The movie ranks at the No. #1 spot on the top 10 list of most Oscar-bait movies ever made according to research by UCLA sociologists Gabriel Rossman and Oliver Schilke. According to website 'Wikipedia', this movie is "the most deliberate example of Oscar bait in their study of 3,000 films released since 1985. The identification is based on various elements calculated to be likely to draw Oscar nominations, including the previous nominations of [Alan] Parker, the film's setting in Hollywood (including Quaid's projectionist character), and its depiction of a tragic historical event against the background of war and racism. It was only released in a few cities during the last week of that year to make it eligible for the awards. However, it was not nominated for any Oscars and failed at the box office".
According to Mark Deming at website 'Allmovie', the picture is "one of the few American films to deal with the tragic story of the internment of Asian-Americans during World War II".
Of the three 1990 released films that Japanese-American actress Tamlyn Tomita featured in, all were war related. These were Vietnam, Texas (1990), Come See the Paradise (1990), and Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes (1990).
Publicity for this picture stated: "During the World War II over 110,000 Japanese Americans, mostly American citizens, were interned in concentration camps in the United States, unconstitutionally, without trial, [and] for no reason other than their racial ancestry".
In 1942, over 100,000 Americans were interned in prison camps in the USA. This statement formed a tagline for the movie.
The name of the "Japantown" in L.A., the Japanese American ethnic region in downtown Los Angeles seen in the movie, is called "Little Tokyo", but is also known as "Lil' Tokyo, J-Town (Sho-tokyo)", as well as the "Little Tokyo Historic District".
The American Civil Liberties Union has stated that the internment of Japanese Americans in the Japanese-American internment camps as being "the worst wholesale violation of civil rights of American citizens in our history".
The film's "Come See The Paradise" title is derived from a of a poem by Russian poet Anna Akh. As writer-director Alan Parker couldn't locate the original work, Parker wrote his own new version. It read: "We all dream our American dreams. When we're awake and when we sleep. So much hope that grief belies. Far beyond the lies and sighs. Because dreams are free. And so are we. Come See the Paradise."
The film was selected to screen in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990.