Danny DeVito was Steven Spielberg 's first choice for the part of Barney. DeVito felt his acting style was too gruff to properly portray Barney, and turned the part down. Subsequently, DeVito recommended Rick Moranis for the part.
Though other actors were considered, there really was nobody else in the running for the role of Fred Flintstone. Steven Spielberg had worked with John Goodman earlier and had already noticed the actors striking resemblance to Fred Flintstone. He actually told Goodman then and there that he (Goodman) was 'going to play Fred' for him.
On Elizabeth Taylor's first day onset, she was greeted with 30 bouquets of flowers, a Cartier watch, a prehistoric bowling ball with her name engraved on it and a bottle of her Passion perfume, that was redesigned in Bedrock-style fashion (this bottle can be seen in the film).
The "Bowling Alley" scene, (that was Fred Flintstone's favorite hobby) was almost not in the movie, it was added at the last moment, especially to add five minutes to the length of filming, so it would surpass 90 minutes, (without the Opening Credits & Closing Credits) because Fred's "Twinkle Toes" bowling style was such a big part of the series, they felt they couldn't leave it out.
The appearance of the Flintstones' saber-toothed cat marks one of the first, if not the first time for a furry CG character in a feature film. A specific, complex algorithm (for its time) had to be developed to calculate the movement of every single hair of the fur.
When Fred first arrives home from the quarry and sits in his recliner, he picks up a newspaper while talking to Wilma. The headline on the paper says "Pterodactyl Crashes into Andes, Eats Rugby Team to Survive". This is a reference to Uurguayan Air Force Flight 71 that crashed into the Andes mountains on Friday, October 13th, 1972, while flying a rugby team to a match. They were trapped on the mountain for 72 days, during which time some of the survivors were forced to eat the remains of some of their deceased comrades in order to survive.
One of the reasons Brian Levant was selected as the director was because he was a genuine fan of the animation series, The Flintstones (1960). He reportedly has a large personal collection of Flintstones merchandise.
The Jim Henson Creature Shop only had 12 weeks to create and deliver more than 20 creatures for this production. Project Supervisor Verner Gresty concentrated on creating the 6000 pound brontosaurus used in the opening sequence. Other creatures included a pair of giant lobster lawnmowers designed and built by Chris Fitzgeraldand Jamie Jackson-Moore and the Dictabird built by Jez Harris and Richard Gregory.
When the newspaper headlines are shown featuring stories about Fred Flinstone, the photo used is not of John Goodman but an original animated drawing of Fred Flintstone, that was voiced by Alan Reed, 34 - 28 years earlier (1960 - 1966).
The restaurant in which Barney is working as a busboy is called The Cavern on the Green, a reference to The Tavern on the Green in Manhattan's Central Park. The Tavern on the Green is where Louis Tully, also played by Rick Moranis, is attacked and possessed by the Terror Dog form of Vinz Clortho (The Keymaster) in Ghostbusters (1984).
The song playing on Fred's radio at the start of the film is the original recording of "The Bedrock Twitch" from the original TV series. Later in the film, the "BC-52s" perform a modernized version of the song. The version they recorded for the soundtrack CD, however, is a different arrangement than the one performed in the movie.
When Fred flies into his car at the beginning of the movie, after sliding off the Bronto-crane, John Goodman was actually lifted by a crane out of the car and the footage was just shown in reverse. This actually explains why the roof of Fred's car appears shorter during this scene, than it does for the rest of the movie. As a shorter roof would be necessary to shoot such a scene.
On 'Inside the Actors Studio', John Goodman revealed he was at first not keen to take on the role of Fred Flintstone, as he knew he would be saying "Yabba Dabba Doo!", in excitement, for the rest of his life.
At one point in the film a bird that uncorks bottles claims he hates his job. This is a parody of the cartoon series where the characters use animals and birds to 'act' as household appliances or tools and typically the creatures used would break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience.
At least than 35 writers worked on the film. Steven E. de Souza turned in the original draft in 1987, though Michael Wilson's 1992 draft later became the working model. When director Brian Levant signed on, he recruited Gary Ross to handle the screenplay; Ross turned in his draft in 1993. This was junked. Various other writers, including Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, worked on the script before Levant was finally happy in August of 1993. Though just three writers ended up being credited, a total of 32 people (including Levant and producer Bruce Cohen) were awarded the film's Golden Raspberry for Worst Screenplay. The time length of writing was more than six years before the writings & filming scenes were finally completed.
When Joel Silver was originally attached to the film as producer, he always had James Belushi in mind to play Fred Flintstone. When Silver left the project, he gave Belushi a silver Mercedes as payment.
John Goodman refused to watch any of The Flintstones (1960) animated cartoons, that was drawn by ABC animators & filmed 28 to 33 years earlier, while making the movie, and in fact, tried to change the voice of Fred. Steven Spielberg ensured him he had to do the cartoon voice.
Mitch Markowitz was hired to write the script. His version was said to be a cross of The Grapes of Wrath (1940). Markowitz commented that "I don't even remember it that well, but Fred and Barney leave their town during a terrible depression and go across the country, or whatever that damn prehistoric thing is, looking for jobs. They wind up in trailer parks trying to keep their families together. They exhibit moments of heroism and poignancy." This was apparently too sentimental for Richard Donner.
According to industry estimates, this project hired a record amount of writers to work on a single movie script during the course of many years. The number is approximately 35 different screenwriters, however only three are credited with writing it. 3 of 35, as fraction, just over 1/12, almost 11/12's or 32/35, to be precise & exact were uncredited.
John Goodman bought his then three year young daughter, (Molly Evangeline Goodman) onto the set, expecting her to be overwhelmed and excited, but she apparently was not even bothered. Molly was approximately three months from her fourth birthday when The Flintstones (1994) was theatrical release occurred.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When Cliff brings Fred the stack of slates to give the employees their "much needed time off", you can clearly see that they are pink in colour. This shows us that the employees are being fired due to the fact they are "pink slates" or "pink slips".
In the bowling alley, shortly before Fred bowls a strike and wins the interlodge championship, three of the guys from a competing lodge pose in a special way, one puts his hands over his eyes, the second puts his hands over his ears, and the third puts his hands over his mouth. This is a reference to well known statues called The Three Wise Monkeys: "Hear no evil," "See no evil," and "Speak no evil."