Matthew McConaughey states that the line "alright, alright, alright!" in the scene at the Top Notch drive-in was his first line ever spoken on camera in the first scene of his entire film career. The infectious line was hence repeated during production by the entire crew and has been one of McConaughey's trademark slogans, even using it during his Academy Award acceptance speech for best actor. He says that he ad-libbed the line, and lifted it from Jim Morrison, who exclaimed it during a performance on the album The Doors Live after the song "Roadhouse Blues."
While filming in Texas, Milla Jovovich (Michelle) and Shawn Andrews (Kevin Pickford) eloped to Las Vegas and got married. However, Jovovich was only 16 or 17 years old at that time, and her mother had the marriage annulled. It is further interesting that Milla's role in the immediately previous film she is credited for, Chaplin (1992), she portrayed an underage woman who married Charles Chaplin, who was subsequently put on trial for statutory rape.
Shawn Andrews and Jason London did not get along during the shoot, and Richard Linklater eventually had to break them up from fighting at one point. This wound up changing the ending, as it was to feature Pickford instead of Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey). This also accounts for their virtual lack of dialogue between each other, despite being in each other's scenes quite a bit.
Ron talks about how George Washington grew marijuana on his plantation at Mount Vernon which is true but it was not grown for people to smoke. He had large fields of cannabis on his plantation, which were used for fiber production. The tough fiber of the plant, cultivated as hemp, has numerous textile uses.
Top Notch Burgers, the drive-in restaurant in the movie, closed November 14, 2008, after the owner James Stanish passed away. Mr. Stanish worked at Top Notch for 38 years since he was 12 years old. His father originally started the business which he eventually took over. The restaurant has since been reopened (4-12-09).
On Thursday 7 October 2004, former high school classmates of Richard Linklater filed a lawsuit against Universal Studios saying that the director did not get their permission to use their likenesses and surnames and now suffer from ridicule. The three men are Bobby Wooderson, Andy Slater and Richard Floyd. The three men still live in Huntsville, Texas where according to the lawsuit "we had fun in high school." The lawsuit was eventually dismissed due to the statute of limitations having expired.
The soldier memorial statues to which Milla Jovovich adds KISS makeup were featured more prominently in the shooting script. Several scenes were filmed from their theft to their confiscation by the police. Some of these scenes were included as DVD bonus features, but several have never been officially released. Shortly after the film's release, Gene Simmons reportedly purchased the two statues for his private collection. He later sold them at the Butterfield's KISS Auction in 2000, for $6,000.
Rory Cochrane, who played Slater in the movie, actually wore a long-hair wig in the film. He said that he'd never had long hair before and that, despite the "cosmopolitan" atmosphere of Austin, Texas, he still got a lot of strange looks from people outside the set.
Led Zeppelin recorded a song entitled "Dazed and Confused" on the album "Led Zeppelin 1" released in 1969. There is a subtle reference/homage to Led Zeppelin in the movie. In the scene where Don gets Benny out of wood shop, just after Don gets Slater's attention to signal Benny, listen for Slater's line, "Man, I ain't believin' that shit about Bonham's 1-hour drum solo...I mean, 1 hour on drums...you couldn't handle that shit on strong acid, man." This is a reference to Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham who would frequently perform extended drum solos at concerts.
The location of the "Emporium" pool hall is at the 6600 block of North Lamar Blvd and Brentwood St. in Austin. The building directly across Brentwood from this location, where O'Bannion gets his just desserts with the white paint ambush, is a former roller rink.
The infamous hazing scene was shot at the old Americana Theater (out of operation at the time) located at 2200 Hancock Dr., just off Burnet Rd in Austin. It is now the Yarborough Branch of the city library, but still retains some of the original exteriors and signs from the films era.
Mike, Tony and Cynthia featured in additional scenes, including one in which they steal beer from Cynthia's neighbor's garage (accompanying this scene was Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath"). This scene was shot but was not included in DVD bonus footage.