The film was considered groundbreaking at the time because it was one of the first sound films to portray Native American Indians in a humane light. Years later, the film was criticized because white actors played Indians, but the role of Geronimo in fact was played by Native Canadian Mohawk actor Jay Silverheels.
The Battle at Apache Pass (1952) starred Jeff Chandler as Cochise and Jay Silverheels as Geronimo. It was produced later than "Broken Arrow", but functions as a prequel to it. The events in "Broken Arrow" take place in 1871 and 1872, whilst those in "Apache Pass" happen in 1861 and 1862.