In the film, Laura Bishop shouts at various family members through a bullhorn. The idea came from co-writer Roman Coppola's childhood, as his mother Eleanor Coppola used a bullhorn in a similar fashion.
According to Jared Gilman, the scene that required the most takes was the one where he held up the beetle earrings to Suzy. Each time he did it, either the earrings weren't entirely in the frame, or he wasn't holding them correctly.
When Suzy is reading "Disappearance of the Sixth Grade" at the Mile 3.25 Tidal Inlet campground and continues onto "Part Two" after Sam says to read on, it is just about the exact midway point of the film: the spoken words occur at 46:59, with 46:56 left in the movie. This moment also marks the transition of the film's plot, of course, so Suzy's "reading" also informs the audience of the shift in the movie's tone and direction.
During filming, Wes Anderson rented an old mansion in Newport, Rhode Island for himself, editor Andrew Weisblum, and director of cinematography Robert D. Yeoman, in which they had a room set up for editing the film. It had been arranged for the cast to stay in a nearby hotel called The Vanderbilt Grace, but eventually some of the actors also decided to stay at the mansion, including Edward Norton and Jason Schwartzman. Murray later joked that the theory was to have everyone close by so that they could all work "ungodly art-movie hours."
According to Wes Anderson, Suzy's discovery of the "Coping with a Troubled Child" pamphlet was based on a similar experience from his own childhood: "It wasn't anything terrible. It's just something that at the time, when I found it, I was like, 'What is this!' I immediately knew who that troubled child was even though hypothetically it could have been someone else."
There are numerous references to corn. Added to the film being bathed in yellows and oranges, remarks are made about maize, Scout Master Ward is seen reading "Indian Corn" magazine twice, Sam constantly smokes from a corncob pipe, the three Bishop boys are eating only corn on the cob in one dinner scene, the coffee pot in his Sam's foster parents kitchen has the famous Corning Corn Flower pattern on the exterior and the end of the film mentions the best corn crop the island has had in 50 years.
When Sam is surrounded by the scouts in Lightning Field, he says, "On this spot, I will fight no more, forever!", which is from the Surrender Speech by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe. In 1877, Chief Joseph attempted to lead his people on an 1100-mile journey to Canada to escape the U.S. Army. They made it within 40 miles before they were surrounded, and Chief Joseph made his speech.
The controversial dance scene on the beach was saved for the very end of filming, so that the two young actors would be comfortable around each other, and was done on a closed set (just the two actors, the director, and the cameraman).
Before filming, neither Kara Hayward nor Jared Gilman had ever seen a typewriter in person. Hayward later said, "Fran (Frances McDormand) had a lot of fun with that. She couldn't believe it. She showed me that the keys are in the same place as now (on computers)."
Commenting on the film's connection to the first time he fell in love, director Wes Anderson has said, "Well, what I wanted to do was re-create the feeling of that memory. The movie is kind of like a fantasy that I think I would have had at that age. When you're 11 or 12 years old, you can get so swept up in a book that you start to believe that the fantasy is reality. I think when you have a giant crush when you're in fifth grade, it becomes your whole world. It's like being underwater; everything is different."
While Suzy's books in the movie are fake, "Noye's Fludde", is in fact a real 1957 opera by Benjamin Britten. The text is based on an edition by Alfred W. Pollard of an early 15th-century mystery play from the Chester Mystery Cycle. The opera is written to be performed by a cast primarily of amateurs, and Britten requested it be performed in a church or a large hall but not in a theatre. Hence why it is being done by children in a church.
Some of the ranks shown on the patches of the Khaki Scouts include Scout Master (Randy Ward), Field Mate (Shakusky) Reptile Patrol (Roosevelt), Woodmaster (Skotak), Judo Expert (Redford), H2O Purifier (Deluca), Bear Spotter (Panagle), Flint Chipper (Panagle), and Petty Bugler (Lazy-Eye). Some have multiple ranks (in addition to Panagle, Gadge also holds multiple ranks: Signal Scout, Arrowhead, and Knife Hunter) whereas some have only one (Cousin Ben is only a Legionnaire).
During the closing credits, the voice of a young person introduces various instruments as they join in playing a song - an obvious reference to the records played in the Hayward home. This method of spoken introduction has however also been used outside of education recordings, such as in the obscure 1967 song "Intro and Outro" by the Bonzo Dog (Doo-Dah) Band where atypical and strange instruments are introduced as played by unusual and unlikely musicians (such as John Wayne and Adolf Hitler), and in Mike Oldfield's seminal 1973 work "Tubular Bells" where Part One is concluded by Vivian Stanshall as "Master of Ceremonies" crediting one by one the instruments used earlier in the piece. Co-incidentally, tubular bells are listed as part of the deconstruction of the Desplat piece.
The twice divorced Bill Murray plays a character that has marital issues in this movie. His character also has marital issues in several of his previous collaborations with Wes Anderson, including Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). His character in Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) is happily married, however.
The Bishop residence contains a number of paintings of various locations around the movie, including the Bishop residence, Camp Ivanhoe, the New Penzance Post Office, and Fort Lebanon, as well as a significant number of paintings of ships. The paintings of the locations around the movie are later seen in the credits.
All the Khaki Scouts have a pendant tied to their neckerchiefs, at the base of their necks. Some of these include raccoon hair (Sam), a lobster figurine (Lazy-Eye), a miniature canoe (Gadge), an ax (Deluca), an ice cream bar on a Popsicle stick (Nickleby), and a campfire (Scout Master Ward).
The brief shot of the inside of Scout Master Ward's "Indian Corn" magazine reveals that the magazine is based in Clinton, NJ 01012. However, the ZIP code 01012 is actually the real life ZIP code for Chesterfield, Massachusetts, a location mentioned in the movie as where Sam's foster family lives. Jared Gilman, who plays Sam, is, in real life, from the aforementioned New Jersey.
All the Khaki Scouts have their last names etched right below their rank on the left side of their chest. Cousin Ben's last name is never mentioned by anyone in the movie, but the name "Mazursky" can be seen upon close inspection. This is possibly a reference to Paul Mazursky, another director whom director Wes Anderson is a fan of.
The movie opens with a painting of Summer's End, and ends with a painting of Moonrise Kingdom. The camera then fades to a shot of the actual campsite Sam is painting from memory, after he and Suzy renamed it.
The title of the movie comes from the name Sam and Suzy give Mile 3.25 Tidal Inlet when they decide they don't like the name; however, it is only seen at the end, written on the beach in Sam's painting of Moonrise Kingdom/Mile 3.25 Tidal Inlet.
It was originally scripted that Sam would reveal that his parents were hit by a drunk truck driver when he talks with Captain Sharp in Captain Sharp's trailer. This part of the scene did not end up in the final version of the movie.
When Captain Sharp demands to know where Sam and Suzy went in the church near the end of the movie, the scouts of Troop 55 are in disguise when one points Captain Sharp up a ladder to the roof. The one that points Captain Sharp towards Sam and Suzy has a cleft chin, and only Nickleby has a cleft chin.