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The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

 -  Drama | Sci-Fi | Romance  -  May 1962 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,602 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 43 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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Title: The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) on IMDb 7.2/10

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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
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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

The scenes of the "Met Office" were filmed both outside and inside the Ministry of Defence Main Building in Whitehall. This access was remarkable. Those interiors were little changed until refurbishment of MOD after 2000. See more »

Goofs

In the movie, several people in North London contract "typhus" from contaminated water. Evidently the script confused "typhus" and "typhoid fever." Typhus is spread by parasites, such as fleas or mites; not contaminated water. Typhoid fever can be spread by contaminated food or water. See more »

Quotes

Editor (Jeff): I don't care a tinker's damn about this eclipse of the sun as such; the evening papers will cane it, it'll be dead by tomorrow morning. But what I do care about is why there was an eclipse of the sun ten days before it was due. Bill, this is your department.
Bill Maguire: I don't know why everybody regards me as Nostradamus. Your guess is as good as mine.
Editor (Jeff): Yes, but I don't want guesses, I want facts. Try someone on top. Sir John Kelly...
Bill Maguire: Stenning got in to see Kelly.
Peter Stenning: He had twenty-eight armed guards around ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Annie Get Your Gun (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
O-oh, the weather outside is frightful...
11 December 2005 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Good old-fashioned, black & white Science Fiction/disaster-movie classic that effectively emerges two giant contemporary fears at once, namely the Cold War and the rapidly evolving nuclear science. Whereas most other 60's Sci-Fi movies used the versatile side-effects of nuclear testings for grotesque apocalypse stories, involving mutated animals or even people, the premise of "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" is much more realistic and genuinely disturbing. A duo of Daily Express reporters discover, with the help of a weather girl, that the earth has been tilted off its axis because both the Russians and the Americans ignited their H-bombs simultaneously. The unusually high temperatures in Londen, as well as other inexplicable weather phenomenons, indicate that our planet is moving towards the sun very fast. Despite an obvious lack budget, director Val Guest (creator of other genre milestones such as "The Quatermass Experiment" and "The Abominable Snowman") did everything possible to make this film look like a captivating and paranoid drama. The images of a dying Londen, enshrouded in fog and heat, are truly atmospheric and there also are some very intelligent extra elements added, like new epidemics as a result of water shortness. Surprisingly enough, there's even room for an honest (and credible, for once) love-story between the cynical reporter and the overly-emotional weather-girl. Personally, I didn't really like the ending but it does typify 60's cinema greatly. The acting performances are splendid, with Leo McKern ("X-the Unknown"), Edward Judd ("Island of Terror") and the adorable Janet Munro (former child star of "Swiss Family Robinson"). The Day the Earth Caught Fire is a vastly underrated Sci-Fi gem, probably because it wasn't a Hammer production, and genre fans should urgently re-discover it. Highly recommended!


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