Eric Stoltz spent so much time under heavy makeup that when he arrived for the post-production party he had to present I.D. to security to prove that he was Eric Stoltz. Also, when he got there he had to introduce himself to some of the cast and crew because many of them didn't know what he really looked like.
According to Cher, this film was shot Rocky Dennis' and Rusty Dennis' old neighborhood. One day she was walking down a street with Eric Stoltz (in makeup) and an old man yelled "Hi!" at Eric. He then said, "I'm so happy to see you, I heard you died". Cher says he was so happy that they didn't have the heart to tell him the truth.
Bruce Springsteen's music was chosen for several reasons. It was the real Rocky's favorite music, and it served to denote the passage of time. Springsteen wanted his music used in the original release, but the owners of his catalog at that time could not agree on a royalty rate with the studio. The music was reinstated for the Director's Cut when Springsteen himself pushed for its inclusion.
Peter Bogdanovich and Cher fought bitterly on set, as the director found the actress difficult and inexperienced. She also had difficulty sustaining whole takes without breaking character. Bogdanovich compromised by departing from his usual deep-focus, long-take photography by shooting her in close-up to capture her natural charisma, in particular her sad eyes.
According to Peter Bogdanovich, on Sunday, 14 March 2004, in a talk at the Cleveland (OH) Public Library, he had secured the rights for the Bruce Springsteen songs and the print will be re-released with the music that had been chosen the first time around. There was a possible snag when the studio told Bogdanovich that the negative of the film had been lost--they only had positive prints--but the negative hadn't really been lost; Bogdanovich had removed it from the studio some years before. This has been released on DVD as the Director's Cut version.
Cher declared on Charlie Rose (1991) in 1996 that this is her favorite role. She still carries resentment over not receiving an Oscar nomination for her performance, even though she won the award two years later for Moonstruck (1987).
Peter Bogdanovich made this film as a tribute to his former lover, the late model and actress Dorothy Stratten. Bogdanovich recounted how Stratten was interested in the story of Joseph Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man. She felt a strong relation to Merrick, as she also felt like an outsider; she felt greatly distressed when people looked at her on the street, as though she "[got] ice cream on her dress."
In the scene where grandpa gives Rocky the baseball card, when he goes to hang the card with the other ones he puts the tack through the middle of the card instead of the plastic sleeve. This would reduce the value of the card.