After Don Siegel suffered a heart attack during production, Sam Peckinpah stepped in and directed some of the film without credit. Screenwriter Frank D. Gilroy removed his name from the film, and was credited as "Burt Blessing".
Don Siegel had been a mentor to Sam Peckinpah twenty-five years earlier, and by the time this film was made, Peckinpah was almost banished from the industry due to his troubled film productions, often involving clashes with producers and studios. Siegel gave him a chance to return to filmmaking. During production of this movie, he asked Peckinpah if he would be interested in directing twelve days of Second Unit work. Peckinpah immediately accepted, and his earnest collaboration with his longtime friend was noted within the industry. While Peckinpah's work was uncredited, it would lead to his being hired as the director of his final film, The Osterman Weekend (1983).
Don Siegel had so many clashes, arguments, and fights with Bette Midler on this movie, that after it was finished, he was quoted as saying, "I'd let my wife, children, and animals starve before I'd subject myself to something like that again."
This movie was based on the 1980 novel "The Edge" by Frank D. Gilroy. He sold the film rights to The Ladd Company at Warner Brothers, intending to direct. Ladd then sold the project to Herb Jaffe at United Artists for three hundred thousand dollars and Jaffe hired David Newman to re-write it. A United Artists production executive suggested Bette Midler for the lead, and she asked for Don Siegel to direct. The script was re-written by Jerry Blatt, Carol Rydall, Bette Midler, and Don Siegel. During development, it was also known as "The Jackpot" and "Hot Streak". Gilroy had his name removed from the film, and was credited as "Burt Blessing".