Holly" and "Blue River".
In September 2017, Tiffany & Co. bought the original 1961 working script (with deleted scenes and notes in Hepburn's handwriting) for £632,750 ($846,619) at Christie's auction house in London. Selling for more than the second- and third-highest items sold in the auction that day combined, it's the most expensive film script ever bought at auction.
In a 2008 interview about the film, Mickey Rooney said he was heartbroken about the criticism he received for his role: "Blake Edwards... wanted me to do it because he was a comedy director. They hired me to do this overboard, and we had fun doing it.... Never in all the more than 40 years after we made it -- not one complaint. Every place I've gone in the world people say, 'God, you were so funny.' Asians and Chinese come up to me and say, 'Mickey you were out of this world.'" Rooney also said that if he'd known people would be so offended, "I wouldn't have done it. Those that didn't like it, I forgive them and God bless America, God bless the universe, God bless Japanese, Chinese, Indians, all of them and let's have peace."
Audrey Hepburn moved to New York from Switzerland for the location shoot with husband Mel Ferrer and new baby Sean in tow.
Included among the American Film Institute's Top 100 Greatest Songs for "Moon River," in fourth position right after "Over the Rainbow", "As Time Goes By" and "Singin' in the Rain".
Both actors who voiced Fred Flintstone (Alan Reed as Sally Tomato) and Barney Rubble (Mel Blanc as Holly's Drunk Visitor) appear in this film.
The party scene took six days to film on a Paramount soundstage. The extras who played the guests were all friends of the director, Blake Edwards. Real champagne, 120 gallons of soft drinks, 60 cartons of cigarettes, hot dogs, cold cuts, chips, dips, and sandwiches were involved. A smoker used by a beekeeper was brought in to create enough smoke.
Audrey Hepburn supposedly exclaimed "over my dead body" when it was suggested that "Moon River" be removed from the film. However, there's an alternative recollection of this event. On the DVD of "Breakfast at Tiffany's Anniversary Edition," co-producer Richard Shepherd says in his commentary that after a premiere in San Francisco, Paramount's Head of Production desired to have "Moon River" removed from the film but co-producer Martin Jurow "and I both said 'over our dead bodies.'"
Although the story in the movie occurs in 1960, the story in the novella is penned as occuring in 1943.
All of the interiors, except for portions of the scene inside Tiffany & Company, were filmed on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood.
In his audio commentary for the DVD release, producer Richard Shepherd said that, at the time of production as well as in retrospect, he wanted to recast Mickey Rooney "not because he [Rooney] didn't play the part well" but because Shepherd thought the part of Mr. Yunioshi should be performed by an actor of Japanese ethnicity. It was Blake Edwards' decision to keep Rooney. In a "making-of" for the 45th anniversary edition DVD release, Shepherd repeatedly apologizes, saying, "If we could just change Mickey Rooney, I'd be thrilled with the movie." Edwards stated, "Looking back, I wish I had never done it... and I would give anything to be able to recast it, but it's there, and onward and upward."
Truman Capote sold the film rights for $650,000. He was later profoundly annoyed to discover later on that the man who adapted his novel - George Axelrod - earned more than he did.
The marble window column at Tiffany's with its distinctive jagged inclusion, noticeable as Holly Golightly pauses next to it in the opening credits, is still there, as is much of Tiffany's stone exterior as it was then.
The scene where Paul takes Holly to the library is the only time in the movie when Holly refers to Paul by his real name, and even that only came when she was reading his name on the card. Every other time she calls him Fred.
Audrey Hepburn's performance of "Moon River" would not be officially released until after her death.
Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Holly Golightly is generally considered to be one of her most memorable and identifiable roles. She regarded it as one of her most challenging roles, since she was an introvert required to play an extrovert.
Known in France as "Diamonds on Toast".
"Moon River" has since been recorded more than 500 times.
Several exterior scenes had to be reshot after the processing lab accidentally damaged one of the film reels. Cinematographer Franz Planer was no longer available for the reshoots however, and Blake Edwards brought in Philip H. Lathrop to take his place.
For his portrayal of I.Y. Yunioshi, Mickey Rooney wore makeup and a prosthetic mouthpiece to change his features to a caricatured approximation of a Japanese person. Since the 1990s, his portrayal has been subject to increasing protest by Asian-Americans, among others. For instance, the film is used as an example of Hollywood's racist depiction of Asians in the film Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993), where the future Asian-American screen legend sees the film with his girlfriend, only for her to suggest they leave the screening upon seeing how upset he is at the film's content, thus implying how Lee would one day challenge those racial film stereotypes.
Many people think that Holly's sunglasses are Ray-Bans, but they are mistaken. The sunglasses are actually made by Oliver Goldsmith. On the 50th anniversary of the film, in 2011, the sunglasses were released. You can actually buy a pair of the sunglasses for $440.
Contrary to popular belief, the movie follows Truman Capote's original novel quite closely in some ways. The character of Mag Wildwood, the Amazon-like model who crashes Holly's party in the film, is a major character in the novel. Capote describes her as having a stutter. In the film, Mag does indeed stutter though this isn't explained.
When played on the piano, "Moon River" doesn't require the use of any black keys.
The perfume Holly is spraying in the apartment hallway during her drunken scenes is Makila by Jean Patou.
The interior of Holly's apartment is much larger than it could have been in the actual New York City brownstone used for exteriors.
Alan Reed, who plays Sally Tomato, was the voice of Fred Flintstone of The Flintstones (1960), a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958) - a mask that Holly picks up in the store - is also a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
The lines of dialog "How do I look?", "Very good. I must say, I'm amazed" and "I am a very stylish girl" were sampled in the Dimitri From Paris song "Une Very Stylish Fille".
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Premiered at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The British rock band Queen used the film's title in the lyrics of the song "Let Me Entertain You" from their 1978 album "Jazz".
In Truman Capote's novel, Holly's Brazilian suitor is named "José Ybarra-Jaegar." In the film, his name is changed to "José da Silva Pereira." Hal Pereira was head of the art department at Paramount for many years, accumulating 23 Oscar nominations for his work - including one for Breakfast at Tiffany's, the last of four Audrey Hepburn films for which Pereira was cited (Roman Holiday, 1953, Sabrina, 1954, and Funny Face, 1957, were the others). Pereira's sole Oscar win came on The Rose Tattoo (1955).
Holly's real name is Lullamae, which means "Famous Warrior born in the Month of May". The name she chooses for herself is Holiday, Holiday meaning "Born on a Holy Day". In real life, Audrey Hepburn's birthday happens to be May 4th.
The film is referenced by the song "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something, which was a big international hit in the 1990s.
Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda were considered to play Holly.
When 2-E says "Love Finds Andy Hardy" to Paul, it is possibly a nod to the fact Mickey Rooney played Andy Hardy and is also in this film.
Two different Halloween masks of Huckleberry Hound are seen in the 5 & 10 cent store. The lyric in the title song Moon River references "my huckleberry friend". The implication of the "true blue" friend, a blue cartoon dog and a cerulean body of water are the neatly packaged theme of the film.
Audrey Hepburn's sleep mask, which she wears when she first meets George Peppard, is a shade resembling Tiffany Blue.
David Gates of Bread wrote the song "Aubrey" after watching this film.
The only non-Best Picture nominee for the year to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Rusty Trawler's full name is Rutherford Trawler.
When Holly and Paul take Doc to the bus station as Doc leaves he says to Paul, "At least see that she eats something once in awhile." He then hands Paul something, presumably money, though it's never spoken of by either character.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2002 list of the top 100 America's Greatest Love Stories movies.
Michael Zaslow appears uncredited as a party guest.
Holly's "bad date" prior to her first visit to Paul's apartment is only heard behind a door. The man who provides this voice is uncredited, but he sounds a lot like Mel Blanc, who at the time was working with film co-star Alan Reed on The Flintstones (1960).
Included among the American Film Institute's 2004 list of the top 100 America's Greatest Music in the Movies for the song "Moon River."
Included among the American Film Institute's 2005 list of 250 movies nominated for AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores.
Film debut of Beverly Powers.
"$50 for the powder room" would be, in 2023 inflation adjusted dollars, $500.28.
John Frankenheimer was originally attached to direct, with Marilyn Monroe committed to playing Holly. Then, the producers approached Audrey Hepburn for the lead. As Hepburn and her then-husband Mel Ferrer had never heard of Frankenheimer, Blake Edwards was hired to direct instead. Edwards ended up replacing Frankenheimer again, a year later, on "Days of Wine and Roses," which Frankenheimer had directed as an episode of live TV on "Playhouse 90" several years earlier.
John McGiver, the Tiffany's salesman, made his movie acting debut with Audrey Hepburn in the movie "Love in the Afternoon:"
In the Italian post-synchronized version of the film, the actors are dubbed by: Maria Pia Di Meo (Audrey Hepburn); Pino Locchi (George Peppard); Nino Pavese (Buddy Ebsen); Nando Gazzolo (Martin Balsam) and Luigi Pavese (John McGiver).
In the French post-synchronized version of the film, the actors are dubbed by: Jacqueline Carrel (Audrey Hepburn); Roland Ménard (George Peppard); Sylvie Deniau (Patricia Neal); Georges Hubert (Buddy Ebsen); Michel Gudin (Martin Balsam); Georges Riquier (John McGiver); André Valmy (Alan Reed) and Pierre Trabaud (Mickey Rooney).
Sing Sing Correctional Facility, formerly known as Ossining Correctional Facility, is a maximum-security prison in New York State. It is still incarcerating prisoners in 2023.
Final film of Florine Carlan.
Holly mentions meeting at Hamburger Heaven. The popular eaterie, known locally as Burger Heaven, was a fashionable spot for a quick bite at the time. It attracted all kinds of patrons, including (reportedly) the Rockefellers. The last branch closed in 2020.
The eye patch wearing party guest might have been a nod to a popular advertising model of the time, the Man in the Hathaway Shirt (who sported a rakish looking eye patch).
When Doc mutters Holly is too skinny, he's actually expressing a popular opinion of Audrey Hepburn at the time.
The Greyhound Bus Company is still transporting passengers in 2023, to and from New York City, and elsewhere.
Rusty Trawler is a pun on a trawler (either a fishing boat, or a player) who's out of practice. Stanley Adams, who would go on to film immortality with his role of Cyrano Jones in the Star Trek (TOS) episode The Trouble With Tribbles (1967), played the hapless Rutherford.
Blake Edwards: [cat] The slapstick business with Cat presages Edwards' smash-hit franchise of The Pink Panther (1963) which was jam packed with feline imagery.