The film was created in two separate productions, one based in the United States, directed by Richard Fleischer, and one based in Japan. The Japanese side of the production was initially directed by Akira Kurosawa, but after two years of work with no useful results, 20th Century Fox turned the project over to Kinji Fukasaku who completed it.
The screenplay was written by Ladislas Farago, Larry Forrester, Ryuzo Kikushima, and Hideo Oguni, based on the book by Gordon W. Prange. The film contains excellent second unit and miniature photography, shot by Ray Kellogg.
The film had an "all-star" cast, including