Bob Dylan (in the role of Billy Parker) says "Yeah, I guess I've always known I was never one of them rock 'n' roll singers that was gonna win any Nobel prize...". In 2016 Dylan was awarded the Nobel prize in Literature.
Mick Jagger was the first choice for the male lead, but turned it down before Bob Dylan got cast.
Originally written by Scott Richardson, the screenplay was rewritten by Joe Eszterhas because Lorimar Productions felt that Richardson was a "baby writer" and not experienced enough to take on the responsibility of a starring vehicle for a rock icon of Bob Dylan's stature.
Christopher Lambert turned down the role of James Colt, Rupert Everett was the second choice and accepted as a chance to work with Bob Dylan.
Some concert footage was shot at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, before and during a concert by the Canadian rock band Honeymoon Suite.
The script was originally titled "American Rocker". The new title, "Hearts of Fire", was actually the original title of director Richard Marquand and writer Joe Eszterhas's previous movie together, Jagged Edge (1985).
Richard Marquand previously directed Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). Julian Glover had appeared in the previous film, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).