In this production, actor William Devane played John F. Kennedy, the then President of the United States of America, whilst actor Martin Sheen played a member of his Cabinet. In the television series The West Wing (1999), this was the reverse, with Sheen playing the American President, and Devane portraying a member of his Cabinet.
The title of this film is a reference to the book "The Guns of August," which had greatly impressed President John F. Kennedy and from which he drew inspiration in dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis.
This productions source book, "Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis" by Robert F. Kennedy, shares the same title as the later cinema movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis, Thirteen Days (2000).
Emilio Estevez, a son of star Martin Sheen, the latter of whom plays Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in this tele-movie, went on to write, star in and direct a feature film about RFK, which was the cinema movie Bobby (2006). In this later movie, Sheen plays a character called Jack.
The then Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson of the United States of America, who was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, is not a character featured in this tele-movie. The real life VP Johnson character does however appear in Thirteen Days (2000), the later cinema movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis.
This tele-movie was made and first broadcast about six and a half years after Robert F. Kennedy, the novelist of its source book "Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis", had been assassinated in 1968.
The film premiered in December 1974 which was just after the American Presidency of Republican president Richard Nixon (1968 (elected) - 1974), specifically 20th January 1969 - 9th August 1974, the latter date being when Nixon resigned from the Oval Office in the White House due to the Watergate scandal.