Towards the end of the movie, Charlie Wilson is presented with one of the Stingers he helped provide to the Afghanis. In an interview, the real Charlie Wilson said the Stinger is one of his most prized possessions, kept in "a very honored spot in my home."
In addition to the lifestyle portrayed on screen, Charlie Wilson had a DUI Hit-and-Run charge on the Key Bridge, outside Georgetown. He was never indicted; otherwise, he would have been far less successful securing money for his project in Afghanistan. The History Channel documentary about his life suggests that he drank that night (and other nights) to ease the pain he felt for the Afghan people.
Near the end, while Charlie Wilson is standing on the balcony with Gust Avrakotos during a party celebrating the defeat of the Soviet army in Afghanistan, Gust warns Charlie of future problems if he and the other members of Congress do not follow up on giving economic aid to the Afghani's. As Gust finished this warning, Charlie thinks about what he said, and you hear an airliner flying over Washington, D.C. It is an obvious, ominous reference to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
A vintage Miss Texas photo of Mary Nell Hubbard (1958) was used for a scene in the movie because Julia Roberts plays a former beauty queen. Hubbard wouldn't take payment for the photo she provided. She privately joked, "I've gone from a headline to an archive to an artifact," and her daughter gently teases her that she is a body double for Julia Roberts.
At the function thrown by Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) for President Zia (Om Puri), Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) denies to President Zia that he can guarantee anything, saying that he has already come close to violating the Logan Act. The Logan Act was enacted in 1799, at the beginning of the U.S.'s history, and prevents any individual from attempting to negotiate with, or influence, any foreign government over any matter of interest or significance to the U.S. government without the U.S. government's authorization. Since its adoption, there has never been a successful prosecution under the Logan Act, and no member of Congress has ever been charged with a violation of the Logan Act, despite public outcries over efforts by various members of Congress to express their own views about certain U.S. policies.
Charlie Wilson is invited to Joanne Herring's home for a party. In her house, we see a full length painting of her. Except for Julia Roberts's features, this painting is a copy of John Singer Sargent's "Madame X".
An early draft of the script made the connections between the mission in Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks much more explicit. It was dropped when both Mike Nichols and Tom Hanks cut those scenes and made the subjects present but more implicit.
The movie makes a point of citing Charlie Wilson's close ties to the Israelis, including his contact with a Mossad agent who helps arrange the Stinger transfers with Pakistan, but an early draft of the script had a sequence taken directly from Joseph Crile's book, in which Charlie suspends working with Israel for a long time over his anger and disgust over events in the 1982 Lebanon War. The script dropped this, because Wilson and the Israelis got back to the point of working closely together, and it was decided the 1982-set subplot was unnecessary.
In one scene, Joanne (played by Julia Roberts) mentions that the campaign film she presented to Charlie wasn't a quality film to be submitted to the Golden Globes. Coincidentally, this film managed to get nominated in five categories at the Globes.