The theme song "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" was a huge success for Phil Collins, becoming his first of seven number one singles in the United States during his solo career. It won him the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1985 and it was also nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Collins was the only nominee in the Academy Awards category not invited to sing his song on stage, instead sitting in the audience as dancer Ann Reinking gave a lip-synced performance accompanied by a dance routine. His perceived negative reaction shown on the telecast is considered to be one of the most awkward moments in the history of the ceremony and has been a favorite reference for Dennis Miller to relate someone reacting in a horrified fashion.
Jane Greer, who played the "mother" in this movie, played the "daughter," Kathie Moffat, in the original version, Out of the Past (1947). The daughter in this version was renamed Jessie Wyler and played by Rachel Ward. Paul Valentine, who played Councilman Wienberg, played Joe Stephanos in the original.
James Woods and Jeff Bridges both loved working with Richard Widmark, and fondly remembered the late actor's love of pancakes. He used to have a plate waiting for him while shooting a scene, and Woods and Bridges would often hide it. Widmark refused to go back to shooting before the cakes had been recovered.
On the DVD commentary, actors Jeff Bridges and James Woods comment on how many audience members were returning to see the film several times for the brief but highly effective car chase sequence at the start.
Phil Collins was contacted by director Taylor Hackford to record a song for the movie. Collins had written "Against All Odds" (originally entitled "How Can You Just Sit There?") for his first solo album, "Face Value" (released in 1981), and it was one of many songs on the album which were about his first wife, who had left him. Collins had left the song off the album because he felt he had enough ballads on "Face Value" already and he hadn't included it on his second solo album, "Hello, I Must Be Going", either. After Taylor Hackford's request for a song, he decided to return to it and recorded it in two days, one day in New York, the other in Los Angeles, aided by legendary record producer Arif Mardin.
One of three movies directed by Taylor Hackford in the 1980's with a hit song associated with the movie. In this film , the song was "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" sung by Phil Collins whereas in Hackford's previous picture An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) the song was "Up Where We Belong" sung by Joe Cocker and in White Nights (1985) the songs were "Say You, Say Me" written and performed by Lionel Richie and "Separate Lives" written by Stephen Bishop and with Collins again as performer along with Marilyn Martin. All of those tunes were Oscar nominated for the Best Song Academy Award, the ones performed by Collins did not win but the Cocker and Richie song did take home the gold statuette.
The place where the car chase took place was on Sunset Boulevard in the western area of Los Angeles County. Specifically, the area covered West Sunset Boulevard between Roxbury Drive and South Beverly Glen Boulevard and along Holmby Hills. The production shut down this stretch of the boulevard at fifteen minute intervals for filming of the exciting car race with the two sports cars.
The image, likeness, and appearance of Jeff Bridges from this movie was used as a visual effects reference in order create a thirty-five year old version of Bridges for the CLU and Kevin Flynn characters in the 2010 sequel movie Tron (2010). Bridges was approximately thirty-four years of age when he acted in Against All Odds (1984).
Actress Rachel Ward has said in an interview the words to the effect of how it was surreal and unreal to see her image up there on massive billboards posted all across Los Angeles when the picture came out.
On the subject of Against All Odds (1984) being a remake of Out of the Past (1947), a notable "film noir" starring Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, and Jane Greer, director Taylor Hackford commented: "Certainly, we've tried to retain certain qualities from the original film, mainly the electric, dangerous interaction of the three main characters. However, the story itself, the background of the characters and the setting are very different. I think we've come up with a film that deals with the unique nature of power in Los Angeles and how that power consumes and almost destroys the three main characters. Years from now I can see theaters playing this version and the original on the same bill and the audience seeing two very different films".
According to The '80s Movies Rewind website, "the black Ferrari 308 and red Porsche in the films famous chase scene were specially modified vehicles from Customs By Eddie Paul in El Segundo, CA [California, USA]. The cars were modified for high-speed driving with special onboard camera mounts".
Of the movie's Mexican locations, producer-director Taylor Hackford said: "There are millions of dollars in production values on the screen that one could never create in Hollywood. It's exciting to think that many moviegoers will be seeing these fantastic locations for the first time. Stylistically, I wanted to contrast these rough, ancient Mexican textures with the cold, modern surfaces of Los Angeles. Often, L.A. has been used in films as a kind of lotus-land . . . people waking up in the morning, saying, 'God, I can't believe those palm trees'. But people from L.A., especially those who wield power, don't feel or act that way. It's not that the absurdities are lost on them; they've simply made their peace with the city and attend to business. That's the point of view I'm taking in this film. Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward are both fugitives from the corruptive power and manipulation of Los Angeles. The romantic, other-worldliness of the Yucatan provides a setting for them to find each other . . . something that would never have been possible in L.A., because of their respective' emotional baggage and class differences".
Jeff Bridges was initially director Taylor Hackford's preferred choice for the lead in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), but Bridges had a packed schedule that particular year (he starred in three big movies) and had to turn it down. Hackford kept Bridges in mind when creating the character of 'Terry Brogan' for this movie.
This Columbia Pictures film featured a major movie poster with Rachel Ward atop Jeff Bridges in a love scene on a beach. The same studio had once produced a movie about thirty years earlier called From Here to Eternity (1953) which had a beach love scene that became very famous. It featured Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster passionately embracing on a beach with the ocean waves tiding in. The Against All Odds (1984) love beach shot on the movie poster for this film also became very famous though it did not feature sea water like the earlier picture did.
Actor Jeff Bridges modeled his character of Terry Brogan on Bob Chandler, a Hall of Fame wide-receiver gridiron footballer who played for the Buffalo Bills from 1971 through 1979, then played wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders from 1980 through 1982.
Actress Rachel Ward was cast in the lead female role in this 1980s film noir mystery-suspense-drama having recently starred in two Hollywood genre related films, the Burt Reynolds urban cop thriller Sharky's Machine (1981), where Ward played a femme fatale, and the film noir detective spoof, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982). For the film's passionate story elements, Ward had recently starred in the priestly forbidden love romantic-drama TV series The Thorn Birds (1983).
The spectacular Mecivan locations in Yucatan and Quintano Roo in Mexico included the colorful resort island of Cozumel; a fishing village on the picturesque island of Isla Mujures off the coast of Cancun; Tulum, the Mayan-Toltec ruins overlooking the Caribbean; and the famous ruins of Chichen Itza in the jungles of Yucatan. This movie was the first time that permission had ever been granted by the Mexican Government to use these sacred ruins for a theatrical motion picture.
Director Taylor Hackford's biggest problem according to the film's production notes was finding an actress who could play the role of Jessie Wyler. Hackford said: "The quality I was looking for is not in great abundance these days . . . that compelling power to make two very strong men who ordinarily wouldn't be made fools of by any woman, lose their equilibrium. It's not just beauty or sexiness. To me the extra ingredient is mystery ... that unpredictability that keeps men off balance, wondering what's coming next".
The film's two lead star love interests, Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward, both have a connection to novelist Newton Thornburg. Bridges had previously starred in Cutter's Way (1981), a filmed version of Thornburg's novel "Cutter and Bone", whilst Ward later on directed the feature film of Thornburg's novel Beautiful Kate (2009).
Many movie posters for the film featured a long text preamble that read: "She was a beautiful fugitive. Fleeing from corruption. From power. From one man wanting to use her. He was a professional athlete past his prime. Who was hired to find her. But instead, grew to love her. Love turned to obsession. Obsession turned to murder. And now the price of freedom might be nothing less than their lives".
Actress Rachel Ward was director Taylor Hackford's first choice to play Jessie Wyler. Hackfrod said: "It's a perfect role for her, one that's very close to who she is. Rachel is still maturing as an actress and has not yet given a performance close to what she's capable of. I think people are going to be very surprised when they see her portrayal of Jessie Wyler".
The track "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" sung by Phil Collins was both Golden Globe and Oscar (Academy Award) nominated, in the categories of Best Music - Original Song and Best Original Song - Motion Picture respectively. The nom was the movie's only nomination in each award system. The song failed to win a gong at either awards ceremony losing out in both award systems to Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from The Woman in Red (1984).
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The amount of money that Jessie Wyler (Rachel Ward) allegedly stole off Jake Wise (James Woods) was US $50,000. The amount of money that Jake contracted Terry Brogan (Jeff Bridges to find Jessie was US $10,000 with a US $20,000 bonus if successful.