The last specifically made-for-television production of a Shakespearean play (to date April 2019) to have its American television premiere on commercial network television, an occurrence that was much more common in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

This was Sir Laurence Olivier's final Shakespearean role before his death on July 11, 1989, at the age of eighty-two.

Esmond Knight (Old Man) appeared in all three Shakespearean movies directed by Sir Laurence Olivier: Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948), and Richard III (1955).

According to Dame Diana Rigg, Sir Laurence Olivier wanted to perform all of the long speeches in single takes, as he had done in the theater, without multiple takes and pick-ups being edited together. However, due to his age, he could never get through any speech without "drying". In 2016, Rigg admitted to having never watched this version, because she felt so saddened that Olivier had not been able to achieve this ambition.

Executive Producer David Plowright was the brother-in-law of Sir Laurence Olivier.

Faye Dunaway turned down the role of Regan, so she could star in The Wicked Lady (1983).

Gloucester (Leo McKern) has both of his eyes removed by Cornwall (Jeremy Kemp). In real-life, McKern lost his left eye in an accident, as did Esmond Knight (Old Man) during World War II.