Many extras and background artists appearing in the Sound Club and Railway Station scenes were real life youth, drug addicts, and prostitutes who were found by the production for the sequences involving crowds.
The movie featured the music of David Bowie who even appeared in the film in concert sequences. His involvement with the picture helped its awareness and box-office. Nearly all the songs on the film's soundtrack were written or co-written by Bowie. According to the film's source book, Christiane F. in real life had had her first experience with heroin at a Bowie concert and this fact was reiterated as a story element in the film.
Thomas Haustein who plays Detlef in the movie, met real Christiane F. and her friend Stella (portrayed by Kerstin Richter in the movie) on the set when they came to visit during the shooting. Thomas and real-life Stella were dating for a while during the making of the film, and she's in the film too, briefly. She plays the drug dealer who sells Detlef heroin at the Sound Disco Club, near the beginning. She's wearing a long coat. Stella died in 2004 due to health complications, consequence of years of alcohol and drug abuse.
The significance of the Berlin Zoo Station in the source book and film's sub-title and story is that it was the place which was a terminating point for many German teenagers who died there from drug overdoses in its squalid lavatory cells and cubicles.
Many of the actors in the movie were in school, had never acted before and were first-time actors. For the majority, this was their only ever film & TV credit and haven't worked in the movie industry since.
The concert sequence starring David Bowie was filmed in New York in October 1980 at the Hurrah Club. As Bowie was appearing on Broadway several nights a week at the time, director Uli Edel had to shoot the scenes in that city. The venue was set dressed so as to resemble a Berlin nightclub. The big concert crowd scenes utilized footage from an AC/DC concert in the then West Germany.
Debut film role of actress Natja Brunckhorst who was just 14 years old when the movie was filmed. Even though this film was controversial, Brunckhorst went back-to-back with this, her next picture was Querelle (1982) which was directed by controversial German director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Originally the movie was going to be directed by Roland Klick but after a long preparation he was fired only two weeks before shooting, after a fallout with producer Bernd Eichinger After that Uli Edel came in to direct the movie.