The one thousand four hundred ninety-two page script included two thousand seventy scenes, three hundred fifty-eight speaking parts, seven hundred fifty-seven locations around the world, and employed more than forty-four thousand actors, actresses, and extras.
When this mini-series was shown on the ITV network in the U.K. in the late 1980s, several of the graphic concentration camp scenes were shown out of sequence. This was to ensure they were transmitted after the 9:00 p.m. "watershed". There is an unwritten rule that potentially "offensive" images are never shown before this time.
Byron ultimately finds his son Louis in England, courtesy of a Royal Air Force program to find adoptive homes for Jewish orphans. That program existed in real-life. Jane Seymour's first husband, Michael Attenborough, had two aunts who were adopted through the program.
Sir John Gielgud took over the role of Aaron Jastrow from John Houseman. Gielgud was one of several actors who passed on the role of the law professor in The Paper Chase (1973), before Houseman was cast.
The authenticity of the selection scenes at Auschwitz were helped by several former inmates of the camp, who were given advisory roles and appeared as extras, thus reliving their own experiences more than forty years later.
Although the U.S.S. Northampton is portrayed with the second main gun turret located aft of the bridge, which is incorrect, all of the World War II U.S. heavy and light cruisers that could have portrayed the ship had either been scrapped; converted and scrapped; mothballed; or preserved as a museum ship. It appears that a ship was offered for use during filming, and had to be converted. The ship used could not have physically had a second main gun turret included forward, as this is pretty obvious, so it had to be added to the aft section behind the bridge.
This was the first production to be filmed on-location inside Auschwitz, after Dan Curtis lobbied the Polish Communist government for permission to film. A full scale replica of Krematorium II was built alongside the original site, as the building had been destroyed by the Nazis at the end of 1944.
Aaron Jastrow mentions that he receives coffee from Bernard Berenson, who is never seen. Berenson was actually a real person, an American Jewish expatriate, art historian, convert to Christianity, and a major inspiration for Jastrow's character.
According to the story, Natalie Jastrow, Pamela Tusdbury, Leslie Slote, and Phillip Rule all once shared a flat together in Paris before going their separate ways. Pamela is the only character of the four to have a scene with Phillip Rule, she only appears in one scene with Leslie, and never has a scene with Natalie.