The movie was adapted by Sy Bartlett, Henry King (uncredited) and Beirne Lay Jr from the novel by Bartlett and Lay. It was directed by King.
This film is used by the United States Navy as an example of leadership styles in its Leadership and Management Training School. The United States Air Force's College for Enlisted Professional Military Education also uses it as an education aid in its Noncommissioned Officer Academies. The film has also been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Many of the stock shots from the movie were used in the television series. A memorable shot, that of a B-17 bomber crash-landing, was that of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Webb, who earned one of his eight Distinguished Flying Cross awards in this action.