Barry Fitzgerald was nominated by the Academy for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards for the same performance, for the same film, the only time this has happened. (Al Pacino received a Best Supporting Actor nomination and a Best Actor nomination for his role as Michael Corleone, but his nominations were for the first and second Godfather film respectively). Fitzgerald won the Oscar in the supporting category but lost in the lead category to co-star Bing Crosby (This is no longer possible under Academy guidelines.) Due to wartime metal shortages, Fitzgerald received a plaster Oscar (instead of a gold-plated britannium one) for his performance. A few weeks after he won, he broke the head off his plaster Oscar while practicing his golf swing.
Singer Andy Williams debuted as one of the singing boys surrounding Bing Crosby during the song "Swinging On A Star". Williams and his three brothers were performing as the Williams Brothers and were all cast in the scene.
Although Barry Fitzgerald played a Catholic priest in this film--and several others--he was in real life not a Catholic but a Protestant. Several times during this film when he is "crossing" himself he does it wrong, going from right to left instead of from left to right.
The film was actually written after its "sequel" The Bells of St. Mary's (1945); in order to borrow Bing Crosby from Paramount for that film, RKO had to allow Leo McCarey to write and direct "Going My Way", based on the same character. Oddly, however, "Going My Way" was released first.
Risë Stevens' character Genevieve Linden plays the title role in "Carmen" at the Metropolitan Opera in 1944. Ms. Stevens would not make her debut in this role at the Metropolitan until December 28, 1945.
Filmed in St. Monica Catholic Church near the beach in Santa Monica, California. Leo McCarey based the Barry Fitzgerald character in part on the church's real (irascible) pastor, Msgnr. Nicholas Conneally.
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its initial telecasts took place Saturday 10 January 1959 in Los Angeles on KNXT (Channel 2) and in Philadelphia on WCAU (Channel 10); its New York City television premiere took place Sunday 25 January 1959 launching the Paramount series on WCBS (Channel 2).
In the film, Father Fitzgibbons said he has been a priest for 45 years. If this was true based on Barry Fitzgerald's actual age, he would have been 11 when he entered the priesthood, as Fitzgerald was only 56 at the time of filming.