At the Paris premiere, Luis Buñuel hid behind the screen with stones in his pockets for fear of being attacked by the confused audience. Nothing of the sort happened. In fact, the audience loved its mysterious and incomprehensible plot.
Luis Buñuel told Salvador Dalí about a dream in which a cloud sliced the moon in half "like a razor blade slicing through an eye." Dalí responded that he'd dreamt about a hand crawling with ants. Out of these two dreams this film was born.
David Bowie began every concert in his 1976 "Station to Station" tour by showing this film. (If you've ever heard an audience groan at the opening scene, imagine an entire auditorium, most of whom were undoubtedly seeing it for the first time.)
During the bicycle scene, the woman who is sitting on a chair while reading throws the book aside. The image it shows when it lays open is a reproduction of a painting by Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer was a Dutch painter greatly admired by Salvador Dalí, and Dalí often referenced Vermeer in his own paintings.
On the album "Doolittle" by The Pixies, the song "Debaser" is based on this film. Repeatedly throughout the song, the line "I am un chien andalusia" can be heard being screamed by the lead vocalist, Frank Black.
In 1960, a soundtrack was added to this film at the direction of Luis Buñuel. Buñuel used the same music on phonographic records played at the 1929 screenings - extracts from "Liebestod" from Richard Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" and two Argentinian tangos.
The razor slicing through the eye is said to be the first scene ever shot by Buñuel, according to collaborator and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière in the 2008 documentary, The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel. This documentary can be found in the Criterion Collection DVD Special Features of The Exterminating Angel.