Second part of Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical "Eugene Trilogy" which followed Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) and was followed by Broadway Bound (1992). All three films originated as plays and all had alliterative titles based on alliteration of the letters 'B' and 'Br'.
The film was made and released about three years after its source play by Neil Simon was first performed on late 1984. The original Broadway production of "Biloxi Blues" opened at the Neil Simon Theater on 28th March 1985 and ran for 524 performances until 28th June 1986. Matthew Broderick, Penelope Ann Miller and Matt Mulhern reprized their roles in this movie. The play was nominated three Tony Awards in 1985 - Best Play, Best Featured Actor (Barry Miller) and Best Direction (Gene Saks). The play would premier at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California on 8th December 1984 where it ran until 2nd February 1985. The play's setting is described in its intro as "Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, 1943".
During an interview Christopher Walken said he portrayed his somewhat "friendly" demeanor as Sgt. Toomey due to meeting an on set military consultant who was a "very tough Drill Sgt." But at the same time he also described him as a "very nice, soft-spoken man", whom everyone feared, but he didn't have to sound or look fearful. In meeting this man, he decided to incorporate both types of people in his character, which was almost a 180 degree difference from the stage play character Sgt. Toomey.
Though actor Matthew Broderick won a Tony Award for playing Eugene Morris Jerome on Broadway, he did not play the part in the cinema movie of Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986), this film's precursor. Broderick would get to play him in this sequel Biloxi Blues (1988). Jonathan Silverman played Eugene Morris Jerome in the Broadway production of "Broadway Bound" and also in Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986). Corey Parker portrayed him in the 3rd part telemovie Broadway Bound (1992). On 9th July 1985, Silverman replaced Broderick in the Broadway run of "Brighton Beach Memoirs", his Broadway debut.
The "Biloxi" of the title refers to a city in Harrison County, Mississippi where the film and source play are set in 1945 World War II. The play/film are also set Gulfport in the same county and state. The two cities are historically linked, they being the two principal cities in the Gulfport-Biloxi Metropolitan Statistical Area, it being a region on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Despite this though, the picture was not actually shot in Mississippi but in Arkansas.
The movie is narrated by a reflective adult and aged Eugene Morris Jerome (Matthew Broderick), Neil Simon dramatic alter ego. Thus Broderick actually plays the character in the film in two different age spans.
The "Blues" of the title does not refer to the melancholic music genre which might be associated with the story's setting of Mississippi but the "Blues" refers to the melancholy associated with the hardship of being in military basic training.
In an interview with Ron Base of "The Toronto Star' published on 27th December 1986, writer Neil Simon said: "'Brighton Beach' was going to be another singular play....Again, I still hadn't thought of a trilogy. But I decided to take Eugene the next step chronologically in my life, which was the army. But even after I wrote 'Biloxi Blues', I still didn't think about a sequel, because if it turned out to be a bomb, why would one want to do a sequel? So I just waited to see what would happen. Well, Biloxi enjoyed enormous success, and I thought of a third part".
First ever cinema sequel to a Neil Simon written movie. Others that would follow would include The Odd Couple II (1998) and the third part of the "Eugene Trilogy", this film's sequel, Broadway Bound (1992), though this was not produced by the same production house/studio.