- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains:
- #36 Hero, Rooster Cogburn
- California Doubling: The story takes place in the Ozarks, but the landscape in the movie doesn't look like the Ozarks. In fact, it was shot in Colorado and California. The contrast between the tall granite snow covered peaks of the Rockies and High Sierras, and the actual weathered hills of the Ouachita, Boston, and Arbuckle mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas is so extreme, this veers into The Mountains of Illinois territory. No, you can't actually go skiing in Oklahoma.
- Creator Backlash:
- Henry Hathaway later said he hated Glen Campbell's performance, which he described as wooden, and claimed the singer was only cast so he could have a hit with the theme song which would help promote the film.
- John Wayne was not pleased with the finished film. He greatly disliked Kim Darby's performance, and while promoting the film for its U.S. release in June 1969, he told interviewers that he had starred in much better films, citing Stagecoach as an example. Hathaway also felt she was wrong for the part.
- Dawson Casting:
- Mattie was about fourteen in the book and prepubescent. Kim Darby was well into her twenties.
- Rooster Cogburn is forty in the book. John Wayne was 61 at the time.
- Hostility on the Set: John Wayne didn't have a pleasant time on the film.
I was like his in-house commie. If anything went wrong on set, he'd yell, "Where's that pinko Hopper?" On True Grit, he arrived one day in his helicopter, and started shouting: "My daughter went up to UCLA yesterday and that communist Stokely Carmichael made a speech using all this four-letter language, and I want that fucking pinko Hopper, I want his fucking head!" But he was always funny to me, I think he liked me. And his sons were good friends of mine. He just believed I was a communist.
- He disliked Kim Darby's performance and the two hardly spoke off-camera.
- He was so annoyed by Robert Duvall's Method Acting approach that he threatened to punch him if he questioned the director one more time.
- Dennis Hopper claimed that Wayne chased him round the studio with a loaded gun.
- Playing Against Type: John Wayne usually played straight heroes, not middle-aged drunken Anti Heroes.
- What Could Have Been:
- Award Category Fraud: Despite Mattie being the protagonist, Hailee Steinfeld was demoted by almost every single film awards association to "Best Supporting Actress" while her co-star Jeff Bridges was nominated for Best Actor. note
- Billing Displacement: Josh Brolin is billed third and above the title, but doesn't appear until an hour in and has somewhat less presence.
- California Doubling: Set in Eastern Oklahoma, shot in New Mexico and Texas. As anyone familiar with Oklahoma (or New Mexico and Texas!) can tell you, they don't really look alike.
- The Danza: Barry Pepper plays Lucky Ned Pepper.
- Dawson Casting: Hailee Steinfeld was 13 at the time, while Jeff Bridges was 61.
- Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: A woman missing her left forearm (due to a birth defect) was hired to play older Mattie in shots that don't show her face. She winds up having more screen time than the actress that plays older Mattie, mostly due to the long shot at the end of Mattie walking away from Rooster's grave that lasts into the credits.
- What Could Have Been: Michael Biehn auditioned for Ned Pepper.