The movie was adapted by Richard Brooks from the novel by Sinclair Lewis. It was directed by Brooks.
It won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Burt Lancaster), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Shirley Jones) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. It was also nominated for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and Best Picture.
When the movie first played on television, the entire subplot involving Shirley Jones as a prostitute (even though she had won an Academy Award for the part) was cut out, because it clashed with her then-wholesome image as the mother from The Partridge Family.