James Dean was signed to play 'Rocky Graziano' but the part was given to Paul Newman after Dean was killed in an automobile accident on 30 September 1955.
Film debut of Steve McQueen.
Film debut of Robert Loggia
Film debut of Dean Jones.
Film debut of Frank Campanella
First movie for Angela Cartwright.
Fresh off her Oscar win, Eva Marie Saint had been considered for the role of Norma.
Originally the movie was to be filmed on location in New York in Technicolor. However, after James Dean's death it was decided the film should be in black & white and filmed on studio sets. Director Robert Wise felt the sets looked very fake and only used them for night scenes, while filming the daytime scenes on location.
There had been some opposition to the casting of Paul Newman, since at 31 he was already six years older than James Dean would have been, and his first movie The Silver Chalice had been a critical and commercial disaster.