Crew members experienced a tragic event on the last day of filming. On September 11, 2015, stunt pilot Alan D. Purwin and his Venezuelan co-pilot, Carlos Berl, were killed when their small, twin-engine Aerostar plane crashed during foggy conditions in the Andes, near Medellin, Colombia. The pilots had just finished their work on the film prior to the crash, which left a sole survivor, Jimmy Lee Garland, who suffered serious injury. Ten minutes before the fatal crash, Tom Cruise had been aboard a helicopter taking the same route in similar weather conditions as the ill-fated flight.
The man Barry spoke to in the hallway of the White House, Connor Trinneer, is George W. Bush, who is the son of then Vice President George H. W. Bush. He mentions he flew with the Air National Guard from 1968-74.
The airplane that Barry Seal was flying throughout most of the movie (officially registered N164HH, and appeared with this registration in the movie), crashed on 11 Sept. 2015 on the last day of filming, causing 2 fatalities.
Since August 24th, Tom Cruise was seen filming on location in Medellín, Colombia, and also on other Colombian towns that were real places where Barry Seal had to move when he was a pilot for the Medellin Cartel.
The small town of Ball Ground, Georgia, was transformed into the real town of Mena, Arkansas for this movie. This is the largest event of a public nature and this type of grand exposure to occur in Ball Ground's history.
The families of pilots Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl sued the producers for the deaths of the two pilots on the last day of filming, alleging negligence on the part of the filmmakers. Both families also sued each other and the surviving pilot, Jimmy Lee Garland.
Doug Liman has acknowledged that the film's zero-gravity love scene was his idea, and that he received the inspiration for it after he and Tom Cruise collided in the cockpit while filming a flight scene.
Tom Cruise, director Doug Liman and writer Gary Spinelli lived together in the house that was used for filming. They all did daily chores and Cruise obtained a separate section of the refrigerator because he didn't want his food contaminated by Liman's "junk."
Mauricio Mejía the Colombian actor who portrays 'Pablo Escobar' in this film, also played the same role of Escobar in his beginnings; on the first episode of the Mega-Production of Caracol Televisión and Telemundo Pablo Escobar: El Patrón del Mal (2012).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The DEA, ATF, & FBI never raided Barry Seal's airport in Mena, Arkansas as portrayed in the movie. He was arrested in Ft Lauderdale in 1983 for attempting to smuggle quaaludes into the U.S. This is what lead him to be a DEA informant on the Medellin Cartel.
When the Arkansas State Attorney General receives a call from the Governor that leads to Seal's release from custody, she answers "hello Bill". Bill Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983 to 1992.
After Barry Seal's brother in law, JB, is arrested, JB says he is freaked out because he has two strikes, and one more will get him life in prison. The three strikes laws didn't come about until the nineties, federally after the Polly Klaas kidnapping/murder by Richard Allan Davis.
When Barry is ordered to land his plane by the Border Patrol their plane is branded U.S. Customs and Border Protection. CBP didn't come into existence until March 1, 2003 with the formation of the Department of Homeland Security.
At the 34 min mark, when Barry (Tom Cruise) and his family are leaving their Louisiana house through the garage to evade the coming police raid, the location description onscreen reads "Mena '80" referring to their destination in Arkansas, however, they're still in Louisiana because the Louisiana police are shown passing them by headed to their house immediately after the "Mena '80" location description is shown.