Karroom Ben Bouih (High Priest Kafu Selim) was the night watchman of an olive orchard near the filming location. He was hired after Writer and Director John Huston accidentally met him, and told to come to the set the following day. After he fell asleep a few times during filming, it was discovered that he had still kept his night watchman job. Huston had to explain to him that he didn't need that job any more. The movie company would pay him enough that he could sleep at night.
Karroom Ben Bouih, who played the high priest Kafu-Selim, was one hundred three-years-old when he made his only movie appearance. When he saw some of the footage, he declared that now he would live on forever.
The "Making-of" featurette on the DVD contains footage of Sir Sean Connery performing the fall from the bridge stunt. He fell approximately one hundred feet to the bottom of the ravine, before his fall was broken by a big pile of cardboard boxes. In his 2010 book, "The Elephant to Hollywood", Sir Michael Caine reports on page 150, "The real hero then took his (Sir Sean Connery) place. Joe Powell was an experienced stuntman. Joe fell so skillfully, twisting and turning on the way down, and at the very last minute straightening himself out so that he hit the mattresses dead center. John Huston turned to me and said, 'That was the darnedest stunt I've ever seen.'"
John Huston had failed to cast the role of Roxanne before shooting started. During filming, at a small dinner party for some cast and crew, Huston was asked if he had yet filled the part. When he answered no, all heads turned toward Shakira Caine, the wife of Sir Michael Caine. Huston cast her on the spot.
When Billy Fish (Saeed Jaffrey) charges into the angry mob, he cries "Ayo Gorkhali". This is the second half of the old Gurkha war-cry: "Jaya Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali", which means "Glory to Great Kali, Gorkhas approach!".
Christopher Plummer (Rudyard Kipling) would have been dismissed early on by the producers, but for Sir Sean Connery's insistence that Plummer stay. Connery had even threatened to abandon the production if Plummer were not retained. The producers eventually relented.
Sir Michael Caine and Sir Sean Connery were disgusted by the treatment of Saeed Jaffrey during filming. He didn't even have a chair to sit on between takes on-location. Finally, Caine had enough and shouted to the crew "Get this man a fucking chair!"
When he appeared on Inside the Actors Studio (1994) and was asked about working with John Huston, Sir Michael Caine recalled that, a few weeks into shooting, both he and Sir Sean Connery were worried and concerned at the lack of direction and feedback they were getting from Huston. Caine approached Huston and asked if anything was wrong, and if he was happy with their performances? Huston replied: " You're getting paid a lot of money to do this, Michael, I think you should do it by yourself."
The paintings on the wall, when Peachey (Sir Michael Caine) tells Daniel (Sir Sean Connery) he's leaving, are copied from the "spring" fresco, unearthed on the Greek island of Santorini, dating back to 1500 B.C.
The main theme of the movie is an old Irish air "The Moreen", more often called "The Minstrel Boy" after Thomas Moore wrote the lyrics "The minstrel boy to the war is gone." However, the words sung by Daniel and Peachey are from the Christian Hymn "The Son of God goes forth to war" by Reginald Heber.
John Huston was an avid fan of Rudyard Kipling since childhood. In a 1976 article for Film Encyclopedia, Huston remarked, "I read so much Kipling, it's in my unconscious. You start a verse I'll finish it. Kipling writes about a world gone, a geography gone. It's the world of adventure, high honor, mystery".
The scene where Danny meets Roxanne, was shot at the kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, just north of the southern Moroccan city of Ouarzazate. This site was used in Gladiator (2000) as the North-African arena where Maximus first fights. Ouarzazate is known as "Morocco's Hollywood" since many international productions, such as Kingdom of Heaven (2005) and The Hills Have Eyes (2006), were shot in this area.
Michael Caine says in his biography that John Huston the director addressed him and Sean Connery only by their characters names on the set; never by their true names. He also confessed that both him and Connery improvised dialogues and even scenes.
According to Stephen Bogart, son of Humphrey Bogart, John Huston originally wanted to cast Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart in the lead roles. Bogart died before this movie could be made, and while Huston was considering who could replace Bogart, Gable also passed away.