In the football scene, the filmmakers actually tried to have the catapult shuttle kick the football off. Unfortunately, the shuttle completely obliterated the ball, forcing a Navy Master Chief to just chuck the ball in the air for the desired shot.
The film is based loosely on the experiences of USAF Capt. Scott O'Grady, who was shot down near the town of Mrkonjic Grad in northern Bosnia in June 1995 and was stranded in Serb-held territory for six days before being rescued by US Marines. O'Grady brought a lawsuit against 20th Century-Fox for damages to his character. He claims he didn't curse as much and never disobeyed orders.
In the initial flyby scene of the aircraft carrier the deck crew can be seen standing in a long line across the deck. This is part of the beginning of flight operations as they search for any objects lying around on the flight deck (e.g. screws, bolts, trash, etc.) that could be sucked in the aircraft's intake during takeoff.
The SAM missile system shown in the film is the 9K35 Strela-10 firing the 9M37M missile. It uses an electro-optical guidance, laser proximity fusing and triple channel guidance system. However, its range is only 5 km and it can only intercept up to 3,500 metres (10,600 feet).
In response to Lt. Burnett's request to leave the navy, Adm. Reigart asks him what he's going to do . . . "Are you gonna fly commercial jets? Troll the friendly skies in a bus?" "Fly the friendly skies" is a slogan of United Airlines; in the 1990s, Gene Hackman was the principal voice-over artist for United Airlines commercials.
According to the beginning of the movie, the "Cincinnati Accords" ended the war in Bosnia. This treaty is loosely based on the real-life Dayton Agreement that ended the war in late 1995. Ironically, the "Cincinnati Accords" required NATO forces to withdraw from Bosnia, while the real-life Dayton Agreement allowed a large NATO force to be sent to Bosnia to help ensure the peace deal.
As Master Chief O'Malley (David Keith) leads Lt. Burnett to see Adm. Reigart, Burnett asks him if he caught the University of Tennessee's football game the previous Saturday. O'Malley replied, "I don't know anything, lieutenant." Keith graduated from the University of Tennessee.
None of the actors playing Serbians were actually Serbian; the producers said that they hired Croats as interns and instructors to teach the actors the Serbian language, because they couldn't find any Serbs willing to work on the film due to perceived anti-Serb sentiment shown in the film. Vladimir Mashkov, the actor who played the Serbian sniper Sasha, is Russian and Olek Krupa, the actor who played the Serbian Gen. Miroslav Lokar, is Polish. Some Slovaks also participated in the film, such as Marko Igonda, who plays Col. Bazda, and Kamil Kollarik, who plays a guerrilla who aids Burnett in Hac.