The Prince of Tides novel was recommended to Barbra Streisand by her then-boyfriend Don Johnson, who was a fan of the novel. She enjoyed it and planned to make it into a film, with Johnson in the Tom Wingo part. However by the time the film was in production, their romantic relationship had ended, which meant that Johnson was no longer attached to the role.
Barbra Streisand initially hired composer John Barry to score the film. Barry left the project because Streisand insisted that he move from New York to Los Angeles to work on the score, and Barry did not want to work with "someone constantly looking over my shoulder." Streisand hired James Newton Howard as the film's composer. Barry later retitled his "Prince of Tides theme as "Moviola," and released it on his 1992 album of the same name.
When NBC broadcast the movie in 1995, Barbra Streisand called the network mid-movie to request they lower the volume on the commercials, which were loud compared to the relatively quiet movie. The weekend operations manager obliged, reducing them 2 decibels.