In the scene where the aliens with bags packed are getting ready leave earth before it is destroyed, they are singing a weird song. It is the "Betelgeuse Death Anthem" - the same song Zaphod Beeblebrox and Ford Prefect were singing during the BBC's TV mini-series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (1981) (mini) as they were preparing themselves to be killed by psycho cops.
The theme song played at the end of M.I.B. was originally called "Forget Me Nots," written by Patricia Rushen and Freddy Washington, and was first heard in the movie Big (1988) when Elizabeth Perkins first arrives at Tom Hanks's apartment for their "sleepover."
Chris Odonnell was first offered the role of J.
The "known aliens" visible on the screen include Al Roker, Isaac Mizrahi, Danny Devito, director Barry Sonnenfeld, Chloe Sonnenfeld (Barry's daughter), Sylvester Stallone, Dionne Warwick, Newt Gingrich, Anthony Robbins, George Lucas, and executive producer Steven Spielberg.
The joke told by Kay at the restaurant that ends in the ambiguous punch line, "...yeah, but this one's eatin' my popcorn!" is the same strange joke told by the stand-up comic at the burlesque show in The Sting (1973).
Director Barry Sonnenfeld replaced Les Mayfield shortly before production began.
John Turturro was offered the role of Edgar, but had to decline due to other commitments.
After Linda Fiorentino "won" her role in Men in Black in a poker game with director Barry Sonnenfeld, he warned her that she would not be in any nude scenes.
In the scene where K takes J through the arrivals and customs area, there is an alien father and son. The actress who played the father is Debbie Lee Carrington, who went on to play Mini Mimi on "The Drew Carey Show", while the son was played by Verne Troyer, who went on to play Mini Me in Austin Powers 2 (1999).
After both agents shoot down the alien ship near the end of the film, Kay arrests the alien, citing his violation of the "Tycho Treaty". Tycho was the crater on the Moon (named after 16th century Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe (who had a false nose made of gold, incidentally)) where the monolith was found in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
Credits in the beginning of the film are very similar to Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964) credits: Fonts are alike and the bomber flying in the beginning of the Dr. Strangelove has been replaced with a bug.
When J accidentally throws the "ball" in the MIB office, the ball briefly flies past the green alien "Quack" from the Joe Dante movie Explorers (1985). Explorers (1985) featured an almost identical scene with a flying sphere that goes out of control and smashes through things.
Will Smith, after reading the script, did not want to accept the role. It was wife Jeda that convinced him to take the part.
When Jeebs grows a new head, his crossed eye switches sides.
The housewife being named "Beatrice" is a reference to the Kurt Vonnegut novel "The Sirens of Titan," first published in 1959.
The credits mention that "The animals and aliens used in this film were in no way mistreated and all scenes in which they appeared were under strict supervision with the utmost concern for their handling."
The PG-rated cinema version in the UK is uncut, but two uses of the word "prick" were dubbed over with the word "jerk" to retain this rating for the video version. Oddly enough even though all references to the word "prick" were dubbed by the word "jerk", the initial limited edition widescreen double presentation pack came with the bonus 25 minute "Making Of MIB" video and featured both of the scenes with the undubbed dialogue and the pack still received it's original PG rating.
To attain a PG rating rather than a more restrictive M15+ in Australia, the following changes were made:
The recent release of MIB on the Australian Foxtel cable network contains all the original footage, which was cut to get a "PG" rating. However the new uncut version still received it's "PG" rating.
- When the alien jumps from the building in the beginning, rather than hitting the ground with a "thud", he now sparkles away in midair;
- The scene describing what the bug does to Edgar's skin has been snipped;
- The fumigator's death has been shortened, removing the shot of the spray gun being rammed down his throat;
- The shot of the dead waiter stuffed under the counter is shortened.
The Australian DVD and TV versions are uncut, with an M rating. The VHS and theatrical releases are cut to obtain a more child-friendly PG rating.
The DVD edition features an unusual option that allows viewers to watch the silhouettes of Barry Sonnenfeld and Tommy Lee Jones as they watch and comment on the film -- a change from the usual simple narration of other enhanced DVDs.