"Boy For Sale" was shot in July despite the required snow setting; exterior shots depended on adequate cloud cover due to the erratic weather in London. The snowballs were made of polystyrene, salt, crazy foam and mashed potatoes.
Dick Van Dyke was considered to play Fagin.
Oliver Reed's only song was cut from the finished film, officially because the producers decided that Bill Sikes should not sing, but also allegedly because there was concern over the quality of Reed's singing voice.
Mark Lester did not do his own singing in Oliver! It was dubbed by Kathe Green, daughter of Johnny Green, the music arranger/supervisor on the film. Johnny revealed this for the first time publicly in 1988 during an interview on the 20th anniversary of the film. He says that Mark Lester was "tone deaf and arrhythmic". He originally had two boys set to dub his singing but during post production they realized their voices didn't match Mark's look, so they used Johnny's daughter instead.
Mark Lester was not allowed to run around playing with the other children on set as he would invariably get rosy cheeked from his exertions. It would then take up to 10 or 15 minutes for his complexion to return to normal.
Ron Moody recalled that he did not know for certain until the first day of filming whether he had been cast or not.
Ron Moody recreated his London stage performance.
Onna White recalled that Jack Wild had to practically drag Mark Lester through the "Consider Yourself" number. Wild, having been part of the West End version, knew the entire play backwards but Lester had no idea what to do.
A lavish party was held on the set on 11 July 1967 to celebrate Mark Lester's ninth birthday.
A meticulous craftsman, Carol Reed often insisted on up to 50 or 60 takes for some individual scenes.
Additional orchestrator Eric Rogers did all of the orchestrations for the original stage production of "Oliver!"
Although Ron Moody had played Fagin to great acclaim on the London stage, he was only allowed to repeat his performance in the film after Peter Sellers and Peter O'Toole had reportedly turned down the role.
Although it has often been written that the story takes place in Victorian times, it was actually set during the reign of King William IV. The book was originally published in Bentley's Miscellany as a serial, in monthly installments that began appearing in the month of February 1837. William IV died in June 1837.
Although many viewers assumed Jack Wild was one of the youngest members of Fagin's gang, he was actually the second oldest. He celebrated his 15th birthday during filming.
Amazingly, the composer of this highly respected score, Lionel Bart, could not read music himself. From his earliest days in theater, he would sing his melodies to a trained pianist, who would then set the tunes down on sheet music and orchestrate them.
Approximately 5,000 boys were auditioned for the title role before Mark Lester was cast.
As a practical joke on Harry Secombe, the make-up department created a false ear for Mark Lester so that when Secombe grabbed the boy's ear, it came off in his hand.
As of 2007, this is the last G-rated film to win the Best Picture Academy Award.