Giuseppe Tornatore's intention was that this movie should serve as an obituary for traditional movie theatres (like the one on the film) and the movie industry in general. After the movie's success he never mentioned this again.
By the end of 1956, it was Italy which had the largest network of cinemas in the whole of Europe. A total of 17,000. This was the highest ever reached in around that time.
Philippe Noiret recited all of his lines in his natural language, French. He was later dubbed in Italian by Vittorio Di Prima. In the French version, Noiret dubbed himself.
When Salvatore returns to his home and looks at the room his mother prepared for him, there's a picture on the wall from the movie The White Sheik (1952), a Federico Fellini movie starring Leopoldo Trieste, who plays Father Adelfio in this movie.
In some versions of the shorter theatrical release a shot of a far older Elena can be seen in the final credits montage (perhaps intentionally).
The film was shot in Bagheria, Sicily, Giuseppe Tornatore's hometown. The director largely drew on his childhood experiences there as inspiration for the film.
A sample of the line "Ora che ho perso la vista, ci vedo di più" in original language (in English it is "Now that I lost vision, I can see more") can be heard in the song "Take The Time" by Dream Theater.
Giuseppe Tornatore photographed over 300 young Sicilian boys in his attempt to find an actor to play young Salvatore before he eventually cast Salvatore Cascio in the role.
The new film projector installed after the fire accident in the projector room is a model Victoria IV manufactured by Cinemeccanica S.p.a, Milano, Italy.
The character played by Brigitte Fossey was included in the first theatrical version of the film (155 minutes, released in November 1988) but then dropped in the shorter re-release (124 minutes, May 1989), which was shown internationally. Her scenes were eventually reinstated in the extended version (173 minutes).
Giuseppe Tornatore acknowledged in the DVD's special features that old Salvatore (played by Jacques Perrin) looked nothing like young Salvatore
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Irene Papas was considered for the role of the older Maria Di Vita. The role eventually went to Pupella Maggio.
By the end of the twelve month period for 1924, Italy's entire film output had not exceed 20 titles. As 220 titles were released during 1920, by 1924, Italian cinema was slowly dying.