In the first movie where Al Pacino and Robert De Niro starred together, The Godfather: Part II (1974), they both played gangsters. In their second movie Heat (1995), Pacino was a cop, and DeNiro was a gangster. In this, their third movie together, they are both cops. This is also the first movie where they have extended interaction. They never shared a scene in The Godfather: Part II (1974) and in Heat (1995) they only had two scenes.
When Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Brian Dennehy are speaking about the murder investigation of "Bob Brady", De Niro says, "Seriously, Lieutenant, how far do you want us to go with this Rambo murder?" Dennehy was the main antagonist, "Sheriff Will Teasle" in First Blood (1982).
The initial cut of this movie ran for two hours, but after a rather negative test screening, Nu Image hastily re-cut the film down to its slender one hour and forty-one minutes to make it more fast-paced and action-orientated. Snippets of some of the deleted scenes can be seen in the trailer.
Overture Films paid a little over twelve million dollars for the American distribution rights, beating out Warner Brothers Pictures and Universal Pictures, who also put in bids of over ten million dollars.
While staking out Turk (Robert De Niro) as a potential suspect, Riley (Donnie Wahlberg) and Perez (John Leguizamo) talk about Turk's marksmanship scores, remarking about his skill and accuracy while saying "Even Berkowitz put a hole in the Corinthian leather." This is a reference to David Berkowitz, also known as the "Son of Sam", who was a serial killer who targeted young women with dark hair. In the Spike Lee movie, Summer of Sam (1999), John Leguizamo starred as a resident in a movie about the infamous Son of Sam, real name of David Berkowitz, and his effect on the citizens of a small neighborhood in New York City.
Robert De Niro and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson appeared in Freelancers (2012) and Last Vegas (2013). Although De Niro had a leading role in all three, Jackson had just a minor role in Last Vegas (2013), playing himself.
When Al Pacino is asked by the psychiatrist what he would do if he retired, Rooster answers "I don't know, buy a boat." In the movie, Donnie Brasco, Al Pacino plays Lefty, who has an affinity for boats, and wants one he cannot afford. Near the end of the movie, Donny Brasco asks Pacino if he had his boat would he sail away & leave organized crime.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Pacino's and De Niro's characters are only ever referred to by their nicknames "Rooster" (Pacino) and "Turk" (DeNiro) through the majority of the film, as to not give away the twist ending that the video "confession" being read by Turk where he reveals that David Fisk aka Rooster is responsible for the on-going murders that he and Turk are investigating.
After De Niro's video statement revealing that "there is a bullet lodged in his torso that was meant for me" there is a scene at Carla Gugino's apartment with De Niro shirtless showing a surgical scar on his back, hinting that he is in fact the one with the bullet in his torso, not Pacino.