Director Jim Jarmusch was dismayed to discover all the money he paid for the rights to Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" went to the record company, with nothing going to Hawkins himself. When the film earned a profit, Jarmusch took it upon himself to track down Hawkins (who was living in a trailer park, at the time) and give him some money. It was the beginning of a friendship between the two which lasted until Hawkins' death. According to Jarmusch, Hawkins continuously promised to pay him back, despite Jamursch's insistence that the money was a gift.
The film's scenes are each a single shot, followed by a few seconds of black screen.
The whole film is sequence shots with live sound - editing consisted simply of putting them end to end.
In the scene where Willie and Eddie pick up Eva from the Hot Dog stand, director Jim Jarmusch can be seen eating a hot dog while wearing a beanie in the background.
Started out as a 30-minute short subject film (shot in 1982) and was later expanded into a 3-part feature. The first section, "The New World," takes place in New York, the second, "One Year Later," in Cleveland, and the last, "Paradise," in Florida.
Shooting was begun using leftover film stock from the production of The State of Things (1982).
In 2002 it was inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry. It was Jim Jarmusch's first film to be inducted for preservation.
Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in November 1997.
Consist of just sixty-seven shots (the average feature film contains about twelve hundred).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.