At the time of filming, the filmmakers were not aware that the real Anna Anderson was still alive. When this came to their attention, they flew straight to her home in Germany and asked permission to use her name.
Anna Anderson's handwriting was pronounced identical with Anastasia's and medical experts found 17 points of similarity between her ear and the real Anastasia's. However, after her death it was discovered that her DNA did not match of England's Prince Philip, a blood relative of the Romanovs.
This movie was based on the story of Anna Anderson, a woman who claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia. It was later discovered that, in fact, she was not who she claimed to be; the mystery was solved through DNA examination of a small piece of tissue cut from Anna in an operation years before.
When the remains of the Romanov family were discovered at Ekaterinburg in 1991, only nine of the 11 bodies were found--the Grand Duchess Anastasia and her brother, Czarevich Aleksey Nikolaeyvitch Romanov, remained missing, further clouding the question of her fate. However, it was announced that the DNA and other forensic evidence from the remains determined that Anastasia was indeed among the nine bodies that were unearthed from the pit in the forest outside of Ekaterinburg, and that the missing bodies were those of Alexei and one of his other sisters, the Grand Duchess Marie. After all examinations were completed, the remains of the nine individuals were transferred to St. Petersburg and ceremoniously interred at the Fortress Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. The two remaining bodies were believed to have been discovered in 2007 and are fairly certain to be those of the Czarevich Aleksey and the Grand Duchess Marie. When all examinations are completed and the results are announced, those remains, too, will be transferred to St. Petersburg for burial with the other members of the family.
In reality, Anna Anderson never met the Dowager Empress, Czarina Maria Fyodorovna. The Empress believed that her son and his family had survived and were still in Russia. Grand Duchess Olga, the younger daughter of Maria Fyodorovna, did meet Anna Anderson while the latter was convalescing in a sanitarium and visited her a few more times before making the determination that something was not right with the ailing woman's claims. The Grand Duchesses Olga and Xenia did not wish to upset the aged Empress and it is not known if they mentioned Anderson to her at all. The Dowager Empress remained in Denmark until her death in 1928. In 2006 her remains were transferred to St. Petersburg, where she was laid to rest beside her husband, Czar Aleksandr III.
Helen Haye was an actress who had impressed the film's producer in a previous production, for BBC Television, of the play He sent a memo to the casting agent saying "Hire Helen Haye". This was taken to be a misprint by the agent and the popular actress Helen Hayes was hired.
One of the characters mentions the "Mad Monk". He is referring to Grigory Rasputin, the infamous Siberian monk who worked for a time in the royal court as a healer to Aleksey Nikolaeyvitch Romanov, Tsar Nicholas II's son and Anastasia's brother, and was believed to have enormous--and many said undue--influence over the Tsarina Alexandra because of it. His controversial life ended with him being murdered, supposedly by other members of the royal family.
The original Broadway production of "Anastasia" by Marcelle Maurette (English adaptation by Guy Bolton) opened at the Lyceum Theatre on December 29, 1954, ran for 272 performances and closed on September 24, 1955.
Ivan Desny, who appears here as the fictional Prince Paul Von Haraldsberg, also appears in the German film Anastasia: The Czar's Last Daughter (1956) as the real-life Gleb Botkin (son of the Imperial family's doctor, who was shot along with them in 1918), a staunch supporter of Anna Anderson.