Roland Emmerich employed the children of soldiers from the local US Army base for bit parts.
During a few scenes shot in Virginia Beach, the star was not available on set so the son of an Emmerich family owned business employee sat in as a double. Just a few scenes driving through a Virginia Beach Neighborhood.
Although the bulk of the film was shot in Germany, writer-director Roland Emmerich set it in the United States and shot it in English so that the film could be marketed worldwide.
Budget: $1.5 million.
The movie began shooting in the summer of 1984 but once school resumed the children were only allowed to work three hours per day. Scenes with the adults were shot in the morning and those with children had to be shot after school let out in the afternoon, which stretched the production into October.
The director came to Stuttgart Elementary and Junior High School on Robinson Barracks in Stuttgart Germany in the spring of 1984 to select American kids to be in the movie starting that summer. The lead role and many of his friends in the movie were selected from that school. Not just the bit parts.
The scene where Joey is looking for his dog Charlie in the abandoned mansion is the very same " bates mansion" house that was used in the famous 1960 horror thriller film Pyscho.