The scene near the end, where General Burgoyne (Sir Laurence Olivier) invites Richard Dudgeon (Kirk Douglas) and Mrs. Anderson (Janette Scott) to dine with him and his lady friend is based loosely on the historical fact that after the British surrender at Saratoga, General Burgoyne and the American commander, General Horatio Gates, and their staffs then ate a simple lunch together (shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday Oct.17, 1777).
The character of The Reverend Anthony Anderson was loosely based on the historical figure of Peter Muhlenberg, known as the "Fighting Parson of the American Revolution".
Natalie Wood turned down the role of Judith Anderson because she didn't want to work with Kirk Douglas for "personal" reasons.
At one point, it was hoped that Gary Cooper would play The Reverend Anthony Anderson, with Elizabeth Taylor playing his wife, Judith.
This was the first of two large-scale movies filmed between 1958-60 from which Alexander Mackendrick was removed as director. The other was The Guns of Navarone (1961).
This movie was started by Director Alexander Mackendrick, but he left shortly after production began and was replaced by Guy Hamilton.
In 1956, Hecht-Lancaster Productions was going to film this movie, but with Lancaster and Montgomery Clift.
The play was first performed as a "Copyright Performance" on April 17, 1897 in London, with George Bernard Shaw reading the part of The Reverend Anthony Anderson. He was unhappy with the play, and wouldn't permit a public performance at that time. It was first shown in the U.S. on Broadway's Fifth Avenue Theater in New York City on October 4, 1897, and in London the following year. There were four Broadway revivals in the U.S., the last in 1988.
According to Gavin Lambert's biography of Natalie Wood, the reason why Wood refused to be in the film was because part of her pre-nuptial agreement with husband Robert Wagner indicated that they should not be separated for more than 2 weeks at a time. Taking a role in the film meant that Wood had to leave for England which would definitely make it difficult for both her and her husband to uphold this part of the agreement.