Up 25 this week

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance  |  May 1962 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,111 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 65 critic

When the USA and Russia unwittingly test atomic bombs at the same time, it alters the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth.



(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Top 25 Trivia Items From the Last 25 Years

Here are some amazing facts and figures to deepen your appreciation of the movies you love.

See the full list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 33 titles
created 23 Aug 2011
a list of 30 titles
created 13 Feb 2012
a list of 27 titles
created 4 months ago
a list of 36 titles
created 3 weeks ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

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

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Day the Earth Caught Fire.
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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

Professor Quatermass, trying to gather support for his Lunar colonisation project, is intrigued by mysterious traces that have been showing up.

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Brian Donlevy, John Longden, Sidney James
Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Based on the HG Wells story. The world is delighted when a space craft containing a crew made up of the world's astronauts lands on the moon, they think for the first time. But the delight ... See full summary »

Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: Edward Judd, Martha Hyer, Lionel Jeffries
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The European Space Exploration Council sends two astronauts to explore a planet similar to the Earth but located on the opposite side of the sun.

Director: Robert Parrish
Stars: Roy Thinnes, Ian Hendry, Patrick Wymark
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A shower of meteorites produces a glow that blinds anyone that looks at it. As it was such a beautiful sight, most people were watching, and as a consequence, 99% of the population go blind... See full summary »

Directors: Steve Sekely, Freddie Francis
Stars: Nicole Maurey, Howard Keel, Janette Scott
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the countryside of London, a rocket crashes on a farm and Professor Bernard Quatermass and Scotland Yard Inspector Lomax arrive in the spot. The rocket was launched by Prof. Quatermass ... See full summary »

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Brian Donlevy, Jack Warner, Margia Dean
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A family of four leaves Los Angeles for a camping trip just before a nuclear bomb destroys the city. As lawlessness prevails, the father must fight to keep his family alive.

Director: Ray Milland
Stars: Ray Milland, Jean Hagen, Frankie Avalon
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Radioactive oil-like creature terrorizes a Scottish village during the 1950's.

Directors: Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey
Stars: Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman, Leo McKern
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A spaceship from another world crashes in the Arizona desert, and only an amateur stargazer and a schoolteacher suspect alien influence when the local townsfolk begin to act strange.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When the Earth is threatened by a burning Van Allen Radiation Belt, US Navy Admiral Harriman Nelson plans to shoot a nuclear missile at the Belt using his experimental atomic submarine, the Seaview.

Director: Irwin Allen
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden
Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 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 5.8/10 X  

Aliens come to Earth seeking scientists to help them in their war.

Director: Joseph M. Newman
Stars: Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, Rex Reason


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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Drama | Sci-Fi | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

May 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

...e la Terra prese fuoco  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


(with tinted sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


At the beginning of tbe film ,Peter Blythe makes a brief uncredited appearance as the copy desk boy taking Stenning's story and Leo McKern stars as science reporter Bill Maguire. Twenty years later they would both star together in the hit tv series Rumpole of the Bailey, with McKern in the title role and Blythe as head of chambers, Sam Ballard. See more »


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 »


[Bill asks Peter what is bothering him]
Bill Maguire: It's the kid, isn't it?
Peter Stenning: You ought to see the way they're bringing him up, Bill. It'll be the right prep school next. And then the right boarding school. And by the time they finish with him, he'll be a right bowler-hatted, who's-for-tennis, toffee-nosed gent, but he won't be MY son.
Bill Maguire: Oh, I don't know. That bad blood of yours is bound to come out.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References Annie Get Your Gun (1950) See more »


Camptown Races
Composed by Stephen Foster
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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".

38 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
One of the great finishses to a movie davebesag
sexy philipshepp
After the second bombs david_colbourne
This will probably annoy a few people but.... dgm82
Cinema and TV Versions Foley_Artist
Peace symbol? saginaw1
Discuss The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: