An old cold storage building that was part of an abandoned fruit cannery in Gresham, Oregon was used for the construction of props (John F. Kennedy High School road sign) The interior and exterior of the apartment they lived in as well as the house seen later in the film. The apartment exterior was recreated after an actual building located in Portland, Or.
Jean Louisa Kelly, who plays Rowena, did all her own singing & dancing she is in fact a trained singer, dancer, and actress. In addition to movies she has done a number of stage productions including playing Snow White, the understudy for Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood in the original Broadway production of Into the Woods.
Although his character Glenn Holland uses rock and pop music in class (and at one point says he "loves it" ) and is also a fan of jazz, Richard Dreyfuss confessed on Inside the Actors Studio that he has always hated Rock and Roll and the one sound that he hates most is "the electric guitar."
Near the film's conclusion the piecemeal orchestra, made up of former students of Mr Holland, plays his long awaited composition. As Mr Holland demonstrates throughout the film, he is a great admirer of John Lennon, so it is only fitting that the very last note played in his piece of music is exactly the same struck piano chord heard in the Beatles, "A Day in the Life" (although The Beatles chord is an E Major while the Mr. Holland chord appears to be an F Major).
In the scene of Mr. Holland waking his wife after he has seen Rowena off on her bus to New York Glenn and Iris share the classic exchange from "Empire Strikes Back" (Glenn, "I love you." Iris, " I know.") This is notable because at the beginning of this chapter we see a "Welcome Back Class of 1980" banner above the school, the same year "Empire" was released in theaters.