7.2/10
4,123
72 user 67 critic

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Unrated | | Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance | May 1962 (USA)
When the U.S. and Russia unwittingly test atomic bombs at the same time, it alters the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth.

Director:

Val Guest

Writers:

Wolf Mankowitz (written for the screen by), Val Guest (written for the screen by)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A dying scientist pushes forward his project to tap through to the Earth's magma layer, with results that threaten to destroy the Earth as we know it.

Director: Andrew Marton
Stars: Dana Andrews, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After an unusual meteor shower leaves most of the human population blind, a merchant navy officer must find a way to conquer tall, aggressive plants which are feeding on people and animals.

Directors: Steve Sekely, Freddie Francis
Stars: Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

As a new star and planet hurtle toward a doomed Earth, a small group of survivalists frantically work to complete the rocket which will take them to their new home.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, Peter Hansen
Jet Storm (1959)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Sir Richard Attenborough plays Ernest Tilley, a man who lost his daughter in a hit-and-run accident. He tracks down the man responsible for the accident and boards the same plane, ... See full summary »

Director: Cy Endfield
Stars: Richard Attenborough, Stanley Baker, Hermione Baddeley
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Britain, a Manchester police inspector becomes obsessed with capturing a criminal who escapes from prison.

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Stanley Baker, John Crawford, Donald Pleasence
Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When a spaceship lands on the moon, it is hailed as a new accomplishment, before it becomes clear that a Victorian party completed the journey in 1899, leading investigators to that mission's last survivor.

Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: Edward Judd, Martha Hyer, Lionel Jeffries
Jigsaw (1962)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A woman is found murdered in a house along the coast from Brighton. Local detectives Fellows and Wilks lead an investigation methodically following up leads and clues mostly in Brighton and... See full summary »

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Jack Warner, Ronald Lewis, Yolande Donlan
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A mysterious artifact is unearthed in London, and famous scientist Bernard Quatermass is called into to divine its origins and explain its strange effects on people.

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An isolated remote island community is threatened by an attack by tentacled silicates which liquefy and digest bone and tissue.

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Peter Cushing, Edward Judd, Carole Gray
Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After their latest rocket fails, Dr. Charles Cargraves and retired General Thayer have to start over again. This time, Gen. Thayer approaches Jim Barnes, the head of his own aviation ... See full summary »

Director: Irving Pichel
Stars: John Archer, Warner Anderson, Tom Powers
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An American tourist, a youth gang leader, and his troubled sister find themselves trapped in a top secret government facility experimenting on children.

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Macdonald Carey, Shirley Anne Field, Viveca Lindfors
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Janet Munro ... Jeannie Craig
Leo McKern ... Bill Maguire
Edward Judd ... Peter Stenning
Michael Goodliffe ... 'Jacko' Jackson - Night Editor
Bernard Braden Bernard Braden ... 'Dave' Davis - News Editor
Reginald Beckwith Reginald Beckwith ... Harry
Gene Anderson Gene Anderson ... May
Renée Asherson ... Angela
Arthur Christiansen Arthur Christiansen ... 'Jeff' Jefferson - Editor
Austin Trevor ... Sir John Kelly
Edward Underdown Edward Underdown ... Dick Sanderson
Ian Ellis Ian Ellis ... Michael Stenning
Edit

Storyline

Hysterical panic has engulfed the world after the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously detonate nuclear devices causing a change to the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth. Written by Fernando <diamond@argenet.com.ar>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The INCREDIBLE becomes Real! The IMPOSSIBLE becomes Fact! The UNBELIEVABLE becomes True! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Day the Earth Caught Fire See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

£200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pax Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White (with tinted sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Blythe and Leo McKern appeared on Rumpole of the Bailey (1978). See more »

Goofs

The solar eclipse could not possibly be advanced in time by eleven days, unless the moon was accelerated along its orbit. What would happen, and what would have been believably portrayed in the movie, was for the track of the eclipse to be shifted to another part of the Earth. The eclipse would have been expected much further south, but since the earth's axis was shifted, moving London closer to the monsoon belt, it also shifted it under the eclipse path so that London, instead of not being in the path at all, ended up in at least the path of partiality, if not the center of the path where totality would occur. See more »

Quotes

[Peter decides to stop in at the Press Office, after telling Jeannie that he had better things to do. He finds her cleaning what looks like a mimeograph machine, and they each have no idea who the other one is]
Jeannie Craig: Oh, hullo. Have you come to fix this?
Peter Stenning: Well, I hadn't, but for you, why not?
Jeannie Craig: [embarrassed] Oh, I'm sorry, they'd said they'd send someone. Can I help you? Nearly everyone's gone home.
Peter Stenning: Yeah, I'd like a copy of tonight's official line-ups.
Jeannie Craig: Tonight's what?
Peter Stenning: Uh, the official releases.
Jeannie Craig: Oh! Those ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no end credits whatsoever (not even a "The End" caption); merely a fade to black. See more »

Alternate Versions

Although listed as cut by the BBFC, the then censor John Trevelyan passed the film uncut according to his memoirs. The 'X' certificate was given due to the subject matter, and occasional tough language, being unsuitable for anyone under the age of 16. Video and DVD releases are now rated PG. See more »

Connections

Featured in Godzilla (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Light Cavalry Overture
(uncredited)
Written by Franz von Suppé
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
3 March 2004 | by EdgarSTSee all my reviews

1961's "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" must be judged according to the parameters of classics as 1951's "The Day the Earth Stood Still", and not today's special effects mega productions in which the perspective of the disappearance of planet Earth is taken with cynic humor. The idea came to director Val Guest during the Cold War in 1954, and it is under that decade's spirit that the movie is better appreciated. I remember seeing it when it opened, and I've never forgotten that experience, specially its tinted sequence. Forty-three years later I am able to see it again, and it's still the same notable film, not the least affected by today's cinematic technology, because, in its core, Guest's motivation -the worry for the actions of mindless men who struggle to control the Earth- is still relevant. If it's not highly regarded today as "The Day the Earth Stood Still", I think it has to do with the fact that Universal sold it as a B movie in America (though not so by British Lion in the UK, where it was a huge success, and won the film industry's top prize for its screenplay) and because not too many critics paid attention to it and wrote positive reviews, establishing it as an important science-fiction movie since then. Although there are very few re-enacted disaster scenes and it relies upon footage of real catastrophes, the tension is handled effectively in the newspaper's office where most of the action takes place, with its overlapping dialogues and constant flow of new information; and in the development of the romantic story in the midst of violence and terror in the streets. Edward Judd, Janet Munro and Leo McKern contribute good performances to this fine movie, shot in wide-screen Dyaliscope.


57 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 72 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed