The scenes during the opening credits where Barbarella seems to float around her spaceship were filmed by having Jane Fonda lie on a huge piece of Plexiglas with a picture of the spaceship underneath her. It was filmed from above, creating the illusion that she is in zero gravity.
English actor David Hemmings replaced Italian actor Antonio Sabato in the role of Dildano. Set photos exist of Sabato playing the famous "hand sex" scene with Jane Fonda. Sabato's performance was deemed to be too serious and he was replaced, in more comedic tone, by Hemmings.
The movie's main English language trailer featured the following statement: "We wish to thank the following planets for making this picture possible: Lythion, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Earth and many special guest stars!".
In the original comic, Barbarella was an outlaw. The movie omits some of her adventures on Lythion, including an encounter with an earlier villain called the Gorgon, whose face became a duplicate of the face of anyone who looked at her. Her spaceship is not repaired, so for the first comic album she is trapped on Lythion.
The film was made prior to actress Jane Fonda's "politicization" and maturation, and the evolution of her political persona. When asked to defend the film in the context of her feminist political views, she had no choice but to accept it. She couldn't rewrite history, despite the obvious "sex symbol" nature of the Barbarella character, which feminists felt exploited women.
The original comic had no Durand-Durand and no death ray. The city was built around a monster that belched gas through a series of ducts, and the Great Tyrant wore an eye patch even in her true identity.
The film was given major theatrical re-release in 1977 due to the box-office success of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). The picture was edited to obtain an American "PG" rating and had the added subtitle "Queen Of The Galaxy", not present in the original 1968 release. Though all American video releases have been that of the original uncut version, Paramount repeatedly included the "PG" tag on their packaging, when they should have said "Not Rated."
Mathmos is the name of a company specializing in the design and manufacture of lava lamps. Apparently a sea of lava, inspired the UK company that made lava lamps to change their name from Crestworth to Mathmos.
Inside Barbarella's space capsule, usually seen in the left side, is depicted the right hand portion of the famous painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte - 1884" by pointillist painter Georges Seurat. Seurat was a contemporary of fellow Frenchman, and famous impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir - the grandfather of the film's Director of Photography, Frenchman Claude Renoir. The painting was later the inspiration for the Stephen Sondheim musical "Sunday in the Park with George."
Even though the titles of the film are credited to Arcady, they were actually designed by the original Bond Titles Designer Maurice Binder. Binder's credits along with the music credits were part of the original rough cut of the film, the titles can be seen on the streaming version on Amazon Instant Video.
The names of some of the movie's main set-pieces which were summarized in the film's main English language trailer were: The Biting Bird Cage, the Deadly Doll House, the Labyrinth of Love, the Chamber of Dreams, the Palace of Pleasure and the Wild Excessive Machine.
The name of the laser weapon created by scientist Durand Durand was "The Positronic Ray"."Death rays" were not uncommon in science fiction films of the 1960s. DVD sleeve notes describe Barbarella as a "female James Bond".
The source French science fiction comic book by Jean-Claude Forest was first serialized in the French publication V-Magazine in the Spring of 1962. "Barbarella" was then published as a series of four graphic novels between the years of 1962 and 1982. The film was made and released about six years after the original serialization, in 1968.
The nickname that the Black Queen had for Barbarella was "Pretty Pretty". Barbarella's nickname published as a subtitle as part of the the film's promotional Barbarella title was "Queen of the Galaxy".
Terry Southern enjoyed writing the script, specifically the opening strip tease and the scenes involving tiny robotic toys that pursue Barbarella to bite her. Southern felt the film was his Candy (1968) and enjoyed working with Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda, but had problems with Dino De Laurentiis, whose priority was to make a cheap film, not a good one.
In 1999, it was announced that a remake of the film was in the works and that Warner Bros. had acquired the rights from Paramount Pictures and Drew Barrymore was rumored to take the role of Barbarella and that the remake would be more faithful to the original comic strip.
Charles B. Griffith later stated that he had worked on the script uncredited, explaining that the production team "hired fourteen other writers" after Terry Southern before they got to him. He didn't get credited because he was the last one. Griffith noted that he rewrote about a quarter of the film that was shot, then re-shot, and he added the concept that there had been thousands of years since violence existed, so that Barbarella was very clumsy all through the picture. She shoots herself in the foot and everything. The stuff with Claude Dauphin as the President of Earth, and the suicide room were also part of his contribution to the film.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Two of the characters in the film had two names: Milo O'Shea played "The Concierge", who was also known as "Durand-Durand", whilst Anita Pallenberg portrayed "The Great Tyrant", who was aka "The Black Queen of Sogo", or more simply known as just "The Black Queen". In the French comic book source, the latter was known as "La Reine Noire".