Matt Damon's London street scene, showing Linus walking through London speaking on the phone was shot while Matt Damon was in London filming The Bourne Ultimatum. The Ocean's Thirteen production took advantage of this happy coincidence as they wanted Greco to be a British classmate of Roman Nagel, so having Linus in London played well to the story.
Towards the end of the film, when Rusty and Danny are in the airport, they each mock each other. Rusty tells Danny to try and keep the weight off in between jobs next time. This is a reference to George Clooney, who put on extra weight for his role in Syriana (2005) and in turn injured his back doing some stunts. Danny tells Rusty, "Settle down and have a couple of kids," which is a reference to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's relationship and children.
The dialogue Reuben says to Danny when he wakes up ("I hear cars pulling in. I hear whispering conversations. I hear Linus crying. Why don't you tell me what everyone else seems to know?") is an imitation of the one Vito Corleone says to Tom Hagen when he wakes up in The Godfather (1972), starring Al Pacino.
Matt Damon's brief scene on a London street corner is very reminiscent of the Bourne movies: hand-held camera, European location, cell phone use, even the dialogue ("I've used four identities... I think I'm being followed... I have a name but I don't even know if it's right.").
The phrase "Billy Martin" that Danny calls for to Willie during the Reuben's hospitalization is a gambling slang for second chance. The phrase refers to famed Major League Baseball manager, Billy Martin. Despite his talents as a manager (he led the New York Yankees to two World Series titles), Martin's fiery temper, fueled by his alcoholism, often got him into trouble and as a result, he was fired multiple times. Despite his character flaws, Billy Martin was always being given a "second chance".
Danny Ocean makes an appeal on behalf of Reuben Tishkoff by telling Willy Bank "What I want, what's most important to me..." This is the same line that that Michael Corleone uses when making an appeal for his father's safety to Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo in The Godfather (1972). Al Pacino plays both Willy Bank and Michael Corleone.
When Danny and Rusty are reminiscing about meeting Reuben, they are wandering in front of the Bellagio. The tune that is playing is Clair de Lune. This is the same tune that played at the end of Ocean's Eleven (2001) when all the characters are standing in front of the Bellagio watching the fountains.
Based upon the aerial shots of the Bank Casino, it is located near where the Planet Hollywood Casino, and the Miracle Mile Shopping Center are located on the Las Vegas Strip. Its location can also be confirmed by Terry Benedict who complains that the Bank Casino "throws a shadow over my pool" (Meaning the "dancing waters" pool in front of the Bellagio. The actual location shown on the aerial shot is across from the Monte Carlo near the Polo Towers with the Paris Hotel and Planet Hollywood still directly across the street from the Bellagio pool.
The "Five Diamond Award" is the highest award for hotels and restaurants given out by AAA (formerly the Automobile Association of America). The award--which is sought by Willy Bank (Al Pacino)--is given to less than 1/2 percent of all the hotels AAA reviews. As of 2015, Las Vegas was the city with the second-most five diamond awards, just behind New York City.
Roman Nagel tells Danny and Rusty, 'You're like the Morecambe and Wise of the thievery world, but even they went off the boil after a while.' British comedy duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise pulled in audiences of more than 20 million in their 1970s heyday; their material is often thought to have deteriorated after 1978 when they left the BBC.
The name of Saul's character in the movie is Kensington Chubb. Kensington being a name of the lock type and lock manufacturer and Chubb being a lock and safe maker brand. Obvious nod in the direction of what the Ocean's group basically are: Thieves / locks and safe crackers.
The Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow logos at the front of the film are styled in homage to the 1970s/1980s intro animation to New York station WOR-TV's "4 O'Clock Movie," and the accompanying music is identical.
When Robert Caldwell receives a phone call from Abigail Sponder about some "suspicious characters", he picks up the phone and says "extension 765". Extension 765 is the company and website that is owned by Steven Soderbergh.
In order to infiltrate Willie Bank's office and distract Bank, Basher dresses up as the fictional stuntman Fender Rhodes. Rhodes' persona of being a motorcycle stuntman and dressed in the colors of the American flag, is homage (or parody) of famed stuntman Evel Knievel. By the same token, Bob Einstein, who portrays FBI Agent Caldwell, is best known for his portrayal of stuntman Super Dave Osborne, which is also a parody of Knievel.
In "Ocean's Eleven" (2001), Don Cheadle, who is American, affects a thick Cockney (British) accent to play munitions expert Basher Tarr; an accent that, by Cheadle's own admission, was not very good. Indeed, it was also panned by several movie critics. As an in-joke to the criticism of his Cockney accent, not-so-subtle accent references were written into both sequels. In "Ocean's Twelve" (2004), as Basher, Linus, and Turk are preparing Tess to impersonate Julia Roberts, Basher is fixated on Tess getting the accent right, insisting that if her accent isn't spot on, nobody will believe her performance. In this film, "Ocean's Thirteen" (2007), Basher is frequently seen reading a book about speech and diction, using what he learns from it to convincingly pull off a passable American accent while impersonating daredevil Fender Rhodes.
During the film's climax, several shots are used of various bystanders. One of them is cashing out a rather large amount of chips. It is the same actor who played "Bulldog the bruiser" in Ocean's Eleven (2001), as well as Bernie Mac's attorney in Ocean's 12.
Ellen Barkin, who plays Abigail Sponder in this film, actually shot a small cameo for the previous film Ocean's Twelve (2004). However, it was ultimately cut from the film, and can be seen on the blu-ray release (under the additional footage section, the "Meet the Team, Again" sequence).
When discussing the blueprints of the Bank Casino, Rusty mentions that among the architects responsible for the design was Frank Gehry, with whom Brad Pitt has collaborated personally on several projects at Gehry's Los Angeles studio.
When the pit boss is leaving the pawn shop, he passes by a sign showing the word "Griffin". The Griffin Agency is famous in Las Vegas for helping casinos spot card counters and cheats. However, in this area of town, The Griffin is a bar located downtown.
"Ocean's Thirteen" is littered with references and connections to "The Godfather" trilogy -- Al Pacino played both Willie Bank and Michael Corleone; Andy Garcia played both Terry Benedict and Vincent Corleone and Scott Caan is the son of James Caan, who played Santino "Sonny" Corleone. Reuben (Elliott Gould) also makes subtle reference to quotes from "The Godfather" script.
Linus makes a joke about the 1973 Château d'Yquem wine. It was produced in between two years (1972 and 1974) of harvests "unworthy to bear the Château's name." He could be hoping that the 1973 wasn't also "unworthy."
The gold Samsung phone that Willie Bank (played by Al Pacino) covets would appear to be another reference to the Godfather films, in which Pacino starred. Specifically, in The Godfather Part II, a gold rotary telephone was passed around a board room table that included Pacino.
The stunt man Basher impersonates towards the end of the film is named "Rhodes". Don Cheadle would later play James Rhodes in Iron Man 2 (2010) and Iron Man 3 (2013) as well as the Marvel's Avengers movies.
Matt Damon's character disguises himself by wearing a large nose. Cyrano de Bergerac was both a historical figure and the subject of a famous play, and was well known for having a large nose. George Clooney's uncle, Jose Ferrer, played Cyrano, as did Vincent Cassel's father, Jean-Pierre Cassel.
When talking to Bank about the magnitude of the faux-earthquake made by the drill, Rusty mentions the Billups-Mancini Report. Andy Garcia, who plays Terry Benedict in the Ocean's Series, played Michael Corleone's protegé, Vincent Mancini, in the Godfather: Part III
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Linus tells Reuben that Rusty is pulling an "Irwin Allen". This is in homage to the producer Irwin Allen who is widely popular for his disaster movies and TV shows that depicted ways the world would end. His one technical contribution to the world of film and TV was his pioneering of the "shaky-cam" technique to imply aerial turbulence or an earthquake. His approach was to simply tilt the camera back and forth, and have his actors throw themselves across a set. This goes along with Rusty telling Bank there is a possibility of an earthquake, and their exit plan for the end of the movie to cause one to get all the people to leave with their winnings.
All members of the Caldwell family have portrayed some kind of law-enforcement agent in the three 'Ocean' movies. Linus impersonated an officer of the Nevada Gaming Commission in "Eleven", his mother was a US Marshal in "Twelve", and his father was an FBI agent in "Thirteen".
The characters make several references to a "Susan B. Anthony" in their heist. This is a reference to the Susan B. Anthony dollar manufactured by the US mint in 1979. It was similar in appearance and size to a regular quarter and many people dropped it into a slot machine without realizing what it was worth. This method was used twice in the film, though the people are using an ordinary coin they don't realize that it will be worth millions in the slot: first by the woman in The Bank who wins the jackpot and later by the VUP at the slot machine in the airport.
If you include Roman and Benedict's active participation in this heist, you get Ocean's Thirteen. Or, you could swap out Reuben (who doesn't participate in the heist), for Bobby Caldwell to make the same number.