- The film was inspired by "Crime on the Waterfront", a series of articles in the New York Sun that won 'Johnson, Malcolm' the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Reporting.
- Arthur Miller (I) was approached by Elia Kazan to write the screenplay, but he turned it down because he felt that Kazan might have named him as a Communist during his secret appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
- At the hearing, Slim gives his name as "Malden Skulovich", which is co-star Karl Malden's real name.
- Film debut of Eva Marie Saint -- a debut performance that won her the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.
- The only film that wasn't a musical for which Leonard Bernstein wrote the incidental music.
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