Mike Hodges disowned the movie, and attempted to have his name removed from the credits, after creative interference from the film's producers. Hodges wasn't happy with the theatrical release of the film.
After director Mike Hodges had a successful release with the film Croupier (1998), there was talk that there was going to be a release of a Director's Cut of A Prayer for the Dying (1987), but this never happened.
Bill Conti replaced John Scott as Composer. Scott composed a music score that was rejected by the producers. Scott was then allegedly fired, due to creative differences with the producers. Conti was then hired to finish the movie's score.
The Director's Cut by Mike Hodges apparently exists. Hodges originally had John Scott compose the music. However, the producers decided that they didn't like the score, and then hired Bill Conti to redo the music. Moreover, after watching Hodges' cut, Samuel Goldwyn re-cut the film for an American action film audience .
According to the book "Made in Yorkshire" (2008) by Tony Earnshaw, the above-mentioned planned 1970s version of this film intended to shoot in Leeds which is the city where Jack Higgins' source novel is actually set. The picture was to star Lee Marvin and be written and directed by Edward Dmytryk. The book features photos of Marvin and Dmytryk scouting locations in Leeds.
Rourke publicly feuded with the studio boss during filming, unhappy that emphasis was placed on action over the dramatic script, for which he had signed on. He stated that the studio boss should have hired Chuck Norris for the resulting version.