The name of Sonny Steele's horse in the film is "Rising Star". The star steed was played by a five year old bay thoroughbred called "Let's Merge" after a six month equine talent scout. Robert Redford bought the horse after production was complete and owned him for 18 years before the horse passed away.
When Gus responds to Hallie Martin's query about Sonny's whereabouts, the lines "like a flutterin' bird... like a mist... and blocks out the sun" are actually taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses: they are spoken by the Dawn, who laments her son's death on the plains of Troy.
Most of the location shooting was done in Utah, USA near actor Robert Redford's home. This provided a tax break for Redford and also made things convenient for him as Redford had been living in seclusion in Utah for a few years.
This movie marked the first lead role in a movie after a three year hiatus for star Robert Redford who had put himself into semi-retirement and reclusive retreat at his mountaintop Utah ranch. Redford's return to the big-screen in this movie was much publicized.
The film's title "The Electric Horseman" comes from the movie's iconic "electric cowboy suit". The outfit was an electrified cowboy suit which was decorated with hundreds of very small flashing light globes. When Sonny Steele (Robert Redford) rides the rodeo horse, the saddle is a matching electrified one.
The picture was a co-production of Columbia Pictures and Universal Pictures. The movie was distributed by Columbia Pictures in the USA and by Universal Pictures in foreign territories overseas with the American rights later reverting to Universal.
Some film posters for this movie emphasized the star teaming of its two big star leads of Robert Redford and Jane Fonda by exclaiming in capital letters in a large red font typeface: "REDFORD - FONDA - ELECTRIC".
Robert Redford used four of his costars - Nicolas Coster, Basil Hoffman, James Sikking and Quinn Redeker - the following year in his directorial debut, Ordinary People (1980). (He had also previously worked with Timothy Scott in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.)
One of three cinema movie collaborations of actor-singer Willie Nelson and producer-director Sydney Pollack. The three pictures are [in order]: The Electric Horseman (1979) (their first film), Honeysuckle Rose (1980) (their second movie), and Songwriter (1984) (their third and final flick). Nelson appears in all three pictures with lead starring roles in all but the first where Nelson had a supporting part. Pollack acted in three different capacities on the three films: as a director, an executive producer, and a producer respectively.