Many references to fairy tales (most recorded by the Grimms) are slightly different from the actual tales: Little Red Riding Hood is referenced only by her red cape, the heroic woodsman from "Little Red Riding Hood" is an evil henchman, the Big Bad Wolf is a large wolf instead of a diabolical personification, Rapunzel is an evil queen who locks herself in a tower to escape a plague, the Gingerbread Man is an incarnation of a mud monster, Jack from Jack and The Beanstalk becomes Jake, "Hans" and "Greta" are the original forms of the diminutives "Hänsel and Gretel" (i.e. "little Hans and little Greta"), Cinderella (Aschenputtel in German) is really the Grimm Brothers as they scrub the floors (the deleted scene on the DVD shows it better), the evil queen is also the queen from Snow White, all the girls' fingers are pricked as they fall into a deep sleep just like Sleeping Beauty, the Woodsman places slippers (which turn to glass) on Sasha's feet as he prepares her for the crypt, and Jake tells everyone a story of an imp whose name they had to guess, a clear reference to Rumpelstiltskin.
The most expensive scene in the movie was cut because it occurred quite early in the story, and nothing would have been able to top it. The scene, available on DVD, would have occurred on the brothers' first trip in the forest with Angelika. The party is attacked by a tree, which grabs Angelika with a branch and swings her up in the air. The scene's special effects were almost completed before it was cut.
Because of problems with the Writers Guild of America, Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni were not able to credit themselves as writers of the screenplay, despite the many changes they made to Ehren Kruger's original script. They invented a credit for themselves as "Dress Pattern Makers" and were quoted as saying that the film was made from a "dress pattern," not necessarily made a "screenplay."