Random Trivia For This Title:
- Professor [?] Len Adleman is one of the three mathematicians who invented the RSA (he's the "A") cryptosystem, currently the preeminent method of encrypting any form of data in the world. Adleman served as a mathematical consultant on this movie, and spent several days constructing the slides Janek (Donal LogueDonal Logue) displays at the college symposium on "unbreakable codes" (which took Adleman a considerable amount of time to create using primitive early 1990s computer graphics technology). In the end, writer and director Phil Alden RobinsonPhil Alden Robinson had the slides transposed as oil crayon scribbles, on account of the notion that "That's what a regular mathematician would have done." Adleman later remarked that this was indeed true, and what he would have done, and would have saved him days if only he'd known.
- When Martin (Gary HershbergerGary Hershberger) and Cosmo (Jo MarrJo Marr) attempt their initial prank at the beginning of the movie, the fašade building seen is the famous Hill Valley clock tower from the Back to the Future (1985) trilogy.
- While picking through Dr. Brandes' (Stephen TobolowskyStephen Tobolowsky's) trash, Mother (Dan AykroydDan Aykroyd) holds up a folded box of "Cap'n Crunch". In the 1970s, "Cap'n Crunch" came with a small whistle in the box. A "phone phreaker" called "Captain Crunch" ([?] John Draper) discovered that this whistle could be used to get free phone calls (one of many components in the practice of "phone phreaking", which digital phone switching-systems has made almost totally obsolete). There is another reference to Draper during the Scrabble game (the word "CRUNCH" is visible upside down before it gets turned into SCRUNCHY). Also, Cosmo (Sir Ben KingsleyBen Kingsley) tells Martin (Robert RedfordRobert Redford) that, while in prison, he helped some Mafia men to make some "free telephone calls." Whistler (David StrathairnDavid Strathairn) is patterned after [?] Joe Engressia, a blind telephone expert born with perfect pitch who was one of the original phone phreakers.
- The computer in the room off of Cosmo's (Sir Ben KingsleyBen Kingsley's) office in the PlayTronics building (the one that looks like a circular bench) is actually a Cray Y-MP, a multi-million dollar supercomputer that was one of the worlds fastest computers at the time this movie was made.
- Bernard Abbott (James Earl JonesJames Earl Jones) was named after [?] Robert Abbott, a charismatic Technical Consultant for this movie. In addition to being about the same age and complexion as Jones, Bob designed the first time-sharing (multi-user) operating system for the Control Data Corporation CDC-6600, the predecessor of the Cray Y-MP seen in the movie. He is also often referred to as the "Father of Information Security" by seasoned veterans of the computing industry.
- One of the reasons River PhoenixRiver Phoenix (Carl) took the role was because he was so deep into the "psychosis" of his character in his previous movie (Mike Waters in My Own Private Idaho (1991)) that he wanted "a low stress money gig" movie, which for him was this movie.
- The movie deals with the impact of a factoring breakthrough on encryption, a reference to the RSA algorithm, the most popular public-key encryption algorithm in use today. Professor [?] Len Adleman, one of the co-inventors of the RSA algorithm, provided some technical guidance on this movie in exchange for giving his wife a chance to meet Robert RedfordRobert Redford.
- In Three Days of the Condor (1975) starring Robert RedfordRobert Redford, a CIA building is hit and a list of the casualties is displayed. The final two names on the list being Martin and Bishop, which is Redford's alias in this movie.
- In 2012, the on-line magazine [Slate] published a series of articles about this movie commemorating the twentieth anniversary of its release. These included a piece by Stephen TobolowskyStephen Tobolowsky (Dr. Werner Brandes), in which he said, "I can't remember having so much fun on a movie." He also recalled that while shooting on the Universal Studios lot, he saw Robert RedfordRobert Redford and James Earl JonesJames Earl Jones pass unnoticed in front of a tour bus. Dozens of tourists instead snapped photos of inanimate attractions such as the bike from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and the shark from Jaws (1975).
- At the end, the character "Mary" (Amy BenedictAmy Benedict) gives "Carl" (River PhoenixRiver Phoenix) her phone number as 415-273-9164. It is a San Francisco area code and one of the rare instances in moves and television where an actual phone number rather than a "555" number is used.
- First credited role of Donal LogueDonal Logue on a theatrical film.
- The 7 major characters of the movie (Robert RedfordRobert Redford, Sidney PoitierSidney Poitier, Ben KingsleyBen Kingsley, Dan AykroydDan Aykroyd, Mary McDonnellMary McDonnell, River PhoenixRiver Phoenix, and David StrathairnDavid Strathairn) are all either Oscar Winners or Oscar Nominees. Robert RedfordRobert Redford, Sidney PoitierSidney Poitier and Ben KingsleyBen Kingsley are Oscar recipients. The others are all nominees. James Earl JonesJames Earl Jones is also an Oscar Nominee.
- James Earl JonesJames Earl Jones says "what's important is that this never happened." He says nearly the same thing in The Hunt For Red October.
- Robert RedfordRobert Redford and Ben KingsleyBen Kingsley would both go onto to play villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Redford played Alexander Pierce in 2014 Captain America Winter Soldier. Ben KingsleyBen Kingsley played the Mandarin/ Trevor Slattery in 2013 Iron Man Three.
- The security guard at the beginning of the movie (after the flashback) is watching Touch of Evil (1958). In the brief scene shown on-screen, Mike Vargas (Charlton HestonCharlton Heston) says, "I just looked in that box. There was nothing there." This is a very subtle giveaway and reference to how the finale plays out on the Playtronics roof, when Bishop (Robert RedfordRobert Redford) hands the box over to Cosmo (Sir Ben KingsleyBen Kingsley).
- Robert RedfordRobert Redford appeared in the Sting in 1973 with [?] Robert Earl Jones. James Earl JonesJames Earl Jones, son of [?] Robert Earl Jones, appears in this movie also with Robert RedfordRobert Redford.
- For a brief instant during the confrontation in Cosmo's office, the gun that Liz is holding has the slide back, indicating that it is empty.
- The term commonly used to describe information fishing (like trying to get a person to accidentally divulge their password) as applied by hackers, is Social Engineering.
- When Liz goes to the Dim Sum bar with Werner Brandes under the assumed name of Dorris, there is a group of singers singing the song Leroy Brown in Chinese. In the English version of the song, Leroy Brown gets in trouble over a girl named Dorris.
- Mother wears a T-shirt bearing the name "Aleka's Attic", a band formed by co-star River PhoenixRiver Phoenix.