• Ask not why you were imprisoned. Ask why you were set free.


  • When Joe Doucett goes to buy his daughter a birthday present, the girl working on the stall is wearing angel-wings. This is a nod to the original Oldboy film, where Oh Dae-Su buys the angel-wings for his daughter.
  • In an interview given on November 2014, Josh Brolin expressed his dissatisfaction with the final result of the movie, specially comparing it with the powerful 2003 original version.
  • Steven Spielberg was originally attached to direct with Will Smith starring.
  • Christian Bale, Colin Firth, and Clive Owen were offered the role of Adrian, but they declined.
  • Lily Collins auditioned for the role of Marie.
  • Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel Jackson and Pom Klementieff have all appeared in films in the the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Spike Lee said that his version was 140 minute long (mostly character build-ups and interactions), but the studio heavily edited his film to 105 minutes. This is why the film opens with "A Spike Lee Film" instead of "A Spike Lee Joint". Josh Brolin prefers Lee's version.
  • Josh Brolin personally created the title artwork.
  • Samuel L. Jackson's character name is Chaney. Co-star Josh Brolin previously portrayed the antagonist Tom Chaney in the Coen Brothers' remake of the western True Grit (2010).
  • Justin Lin was attached to direct the film when the project was in early development.
  • At one point, Joe looks at an octopus swimming in a tank at a restaurant and walks away, a nod to the infamous octopus scene from the original Old Boy (2003).
  • The hallway fight scene was done in one take, but it was edited for the final cut.
  • This was the penultimate film from FilmDistrict and the last film they released theatrically.
  • Will Smith and Daniel Craig were offered the lead role but turned it down.
  • The female lead was offered to Rooney Mara and Mia Wasikowska but both declined.
  • Elizabeth Olsen did not know the ending of the film until she watched it for the first time at the New York premiere. "I've never been more shocked and surprised by an ending since maybe like The Sixth Sense (1999)," said Olsen. "No one spoiled it for me. No one hinted at it for me. And I got to experience it with just a blank canvas."
  • Cinqué Lee, Spike Lee's brother, plays the Bellhop pictured on the wall in the prison room and appears as a hallucination. This may be an in-joke to the Jim Jarmusch film Mystery Train (1989), where he also played a Bellhop. Spike Lee and Jarmusch are good friends and are former film students at NYU; Jarmusch also directed Lee siblings in Coffee and Cigarettes II (1989).


  • Continuity: When Joe sneaks into Edwina Burke's (Evergreen Headmistress) home while she's talking to Marie, he pulls out a yearbook. He looks into the yearbook and the name says "Adrian Pryce". Then when the shot zooms in, it says "Adrian Doyle Pryce". When Joe and Marie return back to the motel, Marie takes a picture of the yearbook photo where it now returns back to just "Adrian Pryce".