Director Howard Hawks made Rio Bravo as a kind of answer to High noon because he did not believe that a good Marshall would go around town asking for for other people's help to do his job.
--Source: Major Film Directors of the American and British Cinema, Page 53
Quentin Tarantino dubs Rio Bravo the “best directed movie of all time”.
--Source: Quentin Tarantino: Interviews, Page 62
Quentin Tarantino has said that before he enters into a relationship with a girl, he always shows her Rio Bravo and if she doesn't like it, there is no relationship.
--Source: Quentin Tarantino: interviews, Page 133
The movie was made by Howard Hawks and John Wayne as a direct challenge to the politics of Fred Zinnemann's High Noon (1952). Hawks: "I didn't think that a good sheriff was going to run around like a chicken asking for help, and finally his Quaker wife had to save him. "
--Source: Hawks on Hawks, Page 130
Dude's nickname Borrachón is Spanish for drunkard.
The last movie in which John Wayne wore the hat he had worn since Stagecoach (1939).
Dean Martin's agent approached Howard Hawks to consider his client for the role of the drunken deputy Dude. Hawks agreed to meet with Martin at 9:30 the next morning. When Hawks learned that Martin had done a show in Las Vegas until midnight, and hired a plane to fly him to the meeting, Hawks was so impressed that he simply sent Martin to get a costume and told him he had the part.
Montgomery Clift turned down the role of Dude, because he didn't want to work again with John Wayne and Walter Brennan.
Hawks' instructions to Martin who showed up in an almost comical cowboy outfit on the first day of shooting, were not to play a cowboy but just play a drunk.
This was Howard Hawks' first film in four years. After the critical and box office failure of Land of the Pharaohs (1955), Hawks took a break from directing and lived in Europe.
On May 8th, just one week into shooting 'Rio Bravo', Ricky Nelson celebrated his 18th birthday. As a gift, John Wayne and Dean Martin gave him a 300 lb. sack of steer manure, which they then threw Nelson into as a rite of passage.
John Wayne was nervous about the love scenes between his character and Feathers, since he was 51 and Angie Dickinson was only 26.
Ward Bond's death scene was filmed from a distance because it was actually a double. Bond had already left the set to be back on location for Wagon Train (1957).
After seeing the film, Gary Cooper said it was “so phony, nobody believes in it.”
The song My Rifle, My Pony and Me was originally used as the theme for Red River (1948), another John Wayne western. The original title was Settle Down.
The movie had an interesting preview trailer. In the trailer, Ricky Nelson finishes playing his guitar, then he turns to the camera and talks about the exciting nature of the film. After some clips are shown, they cut back to Nelson who lists the cast members. When he does not mention his own name, we hear the voice of Dean Martin say off camera "What about Rick Nelson"?
For the first four full minutes of film (including credits) there is no dialog.
The movie was made by Howard Hawks and John Wayne as a counter-response to the underlying theme and point of view of High Noon (1952).
John Wayne and Ward Bond's 22nd and final movie together.
The sets in Old Tucson are built to 7/8th scale, so the performers look larger than life.
Although Harry Carey Jr. was listed in the credits on-screen, he does not appear in the picture. Carey had a drinking problem at the time. He called director Howard Hawks "Howard" instead of "Mr. Hawks" on one of his first days on the set, infuriating Hawks. His contract, including his pay and his screen credit, was honored, but his part (a townsman) was cut.