Reportedly, Haley Joel Osment got the role of Cole Sear for one of three reasons. First, he was best for it. Second, he was the only boy at auditions who wore a tie. Third, director M. Night Shyamalan was surprised when he asked Haley Joel Osment if he read his part. Osment replied, "I read it three times last night." Shyamalan was impressed, saying, "Wow, you read your part three times?" To which Osment replied, "No, I read the script three times."
Toni Collette has said that she was so moved by the emotional resonance of the story while filming, she did not even realize it was a horror film until after its release.
While in New York City auditioning for Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Toni Collette also auditioned for this film as an afterthought. She said the scene in the car toward the end of the film, which was the audition scene, was the scene that really drew her to the film.
The movie's line, "I see dead people," was voted as the #100 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere magazine in 2007.
According to director M. Night Shyamalan, Donnie Wahlberg lost 43 pounds for the role of Vincent Grey.
The movie was rented by 80 million people in 2000, making it the year's top-rated VHS and DVD title.
The film was a sleeper hit. In Entertainment Weekly's 134 film Summer Movie Preview of 1999, The Sixth Sense (1999) was not even mentioned on the list.
A lot of the members of M. Night Shyamalan's family are doctors. This is the reason why he cameos as a doctor, as a tribute to his family.
The voice on the tape of Vincent's session is speaking Spanish; the person is saying, "Please, I don't want to die Lord, save me, save me."
On the Vista Series DVD, if the Main Menu is left idle long enough, a discordant note will play as a ghost walks past the breakfast table on the screen.
Cole and Vincent both have a patch of grey/white hair, both on the right side of their heads. Vincent's is to the side and Cole's is behind the ear.
The movie's line, "I see dead people," was voted as the #44 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
In M. Night Shyamalan's early drafts of the script, the Bruce Willis character was a crime scene photographer, not a child psychologist.
This was the first of two movies that Bruce Willis owed Disney, after he caused another production, "The Broadway Brawler," to be shut down, due to him firing the director. He also was paid ten million dollars, half of his usual salary at the time.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #89 Greatest Movie of All Time. This was one of the newest entries on the list (from films which were released between 1997 and 2005).
The use of the color red to indicate the presence of evil or a ghost also appears in M. Night Shyamalan's other movie, The Village (2004). And many of his films since.
The Latin phrase Cole speaks in the church when he first meets Malcolm, "De profundis clamo ad te domine," translates to "Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord." These are the first few words of Psalm 130 in the Book of Psalms.
M. Night Shyamalan pitched the film as a cross between The Exorcist (1973) and Ordinary People (1980).
The screenplay was sold on the first day it was put up for sale by producer Barry Mendel.
When Cole and his mother are sitting in the kitchen, there is a glass on the table that can only be bought in Philadelphia. It originally comes filled with Penn Maid sour cream, which is not readily available anywhere else.
According to Michael Cera, this was the first film that he ever auditioned for. He read for the part of Cole, but the role ultimately went to Haley Joel Osment.
When Cole's mother is watching him at the windows when he goes to school with Tommy, a prominent figure "6" can be seen on the curtain to the left of her hand.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider.
The only film that year to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Oscars.
As of 2018, features Toni Collette and Haley Joel Osment's only Oscar nominated performances.
When Malcolm is listening to the tape recording of Vincent and his session, as he turns up the volume the numbers on the tape player turn from white to red as they increase.
At the beginning of the movie, Anna tells Malcolm that he sounds like Dr. Seuss. Like Malcolm, Dr. Seuss dedicated his life to children, while never having any of his own.
Donnie Walhberg plays a character in this movie named 'Vincent Grey'. In 1998, just one year prior, he played a character named 'Mr. Grey' in the TV movie "The Taking of Pelham 123". In the 2003 movie "Dreamcatcher" he played a character named 'Duddits' who defeats and kills an alien antagonist named 'Mr Grey'.
Toni Collette was the only Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee that year that was from a Best Picture nominated film.
Haley Joel Osment was 9 years old at time of filming and Toni Collette (who plays Cole's mother) was 26, so she would have been 17 when she gave birth to Cole.
First film to feature the new logos of the Philadelphia Eagles and 76ers, starting in 1996 and 1997, respectively.
M. Night Shyamalan: [car accident] Cole tells his mother about his abilities while they're stuck in traffic because of a car accident.