Whenever this film was shot on location, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the crew would clean the area of debris, grime, trash and graffiti, so that the real settings would match the fantastic nature of the film. This was an especially difficult task when it came time to shoot at the huge train station.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet originally wanted Michael Nyman to score the film, but was unable to get him. Someone then gave Jeunet a CD by Yann Tiersen, who composes in a similar minimalist style, but with an extremely quirky, eclectic mix of instruments. Jeunet fell in love with the music and scored the film largely with existing pieces by Tiersen, for which he bought the rights. In addition, Tiersen wrote an original main theme, "La Valse d'Amelie," which was recorded in numerous variations and used throughout the film.
The traveling gnome was inspired by a rash of similar pranks played in England and France in the 1990s. In 1997, a French court convicted the leader of Front de Libération des Nains de Jardins (Garden Gnome Liberation Front) of stealing over 150 gnomes. The idea was later used in an advertising campaign for an Internet travel agency.
Hipolito is a reference to the secondary character Hippolite Terentyev, an unlucky philosopher, from the novel 'The Idiot' (1869) by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The main character of the novel is a person who is innocent, naive and immensely kind just like Amélie -- most likely the film was inspired by the book.
In the introduction, when the narrator says "nine months later, she was born", the footage shows a pregnant woman's stomach growing larger during her nine months of pregnancy. This footage was taken from a time-lapse film called 17 Seconds to Sophie (1998). It was shot in 16mm of the mother (Carol Cote) by the father (Bill Cote) of the daughter (Sophie Cote) using a Bolex mounted on a wall. The dad clicked off two frames a day, for the entire nine months. The lighting was fixed, the background was fixed, the focus was fixed. The only thing that changed was the mother's stomach and her hair (you can see the length of her hair growing and receding with the passage of time). The film won first prize in the Shorts International Film Festival (experimental category) in New York, 1998.
In the original film, when Amélie goes to Mr. Collignon's parents, the father, who makes holes in flowers, says he'd rather make these holes into lilacs. This is a direct reference to French singer Serge Gainsbourg's song "Le poinçonneur des Lilas". The reference is not translated in the English subtitles.
Nino's last name is "Quincampoix". Quincampoix is also a village about sixty miles northwest of Paris. It's a rare surname even in France, so this is likely not a coincidence: buried in Quincampoix is the champion cyclist Jacques Anquetil, who for many years was tough competition for Federico Martín Bahamontes -- the same Bahamontes whose win of the '59 Tour de France the young Dominique Bretodeau cheers on in the film. (Anquetil placed third in the same race.)
To brighten up the Glass Man's day, Amélie records a bicycle race for him in which an escaped horse gallops alongside the riders. The Glass Man later makes an oblique reference to the Tour de France, though the footage is actually from a different race, the Critérium International in 1997.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet had been having trouble finding the right actress to cast as the lead in his film. Then he happened to see a poster for the film Venus Beauty (1999) featuring Audrey Tautou and he knew he'd found his leading lady.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet: hans] Death of Amélie's mother. An orphan is considered to have lost both parents. As Amélie's father is still alive, she is not considered an orphan. However, Jean-Pierre Jeunet often portrays children who have suffered the loss of one or both parents.