When Ray and Claude are standing on a box of bottles, Claude mentions that a one of his toes has slipped into one of them. This actually happened during the take, but Martin Lawrence kept going, despite Eddie Murphy's laughing, which is genuine.
According to the DVD commentary: During the diner scene, originally it was Eddie Murphy's character that was supposed to be angry about the "White Only" pies, while Martin Lawrence's character just wanted to leave. During filming, the scene wasn't working, so they came up with the idea of having them switch their lines. The scene played much better and that's how it appears in the finished film.
Ray and Claude arrive at the Mississippi prison in 1932. They spend 65 years in jail, meaning the last year the movie takes place in is 1997. And Ray says in that year that he's 90 years old, meaning he was born in 1907 (Claude was also probably born in that year or somewhere close to it). So they were 25 when they came to jail, 37 when they are shown in the 1944, and 65 when they are shown in 1972.
When Rayford (Eddie Murphy) is getting beat up in a fight, he says: "I know a bitch named Della who hits harder than you." This is a reference to Harlem Nights (1989), in which Murphy's character is beat up in a fight with a madame played by Della Reese.
Life is a cult classic among African-American audiences due to the number of actors in the film who became much more famous in other mediums after it was released. It is also noteworthy for its quotes that are used in African American culture.
Of the movies Eddie Murphy and makeup artist Rick Baker collaborated on, this is the only one where Eddie didn't play more than one character. The makeup was used to age the character rather than interact with another character played by the same actor.
In the scene when Ray(Eddie Murphy) and Claude(Martin Lawrence) were interrogated, Claude said, "Whats the worse that could happen". Later in 2001, Martin Lawrence starred in a comedy film titled Whats The Worst That Could Happen(2001).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The movie poster of life features the characters being played by comedians Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence being uncomfortably cajoled by the characters played by comedian Bernie Mac and actor Michael Taliaferro, with their arms wrapped around them. To date, both Mac and Taliaferro are deceased; Mac passed away in 2008 due to sarcoidosis and Taliaferro passed away in 2006 due to a stroke. In the death montage seen in the film, the characters played by Taliaferro and Mac pass away in the same order. Murphy and Lawrence are the only two on the poster who are still alive, just as their characters at the end of the film.
Willie Long played by Obba Babatundé seems as if he is on a vibrating wheel chair while he's explaining the 'deaths' of Ray & Claude to the inmates digging up the graves for Ray & Claude. If you notice his right hand seems to shake as well as the hat on his head.