Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence spent weeks practicing the climactic ballroom dance routine with choreographer Mandy Moore. "None of that was improvised, absolutely not," asserts Lawrence. "I'm a terrible dancer, so I would never have been able to do any of that. When it finally came together, that scene really was just as fun as it feels." Lawrence even mentioned that compared to her, Cooper took to dancing quite naturally, when in fact it's her character Tiffany that's supposed to be the experienced dancer, and Pat, the amateur.
Among its 8 Academy Award nominations, this film became the first to earn nods in all four acting categories since Reds (1981) and the first "Big Five" (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Writing) nominee since Million Dollar Baby (2004). Director David O. Russell repeated the same rare feat the following year with American Hustle (2013).
Tiffany's appearance was originally more "goth", Jennifer Lawrence dyed her hair black and wore heavy dark makeup for costume tests but Harvey Weinstein disapproved, so the goth elements were toned down. Lawrence was also advised by David O. Russell to gain weight for the role.
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Dr. Steven Schlozman was interviewed about this film and its depictions of mental illness for the December 3, 2012 edition of Vulture. He diagnosed Tiffany's unnamed condition as Borderline Personality Disorder.
David O. Russell has said in interviews that one of the main reasons why he cast Bradley Cooper was that, seeing his work, he noticed that sometimes Cooper looked really angry and trying to suppress it, something he needed for the character of Pat.
During an interview with the National Public Radio program "Weekend Edition Sunday," Jacki Weaver said that David O. Russell gave her and Robert De Niro a back-story for their characters that included the fact that even though they had been married for 30-plus years, they still make love twice a week.
The title "Silver Linings Playbook" is a source of confusion for some, especially people not very familiar with idiomatic English. The "Silver Linings" part of the title comes from the common expression "every cloud has a silver lining," which means "look on the bright side" or "nothing is all bad." The first documented use of the phrase in this way is from John Milton's 1634 work "Comus I." A "Playbook" is a written or mental list of athletic strategies that a coach creates to guide a team through a game or a sport. So in combination, the title refers to an arsenal of strategies for Pat to use while trying to look on the brighter side of life. Similar expressions were used in foreign releases, such as: "The Bright Side of Things", "The Bright Side of Life", or "Games of Destiny" (Spain/Latin America), "Optimistic Guide" (Greece), "Happiness Therapy" (France), "Positive Thinking" (Italy), "Guide for Ultimate Happiness" (Portugal), "My Light of Hope" (Turkey), and "Sunny Side" (Hungary) to name a few.
Throughout the movie, Dolores (Jacki Weaver) announces to her family and visiting friends that she has made "crabby snacks and homemades" for them to eat while watching football. Many critics and viewers outside of the Philadelphia area assumed this was some sort of term for a Philadelphia Eagles food tradition, but most Philadelphia-area viewers were just as mystified by the term as everyone else. Weaver herself, in a November 2012 New York Magazine interview, admitted that she couldn't remember what the term meant, although she had known at the time of shooting the movie. Finally, the Philadelphia Daily News reported that "crabby snacks" are a canapé that Doreen Quick (mother of Matthew Quick who wrote this story) used to make for game days and other gatherings. The recipe consists of canned crabmeat and processed cheese cooked together and spread onto English muffins, and cut into quarters. "Homemades" are beef rolls covered with bread crumbs and simmered in tomato sauce.
When Tiffany runs out of the diner and Pat chases her on their raisin bran "date" and they stop in front of the movie theater on Halloween to argue; the movie on the marquee is The Midnight Meat Train (2008), a previous Bradley Cooper picture.
In the early release version of the movie Pat Sr. incorrectly states the Eagles beat the Cowboys 21 to 6. In the wide release version the correct score of the 2008 game has been dubbed in, and his character states the Eagles won 44-6.
Despite a large part of the plot, and the last word of the title, being related to American football fandom, there is actually very little football to be seen in the film. The only time that the viewer gets to see the game actually being played on screen is on a small screen while the dance competition is going on.
The song played at Pat and Nikki's wedding (and later used to trigger Pat's mental breakdowns) is Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour". The song itself is about an unrequited love, much like Pat's one-sided love for Nikki.
Jacki Weaver contributed to a critical aspect of the film. "I was sitting there with 300 other people in the ballroom watching the dance scene," she recalls. "It's crucial that they get 5 points in order to win the parlay bet. The judges kept holding up their scores in take after take. I'm not great at math, but I kept adding them up thinking, 'That doesn't add up to 5.' So I told one of the producers that it didn't average 5 and he said, 'Oh my God!' and they changed it. So yeah, I saved the film."
Pat Sr.'s OCD requires his TV remotes to always be on the table next to the couch facing a certain way. At the end of the movie, the remotes are on the coffee table in front of the couch because he is learning to control his OCD.