Richard Maibaum later claimed he was asked to write the film, but declined, as he was working on the Made-for-TV MovieJarrett. He disliked the final film saying "to process drugs in the middle of the jungle is not a Bond caper."
Ken Adam was unable to return as production designer, as he was working on Sleuth.
John Barry was unable to score the film, as he was working on the stage musical Bill.
Breakaway Pop Hit: The titular song by Paul McCartney and Wings is one of the most famous Bond themes of all. It continues to get heavy airplay on classic rock stations to this day, as does its cover by Guns N' Roses. There are younger fans of the genre and song who aren't even aware that it's from a Bond film.
California Doubling: Jamaica doubled as the fictional San Monique. Jamaica itself exists in the setting since Dr. No (which was also filmed there a decade prior).
Cast the Expert: Geoffrey Holder was not only an imposing (he stood at 6'6) yet jovial presence that was perfect for Baron Samedi, but he also choreographed the Hollywood Voodoo cult scenes, as he was a professional choreographer in addition to an actor.
Creator Backlash: Yaphet Kotto stated that "There were so many problems with that script... I was too afraid of coming off like Mantan Moreland ... I had to dig deep in my soul and brain and come up with a level of reality that would offset the sea of stereotype crap that Tom Mankiewicz wrote that had nothing to do with the Black experience or culture." He found the way Kananga dies to be a "joke", and the entire experience was "not as rewarding as [he] wanted it to be".
Executive Meddling: Tom Mankiewicz originally wanted to cast a black actress to play Solitaire, even considering Diana Ross for the role. It would have made more sense since all of the Big Bad's henchmen are black except her, but the executives felt racial tensions at the time meant that The World Is Not Ready for a black Bond Girl (at least one that isn't The Mole). Indeed, it wasn't until 2002's Die Another Day that Bond was given a black romantic lead.
Yaphet Kotto, I regret bitterly. I did not enjoy working with him at all. Originally it was to be a very distinguished American black actor. Suddenly Harry Saltzman announced he's out and UA say Yaphet Kotto is really hot property. We were forced into Yaphet Kotto. I'd never met him until he turned up on the set. He starts off thinking he should be playing Bond - quite seriously. He was very badly behaved, he would try and make life difficult. I am tremondously pro-black and I was determined because of having a big black cast that they all be treated properly - it wasn't us - it was the American crews that treated them like shit.
When Yaphet Kotto came to New Orleans and gave the Black Power salute there were those who said he had a chip on his shoulder. As a black actor in a predominately white industry perhaps he believed he had to assert himself.
Kotto later resonded to Moore's comment:
I don't think that was fair. [But] I can see how he would have arrived at that opinion because I was very aloof and removed from everyone. It may have appeared I had a chip on my shoulder because I was quiet. I am not there to socialise. I think method actors are misunderstood. Maybe he wasn't used to method actors. I don't know what his problem was. It didn't bother me then, it doesn't bother me now.
Moore elaborated on the Black Power incident:
[Publicity director] Derek Coyte pointed out that the pictures would rouse resentment from the rabid whites and would be seen as an endorsement of black power by militant blacks. We are making anything but a political picture, but Derek said the photographs syndicated far and wide would involve us in a controversy, which could do nothing but harm. Yaphet was incensed. At midday he and the black stuntmen lunched together and during the afternoon, Derek Coyte was ostracised by blacks [with whom he] had previously been pally.
According to Moore, Harry Saltzman was so jealous of Moore's friendship with David Hedison that he had the latter moved to a different hotel.
David Hedison also becomes the fifth actor to play Felix Leiter (he would later become the first one to reprise it).
Barely averted with Bernard Lee as M. He was in poor health at the time and had just lost his wife Gladys Merredew. There were talks of replacing him with Kenneth More.
Recycled Script: The film has a lot in common with Dr. No - a British agent is killed by seemingly innocuous passersby, we meet Bond in his flat, Bond is menaced in his hotel room by a creepy crawly, there's a bogus taxi driver working for the villain, Bond and Quarrel sail out to the villain's domain under cover of night, the villain keeps islanders at bay by resurrecting mythological terrors with the aid of modern technology, and a villain has a prosthetic arm with a deadly grip. Both were filmed in Jamaica and both introduced an actor as Bond.
The Red Stapler: Solitaire's Tarot deck was a prop designed by artist Fergus Hall specifically for use in the film. It was later sold briefly as the 007 deck before being renamed as the Tarot of the Witches.
A speedboat crashing into a police car and utterly wrecking it was an accident, but no one was hurt and it looked great on camera, so they kept it in.
Bond's quip to Tee Hee "Butterhook?" was ad libbed by Roger Moore on the set when Julius Harris fumbled with his watch. It subsequently became Harris's nickname throughout the production.
Bond was originally going to succeed in using the boat to escape the crocodiles, until the farm's owner (also named Ross Kananga) showed the crew how he could run across their backs. Everyone agreed this was too awesome to not put in the movie.
The alternate name for Mr. Big was also this in honor of the real Ross Kananga.
Much of the novel draws from Fleming's personal experiences: the opening of the book, with Bond's arrival at New York's Idlewild Airport was inspired by Fleming's own journeys in 1941 and 1953, and the warehouse at which Leiter is attacked by a shark was based on a similar building Fleming and his wife had visited in St. Petersburg, Florida on their recent journey. He also used his experiences on his two journeys on the Silver Meteor as background for the route taken by Bond and Solitaire.
Fleming's experiences on his first scuba dive with Jacques Cousteau in 1953 provided much of the description of Bond's swim to Mr Big's boat, while the concept of limpet-mining is probably based on the wartime activities of the elite 10th Light Flotilla, a unit of Italian navy frogmen.