During the film's premiere at the New York Film Festival, many members of the audience including Ferrara's wife walked out of the theater. At the question-and-answer session that Ferrara held after the screening, the first question asked was, "This film is an abomination. Why aren't you giving the proceeds to some drug rehab program?" At a second showing of the film the next day, Laurence Fishburne and 'Nicholas St. John (I)' were booed off the stage.
James Russo turned down the part Jimmy Jump. Laurence Fishburne, who had already been cast as Thomas Flanagan, persistently begged director Abel Ferrara for an audition for the part. He got the part just by coming in looking exactly as he does in the film and did not have to audition.
The interior scenes in which Wesley Snipes and 'David Caruso' are seen driving around during the final car chase were actually shot in a warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn with rubber hoses placed on top of the roof of the car to make it look as if it was raining for continuity.