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.
Although playing a world-renowned violin player, Jeroen Krabbé didn't play the violin himself. He showed the piece he was supposed to play in the film to two professional players, who also had some difficulty to learn it. However, when they did, Krabbé watched them play it and learned their every movement by heart, which he copied perfectly while filming the scene. Barbra Streisand was so impressed by his performance that she spontaneously hugged him after shooting the scene.
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.
Chris O'Donnell, who would soon become a star in Scent of a Woman, won the role of Streisand's teenage son, Bernard, but Pat Conroy didn't think he was right. Looking through photos of other young actors, he picked one out, telling Streisand that she should hire him, instead. The actor was Streisand's own son, Jason Gould.
Robert Redford initially acquired the film rights and was planning to star and direct himself. He had even considered Streisand for the Lowenstein role, but was having trouble getting a satisfactory script together. When Streisand seemed more enthusiastic than he was, Redford relinquished the film rights to her.
Blythe Danner's "Prince of Tides" portrayal of Sally Wingo is her second film character who originated from a Pat Conroy novel, her first characterization was Lillian Meecham, a decade earlier in the film of "The Great Santini".
To point out that Kate Nelligan is significantly younger than her on-screen children is illogical for this movie. Prince of Tides is set primarily in two different time periods, when Tom and Savannah are adolescents and then when they are adults. The scenes weave back and forth from past to present. When Kate Nelligan shares scenes with Nick Nolte, her hair and make-up have been done so as to have her appear much older than she is. In the flash back scenes, she does not share screen time with Nick nor Melinda, but the juvenile versions of Tom, Savannah, and Luke's characters. In these scenes, she is her young and beautiful self.