The Cotton Club
- The relationship in the film between the characters played by Gregory Hines and Maurice Hines was partly based on their real lives.
- Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist William Kennedy (II) was brought in to do a quick draft on the script to polish it. He ended up doing over 20 drafts.
- The role of Vera Cicero was originally assigned to Brooke Shields. However she turned down the offer in order to study French Literature at the Princeton University.
- Sylvester Stallone was originally offered a part.
- Laurence Fishburne's character, Bumpy Rhodes, was based on real-life Harlem gangster Bumpy Johnson. Fishburne played Bumpy Johnson thirteen years later in Hoodlum.
- In this film, 'Ed ORoss plays one of Dutch Schultz's bodyguards. In Hoodlum, his character kills Schultz.
- At one point, relations were so strained between director Francis Ford Coppola and producer Robert Evans that Coppola had Evans banned from the set.
- Although the film features several fictional murders, it is associated with one real-life murder. When Robert Evans was raising money for the film, he became associated with a promoter named Roy Radin. Radin was reportedly murdered on May 13, 1983 but his body was not found for several weeks. Evans was not accused of murder but was implicated in the investigation because he was dealing with Radin and Karen Jacobs-Greenberger who introduced Radin to Evans. She was convicted of ordering the murder of Radin and is now serving a life sentence for this crime.
- SPOILER: The Nicolas Cage character, Vincent "Mad Dog" Dwyer, was based on an actual Irish gangster named Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll. (Cage is also the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola.) In real life, Coll was a young hothead who started a bootlegging war with Dutch Schultz in 1931. As in the film, Coll was responsible for a drive-by shooting where he and his henchmen tried to kill one of Schultz's men, but a child playing on the street was accidentally killed. (In the film, the child who is killed in the shooting is played by a young Sofia Coppola.) Also, like Dwyer, Coll was shot to death by Scultz's men while making calls in a drugstore telephone booth.