The concept of the film arose when Revaz Gabriadze told Georgiy Daneliya a story about a pilot who lived in Kutaisi (Georgia) and locked his plane to the ground with a chain. However, it was to be screened only years later. The original script of this movie was entitled "Nichevo osobennovo..." ("Nothing Special...") and had an entirely different plot but a friend of Daneliya's, a writer named Maksud Ibragimbekov, remembered the story about the pilot and the chain in a conversation with Daneliya and the latter decided to replace the story literally days before filming. The script was not yet completed when the filming started and Vakhtang Kikabidze recalled later that most of the film was shot without a script. During filming, he had an impression that they were fooling around rather than working. The line "Nichevo osobennovo" remained in the film (it was said by Mimino on a plane).
The dog's name Zarbazan is a Georgian word meaning "cannon". A dog named Chapa was brought from Moscow to play Zarbazan, along with a trainer, but Georgiy Daneliya accidentally found a "genuine" Zarbazan right at the filming location.
Rubik Khachikyan's character was supposed to be from Leninakan but composer Giya Kancheli wanted another Armenian city, Dilizhan, to be mentioned in the film because he wrote his symphonies there. Georgiy Daneliya objected, saying Dilizhan was a resort while Leninakan was a city of workers. In order to persuade Daneliya to relocate Rubik's residence to Dilizhan, Kancheli even bribed Daneliya with his new jacket.
Georgiy Daneliya asked Giya Kancheli to write a song like "Yesterday" by The Beatles for the film and Kancheli agreed but wrote the song "Chito-gvrito" that was nothing like "Yesterday". Nevertheless, Daneliya accepted it. The songs from the film became hits once the film was released.
Georgiy Daneliya and cinematographer Anatoliy Petritskiy have cameos as pilots. Daneliya didn't want to act himself but decided to do it when the Georgian who was supposed to play the pilot didn't arrive at the set.
The helicopter that Mimino flies is a Mi-2. Vakhtang Kikabidze confessed that his training pilot, named Valiko like Kikabidze's character, and himself used the helicopter during filming in a Georgian mountain village called Omalo to fly to the nearby Azerbaijani farms and steal watermelons from there.
Many visitors of the Rossiya Hotel bar stayed on set after the bar was closed, to see the filming of the scene with Rubik and Mimino dancing lezginka. Right during filming, Mher Mkrtchyan drank with his Armenian friends and they talked him into doing a split and picking up his handkerchief, to make him look better than "the Georgian," but Mkrtchyan wasted several takes trying to do it because, being too drunk, he couldn't hold himself properly. In the end, Daneliya secretly told Vakhtang Kikabidze to grab the handkerchief while Mkrtchyan was doing the split and this was how the scene was shot.