According to an interview he gave to the New York Times in 2010, this movie was made during the middle of Wes Bentley's decade-long, extremely serious addiction to cocaine and heroin. He said in that interview that he only accepted any movie roles during that time so that he would have money to buy enough drugs.
The scene of the wedding reception of Gino Pariani and Janet Capiello had the actual St. Louis players, Frank Borghi, Gino Pariani and Harry Keough and their children and grand-children, as guests attending the reception.
Director David Anspaugh and script writer Angelo Pizzo were unhappy with studio executives, who cut their budget from $65 million to $27 million. Thus, the film's running time had to be reduced from almost 2 hours 10 minutes to 1 hour 41 minutes. Some notable exclusions were Frank "Pee Wee" Wallace as a German POW and an emotional scene of "America as a melting pot" in which the players go to Ellis Island and look up records of their ancestors. Pizzo said that only 45-50% of what he intended to be in the movie actually made it into the final cut.
In 1950 London bookmakers were offering odds of 500-1 against the Americans winning. Indeed so staggering was the upset result that the New York Times refused to run the score as they believed it to be a hoax.
Initially David Anspaugh rejected the film as he didn't believe he could make it on such a low budget. His friend and screenwriter Angelo Pizzo persuaded him to change his mind under the pretext that more money would become available. (It didn't.)
Was filmed during a summer in and around St. Louis's Italian neighborhood known as "The Hill". Many of the family-owned businesses there participated, and were transformed into part of the set with temporary facades and storefronts to give a 1950s-era feel.
The film claimed the English player Stan Mortensens scored a hat-trick in a FA Cup Final game 3 years earlier, when it was not to happen for 3 years in the future. This was the famous "Matthews Final" of 1953 named after Mortensen's team mate Stan Matthews, despite Mortensen's hat-trick. This hat-trick is also the first Wembley FA Cup Final hat-trick.