Some movie posters for this film featured a long preamble which read: "When Charlie Smith went down to the border, he found more than a boundary line between Texas and Mexico. He found a line within himself. The Border is the most controversial and emotionally gripping film of 1982. As Charlie Smith, Jack Nicholson delivers one of the most powerful performances of his career. He is a man as divided as the land itself. An uncomplicated man trapped in a complicated life. The Border is an intense film both in its use of language and depiction of violence."
Media reports stated that lead actor Jack Nicholson was frequently late arriving on set. Reportedly, Nicholson was not happy with this and once replied: "I'm too much of a professional to behave like that".
This picture represents one of a handful of films released during the 1980s that had the word Border forming part of the title and examining immigration across the Mexico-USA border, many dealing with issues relating to corruption, profiteering, border protection and illegal immigration. The movies included The Border (1982), Borderline (1980), Border Heat (aka Deadly Stranger (1988)), Border Radio (1987) and Border Cop (1980) (aka aka The Blood Barrier aka The Border aka The Border, USA).
Elpidia Carrillo's entire performance in this movie in the role of Clara was originally intended to be without dialogue. The movie was the first American film of Mexican actress Elpidia Carrillo and was the first of a number of Latin American related movies made by Hollywood in the 1980s that Carrillo appeared in, others being Beyond the Limit (1983), Under Fire (1983) and Salvador (1986), Capillo's part in the latter having been said to have been very similar to her role in this movie.
The film's title "The Border" refers to the Mexican-US border, specifically, the border between the American state of Texas and the country of Mexico, around the El Paso and Rio Grande region, which is where the picture is set.
This movie starring Jack Nicholson was released between two of his movies which were both heavily Oscar nominated, Reds (1981) and Terms of Endearment (1983). However, this film was not nominated for any Academy Awrads and was not successful at the box-office either.