Steve McQueen gave writer Robert Anderson such a hard time, that Anderson left the project after McQueen was cast. Years earlier, McQueen was not cast in a play by Anderson and McQueen never forgave him.

Steve McQueen got his only nomination for an Academy Award (Best Actor) for this film.

Robert Wise's first choice to play Jake Holman was Paul Newman.

Emmanuelle Arsan, who plays Maily, is the very Emmanuelle who inspired the book and film Emmanuelle, as well as the subsequent Emmanuelle films.

Pat Boone badly wanted the lead role. He says he believes he didn't get it because director Robert Wise wanted a "real actor" instead of a singer-turned-actor.

Average Shot Length = 5 seconds

Before the film premiered in New York City Twentieth Century-Fox set up a publicity tour for Steve McQueen to promote it. McQueen made rare TV appearances on the Toast of the Town (aka "The Ed Sullivan Show"), What's My Line? and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Director Robert Wise and star Steve McQueen were both born in Indiana.

Director Robert Wise was so proud of this film that he held yearly parties with surviving cast members to celebrate it.

During filming on the USS Texas at the San Jacinto Battleground outside Houston, Texas, Steve McQueen sent waves of fear (and consternation) through director Robert Wise when an old friend brought his Triumph motorcycle out to him - McQueen jumped on the motorcycle and roared off, not returning for almost an hour.

Opening scenes were shot on the battleship USS Texas in Houston, Texas. These shots of Machinist Mate First Class Jake Holman (Steve McQueen) transferring off the battleship did not make it into the final print.

The engine used during the filming is now on display aboard the S.S. Lane Victory, an original WWII Victory ship currently on display at the Port of Los Angeles, next to the cruise ship lines. The engine is located below deck in a forward cargo hold. The S.S. Lane Victory is the only operational Victory Ship in the World in its original configuration and makes summer cruises from San Pedro to Catalina, complete with a staged aerial attack en route featuring the AT-6 Texans of the famed Condor Squadron of Van Nuys, California.

The movie is often mistakenly described as being intended as an allegory for the Vietnam War, but Richard McKenna, the author of the best-selling novel on which the film was based, served on U.S. Navy gunboats in China during the 1930's and based the book on his own experiences. The Vietnam War allegory, perhaps inevitably, was ascribed to the film by the press on it's release in 1966, although not the original intention of the author, screenwriter, or director.

The steam engine was located in California and renovated for the film. The whole engine room was built around it, on a sound stage.

This film's opening prologue states: "CHINA 1926 . . . Ravaged from within by corrupt warlords . . . oppressed from without by the great world powers who had beaten China to her knees a century before . . . China . . . a country of factions trying to unite to become a nation . . . through revolution . . . "

When original composer Alex North fell ill, 20th Century Fox exercised their right to pull their contract composer Jerry Goldsmith from another studio's assignment- MGM's Grand Prix.