Most of the characters were fictitious composites of real pilots. However, Benjamin "B.O." Davis was very much a real person and was depicted accurately.
The character Lewis Johns (Mekhi Phifer) recites "Strange Fruit" to his fellow recruits to describe lynchings in the South in the first half of the 20th century. "Strange Fruit" is a song sung by Billie Holiday from 1939 which in turn was a poem written by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish teacher in The Bronx in 1936, under the pen name of Lewis Allen, after he witnessed the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana, in that year.
The footage used when the crews are viewing the sinking of the destroyer, which also appears in the TV series Black Sheep Squadron (1976), is footage of a Japanese rather than a German destroyer.
This film's closing epilogue states: "The 15th Air Force delivered a massive and successful raid on Berlin. The 332nd [Fighter Group] shot down three German jet fighters, the first jet planes of the war . . . Between May 1943 and June 1945 [,] 450 Tuskegee Airmen were awarded more than 850 medals. Sixty-six Tuskegee Airmen died in battle. The 332nd Fighter Group never lost a single bomber to enemy action."
The barracks used in the movie are located in Fort Chaffee, right outside of Fort Smith, Arkansas. These same barracks were used in the filming of Biloxi Blues (1988) with Matthew Broderick.
The silver color of the PT-17 biplane trainer aircraft (properly known as the Kaydet but commonly called the Stearman) is correct for the time when the Tuskegee Airmen were training. The attractive blue and yellow paint scheme displayed on most Kaydets today is from before WWII.
Laurence Fishburne played the title role in Othello (1995) this same year. A few years later, Mekhi Phifer would play the equivalent role in O (2001).
Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr also starred together in Boyz In The Hood (1991).
Cuba Gooding Jr also starred in the 2012 release of George Lucas' movie Red Tails (2012). "Red Tails" picks up pretty much where The Tuskegee Airmen ended, with the pilots in Europe and their plight in trying to get meaningful assignments.
Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr play close friends in this movie however they play father and son in Boyz In The Hood.
Rosemary Murphy who portrays Eleanor Roosevelt portrayed Sara Delano Roosevelt, the mother of FDR, in the 1977 TV movie "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House ."