The film's title is taken from a controversial English law court called the "Star Chamber" which was founded in 1487 by King Henry VII. This court sat at the Royal Palace of Westminster until 1641. The "Star Chamber" was so-called because the ceiling of the court where the judges met featured gold decorative stars. The court operated as a supplement to local justice processes where other courts of law could not for one reason or another enforce justice. This court took its name from another court also called the "Star Chamber" or "Starred Chamber" from the reign of King Edward II which functioned for meetings of the King's Council.
Debut cinema movie at 20th Century Fox for actor Michael Douglas who during the 1980s would make a number of pictures with this studio. The Star Chamber (1983) was the very first of these films at Fox for Douglas with the subsequent films being Wall Street (1987), Romancing the Stone (1984), The Jewel of the Nile (1985), The War of the Roses (1989), and in the early 1990s, 1992's Shining Through (1992), making it a total of six films within about a decade. Other movies Douglas made with Fox include "Don't Say A Word" (2001), "The Sentinel" (2006), and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" (2010).
Second of three movies where actor Hal Holbrook leads a group of outlaw law professionals with all three pictures being made and released exactly a decade apart. In 1973's Magnum Force (1973), Holbrook lead a group of rebel cops; in 1983's The Star Chamber (1983), Holbrook heads a court of vigilante judges; whilst similarly in another legal drama-thriller, Holbrook would later lead a team of renegade lawyers in 1993's The Firm (1993).
The movie features footage of a baseball game being played between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The footage shows Dusty Baker hitting a home run off of Phil Niekro. Also, a clip can be seen of a scoreboard during the game showing the Braves leading 4-3. This places the date of the game at 7 June 1982.
The picture's closing credits declare that the film was dedicated "For George-Ann". George-Ann is the first name of George-Ann Spota who is the wife of the movie's director Peter Hyams. The film references her last name with the naming of a character called Sergeant Spota (Robert Costanzo) something which is a trademark of director Hyams.
Roderick Taylor, the film's screenwriter, in this movie wanted to explore the legal loopholes and legal technicalities that allowed criminals to walk free and get off or get reduced sentences or receive parole, as well as the lobby groups that rallied for more punitive punishments for repeat offenders.
Some movie posters for this film featured a long preamble which read: "They are the most powerful members of our community. They have a shattering secret. A secret that will affect us all. Only one man is willing to stop them. On August 5, you'll know who they really are."
Actress Fritzi Burr's performance as Judge Alice McCardle was accidentally left of the movie's credits. The 10th August 1983 edition of show-business trade paper 'Daily Variety' reports that Peter Hyams, producer Frank Yablans and the 20th Century Fox Film Corporation ran an advertisement apologizing for this mistake and oversight and praising Burr for her acting contribution to the movie.
The 18th June 1982 edition of show-business trade paper "Daily Variety' reported that the 20th Century Fox film studio developed a new piece of lighting equipment especially for this picture. The lighting unit, which reportedly could shine up the same as "ten of the industry's largest arc lamps", took about one month to build, and was nick-named "The Big Fox Light". The light had the following technical specifications: it was made of aluminum, it operated via a hydrocrane remote control, it had a light emission capacity of up to a level of eighteen million candle power units, was capable of eliminating any shadows produced during daytime shooting, it could facilitate location filming when illumination was required, and its length and width dimensions measured 11 x 11 feet.
The production notes for this picture state that screenwriter Roderick Taylor originally approached producer Irwin Yablans with an eight page treatment about the legal rights of victims of crime about three years prior to the picture starting principal photography.
Producer Irwin Yablans read several drafts of Roderick Taylor's screenplay prior to arranging a meeting with director Peter Hyams in New York City. Reportedly, the "star chamber" of writer and producer and director, walked around for five hours talking about the film's story and themes, before deciding that they should green-light the development of this movie.
The 20th Century Fox studio, which had produced three "Star Wars" movies, was concerned about this film's title "The Star Chamber", thinking that audiences might think it was a science-fiction movie. Fox Worldwide Marketing and Distribution President Tom Sherak said the studio made sure that the film's trailers were designed "to clear up any misconceptions about the title and the subject matter".
Portraying Superior Court Judge Steven R. Hardin, the film was the first of two legal characters that actor Michael Douglas portrayed during the 1980s. The second was as Manhattan attorney Dan Gallagher in Fatal Attraction (1987).
The 26th March 1982 edition of show-business trade paper 'Daily Variety' reported that the film's budget was US $8 million and the picture would be filmed entirely within the city of Los Angeles in the American state of California, USA.
According to the American Film Insitute, as reported in the 27th July 1982 edition of show-business trade paper 'Daily Variety', this "article noted that an [US] $11 million lawsuit was filed by International Photographers Local 659 against Twentieth Century-Fox and Frank Yablans Productions, alleging that the duties of the director of photography Dick Hannah were reassigned to Hyams [director Peter Hyams], thereby violating the union's collective bargaining agreement. According to the complaint, Hyams 'usurped' Hannah's role as cinematographer, and the filmmakers had violated an agreement to permit a Local 659 'steward' on set to oversee production. The suit asked the U.S. District Court to award [US] $7 million in general damages and [US] $4 million in punitive damages."
Actor Hal Holbrook leads a group of vigilante judges in this movie, and similarly, in another legal drama-thriller, Holbrook leads a team of rebel lawyers, in the later film The Firm (1993), which debuted exactly approximately a decade or ten years after The Star Chamber (1983).
In the "Incredible Hulk Annual #1" story "Amazing Grace!" (September 1983), the Hulk gets involved in a civil war on planet Cygnet VII between the ruling Reds and the oppressed Greens. At one point, Hulk tells the Reds, "I don't like your Star Chamber tactics."