This was the last theatrical film Charles Bronson made that wasn't a "Death Wish" film. His powerful performance in this film was met with much surprise and praise, as he had been in a string of violent, unsuccessful films as of late.
Sean Penn intended to quit acting and focus on directing films. Although his intention did not come to pass, Penn went on to win two Oscars for acting.
Scenes including an additional character played by Cathy Moriarty were completely cut from the final version.
Although she plays a Mexican in the film, Valeria Golino is actually Italian/Greek.
The box office failure of this film caused its Japanese backers, NHK Enterprises, to cease getting involved in film production.
The prison tattoo on Frank's neck reads 'Christene'. This is presumably in tribute to actor Viggo Mortensen's wife at the time, punk singer Exene Cervenka, whose real name is Christene.
Sean Penn directs Dennis Hopper in this movie without Penn acting in it at all. Dennis had directed Sean in Colors (1988), in which Hopper did not act in all.
Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to the Trump administration, was a producer on this film. In 2018, Sean Penn made an appearance on Conan where he discussed Bannon's involvement with the film, stating that he did not enjoy working with Bannon, calling him a "crook", and that "he exerted the same level of charm he does today." He also stated that he didn't even realize it was the same Steve Bannon for a while, stating "I don't think you can age like that without hating people."