The jail used in the movie is the actual Allegheny County Jail that figures in the story. Designed by noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson, built between 1884-1888, it served as a jail until 1995 and is now used by the juvenile and family sections of the Common Pleas Court.
A very old, closed, unused bridge in the village of Elora, Ontario, was refurbished for the movie, and now serves as a pedestrian bridge there.
Ken Wahl was to meet with Diane Keaton about taking the role of Ed Biddle. But on his way to the meeting, Wahl crashed his motorcycle and suffered a head injury that required 89 stitches.
Some of the inmates of the Allegheny County Jail acted as extras and background artists in the movie.
The Allegheny County Jail seen in the film ceased acting as a penitentiary in 1995 and now houses Allegheny County court system offices. It is preserved as an American National Historic Landmark.
Gillian Armstrong wanted to use the actual Allegheny County Jail to give the film historical authenticity.
Much of the movie was shot on-location in the area of the Serez Family Farm in Mulmer, Ontario, Canada, as well as Elora and Toronto.
First American Hollywood film of Australian director Gillian Armstrong, who had become well-known for her critically acclaimed period costumer romantic film My Brilliant Career (1979). Mrs. Soffel (1984) was in that genre, and subsequently Armstrong directed such other historical literary pieces as Little Women (1994) and Oscar and Lucinda (1997).
The Allegheny County Jail was still being used as a penitentiary when the picture was being filmed during 1983.
The picture is set in 1901 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Reportedly, Diane Keaton had been keen to work with Gillian Armstrong ever since the pair had met a few years earlier in Los Angeles, California.
Though the movie's leading man Mel Gibson and its director Gillian Armstrong are both Australian, this film, a Hollywood production, was their first collaboration. Coincidentally, the pair had never worked together on an Australian feature film.
The film was selected to screen in competition at the 35th Berlin International Film Festival in 1985.
Ken Wahl, Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, and others were considered for the role of Ed Biddle.
First credited, Hollywood studio produced, screenplay of Screenwriter Ron Nyswaner.
A promotional television documentary The Making of 'Mrs. Soffel' (1984) was produced to publicize the movie.