The film ends with newspaper stories written by Thomas Fowler about Vietnam from 1954 to 1966. However, the book, on which the film was based, was published in 1955, so these are mostly events which happened after the book came out.
Miramax had paid 5.5 million dollars for the rights to distribute the movie in North America and some other territories, but then shelved it for a long time. Miramax even planned for this movie to go straight-to-video. But Sir Michael Caine successfully persuaded Miramax to screen this movie at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival. This movie received many good reviews there, so Miramax decided to release this movie in the United States theatrically.
When Thomas Fowler (Sir Michael Caine) first introduces Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen) to Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser), the song "J'ai Deux Amours" (literal English meaning: "I Have Two Loves") can be heard being performed in the background.
At a Q&A in Dublin, Ireland in 2003, director Phillip Noyce said that Paramount Pictures originally planned to finance the film, and at one point, Sir Sean Connery and Johnny Depp were to play the lead roles of Thomas Fowler and Alden Pyle respectively. However, Noyce said that Paramount eventually passed on making the movie.
This film was released forty-four years after the original film version had premiered. The original film, shot in black-and-white, was released three years after Greene's novel "The Quiet American" had been published in 1955.
Phillip Noyce directed Echoes of Paradise (1987), which was set in, and was filmed in, Phuket, Thailand. Echoes of Paradise (1987) was originally set, and was to be filmed in, Bali, Indonesia, but damaging media coverage about the country, in Australia, meant the movie, for political reasons, was not shot and set there, with Phuket, Thailand replacing Bali, Indonesia.
Two of the film's personnel won awards by the London Film Critics Circle in 2002, for this picture. These included Best Actor of the Year for Sir Michael Caine, and Best Director of the Year (Phillip Noyce) for this movie and Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) combined.
Both theatrical feature film versions of Graham Greene's novel "The Quiet American" (1955) - The Quiet American (1958) and The Quiet American (2002) - both filmed in Vietnam, where the book is set, both filmed in Saigon which is now known as Ho Chi Minh City, the filming location being referred to as Saigon in the first film, and Ho Chi Minh City in the second, but within the stories of both movies, as it is set during the 1950s in 1952, the city in both films' stories is referred to as Saigon.
Graham Greene said of his source novel, in 'Ways of Escape', pages 139 and140: "When my novel was eventually noticed in the 'New Yorker', the reviewer condemned me for accusing my "best friends" (the Americans) of murder, since I had attributed to them the responsibility for the great explosion - far worse than the trivial bicycle bombs - in the main square of Saigon, when many people lost their lives. But what are the facts, of which the reviewer, needless to say, was ignorant? The Life photographer at the moment of the explosion, was so well placed, that he was able to take an astonishing and horrifying photograph, which showed the body of a trishaw driver, still upright after his legs had been blown off. This photograph was reproduced in an American propaganda magazine, published in Manila over the title 'The work of Ho Chi Minh', although General Thé had promptly and proudly claimed the bomb as his own. Who had supplied the material to a bandit who was fighting French, Caodaists, and Communists? Perhaps there is more direct rapportage, in the The Quiet American, than in any other novel I have written. I had determined to employ again, the experience I had gained with The End of the Affair, in the use of the first person and the time shift, and my choice of a journalist as the "I" seemed to me to justify the use of rapportage. The Press conference is not the only example of direct reporting. I was in the dive bomber (the pilot had broken an order of General de Lattre by taking me) which attacked the Viet Minh post, and I was on the patrol of the Foreign Legion paras outside Phat Diem. I still retain the sharp image of the dead child couched in the ditch, beside his dead mother. The very neatness of their bullet wounds made their deaths more disturbing, than the indiscriminate massacre in the canals around."