William Holden was originally cast as Bill Starbuck. After Holden backed out, Burt Lancaster read about it in Hedda Hopper 's column and phoned producer Hal B. Wallis. Lancaster agreed to star in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) if he would get the role of Bill Starbuck in this film.
A frequent criticism of the film is the belief that Katharine Hepburn was miscast as she was simply too old to play Lizzie Curry. The film's dialogue indicates that Lizzie is still young enough to have children but Hepburn was almost 50 at the time of filming, and no amount of make up could hide this fact. This is especially obvious when Hepburn stands next to Cameron Prud'Homme, the actor playing her father, who was only 15 years older than her, while she was clearly 7 to 21 years older than the actors playing her brothers.
Elvis Presley tested for the role of Jim Curry. Presley was under a contract with producer Hal B. Wallis.
Adapted from a Broadway play that originally starred Geraldine Page and Darren McGavin. "The Rainmaker" by N. Richard Nash opened at the Cort Theatre in New York on Oct. 28, 1954 and ran for 125 performances. Cameron Prud'Homme originated his movie role in the play.
The tornado protector devices that Starbuck is selling in the first scene of the movie are made with copper toilet tank floats, among other things.
Elvis Presley was close to get a part in the movie but Tom Parker wanted something better for him
Developed into the stage musical "110 in the Shade" that opened at the Broadhurst Theater in New York on October 24, 1963 and ran for 330 performances.
Tanya Tucker recorded a song "Lizzie and the Rainman". The story line of the song is very similar to the story of the movie. A "rainmaker" rides into a drought stricken West Texas town with promises of rain and falls in love with a woman named Lizzie.
Produced Hal B. Wallis paid $300,000 for the filming right, beating out RKO Pictures which had also bid for the rights.