An exhausted Meryl Streep balked when Director Curtis Hanson asked her to shoot one more scene before filming finished for the end of the day, however, she decided to attempt it. Swept off the raft, she was in real danger of drowning, before she was rescued. Returning upriver, she told a pale and shaking Hanson that "in the future, when I say I can't do something, I think we should believe me." Hanson hastily agreed.
Late Academy Award Winning Composer Maurice Jarre originally wrote the film's score, but due to poor test screenings for the film, the music was rejected and Jerry Goldsmith was brought in to re-score the film. A documentary on the late composer features him and Curtis Hanson during the recording sessions of the soundtrack.
Kevin Bacon's character Wade slaps three of the four lead characters in the face at one point or another; Rourke for breaking his promise about keeping Wade's gun secret, Tom when Wade catches them trying to leave him and Terry behind, and Terry for sleeping while he should have been keeping watch with the gun. The only character he does not slap is Gail, the story's main character, played by Meryl Streep.