Alec Baldwin was first choice to play Dr. Richard Kimble. When he dropped out, Andy Garcia was considered for the role.
Jon Voight and Gene Hackman were both offered the role of Sam Gerard.
Filming began before the script was completed.
Credits run over the first 14 minutes of the film.
The director only had one chance to crash the train into the prison bus. He expected to crash into his bus at a speed of 35 miles per hour, but due to his own error, the train came at a speed of 42 miles per hour. Nevertheless, the scene still went exactly as planned.
Harrison Ford damaged some ligaments in his leg during the filming of the scenes in the woods. He refused to take surgery until the end of filming so that his character would keep the limp. The limp can be seen in any subsequent scene where Richard Kimble is running.
Kimble's apartment is modeled after an actual doctor that Harrison Ford and the director met in a Chicago bar shortly before filming. Ford felt that the doctor, somewhat eccentric and reclusive, was exactly how he wanted to portray Kimble and sent the art department to see his apartment. The doctor was also treated to a drink by Ford.
The dam used in the exterior shots is Cheoah Dam, Tapoco, Graham County, North Carolina. The dam can be viewed clearly from North Carolina State Highway 129, just north of the town of Tapoco.
According to producer Roy Huggins, Gerard's line in response to Richard Kimble's claim of innocence ("I didn't kill my wife") was originally read in the script as, "That isn't my problem." But at the request of Tommy Lee Jones, it was changed to, "I don't care."
In one scene of the movie, a destination indicator on an EL train reads "Kimball" and the next shot tracks over a building that has a sign reading "Harrison."
The chase through the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago was a spur of the moment thing. Some people in the crowd are visibly surprised when Jones and Ford jump in.
The picture of Richard Kimble on the composite from medical school is Harrison Ford's yearbook picture from Ripon College, from which he almost graduated in 1964.
Tommy Lee Jones won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Deputy Marshall Samuel Gerard.