Gene Wilder almost wasn't in this movie. Per his autobiography, he turned the script down twice (due to its treatment of the deaf and the blind). He intended to do the same when offered it a third time, but his agent talked him into meeting with TriStar (the studio behind the film). The TriStar people asked Gene to re-write the script for himself and Richard Pryor, which he agreed to do...and the rest is history.
To prepare for his role, Richard Pryor went to Braille Institute in Los Angeles, where he was taught "cane technique" (the correct way a person who is blind uses a white cane) and visited classrooms to observe mannerisms of the blind students.
The Swedish title of Another You (1991), the next film of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, was "Se Upp Igen Blindstyre!" which is English for "Look Out Again, Blind Fool!". This suggested that it was a sequel to See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) which translates into Swedish as "Se ingen ondska, hör ingen ondska!", which in turn translates into English as the similar phrase, "Listen Up, Blind Fool!". However, the two movies actually have no story connection at all.
After attending a screening, upper management from Braille Institute disavowed any connection to the film, turning down the offer of proceeds from opening night, which instead went to another nonprofit providing services to young blind people. Institute administrators objected to the film's language.
After the box-office success of Stir Crazy (1980),Gene Wilder and Richard Pryors' previous movie, they and the film's director Sidney Poitier were meant to re-team for Hanky Panky (1982). Ultimately, only Poitier and Wilder did. Pryor dropped out for unknown reasons and his part was re-written for a female lead. That female lead ended up being played by Gilda Radner...the woman who would go on to become Gene's third wife.
The picture reunited stars Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor with their Silver Streak (1976) director Arthur Hiller. That picture was their first movie where Pryor and Wilder were teamed together. Hiller was the only director to direct the pair more than once.
In their first two movies together, Silver Streak (1976) and Stir Crazy (1980), Gene Wilder received top first billing, whilst Richard Pryor got second billing. However, in their final two movies together, this film and Another You (1991), Pryor got first billing with Wilder getting second.
With its dead body murder plot and villainous crime characters, the movie returned director Arthur Hiller and stars Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor to the suspense-adventure-comedy genre that had made their earlier picture Silver Streak (1976) a success around thirteen years earlier.
The movie's title, "See No Evil, Hear No Evil", is derived from 'Three Wise Monkeys' proverb which says "See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil". As such, the third and last section of the phrase, "Speak no evil" was dropped for the title. Of the two lead characters, one is deaf and one is blind, they still can both speak, whereby a third lead character would have been arguably dumb or mute (like Harpo Marx), something possible, but arguably less accessible to audiences when there is a character who cannot speak.