The film includes an appearance by Madonna, her first in a major motion picture, playing a singer at a local bar, where she performs the songs "Crazy for You" and "Gambler". In some countries, the title of the film was changed to market on Madonna's emerging fame and the popularity of the song "Crazy for You".
This was filmed largely on location in and around Spokane, Washington State, USA. and used many local citizens in small parts and as extras.
"Older woman" Linda Fiorentino is only a year older than star Matthew Modine in real life.
This was Linda Fiorentino's very first audition straight out of drama school. She got the part, and it was her feature film debut.
The scene with Shute training takes place at Joe Albi Stadium, in Spokane. It has since been remodeled and is still host to high school football, as well as the Crimson and Grey game played by the Washington State Cougars.
Matthew Modine once remarked in a magazine interview that the film's title was more appropriate for a science fiction film. In Australia, this film was retitled "Crazy For You".
The poem recited by Tanneran in the classroom scene is a classic poem entitled "Spring and Fall To a Young Child" by Gerard Manley Hopkins, a noted Victorian-age poet whose works were published in 1918, some 30 years after his death.
J.C. Quinn, who portrays Elmo the cook in the hotel where Louden Swain (Matthew Modine) works, also co-starred in Gross Anatomy (1989), where Matthew portrayed Joe Slovak, and J.C. portrayed Joe's Father, Papa Slovak.
At Louden's first wrestling match at his desired weight, the high school band plays the Ewok Theme song from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, which came out the year Vision Quest was filmed.