In January 1996, three years after this movie was released, a four-year-old boy from Seattle actually was chosen as the reincarnation of beloved Lama Deschund Rinpochet, and relocated to Nepal, to be groomed as a spiritual teacher.

For the scene in the forest with the ascetics, where Siddartha becomes emaciated from lack of food, Keanu Reeves went on a crash diet of oranges and water.

Final film in director Bernardo Bertolucci's "oriental trilogy", following The Last Emperor (1987) and The Sheltering Sky (1990).

The film is dedicated to Francis Bouygues, a French industrialist who was to produce this film before he died in 1993.

Marlon Brando was approached about playing Siddartha.

Eric Stoltz was considered for the role of Dean Conrad.