This movie's closing epilogue is a quote from Winston Churchill. It states: "The annals of war at sea present no more intense, heart-shaking shock than this battle, in which the qualities of the United States Navy and Air Force and the American race shone forth in splendour. The bravery and self-devotion of the American airmen and sailors and the nerve and skill of their leaders was the foundation of all." 'Winston Churchill'
The clip showing "Tom Garth's" plane crashing and breaking in two is one of the most used crash sequences from WWII. In the actual crash, the pilot was hardly even shaken up and immediately climbed out on his own.
Almost all the on-board scenes were filmed on the USS Lexington. Lexington was an Essex-class "fast carrier" commissioned in February, 1943. Even some of the "Japanese carriers" shown in birds-eye views were actually Lexington (with the film reversed to put the island superstructure on the port side whereas all US carriers had them on the starboard side) Lexington, decommissioned in 1991, was the longest serving carrier in history. Lexington is now a museum ship at Corpus Christi, Texas.
This was the second film to be presented in "Sensurround", a special low-frequency bass speaker setup consisting of four huge speakers loaned by distributors to select theatres showing the film. This system was employed only during certain sequences of the film, and was so powerful that it actually cracked plaster at some movie theaters. "Sensurround" was employed in only three other films released by Universal: Earthquake (1974), Rollercoaster (1977), and the theatrical release of Battlestar Galactica (1978).
When Matt Garth was making his landing approach after the battle, the number 34 can be clearly seen on the carrier's stern. This is the U.S.S. Oriskany (Big O). The Oriskany was sunk off Pensacola, FL in May, 2006 to become an artificial reef and dive site. The cost was $20,000,000 and is expected to generate revenues, as a tourist/dive site, of over $9,000,000 per year.
Henry Fonda played Admiral Chester Nimitz twice, in this film and in In Harm's Way (1965). He is usually only referenced by his title "CINCPACFLT" - Commander-In-Chief, Pacific Fleet. It is an old Naval tradition that a captain, and by extension any commanding officer, is not just himself, he is his command and, on certain occasions, such as when arriving or departing a naval warship, is always identified as the command, never by name. However, the term "CINC" is now only used to reference the President of the United States, as he is the only official "Commander-in-Chief" of the Armed Forces.
According to "The Big E: The Story of the USS Enterprise," by Edward P. Stafford, the real cause of the loss of almost all of the torpedo planes was caused by problems with radio frequencies. The torpedo planes lost contact with the fighters and dive bombers. As they attacked the Japanese carriers first, the Zeros came down to attack them. All attention was focused on the torpedo bombers. When the U.S. dive bombers arrived over the carriers, there was no air cover. Had the attack been synchronized, as planned, it is possible that the end results would have been quite different.
Several aerial combat scenes seem to be taken from Battle of Britain (1969). There are some shots where the distinctive silhouettes of Spitfires are visible, and scenes with a Messerschmitt Bf-109 plummeting into the sea, and an exploding Ju-87 Stuka and a He-111 are also to be found.
This movie's opening prologue states: "This is the way it was - - The story of the battle that was the turning point of the war in the Pacific, told whenever possible with actual film shot during combat. It exemplifies the combination of planning, courage, error and pure chance by which great events are often decided."