Marlon Brando wanted to play the role of Hans Rolfe, the German lawyer who defends the German judges. Brando, in a rare attempt to garner the part, actually approached Stanley Kramer about it. Although, Kramer and Abby Mann were very intrigued with the idea of having an actor of Brando's talent and stature in the role, both were so impressed with Maximilian Schell's portrayal of the same part in the original Playhouse 90 TV broadcast of "Judgment at Nurmemberg", that they had decided to stick with the relatively unknown Schell, who later won the Oscar for Best Actor for that role.
Spencer Tracy's 11 minute closing speech was filmed in one take.
Marlene Dietrich had a great deal of trouble performing in the scene between Mrs. Bertholt and Judge Haywood when she claims German civilians did not know of the atrocities the Nazi government committed during the war. Dietrich, who, during the war, had worked for the Allies against the Nazis, found the sentiment so repulsive, she could not keep her concentration. Only after counseling by Spencer Tracy was the actress able to complete the scene. According to an interview with her grandson Peter Riva on the Icons Radio Hour, Marlena would get physically ill (to the point of vomiting) in the evenings over this part. In a conversation with her daughter Maria, Maria told her to "simply play her mother". The fictional Mrs. Bertholt is a representation of the mother of Marlena Dietrich.
Maximilian Schell's Lead Actor Oscar makes him the lowest-billed lead category winner in history. He is billed fifth, after Tracy, Lancaster, Widmark, and Dietrich.
Laurence Olivier was originally cast as Ernst Janning.
Montgomery Clift had a habit of cutting his hair very short when he was between films and would not work until it had grown back. In fact, his scene in this film was shot right after getting one of those haircuts. He also had so much trouble remembering his lines, the scene had to be re-shot many times. Director Stanley Kramer finally gave up and told Clift to ad lib his lines, saying that this would help to convey the confusion in his character's mind while he was being questioned on the witness stand. "Monty seemed to calm down after this," Kramer later recalled. "He wasn't always close to the script, but whatever he said fitted in perfectly, and he came through with as good a performance as I had hoped."
Abby Mann, who wrote the screenplay, died just one day after Richard Widmark, one of the movie's stars. (25 March 2008).
A stage adaptation, also written by Abby Mann, was produced on Broadway many years later. It starred Maximilian Schell in a different role, this time as Ernst Janning, the role played by Burt Lancaster in the film. The play opened at the Longacre Theatre in New York on March 26, 2001 and ran for 56 performances.
A TV production was previously telecast live on April 16, 1959 - Judgment at Nuremberg. In this film, Maximilian Schell and Werner Klemperer repeat their roles from that TV production.
By the time the film was made, all of the convicts had already been released.
Filmed in Nuremberg itself.
For the premiere, producer Stanley Kramer flew hundreds of journalists from America to Germany. The German critics were understandably less impressed with the film than their American counterparts.
Judgment at Nuremberg was the film that Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley saw on their first date.
June 2008 Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Courtroom Drama".
Many of the actors involved in the film did so for a fraction of their usual salary because they felt the subject matter was so important.
Some of the court scenes feature authentic film material about the crimes committed in concentration camps.
The song whose meaning Mrs. Berthold explains to Judge Haywood when they walk past a pub while people in there sing it, is called "Lili Marleen". The song was popular with German and British force during the war, and was actually recorded by Marlene Dietrich herself in the 40s and 50s.