The movie was scheduled to for a 1978 release by Warner Bros. Ultimately, they tested the film in 6 cities in early 1979 before shelving it, pending re-edits. The film's primary investor, Mel Simon, bought back the rights to the film from Warner Bros. in 1980 and writer-director Rudy Durand then re-edited it. They were unable to secure further theatrical distribution, but in 1981 it played in heavy rotation on Showtime and debuted on NBC. The longer Warner Bros. print inexplicably wound up being released on home video by Continental Video.
The age of the Brenda Louise Davenport (Brooke Shields) character was fourteen. In real life, Shields had turned thirteen when the film was shot, and was almost fourteen when the picture premiered in April 1979.
Brooke Shields invited the film's crew to her house for dinner and prepared fettuccine. In a 1978 article, she revealed, "It came out like - well, remember the depression, those pictures of people lined up and getting slop from a big pot? That's what my fettuccine was like. For my next party I made chicken."
Rudy Durand performed a number of roles on this picture. Durand was the director, a co-writer, the producer, musical director, and in the sound department, was responsible for the pinball machine musical sound effects.
The original cut of the film ran 111 minutes. When the film opened poorly, director Rudy Durand re-cut the movie, shaving it down to 100 minutes. Both versions of the film were then subsequently released on television and home video.
In this 1979 movie, Brooke Shields portrays a teenage character who is an expert pinball player, a title which is often been labeled a "pinball whiz" or "pinball champion" or "pinball wizard". The latter had been previously popularized during the mid-1970s where Elton John had played a character called the Pinball Wizard in the 1975 Ken Russell film Tommy (1975). Tilt (1979) was made and released about four years after Tommy (1975).
Brooke Shields said of this movie in the film's original first release publicity: "No matter how many movies I make, not matter who I work with, Tilt (1979) will always be something very dear to me. Everyone, everything from Tilt (1979) - I'll treasure. In my heart, it has never ended and never will".
An earlier version of the movie, produced and directed by Rudy Durand, executive producer Robert T. Skodis, screenplay by Martin Zweibeck, James Creen, Rudy Durand, and Lee Garmes, started filming 5 Jun 1972. This version must not have been completed.