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A Fire in the Sky (1978)

Astronomers discover a comet that they believe will crash into Phoenix, Arizona. They attempt to warn officials, but no one believes them.



(teleplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Voight
Sharon Allan
David Allan
Jennifer Dreiser
Paul Gilliam
Stan Webster
Maggie Wellman ...
Ellen Gilliam
Kip Niven ...
William Bogert ...
Wayne Lustus
Ann Webster
Tom Rearden


Astronomers discover a comet that they believe will crash into Phoenix, Arizona. They attempt to warn officials, but no one believes them.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sci-Fi | Drama





Release Date:

26 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Feuer aus dem All  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The TV station in the movie, KTAR-TV, is the real life NBC affiliate for Phoenix, now known as KPNX. See more »


During the comet strike, the Hyatt Regency Hotel (with its distinctive Compass Room revolving restaurant on the roof) can be seen crumbling from the shock wave. As the credits begin, the smoldering cityscape is shown (something about the Phoenix will rise from the ashes)...with the hotel virtually unscathed. See more »


Jason Voight: Breaker breaker, this is Jason Voight, who have I got here?
Radio Dispatcher: You've got trouble buddy, this channel is for emergency use only, clear it!
Jason Voight: Well I'm sitting here at ground zero with 30 Pima Indians and one Chevy Impala, what would you call that?
Radio Dispatcher: What are you doing there?
Jason Voight: Oh you know, making baskets, selling rugs, Look just get us out of here!
See more »

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User Reviews

Phoenix In The Cometary Crosshairs...And Nobody Can Do A Thing About It!
14 July 2014 | by (San Gabriel, Ca., USA) – See all my reviews

Before such films as METEOR, NIGHT OF THE COMET, Armageddon, or DEEP IMPACT (though after films like DELUGE or WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE), there was the 1978 made-for-TV sci-fi/disaster movie A FIRE IN THE SKY, which depicted a collision between our planet and an interstellar visitor, specifically a meteor, an asteroid, or a comet.

In the case of A FIRE IN THE SKY, it's a comet that is not only pinpointed at Earth, but at one specific target: Phoenix, Arizona. And there's only one sharp-eyed astronomer (Richard Crenna) who believes and realizes that fact, while everyone else refuses to believe, or wants to cover it up. Of course, this latter plot line is a common one among most disaster films, whether for the big screen or the small screen: a sort of post-Watergate "Enemy Of The People" situation, one far different from the situations seen in METEOR or DEEP IMPACT, where joint operations to stop these potentially cataclysmic deep-space visitors are put into effect.

At the same time, however, A FIRE IN THE SKY, for all the flaws it shares with a lot of other disaster films made for the small screen, including some ripe overacting and dialogue that is a little bit too unintentionally humorous at times (even though the screenplay is based on a story by Paul Gallico, whose 1969 novel "The Poseidon Adventure" provided the basis for the classic 1972 disaster film of the same name), is boosted by some really effective matte work and special visual effects that one would not have ordinarily found in a made-for-TV film of the late 1970s. And it may as well be said that the director, Jerry Jameson, was known for being a specialist in this genre, with films like 1974's HURRICANE and TERROR ON THE 40TH FLOOR, as well as (for the big screen) 1977's AIRPORT '77.

Crenna, always a very underrated actor (he may be most remembered for being Sylvester Stallone's commanding officer in the "Rambo" films, though he also starred with Steve McQueen in Robert Wise's 1966 classic THE SAND PEBBLES), gives a fairly good performance even with the sometimes dodgy dialogue; and the cast includes Elizabeth Ashley, Merlin Olsen, Lloyd Bochner, Kip Niven, and John Larch (who played the mayor of San Francisco in the original DIRTY HARRY back in 1971). The scenes of destruction and the cometary impact on Phoenix, while they may not match what was seen in DEEP IMPACT, are sufficiently spectacular to overcome the bumps and grinds of the screenplay, which merits my giving A FIRE IN THE SKY a solid rating of seven out of 10.

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