The director wanted Lea Thompson and Tom Cruise to go undercover to remember what high school was like. They went to separate schools, and while Cruise was spotted after just one day because someone recognized him from Taps (1981), Thompson went four days, was asked out by many guys and got caught smoking.
Tom Cruise and Lea Thompson performed a majority of their own nudity in their love scene. However, body doubles were used for insert shots. The same body doubles were also used earlier in the film for insert shots in the make-out scene in the car.
Rifleman, the quarterback, and Shadow, the receiver, are always called by their nicknames (including in the credits), except once. During the pep rally scene when Riley is telling Stef that Tracy is pregnant, you can hear coach Nickerson off camera in the background if you listen close when he is introducing the players. Rifleman's name is Clarence Oliver and Shadow's name is Austin Williams.
Considered a male version of Flashdance (1983), both movies were about a young person central character living in a Pennsylvanian town and following their dream to become a success and get out of their town. She was a welder in Pittsburgh, he was destined to stay in his mill town unless he can score a scholarship. The film replaced flash dancing with American football and both films had a distinctive rock soundtrack.
In the scene in which Ampipe's team bus is pulling into Walnut Heights for the big game, Johnstown's Vo-Tech School in Richland Township, was used as the Walnut Heights School, which is actually about five miles away from where the game was played (the Point Stadium in downtown Johnstown).
Three schools were used to portray Walnut Heights. Johnstown's Votech, as seen when the Ampipe bus arrives for the big game. The locker room scenes were shot at Westmont High School, approximately twenty miles from the Vo-tech. The scene in which the team is getting on the bus to go home after the game, where Stefan is not allowed on the bus, was filmed in the parking lot of Westmont Junior High.
This was the first big role playing a football coach for Craig T. Nelson, who would later become perhaps best known to audiences for his character of football coach Hayden Fox on the television series Coach (1989).
The film was made and released three years after its source article about the Duquesne High School football team in Pennsylvania, "Duquesne, PA", by sports journalist Pat Jordan, was first published in Geo Magazine in 1980. This story is included in the 2008 anthology "The Best Sports Writing of Pat Jordan" edited by Alex Belth.
The film's soundtrack noticeably received top billing in the movie's closing credits, the tracks each having the extraordinary action of having the each scene they were played in included in the credits.
Near the beginning of the film, while talking about his potential college coaching job, Nickerson mentions that it is between him and "you know who" from Aliquippa. The real-life coach of Aliquippa High School, at the time the movie was made, was Donald Yannessa, who portrayed the Walnut Heights coach.
First name-above-the-title top billing on a movie poster for actor Tom Cruise who didn't get such in the same year's Risky Business (1983) where Cruise had top billing but it wasn't name-above-the-title.
When Djorjavic and a few teammates are sitting around in the auditorium watching Lisa and the choir practice, one guys asks Stef if he heard from Syracuse yet. Although the school was never mentioned when the recruiter was in Stef's house, prior to the Walnut Heights game, at this point we can infer that he was from Syracuse because the man said they'd "always have a place for him" if Stef changed his mind. Presumably, Stef is attempting to take him up on the alleged promise.
The film was produced by Lucille Ball's production company. Although "Lucille Ball Productions" gets onscreen credit, her involvement in the production was minimized in publicity out of concerns that the film's content would tarnish her public image.