As Major Brand, Basil Rathbone is seen wearing the ribbon for the Military Cross. He was awarded this medal for bravery during the First World War as a second lieutenant. Captain Courtney, Errol Flynn and later Lieutenant Scott, played by David Niven are also seen with ribbons but were too young to server in that conflict. Niven attended Sandhurst Military Academy and then served for two years in Malta. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he returned to England and re-joined the army. Flynn was granted a 4-F deferment during then Second World War due to his weak heart. He later stated that his only regret was his non-participation in that conflict.
Most of the aerial footage comes from Warner Bros.' previous 1930 version (The Dawn Patrol).
One of the Nieuports used in the movie is now on display at the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker Alabama.
The filmmakers needed several shots of the planes taking off and landing. They assembled a squadron of 17 vintage WW1 aircraft, most of them Nieuports. Flying them proved just as hazardous as in WW1. By the time filming ended, stunt flyers had crashed 15 of them.