When Clint Eastwood made the comedy Every Which Way But Loose (1978), Burt Reynolds reportedly said to him, "Clint, you're getting into my territory [comedy], and if it's a success, I'm going out and make 'Dirty Harry Goes to Atlanta'!". When Sharky's Machine (1981) went into production, Eastwood sent a telegram to Reynolds saying, "You really weren't kidding, were you?" Reynolds has described this movie as 'Dirty Harry Goes to Atlanta' whilst many reviewers and critics have likened it to the 'Dirty Harry' film series.
Stunt man Dar Robinson, doubling for Henry Silva at the end of the film, dropped 220 feet, setting a record for the highest wireless free fall jump from a building in a film. However, only a brief part of the start of the jump is included in the final film as the next shot clearly shows a dummy falling.
A remake of this movie, Sharky's Machine, was first announced in April 2006. 'Variety' reported that it was not expected that the remake would be set in Atlanta. Phil Joanou was slated to direct with Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg' acting as executive producers with the latter possibly starring.
Dar Robinson doubled for Henry Silva in the dramatic conclusion to this movie where Silva's hit-man character is blasted by cop Sharky (Burt Reynolds) through a plate glass window and falls to his death from an Atlanta, Georgia skyscraper. In reality, Robinson took the dive out the window and landed an on an airbag many floors below to break his fall.
Most people think the scene with the person falling from the very tall hotel was filmed at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. It in fact was filmed at the Hyatt Regency Downtown which has a very similar, though not near as tall, tower as part of the hotel.
In the Adult Swim show The Venture Brothers the film is referenced in episode 3 season 1 "Careers in Science". One of the crew smaps and herds most of the crew into the hangar of the spacestation Gargantua 1 for "Movie Night" and opens the airlock killing most of the crew. "Sharky's Machine."
Though Burt Reynolds has made a number of police thrillers and played a cop or private detective a number of times, it is this one only movie that is filmed with a very similar tone and style to the "Dirty Harry" series.