In the film's beginning, the Andrea Gail is shown offloading an unimpressive catch, and Billy Tyne is depicted as having "lost his touch." In reality, Tyne and his crew returned from that trip with an abundant catch. Likewise, the relationship between Tyne and Linda Greenlaw was fictitious. Tyne and Greenlaw were barely acquainted in real-life.
Towards the end of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's emotional speech in the church at Gloucester, her microphone picked up her pounding heartbeat. Wolfgang Petersen liked the effect, so it remains audible on the soundtrack.
Legal Sea Foods, a Boston-based restaurant, purchased the Lady Grace, the ship used as the Andrea Gail in the film. For a while, it was in Gloucester, Massachusetts as a floating memorial to fishermen who have lost their lives at sea. It was later sold to a commercial fishing operation, then ravaged by fire. Its current location and disposition are unknown.
The family members of Billy Tyne and Dale Murphy did not like the movie. In 2000, they sued Time Warner and the other production companies in federal district court in Florida. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants in 2002. The plaintiffs appealed. In turn, the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit could not make up its mind on how to interpret a key Florida statute. The case was sent or "certified" to the Florida Supreme Court to resolve that limited question.
At the end of the movie, as George Clooney narrates, he mentions, "Blow your air horn and you throw a wave to the lighthouse keeper's kid on Thacher Island." The lighthouse shown during this scene is not on Thacher Island, but is in fact The Eastern Point Lighthouse. Thacher Island has the Twin Lighthouses that look nothing like the one depicted in the film.
George Clooney references "waving to the lighthouse keeper's kid on Thacher's Island". The Thacher's Island twin lighthouses were automated by the Coast Guard in 1980, meaning nobody resided there in 1991.
The name on the container ship is "Aeolis," an ancient country in Asia, not "Aeolus," a type of printing font. The font used on the side of the sailing ship Mistral as well as on the life preservers is "Mistral," designed by Roger Excoffon in 1953. The font is also sold as "Aeolus," which is the name of the tanker shown losing cargo in the storm.
This is the first of three films for Mark Wahlberg to portray a character with a derivative of the name Robert. The second is Four Brothers (2005), where he portrayed Bobby Mercer; the third is Shooter (2007), in which he portrayed Bob Lee Swagger.
Along with The Perfect Storm and From Dusk Till Dawn, George Clooney and John Hawkes have also worked together on the hit show ER. Hawkes has a minor role on the 4th season premiere called "Ambushed" which was aired live on NBC on 9/25/97.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The real Linda Greenlaw returned to sword fishing in 2008, and was part of the Discovery Channel series "Swords: Life on the Line." In that show, she references the true events of "The Perfect Storm", and reminisces about losing her friends on the Andrea Gail.