At one point during rehearsals, Director Sidney Lumet felt that Sir Ralph Richardson wasn't really getting the proper measure of his character, James Tyrone. Lumet took Richardson aside and launched into a forty-five minute lecture about his character's motivations. Richardson finally stopped him by saying "I see what you mean, dear boy, a little more cello, a little less flute". Lumet confessed to being enormously impressed with this way of expressing it.
According to Katharine Hepburn biographer Charles Higham, she became so upset with Dean Stockwell when he showed up on the first day of shooting with a bottle of vodka, she almost struck him. When she discovered he found the set very cold, she bought him a coat, which he later found in his dressing room.
Jason Robards, Jr. reprised his Broadway role as James Tyrone, Jr., for which he was nominated for the 1957 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. He also played James Tyrone, Jr. on Broadway and on television, in A Moon for the Misbegotten (1975). In his later career, Robards played James Tyrone, Sr. in several productions of "Long Day's Journey Into Night," including a 1988 Broadway revival at the Neil Simon Theater.
The Broadway play by Eugene O'Neill opened at the Helen Hayes Theater in New York City on November 7, 1956 and ran for three hundred ninety performances. The stage production included Florence Eldridge, Fredric March, and Katharine Ross and won the 1957 Tony Award for the Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1957.