- Backed by the Pentagon: The carrier that was attacked was originally to have been sunk, but in order to keep military support for the film, the script had to be adjusted so that the carrier survived, though it was no longer battle-worthly (that is, couldn't do much of anything except limp away).
- When the time came to film the nuclear detonation scene, in which the Presidential motorcade is severely damaged by the blastnote , the director used real military personnel that were trained specifically for that situation. All he had to do was point to the overturned limo and tell them "The President is in that car!"
- Deleted Role: Matt Damon had a cameo as a waiter, but it was cut from the final film.
- DVD Commentary: A pretty hilarious one featuring director Phil Alden Robinson and Tom Clancy himself (who introduces himself as "the author of the book [Phil] ignored") where the latter spends nearly the entire running time picking apart every inaccuracy and change to the book right in front of Robinson, with gems such as these:Clancy: This is bullshit. If the CIA paid this much attention to their employees, Aldrich Ames wouldn't have gotten 12 men killed....Clancy: How the hell do [the Russians] know the stealth bombers have just lifted off?Robinson: Well, don't they have radar, satellites?Clancy: The whole point of stealth, Phil, is you can't see them on radar at all.Robinson: Well, the satellites don't pick them up?Clancy: If the satellite's overhead at that particular moment. They only do that twice a day.
- Fake Russian: Irish actor Ciarán Hinds as the President of the Russian Federation.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Oh man. The movie is about large scale terrorism and finished filming in June 2001.
- The terrorists are changed from Arab nationalists to neo-Nazi European types in part because generic Arab terrorists had become cliché. Also, East Germany, one of the nations involved, had ceased to exist by the time the film was made.
- In reworking a plot that was already released in book form in 1991 (begun in and broadly dated to the late 1980s) and centered around Cold War tropes, the movie depends heavily on a Conflict Ball between the USA and Russia. In real life, the late 1990s United States was already seriously concerned about a terrorist actor with loose ex-Russian nuke material. This went Up to Eleven after the 9/11 attacks when, among other things, there was a credible threat delivered to President Bush that al-Qaeda had smuggled a small tactical nuclear weapon out of the former USSR and into New York City.
- Since the deterioration of relations between Putin's Russia and NATO, and the loudly public re-emergence in the mid-late 2010s of neo-Nazi movements in the West, the film version has become Harsher in Hindsight.
- The US' planning in general came to be focused on a true "improvised nuclear device" that wouldn't require expertise as seen in both the novel and movie ( Truth in Television in the novel in particular that more advanced nukes are easily botched and out of the reach of terrorists themselves). There is a lot of such planning, much of which was released to the public, and the idea of a terrorist doing this is now so deeply ingrained that it would be all but impossible to leap to the conclusion the fascists want.
- The portrayal of US-Russia relations in the movie is clearly based on the realities of the 90's with the post-Cold War thaw and general improvement in relations between East and West being prominent. Also the Chechen conflict is a plot point. Today the same premise would feature a far more tense and paranoid atmosphere between the two.
- The Russian president in the film is pretty much a Putin expy. He's portrayed pretty much the way most in the West viewed Putin circa 2001, a bit tough and rough around the edges but a good guy ultimately. That line of thought has not aged well since then, unfortunately.
- What Could Have Been:
- Originally Harrison Ford was going to play Jack Ryan and the film was going to be a follow-up to Clear and Present Danger, but Ford declined to return as Ryan because he didn't like the script.
- Denzel Washington turned down the role of William Cabot.
- Wolfgang Petersen was offered the chance to direct but declined.
Trivia / The Sum of All Fears