One of the producers was media mogul Rupert Murdoch. His father, Keith, had been a journalist in World War I. He visited Gallipoli briefly in September 1915 and became an influential agitator against how the British top brass had conducted themselves during the battle.
The disastrous charge at The Nek that took place on August 7, 1915 was actually authorized by an Australian officer, not a British one, as depicted in the film. This is a decision that Peter Weir now regrets as he acknowledges that the British made just as valiant a contribution to the campaign as the Australians did.
The movie was initially to be made by the South Australian Film Corporation who were the original team behind the production. However, they withdrew support for the film over creative differences over the script. However, the movie was still partially filmed in South Australia: the Gallipoli Peninsula was filmed at Port Lincoln whilst the market sequence was also filmed in South Australia at a fish market.
For a great deal of the cast and crew, ANZAC Day - the day in Australia that commemorates the war dead - meant little more than a vacation from school. Working on the film made them realize its true significance.
Although he is seen wearing an AIF uniform, Colonel Robinson is often mistaken for an Englishman due to his accent, which is in fact a clipped Anglo-Australian accent typical of the time and not a deliberate attempt to mislead the audience.
It took 3 years for the film-makers to secure funding. The reason it took so long was because the Australian government's film agency declined to provide money for it, deeming the film to be "not commercial".
Peter Weir was inspired to make the film after visiting a World War I battle site. Originally he and writer David Williamson planned to encompass the entire Gallipoli campaign from all sides but instead opted to focus on one small group of characters who would be able to humanize the whole tragedy.