The first half of the final musical number, "My Man", was recorded "live", to maximize Barbra Streisand's dramatic rendition, and because she hated lip-syncing.
Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif had an affair that lasted for the duration of the production. This would contribute to the end of her marriage to Elliott Gould. Director William Wyler, who knew about the affair, tried to channel their real-life chemistry into their performances.
William Wyler was asked by a friend whether Barbra Streisand had been hard to work with. He replied, "No, not too hard, considering it was the first movie she ever directed."
Columbia Pictures wanted to cast Shirley MacLaine as Fanny Brice. However, Producer Ray Stark, who also produced the Broadway show, and was Brice's son-in-law, insisted on Barbra Streisand repeating her Broadway role.
Producer Ray Stark was Fanny Brice's son-in-law, and the baby, to whom Fanny gave birth, in reality, grew up to become Stark's wife.
At the wrap party, William Wyler gave Barbra Streisand a director's megaphone in mock recognition of her devotion to every aspect of filmmaking, including directing. Streisand gave Wyler an eighteenth century gold watch inscribed "TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME."
The movie's line "Hello, gorgeous" was voted as the #81 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
During the "My Man" number, William Wyler had Omar Sharif stand behind a nearby curtain and talk to Barbra Streisand between takes. Their affair was ending as the shoot came to an end, and Wyler knew that Sharif's presence would have an effect on her performance.
Frank Sinatra was seriously considered for the role of Nicky Arnstein. Barbra Streisand vetoed his casting, because while she respected his talent, she disliked him personally.
Barbra Streisand was, at the time of the film's release, a voting member of AMPAS. When she found she was nominated, she, like any member nominated, voted for herself. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have tied with Katharine Hepburn for the year's Best Actress Oscar.
Originally a musical on Broadway (March 1964 to July 1967), based on the real-life story of Fanny Brice.
The original Broadway production of "Funny Girl" opened at the Winter Garden Theater on March 26, 1964, ran for 1,348 performances, and was nominated for the 1964 Tony Awards for the Best Musical and Score. Barbra Streisand and Kay Medford reprised their roles in this movie, and were nominated for Tony Awards.
Barbra Streisand was once stated that if any of her films could be put in a time vault, she would want to be remembered for this one.
Several co-stars publicly blasted Barbra Streisand and Director William Wyler for much of their scenes being cut in favor of focusing almost entirely on Streisand.
Barbra Streisand's first line in this movie is "Hello, gorgeous". When Streisand won her Oscar for this film at The 41st Annual Academy Awards (1969), she repeated the line to her statuette.
A publicity photo of Omar Sharif and Barbra Streisand kissing was released to the newspapers. With the emotions of the Six Day War still running high, the Egyptian press began a campaign to get Sharif's citizenship revoked over the kiss. The Egyptian headline read: "Omar Kisses Barbra, Egypt Angry." When asked to respond to the controversy, Streisand tried to make light of it. "Egypt angry!" she said. "You should hear what my Aunt Sarah said!"
"The Swan" was written especially for this movie. The original number, "Rat-a-Tat-Tat", was deemed too dated (though appropriate for the setting of the show). Fanny Brice did a similar act dressed in a similar costume complete with a huntsman carrying a bow and arrow in the movie Be Yourself! (1930).
William Wyler was hired to replace Sidney Lumet as director. Lumet left the picture over differences with Producer Ray Stark and Barbra Streisand. Wyler originally declined the offer, because he was deaf in one ear and said he couldn't do a musical, but reconsidered after meeting Streisand.
Omar Sharif, an Egyptian, was almost replaced when the Six Day War between Egypt and Israel broke out during filming. Despite being pressured to fire Sharif, William Wyler refused to do so.
According to some reports, Barbra Streisand was constantly late to the set, would ask to re-shoot scenes that were already done, and try to control every aspect of the production, from the lighting design to what sort of shot was needed to who did her hair.
Screenwriter Isobel Lennart famously described working with Barbra Streisand as "a deflating, ego-crushing experience."
The iconic logo for the film, an upside-down girl with roller skates, was created by illustrator Talivaldis Stubis.
Anne Francis' role was considerably shortened. She blamed Barbra Streisand for this.
Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck, Sir Sean Connery, David Janssen, Robert Culp, and James Garner were also considered for the role of Nick Arnstein.
Barbra Streisand took a break during filming to perform her famous concert at Central Park.
In 1962, when the project was being initially developed as a musical play, Anne Bancroft was the producers' choice to star, but she withdrew for unspecified reasons.
Production Designer Gene Callahan had a small role as the tugboat Captain. His physical build and appearance (a distinctive beard) often resulted in his being cast in small parts. If he liked the producer and director, he would agree to perform in the film, otherwise he would decline the proposal. Producer Ray Stark and Callahan were always on the set during filming. Stark got Callahan to agree to play the tugboat Captain, in order to keep him available on the set.
Barbra Streisand biographer Ann Edwards co-wrote the first draft of the screenplay (uncredited).
Mike Nichols, George Roy Hill, and Gene Kelly were considered to direct the film before Sidney Lumet was signed. After working on pre-production for six months, Lumet left the project due to creative differences, and was replaced by William Wyler.
Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser was greatly dismayed by Omar Sharif starring in this film at the time of the Six Day War against Israel.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.