Stanley Kubrick greatly admired this film, calling it "a new way to have talk advance the narrative." He was especially impressed with Thomas Gibson, and cast him in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) without an audition on the basis of his performance here.
Director Cameo: Whit Stillman on the dance floor at the disco club along with cinematographer John Thomas and a few of the camera crew in the opening shot as dancing extras during the dance number "You've Got What It Takes" just before Ted and Montserrat arrive. Stillman is the one on the extreme left looking into a teleprompter just off-camera (identifiable from the shining white light from the teleprompter screen).
When Fred is called a "fascist" by some local young men because of the uniform he is wearing, he angrily responds with, "Men wearing this uniform died ridding Europe of fascism!" While this is true, he is missing a larger point. Men wearing that uniform did rid Europe of two fascist dictators (Hitler and Mussolini), because Spain had remained nominally neutral, Franco was left in place as the fascist military dictator of Spain where he stayed until his death in 1975, still within the memory of the characters in the film. During the Spanish Civil War, Franco and Mussolini had bombed Barcelona, targeting civilian areas killing thousands. After gaining control, he was especially repressive of (culturally and linguistically distinct) Catalonia, the region of which Barcelona is the capitol, suppressing (often brutally) the language, culture, and Catalonia's political autonomy. Fred's response might even engender more resentment than gratitude.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Whit Stillman worked in Spain and fell in love with a Spanish woman, ultimately marrying her. He then wrote "Barcelona," about an American working in Spain who falls in love with and ultimately marries a Spanish woman. The lead actor in this film, Taylor Nichols, fell in love with an extra in the production and ultimately married her (his wife, Margarita de Eguilior, is the woman dressed in white who joins the limbo dance in the "too early for dancing" party scene).
Terrorism was originally a larger subplot in the movie. There's a scene inside the bombed USO showing the aftermath of the bombing, as well as a longer sequence at Ted's wedding where Ramon, the US sailor and the US Consul are shot, as well as the gunmen pursued and killed by the Catalan police. These scenes can be seen on the Criterion edition of the film.