According to the book "Clint Eastwood: Hollywood's Loner" (1992) by Michael Munn, Eastwood called Clyde the Orangutan "one of the most natural actors I ever worked with! But you had to get him on the first take because his boredom level was very limited".
The movie's title is derived from Zora Neale Hurston's 1937 novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God". Tea Cake, the second husband of the book's central character Janie, tells his wife about a fight he had with a man with a knife. Tea Cake boasts that he "turned him every way but loose", fighting him not without allowing the man to stab him.
Final of seven collaborations of James Fargo and Clint Eastwood. This movie was the second that Fargo directed Eastwood, the first having being the Dirty Harry sequel The Enforcer (1976). Fargo had been an assistant director on five other Eastwood pictures during the 1970s.
The movie and its sequel used "Clint and Clyde" first-name alliteration of its two main stars in its promotions and marketing. In true Hollywood style, Clint Eastwood here received top first billing as he was the bigger star whilst the orangutan Manis had to settle for second billing.
In February 1979, The film's title song, sung by Eddie Rabbitt, topped Billboard Magazine's Hot Country Singles Chart for three weeks. The song's debut at No. #18 on this chart was the highest ever debut on the chart since it had begun in July 1973. The song also went to the No. #1 spot on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks Chart, No. #4 on the Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks Chart, No. #30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and No. #26 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks Chart.
Sondra Locke learned that she was pregnant just as production was wrapping up. Locke had her IUD removed some years earlier after Clint Eastwood complained that the IUD was uncomfortable for him, and the couple had been practicing the rhythm method. Sondra reluctantly agreed to an abortion, "a hard and painful decision" in her words. When she became pregnant again in 1979, Clint voiced concerns for her health and suggested sterilization. "I think it would be the best thing for our life together. Aren't I enough for you?" Locke's autobiography quotes Eastwood as saying. Then she began to cry. "Funny how it never even crossed my mind to ask HIM to have surgery." She underwent a second abortion and subsequent tubal ligation at UCLA Medical Center. To console her, Eastwood sold the Sherman Oaks bungalow where they had resided and bought a dream house in Bel Air. "This home would be my baby," Locke wrote. Although they remained together another decade (towards the end of which Clint sired someone else's two children, unbeknownst to Sondra), from her perspective their relationship never fully recovered from the abortions.