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The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance  |  May 1962 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,912 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 65 critic

When the USA and Russia test atomic bombs at the same time, it knocks the Earth out its orbit and sends it spiraling toward the Sun.

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

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

Storyline

Hysterical panic has engulfed the world after the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously detonate nuclear devices and have caused the orbit of the Earth to alter, sending it hurtling towards the sun. Written by Fernando <diamond@argenet.com.ar>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE PICTURE THAT GIVES YOU A FRONT SEAT TO THE MOST JOLTING EVENTS OF TOMORROW...TODAY! (original U.S. print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

...e la Terra prese fuoco  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(with tinted sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As the earth heats up Bill McGuire asks for information on the melting point of "everything from steel to my glass eye". Leo McKern did in fact have a glass eye. See more »

Goofs

Only the extreme left-hand side of Peter Stenning's article "If you find your TV set has developed a nasty measle rash" is about sunspots, as per the dialogue. The remainder is a review of a newly-released book on jazz, referencing John Dankworth and Benny Green. See more »

Quotes

Peter Stenning: Hello, Pat.
Pat Holroyd: Well.
Peter Stenning: It's a bit better than Picture Post, isn't it?
Pat Holroyd: Stenning, what the hell do you want?
Peter Stenning: A quote on sun-spots.
Pat Holroyd: Sun-spots?
Peter Stenning: Look, just tell me that the static, the monsoon, the compass trouble, and the terrible shows we get on television are all caused by sun-spots, and that the sun-spots are caused by bigger bomb experiments, and I'll leave you in peace.
Pat Holroyd: Well, there usually is a bit of extra sun-spot activity this time of year, old boy, but I don't think it has much to do with ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Matinee (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Camptown Races
(uncredited)
Composed by Stephen Foster
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An all-time classic
30 November 2000 | by (Bristol, UK) – See all my reviews

This has got to be one of the best sci-fi films ever made. Great plot, snappy and witty script, characters with real depth and histories, and a (debatably) great ending. What more could you ask for?

Although the plot is quite similar to that of 'When Worlds Collide', the realism of the characters and setting really lift the whole film far above its contemporaries. Its use of journalists to tell the story is similar to that of many of the classic works of literary science fiction (HG Wells' War Of The Worlds or John Wyndham's Kraken Wakes for example) and it follows a similar apocalyptic template as well.

The theme of mankind's actions causing havoc for the globe, which was originally a criticism of the cold war, is still very relevant today for quite different reasons. The parallel with global warming is obvious, and the graphic depiction of the effects of this are all the more disturbing because we see similar effects, on a smaller scale, around the world on a day to day basis. The film is shocking in its bleak vision of the havoc that mankind has brought upon himself.

Basically, this is the benchmark for all serious science-fiction, and makes a perfect partner for the other great of the cold war era, "The Day the Earth Stood Still".


36 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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