This documentary can be found on the Two-Disk Special Edition DVD of Dirty Harry, released in 2008.
This program originally aired on the cable channel A&E for their signature program Biography. The cable company does sell copies of the airing, however 5 to 10 minutes have been shaved off of the program for the video release. The full version can only be seen on an actual re-airing of the A&E program on their cable channel.
This documentary is featured as a supplement on 20th Century Fox's 2004 DVD release of The Grapes of Wrath.
The only A&E Biography to have a "reversed title". Most titles have the subjects name first such as "Judy Garland: Beyond the Rainbow". Here, the syntax of "Eclipsed by Death: The Life of River Phoenix" is, itself, a comment on the subject.
This episode of the Biography TV series is included as an extra on the History Channel / New Video DVD of The Underground Railroad (1999) (TV).
Included as a special feature on the DVD of The Ox-Bow Incident, released by Fox's Studio Classics in 2003.
Nominated for 1996 Cable ACE award for best Entertainment/Cultural Documentary.