Lt Corona's F86 Sabre develops engine trouble on his landing approach. When the aircraft is shown stalling and crashing, the shot is of an F-100 Super Sabre, a different type of aircraft. The crash shown happened at Edwards AFB. The pilot, Lt. Barty Brooks, was killed. The name Sabre Dance originated from this accident but the context of the phrase relates to this accident alone and should not be generally attributed to additional accidents involving the F100. Dudley Henriques President Emeritus International Fighter Pilots Fellowship
One scene in the film quite realistically realizes author James Salter's description of Seville's (Connell in the novel) first sight of the fighter pilots in their club at the base in Korea. Salter wrote that "It looked like a lumberjack camp. No two pilots dressed alike." In the film, Seville eventually wears a WWII sheepskin-lined leather cap and a sage green flight jacket over a blue flight suit, while Pell wears a flap-eared winter hat and a blue flight jacket over a green flight suit. Other pilots wear similar mixes of uniform clothing from both the WWII and Korean War eras.
The Aircraft playing the role of the North Korean or Mainland Chinese MIG 15's were actually US F-84F Thunderstreaks.
Robert Mitchum turned down the Tony Curtis role in " The Defiant Ones " to appear in this.
Saville's decorations are difficult to identify, but he appears to have a Bronze Star (top row, on his left) and an Air Medal (middle row, on his right).
The medal ribbon above Cleve Saville's left breast pocket consist of TOP ROW Distinguished Flying cross with two oak leaf clusters (3 awards), Croix De Guerre (France) and the Bronze with OLC (2 Awards). SECOND ROW Air Medal with 2 OLC (3 awards), Purple Heart with 1 OLC (2 awards), Army of Occupation of Germany Medal. THIRD ROW The American Campaign medal, The Europe-Africa-Middle East campaign medal with 4 campaign stars, The Asiatic-pacific Campaign medal with 2 campaign stars. Seen above the ribbon bar are the wings of a USAF Senior Pilot. Above the right breast pocket is the Presidential Unit Citation ribbon. It should be noted that the main ribbon awards are not in the correct order.
This movie's opening preamble states: "Japan - 1952 at the time of the Korean War."
After Saville gets the better of Moncavage, Imil says 'The Iceman cometh", a reference to Saville's nickname of 'The Iceman' and also to a play by 'Eugene O'Neill', first performed in 1946.
Abbot quotes poetry to Saville when they are in the Misson: ""I could not love thee, Dear, so much / Lov'd I not honour more". These lines are from "To Lucasta, going to the Wars", by Richard Lovelace (1618-1658).
In a confrontation with Abbot, Savile says "What's it like in that private little hell you've got for yourself?", to which Abbot replies "Exclusive. Ain't nobody in here but us little old chickens". Abbot's line is a reference to the song, "Ain't nobody here but us chickens", written by Alex Kramer and Joan Whitney, record by 'Louis Jordan' in 1946.
Seville is shown with a Silver Star ribbon added to his rack in the last twenty minutes or so of the film.