Liam Neeson expected the film to bomb, but he signed on, in order spend four months in Paris, and learn karate, while playing the kind of role he had rarely been offered in the past. Ironically, not only was the film a massive hit, but created a new on-screen image for Neeson, as an action hero.
Jeff Bridges was first cast as Bryan Mills, but after he dropped out of the project, Liam Neeson accepted the part, desiring to play a more physically demanding role than he was used to. Bridges eventually saw the film, and said Neeson was a much better choice for the role.
In a scene, Jean Claude (Olivier Rabourdin ) is telling the story of Little Red Riding Hood to his two children. Little Red Riding Hood has been used as a lesson to children to never trust strangers who might wish to harm them. It has also been used as a warning against prostitution. Both themes appear in the film.
The map that Bryan is holding, when he finds out about the girls' plans at the airport at the beginning of the movie, is an old Europe map (probably dated 1992), as the now dissolved Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia can clearly be seen. Czechoslovakia separated into two independent countries, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, in 1993. Yugoslavia was dissolved in 1992.
Near the end, Bryan jumps off of the "Pont des Arts," a pedestrian-only bridge in Paris. In the scene, the bridge is desolate, whereas most nights, people flock there to socialize, drink wine, and play the guitar.