According to Chris Columbus, Kevin Nordine did all the effects for the film in his parents' basement in Chicago by drawing all the effects onto the film. He also did the effects for only a few hundred dollars at a time.
The picture Kevin finds of Buzz's girlfriend was a picture of a boy made up to look like a girl because director Chris Columbus thought it would be too cruel to make fun of a girl like that. The boy that was used in the photo was the art director's son.
The movie that Kevin watches on video tape is not a real film, but footage specially created. It was called "Angels With Filthy Souls." Along with other similar era references in the movie, this is a play upon the movie Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) starring James Cagney.
In May 2011, the house in Kenilworth, IL. used in the film was listed for sale at $2.4 million; it sold in March 2012 for $1.585 million. The house is promoted as a tourist attraction and cited as an example of "How to Get Your Home in the Movies."
John Candy shares all of his screen time with Catherine O'Hara. The two previously worked together on SCTV (1976) and were good friends. Candy passed away on O'Hara's 40th birthday and O'Hara gave a tearful eulogy at his funeral.
Both Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern felt indifferent about the film's potential during shooting, so they intentionally gave over-the-top performances, neither one of them believing the film would become a massive success.
Many of the frames that focus on Kevin in the beginning of the film are shot from above his head, making him seem small and helpless. At the end of the film, Kevin is mostly shot from below, making him seem taller and more confident.
John Candy filmed his part in only one day, albeit a 23-hour day. The story about having once forgotten his son at a funeral home was entirely improvised. His part potentially partly inspired by the character he played in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), also written by John Hughes.
Despite the rumours, the famous scream that Daniel Stern belts out during the tarantula scene was not mimed on set and dubbed in later. In fact, the scream came from Stern while live on set, mostly because he was assured by the animal handlers that tarantulas do not have ears. Also, the spider's poison was not extracted, as some have thought. This was all confirmed by Stern himself in a December 24, 2015 post on his Facebook page.
Director Chris Columbus would ask Joe Pesci to do his "How am I funny?" speech from Goodfellas (1990) on set. In fact, Pesci was to have a similar scene with Daniel Stern, defensively questioning him about having an edge. This scene was deleted.
Despite filming a family movie, Daniel Stern once slipped in the "s-word," which can be heard when he is retrieving his boot through the doggy door at 55:27 on the DVD, as well as being shown in the English subtitle.
Chris Columbus was previously hired by John Hughes to direct National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989). After meeting with Chevy Chase, however, it became clear to Columbus that the two of them would not get along, so he asked Hughes if there were any other projects he could work on instead. Home Alone (1990) was one of the options presented to him.
The movie is considered a traditional Christmas movie in Poland. It has aired on national TV during prime-time Christmas season every year since 1990. In 2011, the movie aired on December 23 with an audience of over five million, making it the most popular show aired during the Christmas season in Poland.
The car that ''Santa'' (the guy Kevin talks to about wanting his family back) starts before it stalls out is a 1980 Honda Civic hatchback. It really did stall on camera as the actor was driving it away.
In 2015, Macaulay Culkin reprised the iconic role of Kevin McCallister in the first episode of the Internet comedy series "DRYVRS". In that show, Kevin has grown up and become a long haired, messed up, foul mouthed, bitter and mentally unstable psychopath who tells Jack (Jack Dishel) about the events of "Home Alone" and then kidnaps the carjacker who tries to steal his car and ties him up and tortures him. The episode ends with a bloody-faced Kevin making his signature scream at the carjacker.
According to Chris Columbus during an interview with Alec Baldwin on Baldwin's podcast Here's the Thing, John Heard was unhappy about working on the film, feeling that the film was going to be terrible. However, upon seeing the finished film and its subsequent success, Heard apologized to Columbus when they were shooting his scenes on the film's sequel, having broken character before his first take to tell Columbus. The director says he still had footage of Heard's apology on video-tape.
Although the part was written especially for Macaulay Culkin by John Hughes, several hundred other boys were auditioned by director Chris Columbus. According to the DVD Commentary, Columbus was hesitant to cast Culkin because John Hughes had so recently cast him in Uncle Buck (1989) and didn't want to appear as a pushover in the film community. It was only after auditioning all the other young actors that he realized Culkin was in fact the best choice for the part.
When the McCallisters are running through the Paris airport toward the arrivals section, Uncle Rob and his family can be briefly glimpsed on the other side of the glass doors holding a large paper "Welcome" sign. Originally, there was a scene (featured on D.V.D./Blu-ray) with the McCallisters ignoring the sign and tearing it in half by running right through it, but it was cut from the film.
There is a legend that Elvis Presley (who died in 1977) makes a cameo in this movie. Many of those who believe that Elvis is still alive maintain that the heavily bearded man standing in the background of the scene where Mrs. McCallister is shouting at the desk clerk (just before she meets John Candy) is Elvis.
John Hughes was worried that mothers would never believe a family could forget one of their kids. Chris Columbus recalled, "John really filled in every possible logic hole... [and] the audience always bought it."
Several of Chris Columbus's family members make cameos in the film: His mother-in-law and his then-infant daughter Eleanor Columbus are both passengers on the plane. His wife Monica Devereux-Columbus is a stewardess and his father-in-law plays the police officer who gives the line "tell them to count their kids again."
To promote a stronger Christmas feel, red and green are major reoccurring colours throughout the movie, appearing quite conspicuously in almost every scene. This includes furniture, clothing, food containers and all wallpaper.
Chris Columbus had storyboarded a few scenes in which Kevin would have dreams where the house comes to life. One included the evil furnace in the basement, which would come to life and chase him to the stairs on all fours, and another where several toy nutcrackers would come to life along with the house. The scenes, however, would have been too expensive on such a tight budget and the ideas were dropped.
John Williams' score for the film is a song called "Somewhere In My Memory." It is used mainly on the soundtrack for the first two "Home Alone" films. However, he did a couple different recordings of the song itself. The full song done with vocals is on the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) music track with Bette Midler.
Director Chris Columbus envisioned a scene in which the furnace came to life, gets up on all fours and chases Kevin to the stairs. The scene would have cost over a million dollars so it was trimmed down to the furnace simply lighting up and groaning Kevin's name.
Some scenes were shot in a three-story single-family house located at 671 Lincoln Avenue in the village of Winnetka. The kitchen in the film was shot in the house, along with the main staircase, basement and most of the first floor landing. The house's dining room, and all the downstairs rooms (excluding the kitchen) were built on a sound stage. The house was built in 1921 and features five bedrooms, a fully converted attic, a detached double garage and a greenhouse. "Kevin's tree house" in the backyard was built specifically for the film and demolished after principal photography ended.
The "Oh-Kay Plumbing" van that Harry and Marv drive has a slogan that says, "Your flood control experts." This is funny because they call themselves the "Wet Bandits" and leave the water running after robbing houses.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, the owners of the McCallister house say they were first approached by a location scout who worked with filmmaker John Hughes. First, they were asked if the movie Uncle Buck (1989) could shoot at a house they owned before they owned the one featured in Home Alone (1990). At the time, they were trying to sell it, and declined the offer because they didn't want to take it off the market for several months during the shoot. After they moved into their house, the couple was approached about a second film, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), which they decided to turn down, this time because they were renovating.
Chris Columbus' previous movie had not done well at the box office and he was worried he would never direct again, but then John Hughes sent him the script for this film. Columbus said it was one of the best he had ever read.
The timeline for Home Alone begins on Monday, December 21st and runs through Friday, December 25th. Home Alone was released in 1990. The two Decembers closest to the release date when Christmas was on a Friday were the ones in either 1987 or 1992.
Between the first two Home Alone films, Rob and Georgette are frequently referred to and never seen. The only shot that the couple is visible in is when the McCallisters are watching 'It's a Wonderful Life (1946),' at Rob's apartment in Paris. The only other scene ended up being scrapped from the first film. The couple have three kids, two girls and a boy, whose names remain a mystery.
While Chris Columbus was staying at his wife's parents house in Chicago, after the birth of their first child, he was sent two scripts by John Hughes, one was for this film, which he fell in love with and struck a chord with him, and he felt he could make a really strong film out of it. He and Hughes hit it off instantly so Hughes gave Columbus the job to direct.
When Kevin attacks Buzz and spills milk all over the counter Peter tries to clean up the spill to save the passports and tickets. As he throws a wad of wet napkins away he also throws a plane ticket away by mistake. The ticket can be seen in the garbage with a name written in black marker. The ticket belonged to Kevin.
The film was put into turnaround by a studio because of the budget so 20th Century Fox snatched up the rights and it went on to make $500,000,000, a colossal amount for such an inexpensive picture, and to this day, that first studio will never put a film in turnaround again for allowing this one to get away from them.
When casting the role of Kevin McCallister, Chris Columbus had already seen Macaulay Culkin in Uncle Buck (1989) but he wanted to audition some other kids first while John Hughes had his heart set on Culkin. So Columbus met Culkin in New York and was very charmed by him and thought he was fantastic. Columbus auditioned five other kids and none of them shaped up to Culkin. Columbus went with Culkin because he was not as picture perfect and he had an instant bond to the kids in the audience. Columbus knew the cameras would love him and he was immensely funny.
When Kevin first wakes up and notices his family has left him he turns on the TV in the kitchen to Miracle on 34th Street (1947). You see Maureen O'Hara in one of her first scenes from that film on the TV set. The following year after Home Alone director Chris Columbus would go on to direct O'Hara in her first screen appearance in almost 20 years in Only the Lonely (1991). The film was also produced by John Hughes, starred Home Alone co-star John Candy in the lead role and featured Macaulay Culkin in a cameo role.
From 1993 to 1996 and again in 1998, NBC aired 'Home Alone' during the 8/7c time slot on Thanksgiving evening as part of their holiday promotion (Jurassic Park (1993) aired in its place in 1997 and 'Home Alone' aired on NBC a week before Christmas). The film would air on NBC until 1999, when it aired the Sunday after Thanksgiving weekend in 1999, when it was the last time it aired on NBC. The film also aired on Thanksgiving for 24 hours on FX in 2009.
Despite the theme song, Somewhere In My Memory, as played by in both the score and select choir versions, there are actually two verses that can be heard. The version of the song with the second stanza is featured on the original soundtrack release.
When Chris Columbus scripted Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), Watson believed Holmes obsessed over a case because unlike other boys his age, he had no family to go home to, like Harry Potter and Kevin McCallister and Columbus has ties to both franchises.
The film is considered to be a loose remake of First Blood (1982) and this film does bare some similarities: In this film, Kevin is bullied by his family, especially by Buzz and Uncle Frank. Kevin gets sent to the attic for the rest of the night, when Buzz eats of all Kevin's cheese pizza, causing Kevin to go berserk and attack Buzz, leaving Kevin starving, since none of the family left any pieces of pizza for Kevin and Kevin sets traps on Marv and Harry when Kevin is left alone to defend the family home. In First Blood (1982), John Rambo is wrongly arrested by Sheriff Will Teasle who won't allow Rambo to stop in town for a meal. Rambo is abused and mistreated by Teasle and his deputies. When Deputy Arthur Galt tries to dry shave Rambo, Rambo goes berserk and attacks the deputies. And in the woods, to which Rambo flees, when he escapes from police custody, Rambo sets traps for Teasle's deputies.
Besides Heather McCallister, Old man Marley, Gus Polinski, Mitch Murphy the boy from across the street, and the pizza boy are the other characters in this movie that did not come back again in Home Alone Two lost in New York.
The only screen time Joe Pesci (Harry) has with Kevin's family in this movie and the sequel Home Alone 2, is at the beginning of this one when he is at the McAllister home impersonating a police officer. His co-star Daniel Stern (Marv) does not have any screen time with Kevin's family in either movie.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Chris Columbus wanted the booby-trap with Marv getting hit in the face with a household object sent down the laundry chute, but he couldn't think of one to use, so his brother-in-law suggested a clothes-iron.
In the scene when Kevin walks past the driveway just as Harry and Marv are driving down it and stop just in time to avoid hitting him, was achieved by having Macaulay Culkin Walk backwards as the van was driven in reverse away from him the film was then shown Backwards, its hard to tell but if you look closely at the smoke from the exhaust it's drifting towards the van rather than away from it.
It was rumored that in the original screenplay, it was revealed Frank is the real villain of the film and is behind Harry and Marv and that he hired them to rob the McAllister house and to kill Kevin. If so, Frank would have gotten Buzz to eat all of Kevin's cheese pizza, so Kevin would attack Buzz and be sent to the 3rd floor and Frank could have cut the electricity, causing the family to oversleep and panic and forget about Kevin in the chaos. After Kate realizes that they forgot about Kevin, Frank could have made a phone-call to Harry and Marv at the airport in France and put the scheme of robbing the house and murdering Kevin into motion and when his scheme fails and Harry and Marv are arrested, Frank may not have gone back to the McAllister family because he felt disappointed that his plan didn't work. In the film, on the airplane, Frank tries to get his wife Leslie to steal real crystal.
In the scene which Kevin gets into fight a Buzz when Buzz eats Kevin's pizza. Frank rudely and nastily calls Kevin a "Little jerk" when Pepsi gets spilt over his lap. If you watch the film again carefully, Peter is seen knocking over the bottle of Pepsi spilling it on Frank's lap.