James Stewart was given the role of Charles Lindbergh after John Kerr had turned it down, owing to his disapproval of Lindbergh's pro-Nazi sympathies and his racist and anti-Semitic views. This was despite the fears of the producers that Stewart was too old for the part.
One of the replicas of "The Spirit of St. Louis" built for this film is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan while another is at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The nonworking ground replica used at the Paris Airport is hanging from the ceiling of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.
Early in the film Lindbergh is disturbed in his hotel room bed by the song "Rio Rita" playing loudly on a radio or record player. Lindbergh was on the way to see the Broadway show "Rio Rita" when he learned that the weather might be good enough the next day for his flight to Paris. He took off the next morning.
There was a scale model (approx. 1/5 the size) of the Spirit in the old Air Museum in San Diego's Balboa Park before the museum burned down in 1976. The museum hired an elderly lady to talk to the visitors who looked at the model. She claimed that her husband was in the group photo of the team who built the original Spirit. She also said that she had some of the scrap fabric left over from the construction. She told a story about each of the team members, including the secretary. Lindbergh is on one end and wearing a crumpled hat. She explained that the hat belonged to a man on the other end of the picture, and Lindbergh grabbed it as a joke and ran around to the other end of the group just before the picture was taken. The taking of this picture is in the movie, but Lindbergh is out of place, and he's not wearing a hat. Sadly, the model was lost in the fire.
After the film received bad notices from preview audiences, it was extensively re-edited with some new footage shot. Composer Franz Waxman was no longer available so veteran film composer Roy Webb was hired along with Warner Brothers Music Director Ray Heindorf to come up with new cues based on Waxman's original material. The Main Title was altered to add "La Marseillaise" to the tail end. Other cues were rewritten, especially the entire buildup to and including the landing at Le Bourget. This sequence had been more straight forward with Lindbergh landing his plane. In the revised version, he became disoriented and at one point asked for God's help. The Heindorf/Webb replacement cue utilized Waxman's themes interwoven into a stunning cue which was expertly conducted by Heindorf. The cue ends as Lindbergh shuts off the engine. All-in-all, about fifteen minutes of new music was mixed into the final film.