Ghost Dog shoots Handsome Frank first in the stomach, then in the chest, then in the head. These shots follow the same pattern as seppuku, Japanese ritual suicide, in which the first cut with a sword or knife is made across the belly, the second cut up toward the sternum, and finally the suicide dips his head and is decapitated by his assistant.
In several scenes in the movie the main character can be seen wearing a shirt that has Chinese writing on it. The text is from the Qing dynasty and means "All things are impermanent, this is the rule of creation and destruction, once created already extinguished, silently ending is the path to happiness." (Pin yin: zhu xing wu chang, shi sheng mie fa, sheng mie mie yi, ji mie wei yue)
Some of the cartoons the characters watch in the movie correspond to events that occur. For example, Betty Boop calling in pigeons on a rooftop in the first cartoon. Later on in another scene, Ghost dog sees a woodpecker. The next scene shows Vargo watching Woody Woodpecker.
Many consider this to have been a "definitive role" for Whitaker. In a manner similar to his preparation for Bird, he again immersed himself in his character's world; he studied Eastern philosophy and meditated for long hours "to hone his inner spiritual hitman." Jarmusch has told interviewers that he developed the title character with Whitaker in mind; the New York Times review of the film observed that "It's hard to think of another actor who could play a cold-blooded killer with such warmth and humanity.
The club that Ghost Dog drives by before he steals his new clothes is called Liquid Sword. "Liquid Swords" is the name of The GZA's second album, which was produced by The RZA, who also provided the original score for the film.
When Ghost Dog is in the park, just before Raymond, the Haitian ice cream man, is introduced, the Crips in the park are rhyming to the beat of Raekwon's 1995 song "Ice Cream," which was produced by The RZA, who also composed the film's score
The original US prints of the film had a printing error. In a scene where Ghost Dog and Raymond have a conversation in different languages, Raymond's dialogue initially not subtitled. When director Jim Jarmusch and the distributor caught wind of this, the original prints were pulled and re-struck versions with subtitles were released less than two weeks after opening. New York and Los Angeles audiences also got the opportunity to see the correct version for free if they had seen the original print without the subtitles.
Two of the emcees in the park (when the "Ice Cream" beat can be heard) are Timbo King and Dreddy Kruger. They are both members of the 'Wu-Tang Killa Beez'. The RZA, who scored the movie, is the leader of all things related to Wu-Tang Clan and its affiliates.
Most of the license plates visible on cars in the film read "Industrial State." (A New York inspection sticker is visible in the windshield of a car that Ghost Dog drives, however.) When Ghost Dog swaps his plates with those of another car at a rest stop, the new, differently colored plates read "Highway State." Both are fictional nicknames.
The gadget Ghost Dog used to break into prospective cars, was most likely a homemade Radio Frequency Cloning device. It fools the car's receiver by transmitting all possible codes in rapid succession. Once the code is accepted, it disengages the engine immobilizer and can activate the ignition system.