'Sugar' Steve tries to light Mae's cigarette from the same match he used to light Bill's and his own cigarettes while she is mending Bill's shirt. Mae blows out the match and says, "What are you trying to do, bring me more bad luck?" He must light a new match for her cigarette. At the time, "three on a match" was considered bad luck. Soldiers during the Crimea War believed that if three soldiers lit their cigarettes from the same match, one of the three would be killed, or alternately the third soldier to use the match would be shot. The superstition persisted with soldiers through World War II.
Donald Sosin composed his score in 2008 for the Ritorato Festival in Bologna with vocals composed and sung by Joanns Seaton. The 2010 score by Robert Israel includes such vintage songs as "East Side, West Side," "Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage," "Bicycle Built for Two," "Strawberry Blonde, and "After the Ball Is Over".
In 1999, The Docks of New York (1928) was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress, and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.