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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 2,493 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 42 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 the Night Editor
Bernard Braden ...
Davis the News Editor
Reginald Beckwith ...
Harry
Gene Anderson ...
May
Renée Asherson ...
Angela
Arthur Christiansen ...
Jeff Jefferson the Editor
Austin Trevor ...
Sir John Kelly
Edward Underdown ...
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:

The Day the Earth Caught Fire  »

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

Editor James Needs used stock footage from Hammer's The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), also directed by Val Guest of a fire truck racing through the night past the patrol station in Bray. See more »

Goofs

When Bill and his son are exiting the car on the Ghost Train dark ride, they stand there and talk to Bill's ex wife. The next car exiting the ride has two women who get up and leave the car. A few moments later, another car exits the ride, and the same two women stand up and leave the car. See more »

Quotes

Peter Stenning: Alcoholics of the press, unite!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Godzilla (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Supreme film-making
3 July 2006 | by (Copenhagen, Denmark) – See all my reviews

What an absolutely devastating movie! I am still completely engrossed in it, and it has been a while since I took the DVD out of the player.

Was any science fiction movie ever more ambitious than this one? The staggering opening, tinted in reddish yellow and brilliantly composed in widescreen, looks like Tarkovsky and Lars von Trier, and has the same dry wasteland quality to it. Callous and unpublicized nuclear tests by both the Soviet Union and the US have upset the environment, causing record-breaking heat waves, floods, cyclones, eclipses, and what not, and we gradually find out that Earth has tilted and is hurtling towards the Sun where, in four months' time, the universe will savor "the delightful smell of charcoaled mankind", as put by a cynical newspaperman. The largest nuclear bomb ever made will now be detonated in Siberia, and no one knows what will happen now ... The environmentalist discourse seems extremely contemporary to us today.

Now, how to make intelligent, thoughtful entertainment out of that pulp?! Leave it to writer-director Val Guest who more than rose to the task. He put a heartbroken, newly divorced and slightly alcoholized reporter in the center, working for the London Daily News. He tries, with his science editor and surrogate father, to delve into what went wrong and who is responsible, and he falls in love with a switchboard girl with a cleavage. All this to keep the movie grounded, the drama realistic. All of this naturalistic drama is cross-edited with stock newsreel footage of natural disasters, and it works. It works supremely well, and you are sucked into the action, as the end of the world approaches.

All the actors are brilliant, not least Edward Judd as the main reporter, cynical, witty, vulnerable.


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