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James Salter's novel was initially serialized in Collier's on 16 March and March 30, 1956. The film opens with the following written acknowledgment: "Twentieth Century-Fox wishes to thank the Department of Defense and the United States Air Force for their assistance in the production of this motion picture." Although a July 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that the film was to premiere at the Lowry Air Force Base in Denver on August 1, 1958, the date of that premiere has not been confirmed.
According to an October 1956 Los Angeles Times news item, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart were both interested in starring in the film. A March 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Patricia Owens, Dina Merrill and Hope Lange were considered for the role of "Kris." Although a March 1958 Hollywood Reporter production chart places Ron Ely, Linc Foster and Stan Kamber in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to studio publicity materials contained in the film's production files at the AMPAS Library, location filming was conducted at the Luke Air Force Base outside Phoenix, AZ. The New York Times review adds that background footage was shot on location in Kyoto, Japan. The Hunters marked the screen debut of actress Nobu McCarthy.