Author Ray Bradbury never did any fact-checking in regards to the title. He asked a fire chief what temperature book paper burned at, and was given the answer "451 degrees Fahrenheit." He liked the title so much, he didn't bother to see if it was the correct temperature.
The location filming of the final sequence with the "Book People" took place in poor weather. It was hoped that the weather would improve for the final days of shooting. Instead, they discovered that it had begun snowing during the night. The filming of the final shots while it was snowing was an unplanned contribution to the film's memorable ending.
Books shown or mentioned in the movie: Don Quixote - Othello, the Moor of Venice - Vanity Fair - Madame Bovary - Le monde a coté - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass - Gaspard Hauser - Robinson Crusoe - The World of Salvador Dali - Jeanne d'Arc - Life and Loves - The Weather - My Autobiography by Charles Chaplin - Les negres - Confessions of an Irish Rebel - The Ginger Man - Petrouchka - The Catcher In The Rye - The Moon and Sixpence - Lolita - David Copperfield - Mein Kampf - She Might Have Been Queen - Social Aspects of Disease - The Ethics of Aristotle - The Brothers Karamazov - The Sorrows of Young Werther - The Martian Chronicles - Plato's Republic - Fahrenheit 451 - Pride and Prejudice - Gone with the Wind - Animal Farm - No Orchids for Miss Blandish - Jane Eyre - Moby Dick - The Picture of Dorian Gray - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - The Trial.
Among the books burned by the firemen is the film journal "Cahiers du Cinema" for which director François Truffaut wrote. Pictured on the cover is a picture from Breathless (1960), written by Truffaut. Also among the books burned is "The Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451" itself, both written by Ray Bradbury.
Director 'Francois Truffaut' cast Oskar Werner, the star of his classic Jules and Jim (1962), in the role of Guy Montag after Terence Stamp dropped out of the role, because he was uneasy at co-starring with Julie Christie, his former lover. Stamp also felt that Christie's appearing in dual roles would overshadow him. Losing his ideal Montag (the film after all was set in England), Truffaut turned to the Austrian Werner, whose accent and demeanor were decidedly non-English. Truffaut came to regret his choice as he became dismayed by Werner's interpretation of the character and the two frequently clashed.
François Truffaut reportedly said that he found science fiction films uninteresting and arbitrary. Because of this, a friend of his told him the story of Ray Bradbury's novel 'Fahrenheit 451'. Immediately afterward, Truffaut wanted to make a film from the novel and subsequently spent years raising the financing.
François Truffaut said that this was his only film in which he clashed with an actor - Oskar Werner. Truffaut asked Werner to forgo heroics and act with a level of modesty, but Werner chose to play it with arrogance. Truffaut disliked the stilted performance Werner gave and insisted he play it like a monkey discovering books for the first time, sniffing at them, wondering what they are; Werner argued that a science fiction film called for a robotic-like performance.
Producer Lewis M. Allen said the studio's legal department requested that only books in the public domain be shown burning for fear of being sued by offended authors. Director François Truffaut and Allen ignored the request, believing that anyone would be flattered to have their book included.
Director François Truffaut was so eager to begin filming that he and co-writer Jean-Louis Richard wrote the screenplay before they had fully mastered English. Ultimately, Truffaut was disappointed in the awkward, stilted English-language dialogue; he was much happier with the French-dubbed version, which he supervised.
Although film editor Thom Noble speculates on the DVD that the books burned in the film's fire sequences were all director François Truffaut's, the director actually solicited paperbacks from grips, electricians and other crew members working on the film because he felt that well-worn, dogeared copies achieved the effect he wanted to convey.
According to producer Lewis M. Allen, it was his last-minute idea to have Julie Christie play both main female roles. Allen says Terence Stamp then withdrew from playing Montag because Stamp felt that with two parts, Christie would overshadow him.
Truffaut originally wanted Tippi Hedren and Jean Seberg to play the parts of Linda Montag and Clarisse. However, Alfred Hitchcock told Truffaut that Hedren was not available to work with him, and Seberg was considered "not bankable enough" by the producers, so Julie Christie was cast instead in both parts.
The title of the movie (and the book) comes from the exact temperature at which paper catches fire, according to a fireman to whom Ray Bradbury posed the question. Actually, this temperature refers to the auto-ignition temperature (the temperature paper burns without being touched to flame), and the exact temperature varies according to the type of paper, it's age, and several other factors.
While shooting in London, Truffaut felt no rapport with the English crew (since he spoke only French), so when not on set he stayed in his hotel room for the six months of the shoot, having all his meals sent up. When he got back to Paris, his friends asked him what swinging London was like and he answered, "I don't know - I just got out of the Hilton."
In the scene where the woman's house is being burned, Oskar Werner said he wouldn't have anything to do with flames so he couldn't be in a room with flames. François Truffaut said he must have known there would be flames because he was playing a fireman. But Oskar refused to be in the scene. They had to use doubles. [Ref: Nic Roeg (director of photography) in 80-Minute Documentary on François Truffaut: "The Man Who Loved Cinema, Part Two: Love & Death" 10:20]